To achieve wilderness protection on federal lands, Congress must pass legislation that designates the area as a “wilderness area” or name an important river as “wild and scenic.” In California, that means securing bipartisan support from both House and Senate members to sponsor bills designating wilderness areas in their districts. We work to help create and build support for federal legislation that secures wilderness designation for wilderness quality lands, lakes, and rivers in California.
We start in the field and in the community. We walk the land and map it. We work in coalition with local activists and try to build consensus among initially opposing interests. We help identify citizen advocates that help carry the preservation and recreation message to Congress. Some of what we do on a day-to-day basis includes:
- surveying and GIS mapping
- organizing local activists, volunteers and community outreach
- developing public education materials and hosting meetings
- production of fact sheets, policy papers, online and print publications promoting wilderness
- coordinating stakeholders
- media outreach
- drafting bill language and meeting with legislative staff
- providing guidance to Congressional committees on potential obstacles and strategies to overcome them
- alerting members, the public, lawmakers and business communities to the inherent value in wilderness protection
Our work doesn’t stop there. Once a wild space is protected by designating it as a wilderness area, we monitor and respond to changes in federal management policy, administrative directives, planning, or legislation that impact wilderness or wilderness quality public lands, lakes and rivers. We use outreach, public education, and constituency building to ensure protection. We also sometimes seek legal remedy in the courts.
We currently have four “wilderness” campaigns underway. They include: Northwest California, Central Coast, Sierra Forests, and the San Gabriel Mountains. Our Wild Rivers Project and Public Lands Defense work also span all of our campaigns. Additionally, we have our Cannabis Removal on Public Lands (CROP), launched the Public Lands Equity and Resilience (PLER) campaign in 2020, and are continuing defending our many successes in the California Desert.