Proposed legislation aims to protect vast areas of Central Coast back country

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-24th District) and  U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) have launched the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which would designate nearly 250,000 acres of public land in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument as wilderness.

The announcement was made this morning, by Carbajal using the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens as the backdrop.

The legislation still needs to go through several committee meetings including Natural Resources. If approved it would establish a 400-mile long Condor National Recreation trail, stretching from Los Angeles to Monterey County through the Los Padres National Forest.

Representatives Julia Brownley (CA-26) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), who also represent portions of the Los Padres National Forest, co-sponsored this legislation in the House.

“As our federal public lands and national monuments come under increased threat of oil and gas drilling, it is now more important than ever to act to permanently protect our open spaces,” Carbajal said. “The Central Coast is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in North America and these public lands provide invaluable local water supplies and recreational outdoor activities to our communities. We have a responsibility to protect these special places for future generations and that’s why I’m proud to introduce the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.”

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