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Sen. Boxer introduces Northern California conservation bill

July 11, 2012 |  6:10 pm

The Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)  introduced legislation Wednesday that designates the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a National Conservation Area, protecting 319,000 acres of federal lands along the inner coast range that is home to some of the most biologically diverse landscape in the state.

The area in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Yolo counties ranges from unspoiled rivers and rolling oak woodlands that begin near the town of Winters to the craggy 7,000-foot peak of Snow Mountain in the Mendocino National Forest, 100 miles to the north.

The area is a popular launch point for outdoor pursuits including hiking, mountain biking and rafting. The conservation designation does not preclude recreation but would allow federal agencies to prepare a single management plan. 

“The Berryessa Snow Mountain region is one of California’s treasures, and this bill will help ensure that it is protected for future generations to enjoy," Boxer said in a statement. "The designation of a new National Conservation Area will not only help preserve the region’s natural resources; it will also promote tourism and create jobs in local communities.”

The legislation is a companion bill to legislation introduced in May by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) and John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove). The bill would designate a new National Conservation Area across 319,000 acres of existing federal lands.

-- Julie Cart

Photo: Hikers make their way along the Cold Canyon-Blue Ridge Loop Trail in the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve in 2010, part of a proposed conservation area made up of a diverse half-million-acre swath of land between the Bay Area and Sacramento. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times