National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill
A massive lands bill introduced today by Senator Jeff Bingaman would, if passed by Congress and signed by the president, designate hundreds of thousands of acres of official wilderness across the National Park System.
If you recall, similar legislation died last month as Congress became preoccupied with the nation's financial meltdown.
The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 introduced by the Democrat from New Mexico would, if enacted, permanently protect more than 2 million acres of America’s wilderness. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the measure would be voted on by the entire Senate this Sunday.
According to The Wilderness Society, this legislation would provide the greatest expansion of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 15 years, and includes 16 wilderness bills from nine states.
Among the national parks that would benefit from this legislation are:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Beaver Basin Wilderness
This legislation would designate more than 11,000 acres of wilderness within the Pictured Rocks
National Lakeshore along Lake Superior. Pictured Rocks features sandstone cliffs, lovely
beaches, waterfalls, and sand dunes all with the spectacular backdrop of Lake Superior.
Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness and Indian Peaks Wilderness Expansion Act
Rocky Mountain National Park provides world-class hiking and climbing, and breathtaking
views of the Rocky Mountains, while also supporting the economies of several gateway
communities. This legislation would protect nearly 250,000 acres of wilderness within the
park, finally implementing a recommendation by the National Park Service made in the
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Act
This bill would designate 90,000 acres of wilderness within Sequoia and Kings Canyon
national parks, and would protect the redwood Mountain Grove, which is the largest stand
of Giant Sequoia trees in the park.
California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act
The legislation proposes to designate more than 190,000 acres of wilderness, including
spectacular desert landscapes in Joshua Tree National Park and the rugged slopes of the
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. The bill would also designate 31 miles of Wild and
Scenic River, providing new recreation opportunities for southern California
Washington County Growth and Conservation Act
This legislation would designate more than 235,000 acres of wilderness in and around Zion
National Park in southern Utah. The legislation would also establish two new national
conservation areas and would create several new wild and scenic rivers. Utah’s scenic
red rock country is a land of stark beauty renowned worldwide. This bill would preserve
important elements of this iconic landscape.