The California Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently authored a letter of support for Congressman Jared Huffman’s (D-CA) Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act (H.R. 2250). This legislation provides critical provisions that will support hunting, fishing, public access, recreational opportunities, fire resiliency and create economic opportunities in important communities throughout Northern California.
The legislation includes the following provisions strongly supported by the California Chapter of BHA:
Title I: Restoration and Economic Development.
This title reduces wildfire risks and restores damaged forests and watersheds on public lands.
- Designates a 730,000-acre Restoration Area in the South Fork Trinity River, Mad River, and North Fork
- Restores public lands affected by illegal trespass marijuana grows by establishing a partnership of federal, state, and local entities to facilitate the recovery of land and waters damaged by illegal marijuana growing sites.
- Authorizes construction of interagency visitor centers in Trinity County and Del Norte County.
- Requires federal agencies to cooperate and coordinate fire management in northwestern California’s wilderness areas. This pre-fire planning is especially important in large wilderness areas managed by multiple agencies.
Title II: Recreation.
- Designates the Horse Mountain Special Management Area and directs the development of a comprehensive long-term plan to ensure that existing uses are carefully managed for continued recreation and conservation.
- Explores the possibility of establishing a recreational Trinity Lake Trail.
- Authorizes a study for the Bigfoot National Recreation Trail, which would expand public access and highlight the immense ecological diversity of this region’s ancient forests and other unique landscapes.
- Designates the Elk Camp Ridge Recreation Trail for motorized and non-motorized recreation.
- Directs a trails study that would explore ways to improve motorized and non-motorized recreation trail opportunities, including mountain biking, in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties.
Title III: Conservation
- Designating federal lands as “Wilderness” and rivers as “Wild and Scenic,” this title provides the strongest levels of federal protection to old-growth forests and endangered salmon and steelhead river habitat in this region.
- Expanding nine existing wilderness areas and establishes eight new ones. It would protect important and unique biodiversity and would not substantially impact timber harvest that is still an economic driver for the local community.
- Designates 379 miles of new Wild & Scenic rivers, and mandates federal agencies to create management plans for 101 miles of existing wild and scenic rivers only on public lands.
The chapter would like to thank Representative Huffman for considering these priority provisions and critical conservation programs so key to driving our nation’s $887 billion annual outdoor recreation economy. The California Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is pleased and happy to support the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act. This legislation is critical to improve fish and wildlife habitat and safeguard our hunting and angling traditions.