REPRESENTATIVE JARED HUFFMAN INTRODUCES HISTORIC PUBLIC LANDS BILL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2018

CONTACTS: Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director, (530) 365-1455, rhenson@calwild.org (Primary) and
Chris Morrill, Executive Director, (530) 220-2394, cmorrill@calwild.org

REPRESENTATIVE JARED HUFFMAN INTRODUCES HISTORIC PUBLIC LANDS BILL

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

Oakland, CA— Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act in the House of Representatives. The bill will restore forests and fisheries, protect wild lands and streams and improve recreation opportunities in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties.

CalWild joins a broad coalition of businesses, community leaders and other conservationists applauding the introduction of legislation to better protect and restore some of Northwest California’s most unique lands and waters.

“This is a historic milestone in the effort to protect and restore the best remaining parts of our public land heritage in Northwest California,” said Ryan Henson, Policy Director for CalWild. “This bill proves that sustainable economic development, recreation and conservation can not only co-exist, but they complement one another.”

Visitors come to this region from around the globe to fish for steelhead, salmon and trout, float the rivers, hike and mountain bike the backcountry trails, and find solitude in primeval redwood groves. These visitors support the regional economy and enhance these and other outdoor recreation opportunities by spurring new infrastructure and upgrades to old roads, trails and camping facilities, and by improving forest health and resilience to fire.

Among other provisions, the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act will:

  • Promote fuel reduction and forest and woodland restoration on 729,000 acres of public lands in southern Trinity and western Humboldt counties. Any proceeds generated from tree removal will be used to fund additional restoration and fuel reduction.
  • Protect 317,000 acres of federal public lands as “wilderness.” Wilderness is the strongest protection available for certain areas of public land available under federal law.
  • Designate 379 miles of new “wild and scenic rivers” and mandates federal agencies to create management plans for 101 miles of existing wild and scenic rivers providing critical habitat for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.
  • Direct federal agencies to explore ways to improve motorized and non-motorized recreation trail opportunities, including mountain biking, on national forest and adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties.
  • Restore public lands affected by illegal trespass marijuana grows.
  • Authorize the construction of two public visitor centers in Trinity and Del Norte counties.
  • Study the establishment of the “Bigfoot National Recreation Trail” from Crescent City to the southern Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness boundary that will highlight the immense ecological diversity of northwestern California’s ancient forests and other unique landscapes.

“This bill will likely be a model for the future of public lands bills. Our public lands have many users and advocates, and building legislation by actively engaging each of them is the way the conservation community will achieve new protections moving forward. We applaud Congressman Huffman for his visionary leadership on this effort,” said Chris Morrill, CalWild’s Executive Director.

Congressman Huffman worked for over five years to craft this innovative measure. Conservationists, like CalWild, are widely supportive and are prepared to work for as long as it takes to pass it.