Carrizo on the chopping block, need your help

June 30, 2017

The Carrizo Plain’s version of Half Dome with Parry’s mallow (Eremalche parryi) in the foreground. Photo courtesy of the California Chaparral Institute.

OPINION by BRYANT BAKER

In April, you probably saw pictures of the California super bloom – massive fields of yellow and rolling hills covered in patches of purple and orange. These pictures were shared across the globe on social media and in the news, but did you know they were taken in your own backyard?

That’s right, most of those scenes of sweeping grasslands and idyllic hillsides covered in wildflowers were at the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County. The 207,000-acre grassland nestled between the Temblor and Caliente mountain ranges was home to this year’s spectacular super bloom, exploding into color that would have surprised even Dr. Seuss – all happening just down the road from you.

And next year it may not be a national monument anymore.

You see, something else happened in April, while surreal pictures of wildflowers were being shared around, President Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to conduct a review of dozens of national monuments across the country. The purpose of the review? To decide whether the monuments should be reduced in size or eliminated entirely so these areas can be opened to development.

Unfortunately, our very own Carrizo Plain made the list.

President Bill Clinton designated the Carrizo Plain as a national monument in 2001 using his presidential powers granted by Congress through the Antiquities Act of 1906. He joined a list of 16 presidents from both sides of the aisle who have used the act to designate 157 national monuments over the last century.

The places designated as national monuments are usually managed cooperatively by multiple agencies and organizations, and they are protected similarly to national parks. In fact, some of the most well-known national parks started out as national monuments.

The Carrizo Plain was, is, and always will be worth protecting. With the obvious plant diversity on full display this year, the national monument is similarly home to unique wildlife such as the San Joaquin kit fox and giant kangaroo rat – both listed as endangered species – and important wild herds of tule elk and pronghorn antelope. Consider it California’s Serengeti. It’s also one of the best places to witness the effects of time on a geologic scale with a perfect view of the San Andreas Fault or on a human scale with preserved ancient native American rock art at sites such as Painted Rock.

There is no other place like it.

So what can you do to help keep this place wild and protected? Let your voice be heard. A public comment period for the national monument review is ongoing until July 10. You can visit savethecarrizo.org to easily send a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting him know that the Carrizo Plain should remain a national monument.

You can also attend a Carrizo Plain Town Hall on Thursday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the SLO Central Library to learn about the review from conservation leaders and write a letter.

There will even be a rally for the Carrizo on Saturday, July 1 at 11 a.m at Mission Plaza in SLO where you can hear Representative Salud Carbajal, former Congresswoman Lois Capps, and Mayor Heidi Harmon speak about why the national monument is important to our region and deserving of its protection.

Together we can ensure that current and future generations can enjoy the Carrizo Plain, a landscape that makes our region and our country so unique. Our collective voice can be monumental.







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16 Comments

  1. CCWine says:

    This is more Trump hysteria, dont waste your time and money on these misguided activists. Of course Carrizo is anything but a beautiful local landmark that should be preserved- but nothing is going to happen to it. CARRIZO WILL NOT CHANGE, DONT WORRY. Just because the Libertarians have some federal power and are trying to decimate the EPA, doesn’t mean our county and state officials are going to try to develop a hot, dry, remote valley where no one wants to live that has no natural resources or infrastructure.

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. calcoastdan says:

    You have got to be kidding me! I have been out to Painted Rock and the area four or five times. There is a beautiful tranquility about the region. However, my most recent trip was sincerely nauseating as I drove through miles upon miles of unnatural, industrial racks of solar panels. This beautiful landscape has been given up to the obnoxious ruse of solar power.

    If the desolate acreage was given over to hundreds of oil wells, the public outcry would be deafening. Because solar power is “green” it passes through all gates unchallenged. Truth be told, the solar fields are an eye soar and a citizen funded boondoggle. Their contribution to the power grid amounts to spittle. But by all means, spread them wide, long, and ugly.

    Fools.

    (13) 29 Total Votes - 21 up - 8 down
  3. zack says:

    Can you not read or are so ignorant of your own government that you are blindsided by what is actually happening in this country.

    What part of “and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.” do you not understand?

    In reality (I have the documents if you would like them) the federal government has very little jurisdiction over the lands in this state, just ask the California lands commission, however a state like Nevada under their enabling compact gave most of their state to the federal government for exclusive jurisdiction.

