Tell the Forest Service to approve greater protections for clean drinking water, endangered species, and outdoor recreation activities
In 2005, the Forest Service prepared management plans for the national forest lands in southern California. But unfortunately, the agency failed to recognize the importance of roadless areas in providing wildlife habitat, clean water, and recreation. In fact, the plans allowed for several types of industrial development in our forest’s roadless areas. As a result, ForestWatch, a coalition of wilderness supporters, and the State of California appealed the plans and the ensuing legal victory required the Forest Service reconsider protection of these vital areas.
The Forest Service is currently preparing a document called the Southern California National Forests Land Management Plan Amendment (LMP Amendment) and is soliciting comments from the public. This document will determine the future management of 39 Southern California roadless areas in the four national forests of southern California. On the Los Padres, the agency is proposing to increase protection of the backcountry by rezoning about 300,000 acres of roadless areas as “non-motorized.” These areas are currently zoned for various levels of motorized use and by zoning them “non-motorized” it will expand protections for the many species and habitats found there. It will also safeguard the many other benefits these areas of the forest provide, such as clean drinking water, outdoor recreation opportunities, and scenic vistas to be enjoyed by all.
However, the Forest Service is not recommending any new wilderness areas for the Los Padres National Forest. Not a single acre. To promote more wilderness in the Los Padres, ForestWatch is working with The Los Padres Wild Heritage Campaign (LosPadresWild.org) to pass wilderness and Wild and Scenic River legislation. ForestWatch is asking the Forest Service to work with their campaign to determine which roadless areas can be considered for designation as wilderness, and which rivers and streams can be determined eligible for Wild and Scenic River protection.
The Forest Service is accepting comments on this initial proposal through June 11, 2012. Based on the comments received, forest officials will refine the proposal this summer, and will release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in the fall for public review and additional public comments. The LMP Amendment is scheduled to be finalized sometime in 2013.
Visit the Forest Service LMP Amendment webpage for details and maps.