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Obama Signs Major Land Conservation Law that Closes Land to OHV Use

Federally designated Wilderness Areas do not allow any vehicle access.

The BLM land designations include wilderness areas in California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah; four new national conservation areas in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; one new national monument in New Mexico
The legislation, cleared for the president’s signature after passage by the U.S. House on a 285-140 vote last week, also codifies the BLM’s administratively created National Landscape Conservation System, which consists of 850 federally recognized areas covering 27 million acres of BLM-managed land.
In California, the act designates more than 34,000 acres of BLM-managed land as the Granite Mountain Wilderness in the Eastern Sierra and another 23,000 acres to expand the White Mountain Wilderness administered in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service. BLM and the U.S. Forest Service are also authorized to transfer jurisdiction in this area to consolidate and improve management.
The act also designates 26 miles of the Amargosa River, often called the “Crown Jewel of the Mojave Desert,” as a wild and scenic river. The Amargosa is the only free-flowing river in the Death Valley region of the Mojave, providing a rare and lush riparian area in the desert.
In Riverside County, the bill designates approximately 84,000 acres of BLM-managed lands as wilderness including two new wilderness areas, Beauty Mountain and Pinto Mountain, as well as additions to five areas previously designated by Congress. The bill also directs approximately 66 acres of BLM-managed land be taken into trust for the Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria.

Other News Articles on the Omnibus Bill:
“Obama Signs Major Land Conservation Law” (Washington Post, 3/30/09)”President Obama signed a massive lands package into law today, protecting more than two million acres as wilderness and creating a new national system to conserve land held by the Bureau of Land Management. The measure, a collection of 170 different bills that represents the most significant wilderness law in at least 15 years…” “President signs legislation that enhances protection for public lands in California” (BLM-California news release, 3/30/09)BLM-managed lands detailed in the measure include more than 34,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra designated as the Granite Mountain Wilderness, 23,000 additional acres in the White Mountain Wilderness managed with the U.S. Forest Service, 26 miles of the Amargosa River designated as wild and scenic, and 84,000 acres in Riverside County now designated as wilderness. “Remarks of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the signing of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009” (Department of the Interior news release, 3/30/09) “Federal bill expands Riverside County wilderness areas” (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/30/09)”President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law legislation protecting 190,000 acres across Riverside County as designated wilderness areas.”

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