Carbajal and Harris Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Protect California’s Public Lands
Central Coast Heritage Protection Act Will Designate Thousands of Acres as Wilderness
Santa Barbara – Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which would designate nearly 250,000 acres of public land in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument as wilderness. The legislation also establishes a 400-mile long Condor National Recreation trail, stretching from Los Angeles to Monterey County.
Representatives Julia Brownley (CA-26) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), who also represent portions of the Los Padres National Forest, co-sponsored this legislation in the House.
“As our federal public lands and national monuments come under increased threat of oil and gas drilling, it is now more important than ever to act to permanently protect our open spaces,” said Rep. Carbajal. “The Central Coast is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in North America and these public lands provide invaluable local water supplies and recreational outdoor activities to our communities. We have a responsibility to protect these special places for future generations and that’s why I’m proud to introduce the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.”
“Americans of all walks of life deserve access to our public lands, and we have a duty to protect them,” Sen. Harris said. “Expanding wilderness protections in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument is about recognizing the economic, recreational, and environmental value of these lands to the Central Coast and to our country. As this Administration continues to prioritize opening public lands to drilling, mining, and logging, I’m proud to introduce legislation that would ensure Americans are able experience the true beauty of our nation for generations to come.”
The bill will designate four new wilderness areas in the Carrizo Plain National Monument and expands nine existing wilderness areas in Los Padres National Forest. It protects Condor Ridge and Black Mountain as new scenic areas, and designates the Condor Trail as a National Recreation Trail within the Los Padres National Forest.
The wilderness designation is the highest form of protection the government can give to a public land. It prohibits roads, vehicles or permanent structures, as well as logging and mining.