Designation of 273,000 Acres of Northern California Wilderness Passes Senate, Heads to President's Desk

Sep 26, 2006
Press Release
Rep. Mike Thompson: “Today’s landmark vote will reverberate for generations.”
Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act (H.R. 233) and sent the bill to the president for his signature. The bill, authored by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), designates more than 273,000 acres of Northern California as wilderness, 21 miles as a scenic river and approximately 51,000 acres as a Recreation Management Area for off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes. The designation spans five counties in the 1st Congressional District and is the largest addition of wilderness to California in more than a decade. In an effort led by Thompson, the bill passed through the House this past summer, also by a unanimous vote. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who were both very instrumental in developing and gathering support for the bill, championed its passage today in the Senate.

“This landmark vote to secure 273,00 acres of Northern California wilderness will reverberate for generations as millions of Americans have the opportunity to enjoy its unique beauty,” said Thompson. “We are all indebted to Senators Boxer and Feinstein for committing years of steadfast support to this bill.”

Thompson also noted that this designation aids in the protection of dozens of endangered species of animals and plants. “America's wilderness represents the things we love about being American - our free spirit, our sense of adventure and our passion for exploring the unknown,” said Thompson. “This designation marks a tremendous victory for conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts and all Americans who care for the outdoors.”

This bill will designate existing public lands in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Napa Counties as wilderness and designate the Black Butte River in Mendocino County as a wild and scenic river. In addition, it would maintain all existing roads, private lands and grazing rights, and it would designate a Recreation Management Area in Mendocino County for off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes. The president's signature of HR 233 is expected in the next few weeks.