This year is coming to a close with a dark cloud as we look at what’s to come in 2017. However, if we take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished this year, it’s a cause for celebration. From receiving the designation of California’s newest national monuments in the desert to celebrating our 40th anniversary with friends and many past staff and board members, this year was really great for CalWild. Here is a recap (with links) to a number of the major moments from this year:
The protection of the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments comes after nearly a decade of work by local leaders and many environmental groups, including CalWild, to protect the California desert. National monument status means that these lands will be permanently protected from renewable energy development and other harmful development, while maintaining public access for recreation activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, star-gazing, and more.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) together with the California Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have taken action to permanently protect almost three million acres of public lands in the California desert by means of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The DRECP represents a landmark collaboration between the State of California, the federal government and many other stakeholders. The Plan balances the identification of lower conflict lands on which renewable energy development will be encouraged with the protection of lands that are important for wildlife migration, endangered species, recreation, and Native American tribes in the California desert. The DRECP is thus a critical step in helping both California and the federal government meet renewable energy goals while protecting important public lands.
A 40 year anniversary is occasion to celebrate. Although longevity doesn’t always equal success, in CalWild’s case longevity and success have gone hand in hand. In October, we held our 40th Anniversary Dinner with over 60 of our closest friends from throughout our history. Click through to see a map we created of all the lands protected by CalWild and a commemorative Wilderness Record with some of the articles marking CalWild’s greatest achievements.
On October 17, 2006, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act of 2006 became law and 275,830 acres of federal public roadless land were added to the Federal Wilderness Preservation System. It created several new wilderness areas, added to existing ones, and protected segments of the Black Butte River, a tributary of the Middle Fork Eel River, as a Wild & Scenic River for 21 miles. Read Lynn Ryan’s article about how this Bill became a reality.