Local lawmakers react to President Obama's speech in Yosemite

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KFSN) -- President Obama took in the sites Saturday at Yosemite National Park, but before doing a little exploring of his own he spoke from Cook's Meadow. The president was pushing for people to get outside and visit their National Parks.

President Obama was clearly overwhelmed by the majesty of Yosemite National Park.

"It's a park that captures the wonder of the world that changes you by being here. There is something sacred about this place."

He said the best way to preserve natural treasures like this is to fight climate change.

"The biggest challenge we are going to face in protecting this place and places like it is climate change. Make no mistake, climate change is no longer a threat it is a reality."

That comment about climate change got ultra conservative Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, who's district covers Yosemite and most the sierra range, a little concerned.

"With his comments about global warming, I would point out that if his speech had been given on this very spot 12,000 years ago we would be under a 3,000-foot sheet of ice. So global warming has been going on for a long time, long before the invention of the SUV."

But McClintock said he was extremely happy to see the President, and honored he was invited to see his speech.

Madera County supervisor Tom Wheeler also got a White House invitation. He was also pleased to see the president but disappointed he didn't talk specifically about the bark beetle infestation which is destroying millions of trees in and around the park.

"What's left is dying quicker than any of them have the last two years. So I was hoping he addressed that, but he didn't," said Wheeler.

Most of the Presidents remarks centered on the need for more Americans to get out and enjoy the benefits of nature. Once they do, he said they will want to protect it.

"For this centennial, we are asking all Americans to find their parks. So everyone, including those from underprivileged communities, can experience these wonders."

The President and his family took in the tourist spots on the valley floor and we're told they got to do some hiking in the backcountry, away from it all.

They are expected to leave on Sunday.
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