The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, a bill that would safeguard public lands and wild rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and would designate a 400-mile National Scenic Trail, has been reintroduced by Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA).
“Pragmatic policies like the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act make a real difference in the fight against climate change, give residents and visitors the opportunity to appreciate the great outdoors, and boosts our recreation economy, all while preserving the plant and animal life that call these public lands home,” said Carbajal.
The bill, first introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) and then by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), was developed with a diverse array of stakeholders and enjoys the support of more than 500 civic groups and leaders, landowners, businesses, elected officials, schools, farmers and ranchers, and recreation leaders. It passed the House twice last year with bipartisan support as part of a larger package of public lands conservation bills but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
“Building on last year’s momentum in the House, and with President Biden’s and the Governor’s goal to conserve 30% of public lands by 2030, we’re optimistic that this bill will cross the finish line this year, becoming the first wilderness bill signed into law in our region in more than a quarter-century,” said Los Padres ForestWatch executive director Jeff Kuyper.
The Central Coast bill would protect nearly 250,000 acres of federal public land across Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, safeguard 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers, and establish two scenic areas encompassing 34,500 acres. It would also designate a 400-mile Condor National Scenic Trail that would stretch across the entire length of the Los Padres National Forest, from Big Sur to the Los Angeles County line.