North San Diego Wild Heritage Campaign
Rep. Issa Reintroduces Wilderness Bill for San Diego Area (Action Alert: Thank Rep Issa for Introducing H.R. 41)
In the first week of 2011, Representative Darrell Issa reintroduced his Beauty Mountian and Agua Tibia Wilderness Act. The bill, H.R. 41, proposes to add 13,635 acres and 7,796 acres respectively to the Beauty Mountian and Agua Tibia Wilderness areas in northern San Diego County. The bill builds on legislative protection for these unique areas secured by Rep. Mary Bono-Mack in 2009. The proposed wilderness expansion protects important habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife, and provides outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities for local residents. For a copy of H.R. 41 click here. Take action now and thank Rep. Issa for introducing H.R. 41!
Friends of the River and its conservation allies hailed introduction of H.R. 41, regarding it as important step towards comprehensive protection of fast disappearing wild places in this rapidly developing county. They promised to work with Rep. Issa to protect additional Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in his district. For a copy of the North San Diego Wild Heritage Campaign media release click here.
Friends of the River is an active member of the North San Diego Wild Heritage Campaign. Made up of a number of conservation organizations, this campaign focuses on protecting wild rivers and wilderness on public lands in the 49gth congressional district encompassing northern San Diego County and southwestern Riverside County (including the communities of Temecula, Fallbrook, Vista, Oceanside, and Escondido). The focus of Friends of the River in the campaign is the protection of several potential Wild & Scenic Rivers, including San Mateo Creek, Santa Margarita River, San Luis Rey River, and the upper San Diego River Gorge. The campaign is also working to protect new wilderness and wilderness additions in the region.
Areas Included in H.R. 41:
Agua Tibia Proposed Wilderness Additions: The 7,796-acre proposed additions are recommended by the Forest Service for wilderness designation. The region is characterized by deep canyons cloaked primarily in coastal sage scrub habitat. Here and there in deep pockets, north-facing slopes and other sheltered places small groves of old-growth forest endure the hot, dry summers. Willow, cottonwood and other hardwoods grow along the larger streams and provide a cool refuge for wildlife. The rugged Cutca Trail traverses the area from east to west.
Beauty Mountain Proposed Wilderness: Rep. Issa has 13,635 acres of the proposed wilderness in his district. As its name implies, Beauty Mountain is a scenic jewel draped in chaparral, fascinating rock formations and oak woodlands. The area is a transition zone between Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the east and the endangered coastal sage scrub of the Coast Range to the west. The California Riding and Hiking Trail crosses the area. On warm spring days, visitors are greeted with the heady scents of sage, manzanita, and California lilac while hill after misty hill rises in the distance, presenting an unbroken view of wild country.
Areas and Rivers That Could Be Included in H.R. 41:
Barker Valley Potential Wilderness: This roughly 11,900-acre roadless area is described by the Cleveland National Forest “as perhaps the most solated non-wilderness area in San Diego County.” Its rugged, chaparral covered hills are interspersed with oak-studded valleys that provide a great haven for wildlife like the rare Laguna Mountains skipper butterfly. The Barker Valley Spur Trail provides access to the area and to the West Fork San Luis Rey River a proposed Wild & Scenic River (WSR).
West Fork San Luis Rey WSR: (open a pdf map) The Forest Service identified more than 5 miles of the West Fork San Luis Rey River in the Barker Valley as an eligible WSR. The river tumbles over scenic waterfalls and into deep pools, which make for a popular destination for day hikers and backpackers in the spring and early summer. The West Fork supports a land-locked population of unique Santo Domingo Trout, which formerly migrated in from the ocean to spawn. The only other remaining population of this trout is found in Baja California. The river also supports significant populations of arroyo chub (a native fish), the endangered arroyo toad, and sensitive southwestern pond turtle. Click here to learn more by opening a one page informational sheet (pdf).
Caliente Potential Wilderness: This roughly 10,000-acre area on the western boundary of the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park contains a six mile stretch of the popular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The area is noted for its interesting rock formations and seasonal springs that serve as a critical water source for wildlife and for hikers and equestrians using the Pacific Crest Trail. Caliente is also the headwaters of the San Luis Rey River, a very important source of drinking water for downstream communities.
