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McKeon gathers support for passage of public lands bill

Posted: March 18, 2009 7:40 p.m.
Updated: March 18, 2009 5:02 p.m.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. - At a press conference held earlier today in Washington, D.C., Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (CA-25) and three other Members of Congress joined together with hunters and anglers from across the country to support passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (S. 22), which includes McKeon's Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Mountains Wild Heritage Act.

"My district has both the highest and lowest points geographically in the United States," said McKeon. "The land in the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Mountains areas is breathtaking and majestic and I'm glad we have been able to find a way to protect it. This will be the first significant piece of legislation protecting our nation's land in about 30 years and sportsmen were instrumental in making this legislation a reality."

McKeon was joined at the press conference by Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Nick Rahall (WV-3); Chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-7), Shelley Capito (WV-2), and Trout Unlimited President, Steve Moyer.

According to Sam Davidson, California Field Director for Trout Unlimited, the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Mountains Wild Heritage Act would better protect some of California's best public lands fishing and hunting grounds. For this reason, many sportsmen's organizations based or with chapters in California, among them Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, California Trout, the Santa Clarita Casting Club, and the Northern and Southern Councils of the Federation of Fly Fishers, strongly endorse the McKeon-Boxer bill.

Among the fisheries that would be protected under McKeon-Boxer are the upper Owens River (one of the most famous trout fisheries in the West), the headwaters of the West Walker River, and Piru Creek (one of the few designated Wild Trout streams in all of Southern California). Some of the hunting grounds included in the legislation are the X-12 and D-11 deer zones; the X-12 zone harbors trophy mule deer and the D-11 zone provides rugged backcountry hunting for many residents in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The McKeon-Boxer legislation represents a major investment in California's outdoor heritage and our sporting legacy. Many native fish and game species in California are in decline, primarily due to loss of habitat. At the same time, the economies of many rural communities are becoming increasingly dependent on outdoors-based activities such as fishing and hunting.

The omnibus lands bill is expected to be brought to the House floor for a simple majority vote in the next couple of weeks. From there, the bill would be sent to the White House for the President's signature.

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