Five California coastal sites that feature ocean views, ecological habitats and lighthouses, as well as one off-shore site in Orange County, could be added to a national monument.
United States senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer want to add the Lost Coast Headlands, Trinidad Head and the Lighthouse Ranch in Humboldt County, the Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County, Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County and a group of rocks and islands off the coast of Orange County to the California Coast National Monument. If the expansion act were to pass, it would highlight the history and culture of the sites, would preserve them and would offer visitors more access to the coast, according to a statement.
The Orange County site was originally reserved for potential lighthouse use by the U.S. Coast Guard, said Dan Smuts, senior regional director for the Wilderness Society.
"They are really important islands for seabirds and seals," said Smuts. "It would be a great addition to the California Coastal National Monument."
If added to the monument, these locations would also be protected from development, would increase wildlife protection and would help economic growth in surrounding areas, said Smuts.
The public lands are managed by federal agencies, but are at risk from development because some of the areas are managed under a multiple-use mandate, said Smuts. The bill has been introduced in Congress.
"There is still substantial need to protect other areas along the California coast, but this would take a big step forward in terms of protecting the remaining Bureau of Land Management pieces of it," Smuts said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly posted an image of a Trinidad, Calif. lighthouse not within the boundaries of the monument's prospective boundaries. KPCC regrets the error.