SOLEDAD, Calif. - Upgrading Pinnacles to national park status has been a boon for the neighboring city of Soledad, officials say.
Previously, the park was considered a national monument but it was re-classified as a national park in January 2013.
Thousands of visitors from around the state and beyond have traveled to the Salinas Valley park, dining in local restaurants, staying at local hotels and shopping at local stores.
Soledad is just 12 miles west of Pinnacles National Park and it's become something of a destination for park-goers seeking food, lodging and supplies during their visit.
"With the Pinnacles right in our backyard, we have had the privilege of sharing this natural wonder with thousands of visitors from throughout the state and throughout the world," said Soledad Mayor Fred Ledesma. "We have taken a number of steps to draw in tourists to experience all our region has to offer, including Pinnacles National Park, which lies just in our backyard, as well as our local wineries which offer some of the best wine in the country. "
The Inn at Pinnacles, for example, has almost doubled its occupancy since January 2013, the owners of the Soledad bed and breakfast said. Rooms are booked solid weeks in advance and extra staff has been hired.