Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Bureau of Land Management Suggests 18 New Conservation Sites
The Obama administration is calling for 18 new wilderness and conservation areas across the West, according to a report issued by the Bureau of Land Management today.
Included on the list is the Beauty Mountain Wilderness Study Area, split between San Diego and Riverside Counties and lying partly in Rep. Darrell Issa’s district. The portion in Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s district was already designated as wilderness in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.
The follow-up Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Act of 2011, if adopted, would more than double the number of acres under conservation. The total site encompasses 15,621 acres and is considered a key migratory path for wildlife.
“From President Theodore Roosevelt's bold steps to establish national parks, wildlife refuges and forests to President Obama signing the 2009 Public Lands bill into law in his first days in office, America has a proud bipartisan tradition of protecting the backcountry that matters most to hunters, fishermen, and our families,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speaking on the new proposed sites. “Building on the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, I am hopeful that these areas can help form a strong foundation for a bipartisan conservation agenda for this Congress.”
The Bureau of Land Management says parks managed by the Department of the Interior draw over 400 million visits annually. Recent non-governmental estimates cited by the Bureau indicate that outdoor recreation provides up to 6.5 million jobs in related industries annually, and is responsible for a nearly $1 trillion economic contribution.
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