Wilderness Meetings Set For Inyo County

With the Wilderness bill recently proposed by Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Buck McKeon headed to Washington to possibly become the law, some 430,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra are slated to become legislated wilderness.

In Independence on Tuesday, the Inyo Supervisors approved sending a letter to Congressman McKeon, along with Senators Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, which lays bare Inyo Countys concerns with this proposed bill.

Of the 430,000 acres of proposed wilderness in this bill, the majority actually lies in Mono County. 60,700 acres would be added to the John Muir Wilderness in Inyo County, in many places taking the wilderness boundary to the base of the Sierra in the Owens Valley. 369,889 acres are slated for wilderness designation in Mono County.

The Inyo Supervisors oppose the wilderness bill. The reasons cited for the opposition include a lack of defensible boundaries between non motorized and motorized recreational users that could lead to conflict, impacts to mining and agriculture, along with concerns that more acreage in the Eastern Sierra will become wilderness in the future.

Proponents of the wilderness bill say that nothing is yet finalized and there is still time for public input. The Inyo Supervisors have scheduled two public meetings on this wilderness bill. Representatives from Buck McKeon’s Office, along with staff from Senators Boxer and Feinstein are expected to attend.

The first meeting is slated for Tuesday June 24th at 4:00 in the Legion Hall in Independence. The second meeting is scheduled for the day after, Wednesday June 25 in the Charles Brown Auditorium at the Fairgrounds in Bishop.

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