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Attendees at a community meeting in Woodland, California, on Wednesday, called on President Biden to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to help safeguard lands that are sacred to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and preserve important wildlife corridors and the area’s biodiversity. 

The proposed expansion, Molok Luyuk, is an area located on the eastern edge of the existing monument and includes 13,753 acres of oak woodlands, rocky outcroppings, wildflower meadows, and dozens of rare plant species. 

“Many of the plant and animal species within Molok Luyuk are traditionally important to the lifeways of the Patwin people, and we consider their protection and stewardship to be part of our sacred responsibility to the land,” said Yocha Dehe Tribal Chairman Anthony Roberts in a press release. 

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The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has had a significant connection with the area for thousands of years.

“Molok Luyuk is a gem of rich cultural heritage and history, diverse wildlife and rare plants, stunning natural beauty, and accessible recreational activities,” said Sandra Schubert, Executive Director of Tuleyome, in a press release. We urge President Biden to expand the existing monument and permanently protect the entirety of Molok Luyuk.”

The goal of this effort is to establish co-management with federally recognized Tribes and to return an Indigenous name for the lands. Molok Luyuk is Patwin for “Condor Ridge” and is a name provided by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

“Molok Luyuk is a special and sacred place for area Tribes and for many local residents who enjoy recreation activities like hiking and mountain biking,” added Lake County Supervisor E.J. Crandell, a member of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe in a press release. “The natural beauty of our home also drives tourism, which is key to the economic vitality of the region. Protecting these beautiful lands would be a gift to future generations.”

Back in 2015, President Obama designated the national monument using the Antiquities Act. Earlier this year, government officials and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation called upon Biden to expand Berry Snow Mountain National Monument using the Antiquities Act. More than 88,000 people have signed a petition supporting the proposed expansion. 

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