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CA Wilderness Bills to Get Floor Votes in U.S. House

The South Fork Trinity River is one of many areas in California that would get additional protections from several bills now before Congress. (Jeff Morris/The Pew Charitable Trusts)
The South Fork Trinity River is one of many areas in California that would get additional protections from several bills now before Congress. (Jeff Morris/The Pew Charitable Trusts)
February 12, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Three bills that would protect more than 1 million acres of California wilderness are expected to get votes on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act would designate as wilderness 245,000 acres in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument. Rebecca August, advocacy director at Los Padres Forest Watch, said it also would create the Condor National Recreational Trail, giving millions of urban families access to this special place.

"It's going to establish a trail that goes all the way through the entire length of this forest, which is the second-largest in California," August said. "So, this trail is 400 miles and it will go from L.A. County up to Monterey County."

Two other bills protect lands in the San Gabriel Mountains and in Trinity County in Northern California. All three have versions now pending in the U.S. Senate. Opponents contend the lands already have adequate protections and should be managed for both conservation and commercial interests.

The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act would establish a 730,000-acre South Fork Trinity-Mad River Special Restoration Area, and designate 262,000 acres of wilderness and 379 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers.

Kent Collard, who runs a children's camp at a mountain ranch west of Redding, said the area is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

"There's going to be so many benefits, in terms of increasing access to the wilderness and to preserve it before it's any further degraded," Collard said.

The other bill, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, would add 30,000 acres to the Yerba Buena, San Gabriel and Sheep Mountain Wilderness areas in Southern California.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA