Snow Mountain is special for many reasons. It is also very separate from Lake Berryessa. The Wilderness Act of 1984 established 37,000 acres as Snow Mountain Wilderness in the Mendocino National Forest, after years of environmental studies and public meetings involving multiple state and federal agencies, local county departments and local officials, landowners and interested individuals.
The wilderness designation was intended to keep the area in its most primeval state. Changing that designation to a National Conservation Area will open up the area to more human access. The fact that the Bureau of Land Management will oversee all of the federal land in the area provides no assurance for protection of private lands. Much of the private lands are not surrounded by fencing, allowing the wildlife to wander wherever.
The statement that “nothing in the act requires private property owners to allow public access to their land” is laughable. First, there are no “markers” around each parcel of private land. Private property owners do not want the public on their property. Trespassing on private property, fenced or not, without permission is illegal. On Snow Mountain, until you encounter someone on your property, because of the density of brush and trees or you are not present, the presence of a trespasser is unknown until damage is done.
Supervisor Duane Chamberlain is correct in stating the concern for increased traffic and the consequences of that traffic. More people may be visiting the area, but advertising “come to Snow Mountain for a wonderful outdoor experience” will open the gates.
The federal government cannot now manage all its wildernesses, monuments, parks, forests, etc. How is it expected that it can manage the added Snow Mountain Conservation Area? Or is there another agenda?