Richard Nixon photo

Statement on Signing Bill Designating the Ventana Wilderness, California

August 19, 1969

I HAVE approved S. 714, which designates 98,000 acres in the Los Padres National Forest in the State of California as the Ventana Wilderness.

The Wilderness Act of September 3, 1964, declared it to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness, and for that purpose the act established a National Wilderness Preservation System. I wholeheartedly endorse this concept.

Wilderness, unspoiled by man, is deeply rooted in American history and tradition. In the past, our task was to conquer it. Today we must struggle to preserve remaining wilderness areas that still offer the rewards of solitude and unmarred natural grandeur. The steps that have been taken over the years to preserve wilderness areas are a monument to Americans with vision and an awareness of Americans' deepest needs.

Today we take another important step along this historic path with the approval of the Ventana Wilderness, and I am particularly gratified that this addition to the Wilderness System under my administration involves a wilderness area fight here in California.

Encompassing 98,000 acres, the Ventana Wilderness contains superb mountain scenery and unusual species of wild animals and trees, including the bristlecone or Santa Lucia fir which grows only here in the Santa Lucia Mountains. It offers a striking and unspoiled setting for hikers, horseback riders, and the trout fisherman, in an area located near large centers of population.

The Congress still has many other wilderness proposals under consideration. I hope that I will have the opportunity to approve a number of these in the coming months so that our wilderness preservation system may continue to grow and pay dividends, intangible but nevertheless real, for countless years ahead.

Note: As enacted, the bill (S. 714), approved on August 18, 1969, is Public Law 91-58 (83 Stat. 101).

The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing Bill Designating the Ventana Wilderness, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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