By edhat staff
Rep. Salud Carbajal, local officials, and environmental advocates celebrated the passage of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 2199) on Friday.
The bill passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives on Wednesday as part of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, legislation aimed at preserving public lands.
Carbajal was joined by representatives from Los Padres ForestWatch, Carrizo Plain Conservancy, Condor Trail Association, Toad&Co., Sierra Club, California Wilderness Coalition, the Wilderness Society and elected officials including Supervisors Gregg Hart, Joan Hartmann Steve Bennett, Das Williams, and Steve Lavagnino.
“Protecting our environment, enhancing public safety and growing our economy are not mutually exclusive. The passage of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act proves this, and it’s a huge step forward for all of us,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Our Central Coast is the most beautiful district in the nation and this bill ensures our public lands, like Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument, will be preserved—for our economy, for our environment and for future generations.”
The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act seeks to designate nearly 250,000 acres of land within Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument as protected wilderness areas. It also creates a 400-mile long Condor National Recreation trail that will stretch from Los Angeles to Monterey County.
Approximately 500 Central Coast businesses, environmental and farm organizations, landholders and leaders support the bill.
“This legislation will bring to a successful conclusion over 20 years of effort in Carrizo Plain National Monument to preserve the Caliente Range with its 1,000 year old juniper trees, the Soda Lake bottomlands with their strange clay dunes, and the Temblor Range shrublands which will have no counterpart in the National Wilderness system,” said Neil Havlik, Carrizo Plain Conservancy Director.
“The designation of the Condor Trail by the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will provide an unparalleled recreational experience. But, the societal benefits of the Condor Trail designation run much deeper. Ultimately, a trail is more than a physical path on the ground. It is a path to self-discovery, renewal and to re-connect one’s body with the land. And, a long-distance trail is more than a means to traverse a wide range of landscapes. Such trails provide a sense of connectivity and continuity that is so often missing in our fragmented, disconnected world. Long-distance trails tie together the many diverse communities, both social and biological, that are part of, and adjacent to, such trails. It is at this deeper level of meaning that I understand the most important ‘why’ of the Condor Trail,” said Christopher Danch, Director of the Condor Trail Association.
The bill will head to the Senate and, if passed there, will be sent to the President for final approval.
February 12, 2020: Central Coast Heritage Protection Act Passes House