President Signs Public Lands Legislation

#1
The Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act is a package of bipartisan public lands-related bills that passed the House or Senate in the previous Congress. It includes critical lands legislation Rep. Cook introduced in the last Congress, including the Santa Ana Wash Land Exchange Act and the California Desert Protection and Recreation Act (previously known as the California Off-road Recreation and Conservation Act).


The Santa Ana Land Wash and Exchange Act authorizes a land exchange in San Bernardino County, which will boost the economy, provide increased water storage, and protect critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.


The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act is the culmination of over five years of work in Congress by Rep. Cook, as well as over a decade of work by supporters on the ground. This landmark legislation creates the first national system of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation areas and designates or expands six Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Areas in the California desert. These are Johnson Valley, Spangler Hills, El Mirage, Rasor, Dumont Dunes, and Stoddard Valley. This bill creates additional protections for OHV users and ensures that these areas cannot be closed by a future administration. The established or expanded OHV areas would total approximately 200,580 acres. Combined with the nearly 100,000 acres that make up the existing Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area, this bill will ensure that over 300,000 acres are open permanently for OHV use in the California Desert.


This legislation also designates approximately 18,000 acres of existing federal land as the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area. This restricts large-scale projects such as renewable energy generation, while preserving all existing recreational and commercial uses of the Alabama Hills. Activities such as filming, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, and authorized motorized vehicle use are unaffected.


The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act adds approximately 39,000 acres of land to the National Park System, including significant acreage at both Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. For Joshua Tree, it adds approximately 4,500 acres of land to the north of Joshua Tree National Park to the park and authorizes the park to acquire the Joshua Tree Visitor Center near the main entrance, while Death Valley National Park will expand by approximately 35,000 acres.


It also creates permanent wilderness areas on 375,500 acres of federal land in the California Desert, most of which are currently designated as “wilderness study areas,” while releasing approximately 124,000 acres of other wilderness study areas back to general use in the Cady Mountains and Soda Mountains regions.


This bill designates or expands approximately 77 miles of wild, scenic, and recreational rivers in the San Bernardino Mountains and near Death Valley. It prohibits the development of renewable energy generation facilities on approximately 28,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land near “Juniper Flats” outside of Lucerne Valley and conveys 934 acres of BLM land to the State of California to be included in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It also directs the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate with the California State Lands Commission on land swaps involving state school lands within the California Desert Conservation Area and establishes a Desert Tortoise Conservation Center along the California-Nevada border.
https://cook.house.gov/media-center...FePYk86KvAJeOWa7XpMYSfwE2GVEAygbY0C66-tDgcqTM
 

Doug

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#5
That’s my congressman! Great guy. It was dead under Obama when he signed his own declarations and created some national monuments in the area.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#6
That’s my congressman! Great guy. It was dead under Obama when he signed his own declarations and created some national monuments in the area.
Seems like this was a real bipartisan effort which is refreshing.

I’ve heard some Utah folks claim this was not a win for them, not sure why.
 

Doug

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#7
Seems like this was a real bipartisan effort which is refreshing.

I’ve heard some Utah folks claim this was not a win for them, not sure why.
The last map I saw designated some additional wilderness (non-motorized) lands, freed up some previous wilderness areas, and designated some specific large OHV use areas. What I’ve been working with him and the enviros on is u drrstanding thr difference between OHV use and otherwise non-intensive vehicle use like we do.
 
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