Pinnacles National Monument might become national park

California's Pinnacles National Monument could become a national park and expand its wilderness from 16,000 acres to 19,000 acres.

Sen. Barbara Boxer has written legislation to elevate the status of Pinnacles, a 26,000-acre expanse of dramatic volcanic rock formations east of the Salinas Valley near the community of Soledad. It is also a nesting spot for endangered California condors.

About 165,000 visitors a year visit Pinnacles and Boxer says elevating it to a national park will draw more to the caves, challenging rock climbs and condor watching.

Boxer's bill would also add 3,000 acres of designated wilderness.

The campaign for a Pinnacles national park started five years ago when Carmel Congressman Sam Farr authored companion legislation in the House.

Information from: Los Angeles Times

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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