SAN DIEGO – Area residents cheered the introduction of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa’s (R-Vista) legislation to protect as wilderness more than 21,000 acres of Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia in north San Diego County.
The Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Act of 2011 will add over 7,000 acres of public land to the existing Agua Tibia Wilderness and will expand the Beauty Mountain Wilderness by an additional 13,635 acres. In March 2009, portions of Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia in Riverside County were protected as wilderness by legislation sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Rep. Issa’s legislation has been praised by area business leaders, government officials and conservationists who agree that protecting these public lands boosts local tourism and the recreation-based economy. The legislation will ensure that the region’s iconic scenery and outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities continue to be a draw and provide local business opportunities.
"I feel strongly that this meaningful bill will not only protect and preserve the magnificent land and wildlife for generations to come, but it will go far to help tourism and many businesses like Adventure 16 continue to offer equipment and clothing for our customers to explore the region," said John Mead, President of the San Diego-based outdoor and travel outfitter.
"As a rural San Diego County landowner and business, we are very grateful that Congressman Issa has introduced this important measure,” said Jim Stillwell, the General Manager of Warner Springs Ranch Resort. “This bill will not only enhance the local tourism economy—very important to us as a hospitality industry business—and improve recreation opportunities, but it will ensure that magnificent scenery and rich wildlife habitat are conserved for the future."
Rep. Issa’s bill is a reintroduction of his original 2009 legislation to protect North San Diego County wilderness. These areas include Agua Tibia, which is annually enjoyed by thousands of hikers and equestrians who travel through the region via the rugged Cutca Trail. Agua Tibia is carved with deep canyons and dotted with coastal sage scrub.
As its name implies, Beauty Mountain is a scenic jewel draped in chaparral, fascinating rock formations and oak woodlands. Both areas provide endless recreational opportunities as well as pristine wildlife habitat.
Rep. Issa is one of two California members to introduce wild lands protection bills on the first day of the 112th Congress. Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) introduced the “Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests Protection Act” to protect wilderness in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The North San Diego County Wild Heritage Campaign is a coalition of businesses and organizations working to protect wilderness and wild rivers on public lands in northern San Diego County. Coalition members include: California Wilderness Coalition, Campaign for America’s Wilderness of the Pew Environment Group, Friends of the River, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and many others.
- Steve Evans – Friends of the River: 916-708-3155
- Monica Argandoña – California Wilderness Coalition: 951-205-6004
- Annette Kondo – The Wilderness Society: 213-610-3177
- Brian Geiger – Campaign for America’s Wilderness: 202-540-6431
- Geoffrey Smith – Wilderness4All: 858-442-1425
This is a coalition release by North San Diego Wild Heritage Campaign.