Carbajal hike continues

Hikers with Rep. Salud Carbajal follow the Fremont Ridge Trail toward a vista of Cachuma Lake and its watershed on Saturday after the congressman announced legislation to protect nearly 250,000 acres of Central Coast public lands.

As promised on a hike Saturday from East Camino Cielo, Rep. Salud Carbajal on Wednesday joined Sen. Kamala Harris to reintroduce the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act to designate nearly a quarter of a million acres as wilderness.

HR 2199 would designate four new wilderness areas in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, expand nine existing wilderness areas in Los Padres National Forest, protect Condor Ridge and Black Mountain as new scenic areas and designate the Condor Trail as a national recreation trail within Los Padres National Forest.

A wilderness designation is the highest form of protection the federal government can provide for a public land, prohibiting roads, vehicles, permanent structures, logging and mining.

Carbajal said the bill will help to sustain the ecological future of 468 species of wildlife and more than 1,200 plant species and is supported by nearly 500 Central Coast landowners, business owners, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, civic leaders, winery owners, recreationalists and outfitters.

Reps. Julia Brownley, D-Thousand Oaks, Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, and Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, who all represent portions of Los Padres National Forest, joined Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, as co-sponsors in the House.

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