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California Wilderness: Part of Massive Land Bill in U.S. House

January 19, 2009

California has a lot at stake in a huge wilderness conservation package expected to be heard in the U.S. House of Representatives as early as this week. The Omnibus Public Land Management Act, covers more than 700,000 acres in California. The legislation would protect land in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, desert and mountain areas of southeastern California, and nearly 100 miles of rivers and streams.

Sam Goldman, wilderness coordinator with the California Wild Heritage Campaign, says the Act earned bipartisan support and sends a clear message that protecting wilderness is a worthwhile investment.

"This really is a promise to Americans from all around the country that these lands in California will forever be able to be used for hiking, hunting, fishing, paddling, and climbing."

Protecting these ares, says Goldman ensures they will be around for years to come.

"When Americans face so much uncertainty in many parts of our lives, the passage of this lands package and the three California wilderness bills, guarantees that these precious lands and streams are protected in perpetuity for future generations."

If enacted, the legislation will protect more than two million acres of wilderness in nine states and be the largest expansion of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 15 years. Opponents of the measure say it will increase government spending.

More information can be found at the Campaign for America’s Wilderness Web site,

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA