UPDATED to reflect conflicting size estimates.
President Obama used his own authority on Friday to make it official: A vast and varied expanse stretching from just northeast of Napa, into Mendocino County, will become the Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument.
The designation, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, could create California's biggest national monument--slightly edging out the recently-designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in Southern California. Initial announcements carried conflicting versions of the monument's size, from just under 331,000 acres to nearly 360,000.
The action caps nearly a decade of work by supporters who had pursued both congressional and presidential action to get monument status for lands.
"I'm ecstatic," said Bob Schneider, policy director at Tuleyome, the Woodland-based group that has been leading the charge. At least two bills by Representative Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) had stalled in congress. He sounded almost more relieved than ecstatic in a statement.