Colorado Representative Diana Degette is sponsoring the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, also known as the PAW Act. This proposed legislation includes designating 1.3 million acres of land as Wilderness and over 1,000 miles of river as Wild and Scenic. Many of the areas being proposed are currently designated as wilderness study areas or areas with wilderness characteristics. This bill would officially designate them as Wilderness, resulting in lost access forever. Within the bill there are 6 acts that will affect substantial areas in Colorado, California, and Washington: Colorado Wilderness Act, Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protections Act, Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
It is through designation of vast acreages of wilderness that the 30×30 Initiative will be implemented, and we must work together to stop the lock up of our lands, natural resources and recreation areas. This legislation has already passed the House of Representatives, and the Senate tried to sneak it into the NDAA back in December of 2021. This bill will greatly hinder recreation access across the western United States and we need everyone to contact their representatives to oppose this bill.
Review our Full Briefing of the Legislation
Colorado Wilderness Act:
Northwest California Wilderness:
In California the proposal will Create restoration areas in South Fork Trinity River, Mad River, and North Fork Eel. the bill designates the Horse Mountain Special Management Area, expands current Wilderness, and designates 8 new Wilderness areas in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties. In addition to all the restrictive wilderness designations, the bill also establishes the Sanhedrin Conservation Management Area and proposes many new non-motorized trails around areas such as Trinity Lake and Elk Camp Ridge.
Central Coast Heritage Protection Act:
This portion of the bill will designate nearly 250,000 acres of public land as Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument.
San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protections Act:
The bill will expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, establish a National Recreation Area (NRA) along the foothills and San Gabriel River corridor, this includes Azusa Canyon which is a popular OHV area in Southern California. While National Recreation Areas sometimes result in managed opportunities for motorized recreation, these areas often also tend to be managed like National Parks and wilderness areas over time.
Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act:
Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act:
In the map above you can see the areas in purple that would be designated as wilderness under the PAW act. There are numerous roads and trails that cross through these areas. It is worth noting that the area in beige is a National Park, and the bright green areas are already designated wilderness. The vast majority of this landscape is already managed under very restrictive designations. The inclusion of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers is one more reason this bill should be opposed by those who enjoy recreating in and utilizing public land.
You can read more about the PAW act here and the text of the bill here.
Hello, Please consider voting to keep public lands public by not adding more wilderness area.
I vehemently oppose 30×30 initiative. Too many us we groups are locked out of too much land as it is.
Sorry this wilderness does not have wilderness characteristics! It has roads and people are using them! Stop closing down OUR forests so that WE may not use them…..This is a never ending action to close the public out of OUR forests….STOP NOW!
The people need access to enjoy the natural resources of this great country . To enjoy nature.
Please oppose the paws act. Though wilderness areas are important, there is still a need for recreational access to wild areas. These open areas allow people to experience the wild in its depth and grow conservation minded people. Motorcycle, mountainbike, camping, snowmobile, and road access are an important to the overall wilderness experience.
Please oppose locking up areas that show remain open for public access. Leave roads open do we have access with our 4×4 vehicles.
I would like to see this area stay open. I ride adventure motorcycles, and use back roads a lot. I’m able to see so much more of Colorado, and surrounding states . I feel management not closing is important. I hope you will oppose this.
I for one have physical disabilities, that prevent me from being able to access most of this land without motorized assistance. This action will prevent the access to “my” public lands for myself and all whom are in my situation. Are you going to take away my enjoyment of exploring these lands because I am unable to hike or mountain bike in?
Closing is not the solution, managing and providing access that allows the use without damaging the area would be a better solution.
Please oppose the PAWS act. There is already too much restriction of public land by the federal government. We, the public, own the land and should have access. The United States cannot afford to lock up more land and resources to the extremely limited use of designated wilderness. Vote NO on PAWS.