Protect the Pacific Crest Trail

94 Local Elected Officials, Outdoors Recreation Groups, and Environmental Organizations Call on President Obama to Prevent Development
For Immediate Release

Los Angeles -- Today, Environment California and 94 groups released a letter to President Obama calling for lasting protections for the Pacific Crest Trail from development. The Pacific Crest Trail and other beloved parks in California have been providing California residents with lifelong memories for over 40 years. With groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, California Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, The California State Parks Foundation, The California League of Conservation Voters, The Wilderness Society, as well as mayors, city councilmembers, and county supervisors from across the state, signed on, the letter demonstrates the tremendous value that citizens, outdoors organizations, and local business owners place on California’s public parks and trails.  

“The Pacific Crest Trail and many other parks all across California are where some of our families’ most unforgettable memories are formed — our first hikes, our first time camping, our first encounter with wildlife,” said Sean Carroll, Federal Field Associate with Environment California. “That’s why the Pacific Crest Trail deserves permanent protections from development.” The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the unique, truly Californian landmarks.  Crossing the Mojave Desert, traversing Giant Sequoia groves, passing through Yosemite National Park and beyond, the Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, through twenty five national forests and seven national parks.

The letter urges President Obama to protect the Pacific Crest Trail by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his upcoming budget proposal. The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides our public lands with critical protection from increasing development by giving our Park Service the ability to purchase privately owned land within or surrounding the park that would otherwise be developed and become a threat to the local ecosystem – all without spending a single taxpayer dollar.  

According to a survey by the Pacific Crest Trail Association and US Forest Service, there are over 200 miles spread out across the trail that are privately owned.  Without protection, these segments could be sold off at any time to developers and turned into residential housing, roadways, or other commercial projects forever transforming the identity of the trail.   Currently there is a proposal in the Land and Water Conservation Fund that would protect six wilderness areas that transect the trail. Full and dedicated funding for the LWCF would provide even more protection in the long-term.    

The letter details how Congress’ annual raiding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund has left a legacy of backlogged conservation and recreation needs. Here in California, the Pacific Crest Trail and many other parks are facing increasing threats from developers. To prevent huge developers from threatening California’s environment, President Obama must address the undercutting of our nation’s premier fund for land and water protection. “President Obama has a great opportunity to help ensure that parks like the Pacific Crest Trail are protected by calling for full and dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his upcoming budget proposal. Our parks and future generations are depending on it,” said Carroll.

 

Full letter:

Dear President Obama, The Land and Water Conservation Fund has a proud legacy of protecting some of the most treasured and unique places in California, including Big Sur, Griffith Park, Lake Tahoe, Sequoia National Park and Seal Beach.  These parks, forests, waterways and wildlife refuges are the best of our natural legacy, where many Californians make some of our most cherished memories. 

Yet many of California’s public lands are facing increasing threats from overdevelopment and pollution.   The annual diversion of LWCF funds to non-conservation purposes has left a long legacy of backlogged conservation projects and missed opportunities to safeguard our natural heritage. To prevent overdevelopment and increased pollution from continuing to threaten California’s environment, you must address the underfunding of our nation’s premiere program for land and water protection.

As a far-reaching coalition ranging from hunters and anglers, conservationists, outdoors businesses, and elected leaders, we urge you to protect our most treasured natural areas – places like the Pacific Crest Trail, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the last undeveloped remnants of the San Joaquin Valley. We applaud your recommendation of $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in your FY12 budget.  As an historic step towards providing this country’s parks, forests, waterways and wildlife refuges with the environmental protection they need and deserve, we urge you to call for full, permanent, and dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund in your FY14 budget.

Sincerely,  

The following elected officials:

Councilmember Alexandra Stillman   Arcata

Mayor Bill Kampe   Pacific Grove

Mayor Bruce Delgado    Marina

Councilmember Dan Kalb   Oakland

Councilmember Darryl More    Berkeley

Assemblymember Das Williams    Santa Barbara

Mayor Dave Turner    Fort Bragg

Supervisor David Campos    San Francisco County

Supervisor David Chiu    San Francisco County

Councilmember David J. Terrazas    Santa Cruz

Councilmember David Weinsoff    Fairfax

Councilmember Dennis Norton    Capitola

Councilmember Don Lane    Santa Cruz

Mayor Pro Tem Eric Lucan    Novato

Senator Fran Pavley    Santa Monica

Councilmember Gail Morton    Marina

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson    Santa Barbara

Mayor Pro Tem Ian Oglesby    Seaside

Councilmember Jake Ours    Santa Rosa

Mayor Jason Burnett    Carmel-by-the-Sea

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin    Berkeley

Senator Jim Beall    Campbell

Supervisor John Avalos    San Francisco County

Councilmember Jose Castaneda    Salinas

Councilmember Jyl Lutes    Salinas

Assemblymember Kevin Mullin    San Mateo

Councilmember Kriss Worthington    Berkeley

Councilmember Len Rifkind    Larkspur

Councilmember Libby Schaff    Berkeley

Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney    Oakland

Senator Mark Leno    San Francisco

Senator Marty Block    San Diego

Vice Mayor Meg Courtney    Fort Bragg

Councilmember Micah Posner    Santa Cruz

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner    Berkeley

Councilmember Noel Gallo    Oakland

Mayor Pedro Gonzalez    South San Francisco

Mayor Protempore Robert Huitt    Pacific Grove

Assmeblymember Roger Dickinson    Sacramento

Vice Mayor Sam Storey    Capitola

Supervisor Scott Wiener    San Francisco County

Councilmember Stephany Aguilar    Scotts Valley

Councilmember Susan Wengraf    Berkeley

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano    San Francisco

Assemblymember, Majority Leader Toni Atkins    San Diego

Councilmember Tony Barrera    Salinas

Councilmember Victoria Beach    Carmel-by-the-Sea

And the following organizations:

Burbank Green Alliance

California League of Conservation Voters

California Native Plant Society

California State Parks Foundation

California Wilderness Coalition

Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers

Defenders of Wildlife

Forests Forever

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Friends of the River

Green LA Coalition

Mendocino Area Parks Association

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Mendocino Coast Cyclists

Mono Lake Committee

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz

Mountain Restoration Trust

NRDC

Ocean Conservancy Society

Pacific Forest Trust

Pasadena Foothills Citizens Climate Lobby

Pasadena Hiking Pacers

Planning & Conservation League

Ponoma Valley Audobon Society

Redwood Coast Land Conservancy

Redwood Unit, Backcountry Horsemen of California

ReLeaf

Salmon Protection and Restoration Network

San Francisco Naturalist Society

Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project

Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Living

Save the Frogs!

Sierra Pacific Flyfisheries

Smith River Alliance

Southwest Council - International Federation of Fly Fishers

Students for the Bernard Field Station Students Promoting Environmental Action and Responsibility

Surfrider

The Conservation Fund

The Trust for Public Land

The Wilderness Society

Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants

Transition Santa Cruz

Tuleyome

Ventana Wilderness Alliance

Ventana Wildlife Society

Wholly H2O

Wilder Utopia