Harris Introduced the Senate Bill ‘‘Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act’

Canyon Creek, a proposed Wild & Scenic River, in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
Canyon Creek, a proposed Wild & Scenic River, in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

On Wednesday, December 05, 2018 US Senator from California, Kamala Harris, introduced the Senate Bill ‘‘Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act’’ (NCWRWFA). The bill is a companion bill with the same title introduced in the US House of Representatives earlier this year by Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-2nd District). In addition to the NCWRWFA she introduced the “San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act” bill to protect areas near Metropolitan Los Angeles.

The Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) is grateful to Senator Harris for her support in Northwest California on behalf of environmental protection, recreation economy and safety measures for fire-prone communities near our forests. The NEC has worked closely with local stakeholders, community leaders and a coalition of local and national environmental organizations to help identify opportunities to protect our public lands, strengthen our local recreation economy and help address fire concerns from our communities located near forests. If enacted, the bills would:

  • Protect over 313,000 acres of federal public lands in perpetuity from road-building and other development
  • Protect over 379 miles of some of our wildest remaining rivers from new dams and water diversions
  • Promote forest restoration and fuel-reduction work across 700,000 acres of public land. This will help to improve the ecological health of forests that were clear-cut in the past while reducing fire-danger along roads (where most fires start) and near communities by providing potential control points
  • Authorize the construction of over 295 miles of new trails open to horses, hikers and mountain bikes
  • Begin to help fully restore the thousands of sites on public lands affected by illegal cannabis cultivation

As Jennifer Johnson, owner of Adventures Edge in Arcata and Eureka said in support of the bill: “Because of my role as a local business owner and parent, I see the many benefits of these protected places because of the money they bring to our community and the physical well-being of those who access and enjoy these places. “

Registered Professional Forester Kenneth Baldwin stated: “This bill has important components for public safety. Shaded fuel breaks near communities and along roads would increase fire protection and would benefit local residents.”

Senator Harris released a video in support of the two bills, which can be viewed here. Information and Updates for both bills can be found here: https://mountainsandrivers.org/