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Forum on Carrizo Plain National Monument review

Emotions range from concern to outrage over President Trump’s executive order to review national monuments and marine sanctuaries for possible shrinkage and or re-classification.

The Carrizo Plain National Monument is considered the last remaining vestige of Central Valley Grassland in California.

Its more than 200,000 acres in southeastern San Luis Obispo County is home to spectacular wildflower displays and endangered plants and animals like the California Condor.

Fearing the loss of its National Monument Status and protection under President Trump’s executive order, local residents came together in San Luis Obispo Thursday night for a community forum on the future of the Carrizo Plain.

“I love the Carrizo Plain with all my heart, I mean we have such dwindling wild places and this is one of the few places I can go and have peace of mind and quiet and enjoy the beauty of nature”, said Collette Marie of Arroyo Grande who attended the community forum, “I have a sense of absolute outrage because this is a protected monument and why are they trying to destroy the status of this monument? I am worried because I don’t trust the government right now.”

Forum organizers handed out postcards addressed to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and urged people to express support for keeping the Carrizo Plain National Monument intact.

“There’s a 60-day public comment period for most of the national monuments (under review) including the Carrizo Plain”, said Bryant Baker with forum co-host Los Padres Forest Watch, “it ends on July 10, so we’re out here trying to get people to go to websites like where they can easily submit letters online.”

“There’s a huge outpouring because I think citizens are starting to understand that if our government doesn’t really respond to some of the issues that we have we need to unite”, added Nan Cole with the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia chapter which co-hosted the community forum.

Also under federal review are National Marine Sanctuaries along the California Coast.

There’s a proposal submitted to the federal government to declare another stretch of the coast between Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties as a new National Marine Sanctuary.

“Its about oil, its really about mineral extraction and people for profit”, said Violet Cavanaugh with the Northern Chumash Tribal Council who was a guest speaker at the forum, “we are concerned about the protection of our resources for future generations.”

“The Northern Chumash Tribal Council has been involved in protecting the national monument, we were involved when it became a national monument, its our sacred site out there”, Cavanaugh said.

There will be a public rally in support of maintaining the Carrizo Plain National Monument on Saturday, July 1 at 11am in Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo.

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