Event celebrates wilderness bill



Ryan Henson, policy director of the California Wilderness Coalition, said 98 people attended Thompson's Sunday event at Saintsbury Winery in Napa.

"Everyone seemed to be having a good time," he said of the bill's celebration event.

The bill permanently protects 275,830 acres of wilderness in Congressional District 1, including the Cedar Roughs, King Range, Trinity Alps and Yolla Bollys, according to information from Victoria Brandon, chair of the Sierra Club Lake Group. Brandon also noted that Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein helped make the bill – which Brandon called a “stupendous victory” – possible through their support.

Here in Lake County, Henson said, 51,671 acres are protected now thanks to the bill, including 27,000 in the Cache Creek area, 23,000 in Snow Mountain, and smaller portions from the Sanhedrin and Yuki wilderness areas (most of which are located in Mendocino County).

Explaining the bill's significance, Henson said, “What it means is that places that are wild today can remain wild for the future.”

The bill offers the best protection for wilderness available under American law, Henson said. The wilderness areas, he said, can be both managed and preserved under the legislation.

Although the hard work of getting the bill passed is over, Henson said there is still work to be done in implementing the bill.

That includes changing maps and posting signs, he said, a process that can sometimes take years.

In addition, he said, there is the business of "restoration," including removing barbed wire fences in some of the recently designated wilderness areas.

"We've offered to help the agencies with whatever they need," he said.

Henson said he's eager to help in the on-the-ground implementation of restoration and signage, which he anticipates will be very rewarding work.

The coalition already has offers from many people interested in volunteering for work in the protected areas, he said.

If the government agencies involved with the wilderness area take them up on their offer to help, Henson said the coalition may work to arrange volunteer work days.

Those interested in being involved in future efforts can contact the coalition, telephone (510) 451-1450, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.calwild.org.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..