    Exclusive Federal jurisdiction Is extremely dangerous, the federal government literally “has the right to legislate in all cases whatsoever” including obstructing what most of you would call your “civil rights” and there are many levels of jurisdiction but the point is except in the cases laid out I.E forts,dockyards,magazines,arsenals and other needful buildings the federal government has no right nor do the states have the right to legislate them jurisdiction over large swaths of land.

    By the way there are no public lands by definition, by definition “Public Lands” are lands with no prior claim to private property.

    (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
  4. 1965buick says:

    Careful though, he’ll change his mind tomorrow. Or today. Who knows?

    (-14) 26 Total Votes - 6 up - 20 down
  5. modernwelding says:

    Do a careful inventory, retain and preserve what is essential, and sell the viable home and solar sites. Put it the value back on the County tax rolls. Saving every tumble weed is not supportable.

    (17) 49 Total Votes - 33 up - 16 down
    • Ricky2 says:

      Every home site? Have you ever been out there or know anything about the place? California Valley is a 5,000 lot subdivision from the 1960s, and it’s never been built out because there ain’t water and a lot of other stuff normal people need to live in a place. Private conservation groups are loading up on the empty lots to let them revert to habitat. Why would there be any need whatsoever for more home sites in a place like that?

      (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
      • modernwelding says:

        Yep been there, many, if not most sites, are not viable lacking potable water, especially around the Soda Lake, but some sites are, most often on hillside perimeters.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  6. Snoid says:

    90% of the time its free of anything alive, no flowers, no animals, no people, nada. Get a bloom on, and its suddenly all the craze. If you travel at all you’ll find there are places like CP, less the butt ugly solar farm, dilapidated shacks and dope grows. Not saying it should be destroyed, however Im sick and tired of these so called save the world organizations particularly Gov run entities taking over public lands only to have them closed down to everything but walking across them in bare feet and naked so we dont scare the lizards off or mismanaged and let go to hell by for profit contract park management.

    (16) 54 Total Votes - 35 up - 19 down
  7. zack says:

    Please chop away, Stop the illegal taking of our Lands,rights,and state sovereignty via the federal government which has no jurisdiction to hold those lands hostage from the states.

    (17) 77 Total Votes - 47 up - 30 down
    • Ricky2 says:

      What an ignorant rant. Where do you get your “facts?” Nothing illegal has taken place. In fact, this is an impressive model for how land should get preserved. The monument consists of long-time federal lands, state lands purchased from a willing private seller at seller’s suggestion, and formerly private lands purchased from willing sellers by a private conservation organization for the express purpose of preserving them. I guess you’ve never been there to see the signs at the monument’s entrances telling about this unique partnership among many parties. Federal land grab? No way. Rant on.

      (-15) 49 Total Votes - 17 up - 32 down
    • ruinitforeveryone says:

      ZOMG the illegal taking of our lands lol.
      Grow up.

      (-3) 37 Total Votes - 17 up - 20 down
    • mkaney says:

      Laugh all you want, he is right. The Constitution states:
      “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–”

      So the federal ownership of all this land (47% of the state of California, 85% of the state of Nevada!) is illegal.

      (9) 15 Total Votes - 12 up - 3 down
  8. Slosum says:

    Bryant. The Carrizo Plains will be just fine without the expensive designation. It’s still protected by plain old custodianship. However, if you worry about the kangaroo rat, bald eagle et all… then you should oppose the use of solar and wind generators that decimate those species and visually pollute the landscape . But they sure seem cool.

    (28) 42 Total Votes - 35 up - 7 down
  9. SLOBIRD says:

    So, if you want to save this treasure which monument would you exchange it for. This “weeping grasslands and idyllic hillsides” is absolutely beautiful for about 3o days a year and is visited probably by no more than 500 people.

    Are you talking about the whole 207,000-acres or you the mountain range? I am for preserving a section of it but not the entire 207,000 acres! No body in their right mind would go out there 1o months out of the year!

    (20) 38 Total Votes - 29 up - 9 down
    • Ricky2 says:

      Guess you didn’t make it out there last spring — tens of thousands of visitors day after day. So much for your 500 people comment’s truthfulness.

      (-8) 18 Total Votes - 5 up - 13 down

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