San Luis Rey WSR: (open a pdf map) The Forest Service identified 3.4 miles of the main stem of the San Luis Rey River downstream of Henshaw Dam was an eligible WSR. The river and its lush woodlands provide the backdrop to one of the most scenic segments of Highway 76 in San Diego County. A Forest Service Picnic Area on the river is a popular stop for highway travelers. Located nearby, San Diego County’s Camp Fox Outdoor School introduces thousands of children to the outdoors and the wonders of the river. Flow releases from Henshaw Reservoir into the San Luis Rey River support a rich riparian forest, which is home to the largest population of endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (a songbird) in California. This population is of statewide significance. The woodlands also support endangered least Bell’s vireo (another songbird) and the threatened southern bald eagle. Click here to learn more by opening a one page informational sheet (pdf).
San Diego River Proposed Wilderness/WSR: (open a pdf map) Approximately 2,400 acres of this area and nearly 8 miles of the river is in Rep. Issa's district. The canyon’s distinctive scenery is enhanced by steep slopes and spectacular waterfalls. Hikers and local residents frequent the canyon rim to take in the wild vista, but visitors who wish to explore this wild area up close will be challenged by the rocky and trail-less gorge. Identified by the Forest Service as an area of high ecological significance, the river’s diverse riparian and coastal sage habitat is home to the endangered arroyo toad, endangered California gnatcatcher, sensitive southwestern pond turtle, Coast Range newt, two-striped garter snake, yellow warbler, rosy boa, coast horned lizards, and orange-throated whiptails. Click here to learn more by opening a one page informational sheet (pdf).
San Felipe Hills Potential Wilderness: This compact little 5,300-acre mountain range northeast of Julian is managed by the BLM and it includes over six miles of the popular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The potential wilderness borders the western side of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and it is a fascinating transition zone between the desert floor and the oak and chaparral high country of western San Diego County.
San Ysidro Mountain Potential Wilderness: This 2,125-acre wild land consists of the 6,020-foot peak of San Ysidro Mountain and its rocky, chaparral-covered southern flanks. Seasonal streams in the area can hold water late into the summer, thus making them an oasis for wildlife. The sensitive loggerhead shrike and two rare flowers call the mountain home. The potential wilderness adjoins the western boundary of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Santa Margarita River Potential WSR: (open a pdf map) One of the few remaining free flowing rivers in southern California, this scenic river canyon is adjacent to the growing community of Fallbrook. Featured in Sunset Magazine, a popular system of trails on the Fallbrook Public Utility District lands along the river provide outstanding opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The California State University San Diego Reserve on the river facilitates important scientific research and offers educational tours for the public. Approximately 10 miles of the river, encompassing the CSUSD Reserve, Fallbrook PUD lands, and assorted state and federal lands, make an ideal WSR candidate. One of 15 essential landscape linkages in southern California, the Santa Margarita River provides the only undeveloped and remaining ecological linkage between the Santa Ana Mountains to the north and the San Diego Ranges to the south. The river’s extensive riparian habitat is home to a large population of least Bell’s vireo (an endangered songbird), and numerous other sensitive, threatened, and endangered species, as well two rare plants. Click here to learn more by opening a one page informational sheet (pdf).
San Mateo Creek and Devil Canyon Potential WSR: (open a pdf map) The Forest Service identified 12 miles of San Mateo Creek in the existing San Mateo Wilderness as an eligible WSR. Tenaja Falls on San Mateo Creek is a popular day hike destination, while the San Mateo Creek Trail provides access to remote and rugged segments of the creek and wilderness. San Mateo Creek is one of the most pristine coastal streams south of the Santa Monica Mountains. It supports the southern-most population of endangered steelhead trout in California. It’s 6-mile long tributary, Devil Canyon, supports three rare plants. Click here to learn more by opening a one page informational sheet (pdf).
Right click on the picture then select "Save As." 1. Agua Tibia and 2. & 3. Beauty Mountain