The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act promotes protection and restoration of public lands and waters, wildfire risk reduction, and fishing and hunting opportunities in five national forests in California
Feb. 12, 2020 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, with bipartisan support. This legislation includes three California bills that sportsmen and women have worked for years to support: the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, and the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.
Trout Unlimited, the largest and oldest sportsmen’s organization dedicated to conserving North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds, lauded the House action and called on the Senate to similarly pass the package of public lands bills.
“There is no substitute for good habitat,” said Charlie Schneider, president of TU’s Redwood Empire Chapter. “Some of the best salmon and steelhead habitat in California is found in the public lands that will be better conserved under the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act. We are grateful to the House for acting to conserve our legendary steelhead and salmon runs and support California’s robust recreational fishing economy.”
Collectively, the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act will help reduce the risk of wildfire around rural communities, boost local economies, restore lands and waters degraded by illegal activities such as trespass marijuana cultivation, improve outdoor recreation access, and enhance water quality and wildlife protections.
Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act following years of feedback from local business and community leaders, county governments, sportsmen, forestry and fire experts, and other stakeholders. This title would better protect and restore some of the most famous freshwater fisheries in the world, including the Trinity, Eel, Mad and Mattole Rivers.
“Protecting our public lands and rivers is vital for sustaining the famous steelhead and salmon runs of this region and our fishing-based economy,” said Herb and Patty Burton, owners of the Trinity Fly Shop. “Fishing our beautiful lakes and rivers is a way of life for us – the backbone of our 37-year-long family business. This legislation will benefit the South Fork of the Trinity River and all of us who guide and fish the iconic Trinity and its tributaries. We urge the Senate to take action on this important bill.”
The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, authored by Rep. Salud Carbajal, and the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and River Protection Act, authored by Rep. Judy Chu, together designate some 185 miles of important native steelhead and wild trout streams as Wild and Scenic Rivers, thus better conserving vital habitat values and fishing opportunities in waters such as Piru and Sespe Creeks and the upper San Gabriel River.
Among the dozens of other sportsmen’s organizations and businesses that also support one or all of these bills are the California Council of Trout Unlimited, all of TU’s twelve local chapters in California, the Southwest and Northern California Councils of Fly Fishers International, California Trout, The Fly Shop, Lost Coast Outfitters, Clearwater Lodge on the Pit River, and the Fisherman’s Spot.
Trout Unlimited (TU), founded in 1959, is dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring trout and salmon and their watersheds in North America. TU’s 300,000 members and supporters combine the passion of anglers, volunteerism, science, habitat restoration expertise and groundbreaking youth and veteran programs to achieve our mission. Learn more about TU on the web at www.tu.org, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.