BHA is once again rallying support behind the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act recently reintroduced by Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24).
This legislation would add nearly 250,000 acres of wilderness areas and designate 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers in California's Central Coast.
Securing permanent wilderness protections for these portions of Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument will ensure conservation of important habitat and hunting and angling opportunities along California's Central Coast. Not only does this area include important tule elk hunt zones like the popular La Panza area, but it is also one of California's largest native grassland habitats providing excellent deer, upland game and some of California's best wild pig hunting opportunities. The monument also hosts a population of pronghorn antelope reintroduced to the area from Northeastern California in the late 1980s.
Furthermore, this legislation would provide valuable protections through the Wild and Scenic Rivers System for coldwater habitats and fishing opportunities in the semi-arid Central and Southern California region. Sespe and Piru Creek included are two of only three state-designated wild trout waters in Southern California and last year the Chapter hosted a fishing seminar and public land trash pack out at Piru Creek. The scenic beauty of these locations and its proximity to urban centers underscores the need for active stewardship and additional conservation protections.
This legislation has previously been passed by the House of Representatives five times and was formerly included in the Protecting America's Wilderness and Public Lands Act, a suite of public land conservation bills lauded by BHA and partner organizations nationwide. In the 117th Congress, Senator Alex Padilla led the PUBLIC Lands Act which also included the bill's text. We look forward to introduction of companion legislation in the Senate this Congress and hope to see both chambers advance this important priority.