San Diego National Wildlife Refuge ranked as a top 10 natural tr - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge ranked as a top 10 natural treasure

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The Nature Conservancy ranked the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge one of its top 10 natural treasures in a list released Wednesday, as Congress considers funding cuts for parks.

The refuge is a series of habitats in rural San Diego County that serve as a waystation for migratory birds during the spring and fall.

The national advocacy group is especially worried about the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which could lose about 90 of its funding.

"Californians have really benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund," said Mike Sweeney, head of group's state chapter. "Many of our prized natural areas around the state, the places we think of as quintessentially Californian, exist because of this program. Although we are
all facing tough budget decisions, this program is funded by oil and gas revenue and costs the taxpayers nothing."

Here's the group's "Top Ten California Treasures," in order of ranking:

- Angeles National Forest, offering skiing, fishing and hiking;

- Channel Islands National Park. The five islands

- Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara -- are home to plants and animals found nowhere else on earth;

- Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Muir Woods National Monument, Alcatraz Island and the Presidio of San Francisco;

- Mojave National Preserve, 1.6 million acres and home to otherworldly plants and animals such as the Joshua tree and the desert tortoise;

- Point Reyes National Seashore, including its dramatic headlands, beaches and forested ridges;

- The Redwood National and State Parks, including 300-foot-plus trees creating natural cathedral;

- San Bernardino National Forest, home to the Big Bear resorts and 11,499-foot Mount San Gorgonio;

- San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migratory birds;

- Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the coastal range offers a getaway for city dwellers, stretching from Hollywood into Ventura

- Sequoia National Forest, home to Giant Sequoias that grow to more than 100 feet in circumference and 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States.

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