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Home » Santa Clarita News » President Obama Signs Wilderness Bill

President Obama Signs Wilderness Bill

Federal legislation will protect nearly 470,000 acres from future development.

President Barack Obama’s signing of the Omnibus Public Lands
Package was cause for celebration by  Congressman
Buck McKeon and and Senator. Barbara Boxer who championed the Eastern Sierra
and Northern San Gabriel Heritage Act as part of the bill.

 

Representative McKeon introduced the bill in the House and
Senator Boxer introduced it in the Senate. It will protect almost half a
million acres of wilderness in Mono, Inyo, and Los Angeles
counties.

 

“The Eastern Sierra Northern San Gabriel Mountain Wild
Heritage Act designates 470,000 acres of majestic land as wilderness to protect
for future generations,” McKeon said. “It is the product of countless hours of
community involvement.  Senator Boxer and I worked together and met with
virtually every local stakeholder and leader to reach a compromise.  This
package works because it isn’t Congress telling Californians how to manage the
land; it’s our community that asked Congress to approve a land use compromise
developed and vetted back home in California.”

 

“I thank President Obama for signing this important bill,
which reflects a lot of bipartisan work and compromise to protect wild and
beautiful lands in California,”
Boxer added. “California is
defined by its environment and we have preserved some magnificent places for future
generations.”

 

Two local advocates from the 25th Congressional District,
Sally Miller, who serves as California Field Representative for the Wilderness
Society and Tim Alpers, owner of Alpers Trout Farms in Mono
County, were at the bill signing.

Image
Congressman Buck McKeon with Sally Miller of the Wilderness Society and Tim Alpers, who owns a fish farm in Mono County

 

“It was an honor and a thrill to witness the signing of this
historic legislation.  The thoughts of everyone back at home were with me,”
Miller said. “The passage of this bill was made possible thanks to the
tremendous amount of work from a broad cross-section of the local community and
the fantastic leadership of Congressman McKeon and Senator Boxer.”

 

“Today was a great day for the people of the United
States of America,” Alpers said. “Some of
the most beautiful places on earth that we all treasure will be preserved as
they are today for future generations from all over the world.  To see
support for this bill come together so fast for the President’s signature shows
that this bill was the right action to take.”

 

The Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage
Act will give wilderness designation – the highest level of protection and
conservation for federal lands – to 472,007 acres of federal public land in California. 

 

Specifically, the bill designates an additional 432,968
acres of wilderness in Mono and Inyo Counties
and establishes nearly 67 miles of the Owens River Headwaters and Amargosa
River as Wild and Scenic
Rivers.  The bill also designates an additional 39,039 acres of wilderness
in Los Angeles County,
and it establishes more than seven miles of Piru Creek as a Wild and Scenic
River. 

 

In addition, this legislation strikes that important land
use balance and releases over 50,000 acres of wilderness Study Areas from
further consideration as wilderness.  Finally it creates the first ever
dedicated winter recreation area, 11,000 acres for snowmobile use which will
bring much needed tourism to the community of Bridgeport
in northern Mono County.

 

The land protected under the bill includes the White
Mountains, America’s
largest and highest desert mountain range and the second largest unprotected
“roadless” area in the lower 48 states.  The Whites are home to the
world’s oldest living trees – the ancient Bristlecone Pines – which live almost
5,000 years.  It also makes additions to the Hoover Wilderness, a classic
High Sierra landscape of deeply carved glacial valleys dotted with tranquil
alpine lakes and forests of lodgepole pine.  The Amargosa
River, which the bill also
protects, is the only river flowing into Death Valley,
and it sustains biologically rich wetlands.

 

For maps,
videos of McKeon discussing the wilderness legislation, or more information on
McKeon’s Eastern Sierra Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act, please visit www.mckeon.house.gov.

President Obama Signs Wilderness Bill

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