Rep. Huffman’s Draft Legislation to Protect the North Coast’s Spectacular Wild Places and Rivers Announced
In August 2017, PLC staff attended one of three public meetings regarding a draft legislative effort to protect wild places in northern California. We were pleased with the presentation and support the process for this draft legislation.
The author of the bill, Rep. Huffman, announced “he is calling for public input on his newly-unveiled draft legislation to guard communities against wildfires, provide local jobs, restore lands impaired by illegal marijuana growing operations, and protect Northern California’s spectacular wild places and pristine streams on federal lands.”
A summary of the discussion draft legislation prepared by the Congressman follows:
This legislation will protect important wild places and pristine streams on federal lands, restore forests and fish habitat, benefit local economies, enhance recreational opportunities, and protect communities by reducing fire-danger. It will not limit hunting or fishing, close any legally open roads or trails to vehicles, or affect access to or the use of private property.
Title I: Restoration and Economic Development
This title restores historically damaged forests and watersheds on public lands. Specifically, it:
Designates a 700,000-acre Special Restoration Area in the South Fork Trinity River watershed and the Forest Service-portion of the Mad River watershed in Trinity and Humboldt counties.
Restores public lands affected by illegal trespass marijuana grows by establishing a partnership of federal, state, and local entities. When illegal growing sites are fully cleaned up and restored, they are far less likely to be used again for trespass cultivation.
Authorizes the construction of an interagency visitor center in Trinity County. This center would interpret the natural, historical, and cultural resources of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area.
Requires federal agencies to cooperate and coordinate fire management in northwestern California’s wilderness areas.
Title II: Recreation
This title focuses on improving recreation opportunities and trails in public lands for residents and visitors. Specifically, it:
Designates the Horse Mountain Special Management Area, and directs the development of a comprehensive plan for the long-term management of it.
Explores the possibility of establishing the “Bigfoot National Recreation Trail” that will highlight the immense ecological diversity of this region’s ancient forests and other unique landscapes.
Designates the Elk Camp Ridge Recreation Trail and directs a Trails Study, that would explore ways to improve motorized and non-motorized recreation trail opportunities (including mountain bicycling).
Authorizes the construction of specified mountain biking routes in Del Norte County.
Title III: Conservation
By designating lands as “wilderness” and rivers as “wild & scenic,” this title provides the strongest levels of federal protection to old-growth forests and endangered salmon and steelhead river habitat in this region. Specifically, it:
Expands nine existing wilderness areas and establishes ten new ones.
Designates over 300 miles of new wild & scenic rivers, and mandates federal agencies tocreate management plans for over 95 miles of currently state-designated wild & scenic rivers.
Establishes the Sanhedrin Conservation Management Area, where the U.S. Forest Service would focus on conserving, protecting, and enhancing late-successional forest structure, oak woodlands, and grasslands.
The full 82 page discussion if available for your perusal here: 355374374-Discussion-Draft (1)
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