Protecting Recreation in Northwest California

Fly fishing on the Trinity River in Northern California. Leslie Ajari and her father Bruce Ajari have been fishing together since she was a small child. Photo: Josh Duplechian

On Friday, July 27 Congressman Huffman (CA-2) introduced the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act. Huffman’s proposal aims to permanently protect nearly 350,o00 acres of Wilderness and 450 Wild and Scenic river miles in Mendocino, Trinity, Del Norte and Humboldt counties. The Conservation Alliance has supported efforts to protect Northwest California’s Mountains and Rivers for years, most recently with a grant to grassroots grantee California Wilderness Coalition and through postcard and letter writing.
Northwest California is full of world-class outdoor recreation in the form of hiking and biking, quad-riding, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Congressman Huffman’s bill seeks to increase access to many forms of outdoor recreation in the area as well as lay a foundation to establish more opportunities to enjoy the region’s protected Public Lands. What are these recreation opportunities? Read on to learn more!
Fly Fishing
Fly fishing and river guiding is an important component of the region. Northern California’s steelhead and salmon runs are legendary, but unfortunately these runs are a fraction of what they used to be due to drought, development, dams and water diversions. Congressman Huffman’s bill seeks to protect 450 river miles in Trinity, Humboldt, Del Norte, and Mendocino counties. Click here to learn more.

The Bigfoot Trail
The bill directs the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct a study of feasibility for establishing The Bigfoot National Recreation Trail – a 360 mile trail system navigating through some of the most biodiverse areas within the region. The Big Foot Trail begins in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness and passes by 32 species of conifer trees, snakes through six Wilderness areas, one National Park, and one state park ending near Redwood National and State Parks near Crescent City.

Yolla Bolly Wilderness Photo: Michael Kauffmann

Mountain Biking
The bill directs the USFS to designate the Elk Camp Ridge Recreation Trail in Del Norte County for use by off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes. The Elk Camp Ridge trail is already a popular, yet challenging mountain bike ride that according to TrailForks “provides panoramic views of high mountain peaks, the Pacific Ocean, and the North and Middle Forks of the Smith River”.

Elk Camp Ridge Photo: USFS

According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s recreation economy report, Congressman Huffman’s district – California’s second – is home to at least 134 outdoor companies. Protected Public Land serves as the foundation of these businesses and this proposal would offer ways to sustain this essential component of the region’s economy.
Click here for frequently asked questions and more information about the proposal.