The Wilderness Society (TWS) praised Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) for announcing legislation today that would protect more than 245,000 acres of wilderness, 34,500 acres of scenic areas and more than 150 miles of rivers on the Central Coast.
Congresswoman Capps’ bill – the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act– will be formally introduced May 19 when Congress reconvenes - and will protect spectacular areas in the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, also in San Luis Obispo County. These forests, coastal mountains, and rivers offer outstanding recreation including fishing, camping and hunting; are a significant source of water for cities and agriculture; are home to important Native American cultural sites; and are vital sources of the outdoor and tourism economy of local communities.
“The Wilderness Society commends Congresswoman Capps for her commitment to preserve some of California’s most scenic and popular recreation destinations,” said Dan Smuts, TWS’ California Senior Regional Director. “The Congresswoman has worked with local residents, cities, recreation groups and many other stakeholders to develop this proposal that will protect these special places for future generations.”
Smuts said Rep. Capps, and bill co-sponsor Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Thousand Oaks), should be recognized for protecting the Central Coast’s signature wild lands: rocky peaks with sweeping coastal views, pristine gorges carved by wild rivers and waterfalls, and vast grasslands with pronghorn antelope.
The Central Coast Heritage Act further protects the Los Padres National Forest, California’s second largest national forest that spans nearly 220 miles across the scenic Coast and Transverse ranges. These wildlands include peaks more than 8,800 feet high and provide habitat for more than 460 species of wildlife, including the California condor and the southern steelhead.
The Act also conserves areas at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, which hosts the largest remnant Central Valley grassland. The Carrizo Plain has seasonal wetlands, expansive grasslands, significant mountains and a very apparent portion of the San Andreas Fault. A diverse range of wildlife including raptors, tule elk, desert cottontail, Kit fox, antelope and ground squirrels thrive here.