LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A state environmental group named the Angeles National Forest and the Santa Monica Mountains among California’s top natural treasures in a list released Wednesday.

The Nature Conservancy released the rankings as Congress considers nationwide funding cuts for parks.

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,” Sweeney added.

The group’s “Top Ten California Treasures” list in order of ranking includes:

Angeles National Forest, offering skiing, fishing and hiking;

Channel Islands National Park, with its five islands 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 County; and

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.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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