This bill — the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act — would authorize the designation of several wilderness and conservation areas within public lands in California, Colorado, and Washington. In sum, the bill would designate 1.37 million acres of federal lands as wilderness and add nearly 1,000 miles of rivers to the National Wild and Scenic River System. It contains provisions of six bills that were combined as part of this package,a breakdown of which can be found below.
Colorado Wilderness Act: This section would designate specified lands in Colorado managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Forest Service, the National Park Service (NPS), and Bureau of Reclamation as wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Specifically, it would incorporate these lands into the West Elk Wilderness area, and designate the Deep Creek Wilderness & Pisgah Mountain Wilderness areas following notice in the Federal Register.
The Dept. of the Interior (DOI) would be allowed to continue authorizing competitive running events that are currently permitted in the Redcloud Peak Wilderness & the Handies Peak Wilderness Areas.
The Colorado Army National Guard could continue conducting aerial navigation training maneuver exercises through the High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site over the wilderness areas designated by this bill.
Additionally, this bill would provide for the securing, adjudication, and use of U.S. water rights for wilderness areas designated by this bill.
Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act: This section would establish the South Fork Trinity-Mad River Restoration Area, the Northwest California Public Lands Remediation Partnership, the Trinity Lake & Del Norte County visitor centers, the Horse Mountain Special management Area, the Elk Camp Ridge National Recreation Trail, and the Sanhedrin Conservation Management Area.
It would also make the following designations:
Specified federal lands as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System;
The North Fork Wilderness as the North Fork Eel River Wilderness;
Specified federal lands as potential wilderness areas; and
Specified segments of certain rivers and creeks and of a specified river estuary as components of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System.
Additionally, this section would:
Authorize the utilization of certain forest residues for research & development of bio-based products that result in net carbon sequestration;
Authorize initiatives to restore degraded redwood forest ecosystems in the Redwood National Forest & state parks;
Require studies about visitor accommodations in the Six Rivers, Shasta-Trinity, and Mendocino National Forests, as applicable;
Authorize partnerships for trail and campground maintenance, public education, visitor contacts, and visitor center staffing on federal lands in Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, and Del Norte Counties; and
Adjust the boundaries of the Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness.
Central Coast Heritage Protection Act: This section would designate specified lands in the Los Padres National Forest & the Bakersfield BLM Field Office as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and as the Black Mountain Scenic Area.
It would designate certain land in the Los Padres National Forest as:
The Machesna Mountain Potential Wilderness Area, to be incorporated into the Machesna Mountain Wilderness Area;
The Fox Mountain Potential Wilderness Area, to be incorporated into the San Rafael Wilderness;
The Condor Ridge Scenic Area; and
The Condor National Scenic Trail.
This section would also designate specific segments of the Indian, Mono, Matilija, Sespe, and Piru Creeks and Sisquoc River in California as components of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System, and require studies of new trails for recreation opportunities.
Indian tribes would be assured of access to the wilderness areas, scenic areas, and potential wilderness areas designated by this bill for traditional cultural religious purposes.
Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act: This section would adjust the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California as depicted on a specified map to include the Rim of the Valley Unit. The Rim of the Valley Unit, and any lands or interests acquired by the U.S. and located within its boundaries, would be administered as part of the recreation area. The DOI could make acquisitions of non-federal land within the boundaries of the Rim of the Valley Unit only through exchange, donation, or purchase from a willing seller.
San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act: This section would expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by establishing the San Gabriel National Recreation Area along the San Gabriel River corridor (portions of which would be added to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System).
Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act: This section would designate specific public lands on the Olympic peninsula in the state of Washington as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, including the:
Lost Creek Wilderness;
Rugged Ridge Wilderness;
Alckee Creek Wilderness;
Gates of the Elwha Wilderness;
Green Mountain Wilderness;
Moonlight Dome Wilderness;
South Quinault Ridge Wilderness;
Sam’s River Wilderness; and
Canoe Creek Wilderness.
It would also make additions to the:
The Brothers Wilderness;
Mount Skokomish Wilderness;
Wonder Mountain Wilderness; and
Colonel Bob Wilderness.