(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E155]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                             HON. SAM FARR

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the opening of Pinnacles 
National Park, the 59th National Park in the United States. I want to 
thank Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for joining us to celebrate 
the opening of Pinnacles National Park on February 11, 2013.
   Pinnacles truly is a special place. There are few words that can 
describe the feeling of watching a California condor spread its massive 
wings as it soars high above the volcanic spires or the beauty of the 
Park's wildflowers painted upon the landscape by the springtime sun.
   Native Americans were the first to discover the cliffs of Pinnacles. 
The Chalon and Mutsun groups of the Ohlone people lived here thousands 
of years ago. This place was more than just a home to these native 
tribes; it was the center of their community. As our nation spread west 
and homesteaders began to settle on the Central Coast, they too were 
drawn to this spot. Led by Schuler Hain, who the wilderness of 
Pinnacles is now named for, they would hike into the park to explore 
the Talus Caves or picnic in the open meadows. Realizing that this was 
a special place worthy of protection for generations to enjoy, Schuler 
Hain gathered the community and preservation efforts were launched. 
Then, in 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt established Pinnacles 
National Monument. A century later, understanding the economic 
potential of a National Park designation, surrounding counties again 
turned to Pinnacles as a means to support their communities.
  I would like to thank Representative Jeff Denham, who co-sponsored 
the bill, Senator Barbara Boxer for championing the bill in the Senate 
and President Obama in making Pinnacles a national park thus achieving 
the dream of Schuler Hain and President Theodore Roosevelt.
   I can't help but think of the pride my father, who as a state 
Senator protected so many special places here in California, would have 
felt if he were alive to see the creation of the ninth national park 
here in his home state. I also think of my friend and my first campaign 
chair, Ansel Adams, whose iconic photographs captured the unbelievable 
beauty of this country, inspiring a whole new generation of Americans 
to experience our other great parks. Finally, I think of the Ansel 
Adams of this generation, Director Ken Burns, a supporter of elevating 
Pinnacles to a national park, whose documentary series National Parks: 
America's Best Idea captured the story of our country's efforts to set 
aside land for protection.
  He and his business partner, Dayton Duncan wrote:
  ``National parks are truly `America's best idea,' an idea that for 
nearly 150 years has kept evolving and expanding, not just in the 
United States but across the entire world. It is the Declaration of 
Independence written upon the landscape, a statement that a nation's 
most majestic and sacred places should be preserved for all time and 
for everyone . . .
  ``Pinnacles National Park, like so many in our history, is the result 
of the dedication of individual citizens who worked tirelessly to save 
a special place they loved, so that others could love it and appreciate 
it as well. It has a deep history that matches its beauty . . .
  ``We cannot think of a better way to express our feelings than to 
quote John Muir, who had this to say about the people responsible for 
the birth of a new national park: `Happy will be [the ones] who, having 
the power and the love and the benevolent forecast [to create a park] 
will do it. They will not be forgotten. The trees and their lovers will 
sing their praises, and generations yet unborn will rise up and call 
them blessed.' ''
   Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to call Pinnacles a national park. I 
encourage all Americans to come visit this truly special place and be 
inspired to go home and preserve the special places in their own