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FOR Logo Friends of the River
 The voice of California's rivers

Eastern Sierra, San Gabriel, and Mojave
Rivers Move Toward Protection

Piru Creek kids 230
A local Boys & Girls Club enjoys a hike along Piru Creek.
Wild rivers in the San Gabriel Mountains and Eastern Sierra took a huge step toward preservation May 22. The bipartisan Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act was introduced as companion House and Senate bills sponsored by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

The legislation proposes to protect more than 52 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers and nearly 476,000 acres of Wilderness, including some of the most spectacular scenery in the West.

The Amargosa River south of Death Valley, the Owens River Headwaters in the Eastern Sierra, and Piru Creek north of Los Angeles would gain Wild & Scenic protection. The Owens River Headwaters flows into one of the most popular wild trout streams in the West. Piru Creek is one of only three year-round coldwater trout streams in Southern California. The Amargosa is a rare free-flowing desert river that supports many rare and endangered wildlife species.

Amargosa Wild & Scenic River 26.3 miles
Location: Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, Bureau of Land Management The Amargosa River is a stunning oasis in the surrounding desert landscape of the northern Mojave Desert. The only river flowing into Death Valley, it sustains biologically rich wetlands and riparian forests as it makes its way through ancient, rugged canyons. The Amaragosa supports more than 280 bird species, including several that are threatened and endangered.

Owens Headwaters Wild & Scenic Rivers 19.1 miles
Location: Mono County, Inyo National Forest
The Owens River headwaters, including Glass Creek, Deadman Creek, and Big Springs, support one of America’s finest and most popular trout fisheries. Found eligible for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic River system by the Inyo National Forest, Wild & Scenic protection of the public lands along the Upper Owens River would tremendously enhance the Eastern Sierra fishing economy.

Piru Creek Wild & Scenic River 7.25 miles
Location: Los Angeles County, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests
Located northwest of Castaic, Piru Creek is one of the few year-round catch and release trout fishing streams in southern California. With easy access from Interstate 5, the creek is a popular recreational destination for family picnics and summertime wading. High winter and spring flows offer one of the most spectacular class IV wilderness kayak runs in the west. Piru Creek provides habitat for numerous threatened and endangered wildlife species, including arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, least Bell’s vireo, southwestern willow fly-catcher, California condor and southern steelhead.

White Mountains Wilderness 223,517 acres
Location: Mono County, Inyo National Forest
The White Mountains are America’s largest and highest desert mountain range. They contain the largest expanse of alpine tundra in western North America, the highest peak in the Great Basin, and the second largest unprotected roadless area in the lower 48 states. The Whites are home to the world’s oldest living trees, the ancient bristlecone pines, which live to almost 5,000 years. With its large size and tremendous diversity of unique and beautiful habitats, the Whites are world-renowned for scientific research and are home to desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and other mountain and desert wildlife and plants.

Hoover Wilderness Additions 76,982 acres
Location: Mono County, Humboldt-Toiyabe and Inyo National Forests
The Hoover Wilderness Additions represent a classic High Sierra landscape of deeply carved glacial valleys dotted with tranquil alpine lakes and forests of lodgepole pine. The northern Hoover Additions (“west” and “east”), which includes 12 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and the headwaters of the West Walker River, is a popular recreation destination for hikers, anglers, hunters and equestrians.  The southern portion, consisting mostly of a high plateau rising above the west shore of Mono Lake, is home to a reintroduced population of the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. 

Granite Mountain Wilderness 35,564 acres
Location: Mono County, Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office
East of Mono Lake, Granite Mountain is a geologically varied landscape of open alluvial basins, basaltic plateaus and granite ridges. Its Great Basin sagebrush steppe habitat is currently underrepresented in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The area contains sage grouse, deer migration corridors, abundant raptor nesting sites and wild horses.

Owens River Headwaters Wilderness 15,247 acres
Location: Mono County, Inyo National Forest
Over 100 seeps and springs form the headwaters of the Owens River just east of the San Joaquin ridge between Mammoth and June Lakes. This area is the Eastern Sierra’s most important river system and a popular wild trout fishery. The area contains exceptionally diverse and unique habitats including the largest subalpine meadow in the central Eastern Sierra (Glass Creek Meadow), the region’s largest old growth red fir forest, and habitat for many sensitive and rare plant and animal species.

John Muir Wilderness Additions 80,112 acres
Location: Mono and Inyo Counties, Inyo National Forest
These additions would move the current wilderness boundary down from the crest to include more of the steep Eastern Sierra scarp. The boundary adjustments would protect the unparalleled viewshed, transitional lower elevation habitat and trout-bearing streams which flow down into the Owens Valley while maintaining access to popular car camping, hunting and fishing sites.

Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness 28,424 acres
Location: Los Angeles County, Angeles National Forest
This spectacular area is located south of the desert communities of Palmdale/Lancaster on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains. The area features 8,200-foot Mt. Williamson and other dramatic peaks, the headwaters of Little Rock Creek, and some of the most magnificent and remote ridge and canyon country in southern California. The Pacific Crest Trail and other popular trails access the area, which offers opportunities for fishing, rock climbing, class IV kayaking, and snowshoeing. It is home to bighorn sheep and the mountain yellow-legged frog, old-growth pines, and Joshua trees.

Magic Mountain Wilderness 13,709 acres
Location: Los Angeles County, Angeles National Forest
A scenic backdrop to the Santa Clarita Valley, Magic Mountain’s chaparral covered hillsides and live oak canyons drain into the Santa Clara River. Visitors enjoy the spectacular view from the summit of Magic Mountain, and hikers and equestrians can journey from the mountain’s summit down to the river. An important habitat link with mountain ranges to the north and west, Magic Mountain is frequently visited by California condors and also provides habitat for black bear, mountain lion, bobcat and deer.

Download the PDF version of this press release.

Download our Eastern Sierra slideshow presentation (928KB PDF).

If you wish to express your support for this important legislation, please call or write The Honorable Congressman “Buck” McKeon at:

The Santa Clarita Office
26650 The Old Road, Suite 203
Santa Clarita, CA 91381
(661) 254-2111

For additional information, contact FOR campaign organizer Carolin Atchinson at (661) 607-8033 or


McKeon Bill Big Springs fishing
Angler on the Owens River headwaters
Photo by John Dittli

Say "thank you" to Rep. McKeon and Sen. Boxer -- and urge them to get this bill enacted.




Magic Mountain condor 200
Condor at Magic Mountain

Glass Creek meadow by John Dittli 200
Glass Creek meadow
Photo by John Dittli


Piru Creek kayaker by Gary Valle 200
Kayak on Piru Creek
Photo by Gary Valle


Amargosa River falls 200
Falls on the Amargosa River

Piru Creek 200
Piru Creek

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