NW California Wilderness, Recreation & Public Lands
H. R. 878
After incorporating community input and ideas from across northwest California, Rep. Huffman (D-San Rafael) re-introduced his legislation to guard communities against wildfires, provide local jobs, restore lands impaired by illegal marijuana growing operations, and permanently protect many of northwest California’s spectacular wild places and pristine streams.
Huffman’s Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act includes several innovative new programs to increase fire resilience, restore forests and fish habitat, stimulate local economies through forest stewardship programs, and enhance recreational opportunities including through trails and visitor centers.
The legislation would not limit hunting or fishing, close any legally open roads or trails to vehicles, or affect access to or the use of private property. The wilderness designations and Wild and Scenic River designations do not impact existing rights and would not limit access.
“I am grateful to the countless constituents and stakeholders who have helped me improve the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, a carefully developed bill to support communities and protect unique public lands for future generations,” said Rep. Huffman. “In California’s second district, we live among some of the most majestic public lands in the world. My legislation takes key steps to preserve these lands and manage them to their full potential, ensure fire resilience, support healthy wildlife, and grow the rural economy. With this bill, we are also engaging in a larger conversation on making our forests healthier, while ensuring that both ecosystems and rural economies are resilient.”
California is home to some of the nation’s most scenic wild spaces and boasts the nation’s largest outdoor economy.
During this process, Rep. Huffman consulted with dozens of community leaders, tourism organizations, outdoor recreation groups, restoration specialists, tribes, county supervisors, conservation groups, forestry experts, fisheries scientists, fire ecologists, the timber industry, and other business owners.
Rep. Huffman held four public meetings on the legislative proposal in Eureka, Crescent City, Weaverville, and Ukiah and has met with constituents both in California and in Washington D.C. about the bill.
Protect up to 25,000 acres of public land as “wilderness” by expanding the Siskiyou Wilderness area. The proposal includes the Buck Creek Watershed. The Siskiyou Wilderness is located in three national forests, the Klamath, Rogue River-Siskiyou and the Six Rivers and most of it is in Del Norte County. It contains the highest elevations of the Siskiyou Mountains and the headwaters of the South Fork of the Smith, a pristine Wild and Scenic River that is one of the crown jewels in the system. Just outside the protective boundary of the Siskiyou Wilderness is the Buck Creek watershed, a key tributary of the South Fork Smith. At the confluence of Buck Creek and the South Fork Smith a shelter and clearing offer a superb camping with beautiful views into the crystal clear waters of the Smith-worthy of the highest protection. The northernmost wilderness additions would protect the headwaters of the East Fork of the Wild and Scenic Illinois River – one of the crown jewels of the system. The East Fork Illinois and the Dunn Creek gorges are nominated for protection and include vertical rock formations deep pools, seeps and springs. See map
Designate the Elk Camp Ridge Recreation Trail and study the possibility of establishing the Trinity Lake Trail and the Bigfoot National Recreation Trail. The Bigfoot National Recreation trail will highlight the immense ecological diversity of Northwest California’s ancient conifer forests and other unique landscapes from southern Trinity County to Crescent City.
Authorize the construction of interagency visitor centers in Weaverville in Trinity County and Crescent City in Del Norte County to support recreation and inform visitors about opportunities in nearby public lands.
Study the feasibility of establishing overnight accommodations on federal or state or state park land in Del Norte or Humboldt County.
Develop Recreation Opportunities including a study to evaluate the feasibility and public interest in construction of specified mountain biking routes and other non-motorized routes in Del Norte County.