Friday, June 29, 2007

National Legislation Protecting Land

A good addition to the existing legislation, which California is at the heart of.

Editorial: Landmark landscape act
Congress should create permanent system
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, June 29, 2007

In 1872, Congress created Yellowstone National Park, the nation's first. As the years passed, Congress kept adding more parks (including Sequoia, Yosemite and Lassen Volcanic national parks in California), but there was no system. Finally, after 44 years, Congress established the national park system, the first in the world.

Today, the situation is similar. Congress and the president over the years have set aside remote, rugged, nationally significant landscapes -- more than 800 individual units. While there has been administrative oversight of those areas, there has been no formal system authorized by Congress to assure their protection.

That's about to change. Congress, with the support of President Bush, is set to act on the National Landscape Conservation System Act (HR 2016 and S 1139).

It's about time. Thirty-seven years ago, Congress created the first of the nation's conservation landscapes -- the King Range National Conservation Area, 35 miles along California's Lost Coast between the mouth of the Mattole River and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park (see ca/st/en/fo/arcata/kingrange/ index.html).

As with the national park system, California is at the heart of the landscape system, aptly called the "hidden treasures of the American West":