Carbajal and Harris Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Protect California’s Public Lands

Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will designate thousands of acres as wilderness

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Santa Barbara, April 10, 2019 | comments

Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) reintroduced H.R. 2199, 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), Katie Hill (CA-25), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), who also represent portions of the Los Padres National Forest, co-sponsored this legislation in the House.

“With this administration taking action to open up public lands and national monuments to oil and gas drilling, it is more important than ever that we act to permanently protect our open spaces that provide invaluable local watersheds and recreational outdoor activities that we enjoy on the Central Coast,” said Rep. Carbajal.

“California is home to some of the nation’s most scenic wild spaces and boasts the nation’s largest outdoor economy,” said Senator Harris. “However, under this administration, California’s beautiful public lands and its outdoor economy are under direct threat. Restoring and expanding our public lands means protecting Americans’ right to clean air and clean water and providing everybody the opportunity to explore and enjoy the outdoors. That’s why I am proud to partner with Rep. Carbajal to provide comprehensive protections for the Central Coast and establish the 400-mile-long Condor National Recreation trail.”

“In Ventura County, we are so fortunate to be surrounded by gorgeous public spaces, including the Los Padres National Forest,” said Rep. Brownley. “That is why I am proud to co-sponsor the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which will strengthen environmental protections in this region and preserve this important part of our natural heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

Background:

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act 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.

The bill is supported by nearly 500 Central Coast landowners, businesses, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, civic leaders, wineries, recreationalists, and outfitters. It will help to sustain the ecological future of 468 species of wildlife and more than 1,200 plant species. 

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