Huffman Shares Blueprint For North Coast Conservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2017

CONTACTS: Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director, (530) 365-1455
Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director, (760) 221-4895

REPRESENTATIVE JARED HUFFMAN SHARES DRAFT BLUEPRINT FOR NORTH COAST CONSERVATION

Bill would establish extensive new Restoration Area and protect threatened wild lands and streams on federal public lands

Oakland, CA—The California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild) applauds Congressman Jared Huffman’s efforts to craft legislation known as the ‘‘Northern California Conservation and Recreation Act’’. The draft legislation would restore and revitalize forests and watersheds, permanently conserve ecologically-significant areas, expand outdoor recreation opportunities, all while enhancing the local economies in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties.

While the legislation does restore and protect many refuges for the numerous rare, threatened, and endangered plants, wildlife, and fish in the area, it also provides outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, whitewater boating, fishing, hunting, and scenic driving. The measure will not limit hunting or fishing, close any legally open roads or trails to vehicles, or affect access to or the use of private property.

“The draft bill creates a real blueprint for restoring and protecting federal public lands. The measure will create restoration jobs, reduce fire danger, enhance recreation and protect threatened landscapes,” said Ryan Henson, CalWild’s Shasta County-based Senior Policy Director.

Among other provisions, the draft legislation would:

  • Establish a 700,000-acre South Fork Trinity-Mad River Special Restoration Area in the South Fork Trinity River watershed and the Forest Service-portion of the Mad River watershed in southern Trinity and western Humboldt counties. Within this area, the ecological health of previously logged forests will be improved and the danger of unnaturally severe fires will be reduced through a careful program of individual tree-cutting, especially along roads. Proceeds from the sale of the trees will be returned to fund additional restoration in the Special Restoration Area, including steps to improve habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead trout.
  • Protect over 326,000 acres of federal public lands as “wilderness” by expanding nine existing wilderness areas and establishing ten new ones. Wilderness is the strongest protection available for certain areas of public land available under federal law. While camping, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping and other recreational activities can continue in these areas, logging, mining, the construction of new roads and other development is prohibited.
  • Protect over 480 miles of stream on federal land as “wild and scenic rivers.” Wild and scenic designation protects our most pristine remaining streams on federal land from the construction of new dams or major water diversions. All the streams proposed for protection support sensitive, threatened, and endangered populations of salmon and steelhead.
  • Restore public lands affected by illegal trespass marijuana grows by establishing a partnership of federal, state, and local entities. When illegal growing sites are fully cleaned up and restored, they are far less likely to be used again for trespass cultivation.
  • Authorize the construction of an interagency visitor center in Trinity County
  • Requires federal agencies to cooperate and coordinate fire management in northwestern California’s wilderness areas.
  • Explores the possibility of establishing the “Bigfoot National Recreation Trail” that will highlight the immense ecological diversity of northwestern California’s ancient forests and other unique landscapes.
  • Directs federal agencies to conduct a trails study that would explore ways to improve motorized and non-motorized recreation trail opportunities (including mountain bicycling).

Congressman Huffman will be taking public input on his draft legislation at a series of public meetings:

The public can also comment on the draft legislation at ca02publiclands@gmail.com

“It is heartening to see leaders like Representative Huffman standing up for our public lands at this time when they are under assault from so many quarters,” said CalWild Assistant Policy Director Linda Castro.

Congressman Huffman has also posted a copy of the legislation on his website for public review at https://huffman.house.gov/rep-huffmans-legislation-to-protect-the-north-coast-s-spectacular-wild-places-and-rivers-0

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