Wilderness Legislation Announced for Los Padres Forest & Carrizo Plain
Rep. Lois Capps announced legislation that would permanently protect key wilderness areas, preserve free-flowing rivers, and promote hundreds of miles of recreational trails throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.
The legislation would expand and connect the existing network of wilderness areas in the southern Los Padres National Forest. It would also designate new scenic areas, wild and scenic rivers, and a national recreational trail, and establish the first wilderness areas in the Carrizo Plain National Monument.
“This effort to protect the lands and waters in the Los Padres and Carrizo Plain is the culmination of a groundswell of local support throughout the central coast,” said Matt Sayles, Wild Heritage Coordinator for Los Padres ForestWatch, a local nonprofit conservation organization that has worked for five years on building widespread support for the legislation among diverse stakeholders throughout the region.
“Representative Capps truly deserves heartfelt appreciation for helping ensure the vitality and viability of these public lands for generations to come.”
More than two decades have passed since the last wilderness bill for Los Padres National Forest was signed into law. Congresses and Presidents from both sides of the aisle have created or expanded wilderness areas in our region in 1968, 1978, 1984, and 1992. There are currently 8 wilderness areas in the southern Los Padres National Forest; Capps’ legislation would expand them all.