Wilderness bill would protect Big Sur rivers, lands

Ventana Wilderness in Big Sur, California. Photo by Uriah Welcome, Flickr.

Author Henry Miller once said “Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago… this is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.” New legislation introduced last week could help protect this iconic California coastal landscape. The Wilderness Society and our partners, including the Ventana Wilderness Alliance, celebrated the introduction of the measure aimed to protect some of Big Sur’s irreplaceable natural treasures.

The bill, introduced by California Rep. Sam Farr, would add 2,287 acres to the Ventana Wilderness, slightly adjust several boundaries in wilderness areas and prescribe a variety of fire and fuels management practices within the Los Padres National Forest. In addition, the legislation would add five California central coast rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

The bill would also establish a Wildland Urban Interface Special Study Area which directs the U.S. Forest Service to use existing authority and resources to demonstrate innovative fire prevention methods that are consistent with wilderness values.

The forests and coastline of Big Sur and the rivers along the California’s central coast are known worldwide as a place of amazing beauty. The legislation would protect ecologically significant waterways which provide a source of clean water for communities in the region. It would also protect ecologically significant wildlands and provide ample opportunities to gaze at the ocean, hike, backpack and enjoy this spectacular area for generations to come.

photo: Ventana Wilderness in Big Sur, California. Photo by Uriah Welcome, Flickr.