I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 2556, the "Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act." This Act designates seven new wilderness areas, encompassing 400,450 acres, within the Los Padres National Forest in California as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, more than doubling the wilderness acreage set aside within the Los Padres National Forest. The Act also designates segments of three rivers within the National Forest, totaling 84 miles, as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
By signing this bill into law, we further the protection of unique and sensitive lands within the National Forest System. Our action here today is important for several reasons:
-- Much of this area includes habitat for the nearly extinct California condor and preservation of this habitat is critical to condor recovery efforts.
-- Nearly half of the Los Padres National Forest is now designated for permanent protection under the Wilderness Act, one of the highest percentages of any national forest in the country.
-- It increases by 10 percent the amount of national forest lands in California that are protected under the Wilderness Act.
-- It protects segments of Sespe Creek and the Sisquoc and Big Sur Rivers as wild, free-flowing rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
-- It provides for wild and scenic river studies on an additional 110 miles of rivers within the National Forest boundary, a few of the only free-flowing streams left in southern California.
Wilderness designation of these areas means that they will be managed to preserve their unique and natural character. By signing this bill into law, we enhance the diversity and beauty of the Nation's lands set aside for the enjoyment of both present and future generations of Americans as part of the National Wilderness Preservation and the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems.
As President I remain deeply committed to preserving our valuable natural resources. Since 1989, my budgets have doubled funding for parks, wildlife, and outdoor recreation and have tripled funds to States under the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Moreover, the length of rivers designated as wild and scenic has increased from 868 to 9,463 miles over the past 20 years. Finally, since 1982, the amount of lands protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System has averaged in excess of 1.5 million acres per year.
The White House,
June 19, 1992.