Would designate 250K acres on Central Coast as wilderness
More than 250,000 acres of public land in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument would be designated as wilderness under legislation sponsored by 24th District Rep. Salud Carbajal and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
The Democrats on April 8 will reintroduce the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, and as part of the effort, Mr. Carbajal, whose district includes all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and a portion of Ventura County, will host a hike 1:30 p.m. April 6 at Fremont Ridge Trail, off East Camino Cielo about a mile east of State Route 154.
The bills designate specified lands as wilderness areas and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
The wilderness designation “is the highest form of protection the government can give to a public land,” according to the event announcement. “It prohibits roads, vehicles or permanent structures, as well as logging and mining.”
The legislation would also establish a 400-mile Condor National Recreation trail, stretching from Lake Piru in eastern Ventura County to Monterey County.
With the Trump administration “taking action to open up public lands and national monuments on the Central Coast to oil and gas drilling,” said Mr. Carbajal, “it is more important than ever that we act to permanently protect our open spaces that provide invaluable local watersheds and recreational outdoor activities.”
The hike, he says, will allow constituents “to take advantage of the phenomenal beauty in our own backyard.”
The 2-mile hike involves a 200-foot elevation gain, and Mr. Carbajal’s office urges participants to “judge your ability accordingly.”
Anyone who does take part is urged to wear sturdy walking shoes and bring a water bottle, hat, sun block and sunglasses.
Those who want to hear about the legislation but are not able to hike are invited to a brief presentation at the start of the hike.
Participants are urged to carpool, and dogs should be Ms. Harris, a 2020 presidential hopeful, originally introduced a version of the bill in October 2017. She also sought to designate certain land in the forest as the Machesna Mountain Potential Wilderness Area, which would incorporated into the Machesna Mountain Wilderness Area.
Located 25 miles north of San Luis Obispo, the 19,760-acre Machesna Mountain Wilderness was established in 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act.