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Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park

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avatar Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 15, 2013 01:06PM
President Obama has signed legislation making Pinnacles National Monument the system’s newest and 59th national park.

“This ancient and awe-inspiring volcanic field with its massive monoliths, spires, cave passages and canyons is a place that restores our souls and energizes our bodies with its beauty and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Secretary Salazar. “I commend Representative Sam Farr and Senator Barbara Boxer for their vision in sponsoring the legislation to make it a national park.”

“As with our other national parks and lands, Pinnacles also is an economic engine, supporting jobs in local communities,” he said, noting that last year Pinnacles hosted more than 343,000 visitors. Each year, visitors spent about $4.8 million and support 48 jobs in the local economy.

Rising out of the Gabilan Mountains east of central California's Salinas Valley, Pinnacles is the result of millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. Within the park's boundaries lie nearly 27,000 acres of diverse wild lands. Visitors delight in the beauty and variety of its spring wildflowers and more than 400 species of native bees. The Pinnacles rock formations are a popular destination to challenge technical and beginner climbers alike.

Designated as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the park’s management will not change by the legislation. The Pinnacles National Park Act recognizes the broader significance of park resources, specifically the chaparral, grasslands, blue oak woodlands, and majestic valley oak savanna ecosystems of the area, the area's geomorphology, riparian watersheds, unique flora and fauna, and the ancestral and cultural history of native Americans, settlers and explorers.

“We are proud to add Pinnacles to our family of national parks,” said Director Jarvis. “The beauty of the land and the diversity of recreational and educational opportunities offer a unique experience to every visitor. Pinnacles is a place worthy to be called part of ‘America’s Best Idea.'"

Pinnacles National Park is also well known as an incubator of America’s fragile population of California condors. It is one of three condor release sites in the country, and the only release site in a national park. Pinnacles has been a partner of the California condor recovery program since 2003. The park manages 31 free-flying condors. Each bird is monitored after its release to increase its chances of survival. Park biologists and volunteers monitor chicks hatched in the wild. They check blood and feather samples for signs of poisoning from ingestion of lead-contaminated food. They also monitor condors to aid research about their habitat and movement.

In addition to changing the park’s status from national monument to national park, the legislation names the park’s 16,000 acres of wilderness as the Hain Wilderness. The name honors Schuyler Hain, who was an 1891 homesteader from Michigan. Within 20 years he became known as the "Father of Pinnacles," leading tours up through Bear Valley and into the caves. Hain spoke to groups and wrote articles urging preservation of the area and acted as unofficial caretaker for many years. His efforts proved fruitful with the establishment of Pinnacles as a 2,500-acre national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The rock formations of Pinnacles National Monument and the Gabilan Mountain Range divide the park into east and west districts which are connected by trails, but not by a vehicle road. More than 30 miles of trails access geological formations, spectacular vistas and wildland communities. Pinnacles National Park is a day-use park, with occasional full moon hikes and dark sky astronomical observations led by ranger-interpreters.
avatar Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 15, 2013 02:10PM
Quote
eeek
... Pinnacles National Park is a day-use park..

What happened to the campgrounds?
avatar Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 15, 2013 03:30PM
Weren't they just outside the east entrance of the park?
avatar Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 15, 2013 04:59PM
I remember camping inside the entrance gate.

I just looked it up; they have 99 tent sites, 36 RV sites, and 14 group sites.

All are on the recreation.gov system.

The article must have gotten it wrong.
avatar Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 15, 2013 07:30PM
Ah, OK. From their page

Quote
Pinnacles NP Website
Pinnacles Campground is now within the boundaries of pinnacles National Monument, and is managed by a concessionaire.

I was apparently remembering a pre-boundary-adjustment reality.
Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 23, 2013 11:23PM
I wonder if the upgrade in status will prompt a modernization of the dirt road that connects the east and west portions of the park on the north. When I did some volunteer work there in the early 70's, the NPS was still using a hand-cranked gasoline system that pumped from an underground tank to a measured glass device on the top. When you had pumped a sufficient amount, you opened a valve and delivered it to the hose in the vehicle gas port. I imagine the EPA would have kittens over such a system now.
avatar Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 24, 2013 12:15AM
Quote
Dearborn
I imagine the EPA would have kittens over such a system now.

They would have had to replace the tanks by now.
Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 24, 2013 11:21PM
Knowing the people involved, I imagine the entire system was in full compliance with current regulations and I believe the aforementioned pump was probably replaced about 1974-75. One of your former Superintendents was a GS-7 in Pinnacles at the time.
avatar Re: Pinnacles Becomes 59th National Park
January 24, 2013 07:33AM
Quote
Dearborn
I wonder if the upgrade in status will prompt a modernization of the dirt road that connects the east and west portions of the park on the north. When I did some volunteer work there in the early 70's, the NPS was still using a hand-cranked gasoline system that pumped from an underground tank to a measured glass device on the top. When you had pumped a sufficient amount, you opened a valve and delivered it to the hose in the vehicle gas port. I imagine the EPA would have kittens over such a system now.

A lot of antique gas delivery systems are legal and exempted from California and federal regulations on vapor recovery.

There was a place in the Bay Area that had a collection of working antique pumps, including several glass vial gravity feed devices. Those had to have the fuel pumped into a glass cylinder with graduations to measure volume. Then gravity sends it to the vehicle when the valve is opened.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_8223785



This place was sold off because the owner decided to move on. It took a certain amount of dedication to operate these things, and the new owner wanted a modern system.

There's a coule of the gravity feel gas pumps at Kings Canyon Lodge on Forest Service land between Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP. They charge a lot and have a minimum. They also freak out if anyone takes photos without permission. I remember seeing those back in 2007, and they had the county weights and measure sticker on them and everything. They didn't have a vapor recovery system because it frankly wouldn't work. This isn't my photo.

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