SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (May 26, 2015) – A diverse coalition of businesses, community leaders and conservationists are supporting Representative Lois Capps's and Senator Barbara Boxer’s proposal to protect forest, grass lands, and wild rivers across California’s Central Coast.
The legislation would safeguard 245,500 acres of wilderness, create two scenic areas encompassing 34,500 acres, and safeguard 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. These protections would help sustain the area’s quality of life, ensuring clean water for communities, conserving valuable wildlife habitat, and stimulating a vibrant local economy.
The Central Coast Heritage Act is the product of years of discussion and negotiation, led by Rep. Capps, involving business leaders, conservationists, elected officials, ranchers, mountain bikers, and other stakeholders interested in the use and well-being of these iconic lands. Representatives Sam Farr and Julia Brownley, whose districts include part of the national forest, are co-sponsoring the legislation.
Erik Justesen, President & CEO of RRM Design in San Luis Obispo said, ”I have seen first-hand how protecting and enhancing our beautiful open spaces fuels our economy. We are known as a tourist destination because we have safeguarded our wonderful natural assets and provide access to them. I have been a strong advocate of the Triple Bottom Line: safeguard our environment, develop our economy and invest in our social infrastructure. The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act is a key part of this equation, providing a multitude of benefits for local businesses, residents, and visitors alike. I know the Act will enhance our local economy by protecting the character of and quality of life in San Luis Obispo County and by encouraging thousands of residents and visitors alike each year to explore, hike, stay, eat, and spend their tourism dollars."
Protecting local public lands enhances quality of life. The Central Coast is a top tourist destination, home to world class wineries and restaurants, and iconic scenery, which attract people from around the globe—and yield clear benefits for the region's economy.
Larry Hogan, Owner of Sagebrush Annie's Winery said, "It's critical for us to have this watershed to recharge our aquifer which provides the water so we can grow these grapes and make our wine.”
"As a 45 year resident of the Cuyama Valley, I would like to thank Rep. Capps for her efforts to protect additional wilderness and wild & scenic rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument.”
The varied terrain of California’s central coast makes possible a wide range of recreational opportunities. Visitors from all over come to the Los Padres National Forest and the adjoining Carrizo Plain National Monument to enjoy hiking, backpacking, camping, bird watching, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, kayaking, and mountain biking in these rugged coastal mountains and ecologically rich grasslands.
San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx said, “This bill will preserve these wild lands and protect the character of San Luis Obispo, making it a desirable place to live and work. Having nearby protected wilderness also makes our community a sought-after destination for visitors and tourists, directly contributing to local businesses and jobs.”
Rick Clemens, Founder and Owner of Inclusive Education and Community Partnerships (IECP), said, "As a local business that works throughout California, I would like to Thank Rep. Capps for her introduction of the Central Coast Heritage Act. IECP employs 300 dedicated professionals that provide services throughout the State of California meeting the needs of children with autism and other developmental disabilities in both schools and other natural environments. We have always emphasized ethics and sustainability in our work, and protecting public land for the enjoyment of future generations is directly tied into the same kind of community partnerships we seek to create."
The unique and diverse ecosystems protected by this legislation provide habitat for some 468 species of wildlife and more than 1,200 plant species. Many are threatened, including the San Joaquin kit fox, steelhead trout, California spotted owl, Smith’s blue butterfly, arroyo toad, the California jewel-flower, and the famous California condor.
List of Congressional Senate Contacts:
Congressman Salud Carbajal
24th Congressional District
360 S. Hope St., Suite 301
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: (805) 546-8348
Congresswoman Julia Brownley
26th Congressional District
PO Box 2018 Thousand Oaks, CA 91358
Congressman Jimmy Panetta
20th Congressional District
100 W. Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: (831) 424-2229
Fax: (831) 424-7099
Senator Kamala Harris
312 N. Spring St. Suite 1748
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 894-5000
Fax: (202) 224-0357
Senator Diane Feinstein
11111 San Monica Boulevard, Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025-3343
Phone: (310) 914-7300
Fax: (310) 914-7318