Central Coast Heritage Protection Act Passes House
Photo: Bryant Baker
Source: Los Padres ForestWatch
Today, in a historic vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which will protect forests, shrublands, grasslands, and wild rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. Read the news release from the Central Coast Wild Heritage Coalition, a group of conservation and outdoor recreation groups that have been working on the effort for eleven years alongside local business leaders, elected officials, ranchers, wineries, conservationists, mountain bikers, and other stakeholders.
The bill, introduced last year by Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA24), passed today on a 231-183 vote as part of a larger package of public lands conservation bills. The Central Coast portion of the bill seeks to protect more than 245,000 acres of public land in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. It also safeguards 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers, establishes two scenic areas encompassing 34,500 acres, and designates a 400-mile Condor National Recreation Trail extending through the Los Padres National Forest from Big Sur to the Los Angeles County line.
“Today’s vote is a historic opportunity to protect some of the Central Coast’s most iconic landscapes and rivers, safeguarding them for current and future generations,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of ForestWatch, a founding member of the Central Coast Wild Heritage Coalition. “We are now one step closer to adding to our region’s rich legacy of land, water, and wildlife conservation.”
“We are grateful for Congressman Carbajal’s leadership on this important conservation issue,” said Los Padres ForestWatch advocacy director Rebecca August. “We look forward to working with our Senators as the bill gets one step closer to the finish line.”
“Protecting lands on the California Central Coast is a critical step to ensuring our children and future generations have access to wild places and to protecting fragile ecosystems,” said ForestWatch director of youth and community engagement Graciela Cabello. “These lands are some of the most biodiverse ecoregions in the world and we want to see them protected.”
“The wild places protected by this legislation are some of the most spectacular in the country,” said ForestWatch conservation director Bryant Baker. “They are more than deserving of these protections, and we are thrilled to see this legislation advance out of the House of Representatives.”
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate soon. After advancing through the Senate, the bill will await signature by President Trump, whose office yesterday threatened to veto the measure.