Congressman Salud Carbajal and Sen. Kamala Harris have introduced legislation that would protect land on the Central Coast — and establish a 400-mile-long Condor National Recreation Trail stretching from Los Angeles to Monterey counties, according to a release from Carbajal’s office.
The bill, dubbed the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, would designate about 250,000 acres of public land as wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument, the release said. The bill would add four new wilderness areas in the Carrizo Plain National Monument and expand nine existing wilderness areas in Los Padres National Forest, according to the release.
The wilderness designation means that no roads, vehicles or permanent structures are allowed on the land, and it also prohibits logging and mining.
The Condor National Recreation Trail would connect the northern and southern portions of the Los Padres National Forest. The backpacking/hiking trail, named because the endangered California condor lives along the route, would run from Lake Piru along the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties to Botchers Gap Campground in Monterey County.
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“As our federal public lands and national monuments come under increased threat of oil and gas drilling, it is now more important than ever to act to permanently protect our open spaces,” Carbajal said in the release. “The Central Coast is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in North America, and these public lands provide invaluable local water supplies and recreational outdoor activities to our communities.”
Harris echoed Carbajal in her support of the legislation, saying that it’s about “recognizing the economic, recreational and environmental value of these lands to the Central Coast and to our country.”