HOLLISTER (KCBS) – A 26,000-acre mountainous expanse of land near the Salinas Valley, popular with Bay Area nature lovers, has been redesignated as the country’s  newest national park.

Pinnacles National Monument, near Hollister, was formally recognized this week as “upgraded” to full national park status. Pinnacles National Park, as it is now officially known, is about 80 miles southeast of San Jose.

“Many more people will come here to visit this place and tourism means heads on beds and when you have heads on beds all across the community surrounding this place, it’s going to mean more jobs,” Ken Salazar, U.S. Interior Secretary, who touted the benefits of the national park status during a tour of Pinnacles on Monday.

“We have 30 miles of hiking trails, we have large campgrounds that are really enjoyable and during the spring season there’s beautiful wildflowers,” said Pinnacles Superintendent Karen Beppler Dorn. “Both in spring and fall it’s a mecca for bird watchers as many, many birds travel through this area. And of course, many people are very interested in seeing the California Condor,” said Beppler-Dorn.

Pinnacles National Monument was originally established in 1908 by President Teddy Roosevelt.

You can access what is now Pinnacles National Park by way of one of two entrances: through Hollister to visit the east side; or, through Soledad to visit the west side.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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