With towering redwood forests, pristine mountain peaks, and rugged desert landscapes, the wild lands of California encompass some of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth. These are refuges where eagles still soar across the horizon and salmon still swim from ocean to river–-lands where nature thrives and the human spirit is free.
California’s wild places offer a retreat from the frenetic pace of everyday life, and are also critically important to the ecological health of our region. Wilderness provides homes to threatened wildlife, supplies clean drinking water to California’s growing communities, and contributes to clean air in our skies.
CWC protects our wild landscapes through public education, legislation and advocacy. We believe that a well educated and activist citizenry is essential to the preservation of wild California.
What We Do (Programs)
We believe that local activism is often the most effective defense of our wild lands. To support local efforts, CWC has field offices in Redding and San Bernardino County, and a central office in Oakland. We publish a quarterly news journal, the Wilderness Record, guides and white papers on wilderness issues, an e-mail newsletter, Untrammeled, and periodic action alerts on key conservation issues.
Securing wilderness designation for public lands affords them the highest level of protection while at the same time encouraging public recreational use, and proper management to protect the plants, animals, and waters they contain. As California’s population has risen dramatically in recent decades and continues to grow as we enter the 21st Century, our wild lands have become an even more precious resource.
Our forests and watersheds are essential to providing clean water for our communities as well as cleaning the air we breathe. Millions of Californians use parks, forests and preserves for camping, hiking, climbing, fishing and a variety of recreational activities.
Wilderness Designation for Federal & State Public Lands
To achieve wilderness protection on federal lands, Congress must pass legislation that makes that designation. In California that means securing bi-partisian support from both House and Senate members to sponsor bills designating wilderness in their districts. There are three major Wilderness bills before the 111th Congress. Read more about them here.
At the state level, the process is similar, although the California Department of Parks and Recreation Commission shares the authority to designate wilderness with the state legislature.
Permanent Protection of Wildlands
Many of our remaining wildlands are vulnerable because they have not be designated as Wilderness by Congress. Until we are able to successfully win legislative designation, we must ensure that they are managed to maintain their wilderness character. To do that we constantly review administrative actions by land managers to ensure that legal requirements are met and that best practices are used in managing wild lands to retain their natural features. Damaging roads, clear-cut logging, mining, drilling, over-grazing and illegal activities by the public have a cumulative devastating impact on our wild legacy.