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Environment

Piedras Blancas now a national monument

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Wilderness Society
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Some of the marine mammals that call Piedras Blancas home.

On Thursday, President Obama included Piedras Blancas in an expansion of the California Coastal National Monument.

President Clinton established the monument in 2000 to preserve a thousand miles of California’s coastal waters, rocks, small islands and reefs. In a move today that created new national monuments across the country and added to existing ones, President Obama expanded California's coast as a national monument by an additional 6,200 acres of federal lands.

Located in San Luis Obispo County, just north of San Simeon, Piedras Blancas is home to a historic lighthouse. And lots of animals.

"Near Piedras Blancas, you get a combination of elephant seals, harbor seals and California sea lions that is very unique," said Dan Smuts, Senior Director of the Pacific Region for the Wilderness Society.

Smuts says the designation is broadly supported by the general public. 

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Credit Wilderness Society
An aerial view of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.

"Just last fall, in a public meeting that happened in Cambria, we saw several hundred people come out in support of the expansion of the California Coastal National Monument," Smuts said.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson said the Piedras Blancas addition is great news. 

"I am very grateful to President Obama for this action. I think it's going to be a huge benefit to our North Coast communities in that it solidifies the partnerships that have been in place to protect this extraordinary piece of our coastline," Gibson said. "I'm quite excited."

Former local politician Lois Capps was instrumental in the designation. The new Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area is 25 acres in size.

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