Senator Boxer: Protecting California Wilderness   

Friday, May 30, 2008  

I am delighted to let you know that I have joined forces with Congressman Buck McKeon in introducing legislation to protect almost half a million acres of wilderness lands in California. All of the land included is in Congressman McKeon’s district.

I am thrilled that Congressman Buck McKeon and I, together with countless local officials and residents, were able to forge a bipartisan compromise to protect these truly spectacular lands. From the majestic High Sierra to the stunning White Mountains and their ancient Bristlecone Pine forests to the beautiful northern San Gabriel Mountains, Californians will be able to enjoy this striking beauty forever. We will continue to work together to make sure that this natural legacy can be left to our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

The Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act will give wilderness designations -- the highest level of protection and conservation for federal lands -- to 472,804 acres of federal public land in California.  Only land already held by the federal government is impacted by the designation.

Specifically, the bill designates an additional 430,671 acres of wilderness in Mono and Inyo Counties and establishes more than 45 miles of the Owens River Headwaters and Amargosa River as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The bill also designates an additional 42,000 acres of wilderness in Los Angeles County, and it establishes more than seven miles of Piru Creek as a Wild and Scenic River.

The land protected under the bill includes the White Mountains, America’s largest and highest desert mountain range. The second largest unprotected “roadless” area in the lower 48 states, the Whites are home to the world’s oldest living trees -- the ancient Bristlecone pines -- which live almost 5,000 years. Our bill also makes additions to the Hoover Wilderness, a classic High Sierra landscape of deeply carved glacial valleys dotted with tranquil alpine lakes and forests of lodgepole pine. The Amargosa River, which the bill also protects, is the only river flowing into Death Valley, and it sustains biologically rich wetlands and riparian forests as it makes its way through ancient, rugged canyons.

Congressman McKeon has been a great partner in this endeavor, which will protect wonderful wilderness areas for the generations that will come after us.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer