Pinnacles National Park Ranger Erin Lehnert (left) and Community Volunteer Ambassador Beatriz Jacobo hold up toy condors at the Pinnacles’ 10th anniversary Saturday in front of the Soledad Historical Society building. The 20 years of the Condor Recovery Program was also recognized. (Michael Ramirez)

SOLEDAD — A public celebration took place Saturday at the Soledad Historical Society for the 10th anniversary of the Pinnacles becoming a national park and the 20 years of the Condor Recovery Program.

Community Volunteer Ambassador Beatriz Jacobo, a Soledad resident and an employee of the National Park Service, enjoyed being part of the anniversary events.

“Today we’re celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Pinnacles becoming a national park and the 20 years of the Recovery Program for the California condors,” Jacobo said. “They (condors) are still an endangered species, but celebrating the 20 years of the program being established is a huge success for us. There are still about 560 condors worldwide and about 98 on the Central Coast area of California.”

California condors are the largest land birds in North America with wingspans that can reach 9.5 feet and can weigh as much as 20 pounds. In 2003, the Pinnacles joined the recovery program and released two captive-bred birds on Dec. 20 that year.

Members of Soledad Historical Society, (from left) Bob Gwinn, Janna Martinez, Joe Gribas and Graig Stephens, gather Saturday to host the 10th anniversary celebration for the Pinnacles National Park. The Historical Society has been busy this holiday season, as it was also the Grand Marshal of the 37th Annual Christmas Celebration and parade in Soledad earlier this month. (Michael Ramirez)

The Pinnacles was established as a national monument in 1908 and became a Pinnacles National Park in 2013, when the legislation authored by Rep. Sam Farr was signed by then President Barack Obama.

The west side of Pinnacles National Park is accessible from Highway 101 in Soledad and then by heading east along Highway 146. From the south, the east side can be reached through King City on First Street as it turns into Bitterwater Road (G-13), intersecting with Highway 25 and heading north until turning left onto Highway 146 to enter the park as well as the Pinnacles Campground.

The park is open daily from 7:30am to 8pm.

The Dec. 9 event in Soledad featured live music by Mariachi of Santa Cruz, information regarding the California condors at the Pinnacles, exhibits and pelts of the animals that frequent the park, and games for the youngsters as well as healthy snacks and refreshments.

Mariachi Santa Cruz provides music for the Pinnacles National Park’s 10th anniversary on Dec. 9. (Michael Ramirez)
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