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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007


2007 California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act

Act Now to Protect Southern California Rivers and Lands!

Write a letter to support the California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act!

California Representative Mary Bono (R-CA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will introduce

bipartisan legislation to protect wild rivers and wilderness areas in southern California. The Desert and Mountain Heritage Act protects nearly 210,000 acres of public lands and rivers in Riverside County. Friends of the River nominated the rivers that are included for protection in the bill.

The legislation designates four streams totaling more than 31 miles in the San Jacinto Mountains as Wild & Scenic Rivers, making these the southern-most federally protected rivers in California. It also significantly expands wilderness protection for sensitive watersheds throughout the region. Ranging from the nearly 11,000 foot-high alpine summit of Mount San Jacinto, down to the Colorado desert near Palm Springs, to the high desert mountain ranges of the Mojave, this magnificent region provides outstanding scenery and extensive year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation near the state’s largest population center, as well as critical refuges for many endangered animals and plants.

The bipartisan nature of the legislation has attracted unusually strong local support, including endorsements from the Cities of Banning, Coachella, La Quinta, Twentynine Palms, and Yucca Valley, as well as the Idyllwild, Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley Chambers of Commerce. The bill has also been endorsed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Leaders in the community have expressed support, as have many local businesses seeking to preserve the quality of life and the tourism-based economy. In addition, there is strong support from the conservation community.

Originally introduced in 2006, the bill has been expanded to include nearly 76,000 additional acres of new wilderness, and wilderness and monument additions on federally managed public lands. The bill avoids conflicts with private property, existing water rights, energy facilities, and grazing permits, and no legal motorized routes or roads are affected by the bill.

The specific rivers and areas protected in the bill include:

North Fork San Jacinto Wild & Scenic River 3,238 acres (10.12 miles)

Fuller Mill Creek Wild & Scenic River 1,120 acres (3.5 miles)

Bautista Creek Wild & Scenic River 3,136 acres (9.8 miles)

Palm Canyon Creek Wild & Scenic River 2,592 acres (8.1 miles)

South Fork San Jacinto Wilderness 21,760 acres

Cahuilla Mountains Wilderness 7,131 acres

Beauty Mountain Wilderness 16,700 acres

Pinto Mountains Wilderness 24,080 acres

Agua Tibia Wilderness Addition 1,950 acres

Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness Addition 14,480 acres

Orocopia Mountains Wilderness Addition 3,760 acres

Palen/McCoy Wilderness Addition 20,320 acres

Santa Rosa Wilderness Addition 3,300 acres

Santa Rose and San Jacinto National Monument Additions 3,557 acres

Joshua Tree National Park Wilderness Additions 37,050 acres

Joshua Tree National Park Potential Wilderness 41,100 acres

Click here to download fact sheets for the rivers. (300KB PDF)

Write a letter to support the California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act!

For more information, contact Steve Evans, Conservation Director, (916) 442-3155, ext. 221 or Thank you for your help!

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