Thursday, May 15, 2014

Capps Pushes for Wilderness Protection

Asserting that she has worked for more than a year to build a broad consensus for support of a bill to expand wilderness in Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument (CPNM) as well as add 158 of miles new wild and scenic rivers, Congresswoman Lois Capps is set to announce today she will be introducing a bill in Congress titled the “Central Coast Heritage Protection Act” within the next few days. The Act would increase the amount of wilderness in all of the Central Coast portions of Los Padres Forest as well as establish three new wilderness areas in the Carrizo Plain, add wild river status to large sections of the Manzana, Mono, Indian, Sespe, Matilija and Piru Creeks and officially designate the Condor Trail as a national recreational trail. In response to those who complain that there is already plenty of wilderness in Los Padres National Forest, Capps noted that there are potential threats to many of the non-wilderness parts of the forest and that they are too important not to protect. “It’s about the future we want to leave for our children; it’s about what we want to leave to them after we’ve gone,” she said. Currently, 49% of the Forest is designated as wilderness. The proposal would increase that by 240,000 acres. In addition to the added wilderness in the Los Padres, the bill would authorize the creation of the Caliente Mountain, Soda Lake and Temblor Range wilderness areas in the CPNM totaling just over 62,000 acres. Capps noted that these, like the interior parts of Los Padres National Forest that are either now wilderness or will be if the bill becomes law, are also critical Condor habitat and need the additional protection that wilderness designation would bring them...more

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