California Wilderness Campaigns
California has 15,229,528 acres of BLM lands and 20,754,825 acres of National Forests. The last wilderness areas designated in California were in the Omnibus Law signed by President Obama in March 2009: Agua Tibia Additions, Ansel Adams Additions, Beauty Mountain, Cahuilla Mountain, Chuckwalla Mountains Additions, Granite Mountain, Hoover Additions, John Krebs, John Muir Additions, Joshua Tree Natl. Park Additions, Magic Mountain, Orocopia Mountains Additions, Owens River Headwaters, Palen/McCoy Additions, Pinto Mountains, Pleasant View Ridge, Santa Rosa Additions, Sequoia-Kings Canyon Additions, South Fork San Jacinto, and White Mountains
North San Diego County
Bill Title: Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Act
Bill Number: H.R. 41
Sponsors: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Summary: Legislation was introduced in the 112th Congress to protect two of southern California's most important areas of open space as wilderness. The bill would add over 7,796 acres to the existing Agua Tibia Wilderness and would expand the Beauty Mountain Wilderness by an additional 13,635 acres. The measure would build on the successful campaign establishing in 2009 the Beauty Mountain Wilderness and enlarging the Agua Tibia Wilderness, which was designated in 1975.
San Gabriel Mountains/LA Basin
Bill Title: Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests Protection Act
Bill Number: H.R. 113
Sponsors: Rep. David Dreier (R-CA)
Summary: Efforts underway to protect extensive portions of the Angeles and western section of the San Bernardino National Forests, including the scenic San Gabriel Mountains through wilderness and wild and scenic river designations. The national forest land of the San Gabriels is the nation's largest “urban” forest, making up 80 percent of Los Angeles County's open space and within an hour's drive of some 10 million people. Home to bighorn sheep, bobcats, mountain lions, and sensitive species like the California spotted owl, desert tortoise, and ferruginous hawk, the region includes steep, rocky ridges, numerous canyons, and scenic waterfalls.
Legislation was introduced in the 111th Congress to increase protection for 1.6 million acres of southern California‘s desert landscapes. The proposed legislation will designate 394,807 acres of wilderness from the Avawatz Mountains near Death Valley to the largest Sonoran woodland in North America along the Colorado River. The legislation would also create two new national monuments—the Mojave Trails and the Sand to Snow—and expand Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve. It will also protect important waterways such as the Amargosa River and Deep Creek as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The proposal has strong local support from a diverse group of stakeholders throughout the desert region.
Southern Los Padres National Forest
A campaign is underway to protect wild lands and rivers in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara. California's second largest national forest, the Los Padres extends nearly 220 miles across the scenic Coast and Transverse Ranges, and rises from the Pacific Ocean to over 8,800 feet in elevation. The forest provides habitat for 468 species of wildlife including the California condor and the southern steelhead.
The solitude, ecology, and tranquility of the southern Los Padres National Forest are threatened by unauthorized off-road vehicle use and oil and gas drilling. Local organizations and citizens from Santa Barbara to Ojai are working diligently to build public support for this effort.
Legislation introduced to permanently protect 2.4 million acres of scenic wilderness throughout the state and designate more than 20 rivers as wild and scenic, ensuring clean water, free flowing rivers, and quality fish and wildlife habitat. It would protect some of the state's most extraordinary wild lands, including Eagle Peak – an area critical to San Diego's water supply, and Duncan Canyon – home to one of the best old-growth groves in the Tahoe National Forest. The measure would also protect the Clavey River, one of only four remaining free-flowing rivers in the Sierra Nevada.