Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Applauds Designation of Additional Public Lands
WASHINGTON. – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced the expansion of National Wilderness Preservation and Wild and Scenic Rivers systems on federal land, including the U.S. Forest Service.
“President Obama has signed a sweeping public lands law that dramatically expands wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers on designated federal lands,” said Secretary Vilsack. “This landmark legislation will help to provide for better management of water resources and related climate change issues, while preserving the beauty and uniqueness of our Nation’s natural resources for future generations.”
The Wild and Scenic River designations on seven National Forests include segments of 18 different rivers spanning 481.87 miles: Fossil Creek in AZ; nine rivers in the Mt. Hood National Forest in OR; Elk River in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest (OR); Piru Creek in the Los Padres National Forest (CA); Owens River and Cottonwood Creek in the Inyo National Forest (CA); and four rivers in the San Bernardino National Forest (CA) – including Palm Canyon Creek, the largest fan palm oasis in the U.S.
The legislation also creates 21 new wilderness areas and expands 19 existing wilderness areas on ten National Forests. Included are additions and new wilderness on the Monongahela National Forest (WV) and Jefferson National Forest (VA). This expands wilderness on eastern states by another 76,878 acres.
In the western states, 380,909 acres of additional wilderness has been designated in California. These include new wilderness in the eastern Sierra Nevada, the White Mountains, the Owens River headwaters, the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, and the mountain and desert areas of Riverside County. In the Pacific Northwest region an additional 136,240 acres have been designated to protect areas surrounding Mt. Hood and the Copper Salmon headwaters.
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