SacBee.com - Full Article
February 28, 2018 05:00 AM
BY LIZ BERGERON
Special to The Sacramento Bee
Hiking in the Sierra Nevada, arguably the West’s greatest mountain range, is a California birthright. It’s also the birthright of every American. When you walk along the crest of these majestic mountains, you likely are traveling on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile path for hikers and horseback riders that provides access to acres of public land in California, Oregon and Washington.
In 1968, a bipartisan Congress passed the National Trails System Act, creating the National Trails System and designating the Pacific Crest and Appalachian trails as the first two national scenic trails. Four years earlier, the Wilderness Act sought to preserve the country’s best landscapes from mechanization and development. Today there are 11 national scenic trails, 19 national historic trails and 109 million acres of protected wilderness.
This is our American legacy.
There is a looming threat to these protections. A fringe group of mountain bikers selfishly hopes to renegotiate the high standard enshrined in the Wilderness Act. H.R. 1349, a bill by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, seeks to open wilderness trails to mechanized travel under the guise of fair access to public lands...
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