Northern California Wilderness Bill Becomes Law

Oct 17, 2006
Press Release
Rep. Thompson: "Today marks the largest addition of wilderness to California in more than a decade."
Today, the president signed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act (H.R. 233), designating 273,000 acres of Northern California as wilderness in perpetuity. The bill, authored by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), also designates 21 miles of Scenic River and approximately 51,000 acres as a Recreation Management Area for off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes.

“Today marks the largest addition of wilderness to California in more than a decade,” said Thompson. “After more than five years of hard work and tremendous support from hundreds of environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, businesses and government officials, this beautiful and unique land has received the highest protection the law allows.”

In an effort led by Thompson and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, the U.S. House and Senate passed the Northern California wilderness designation by unanimous votes this past summer. The president's signature today marks the final step in making the wilderness and recreation area designations permanent.

“The work put into this wilderness designation is an example of how good policy is made,” said Thompson. “Senators Feinstein and Boxer and I worked with dozens of groups with diverse interests who came together with the single goal of ensuring Northern California's wild places are preserved for generations. I share today's achievement with all who helped to make this victory for wilderness possible.”

“We are grateful for Congressman Thompson and Senators Feinstein and Boxer's hard work and for all the individuals who contributed to this important effort," said Humboldt County Supervisor John Wooley. "This bill not only provides protection to our local wild places, but is also is a formal recognition of how important wilderness preservation is to our society.”

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 designate a Recreation Management Area in Mendocino and Lake Counties for off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes.