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Spring 2008

Blue Ridge Designation Renewed

In light of the recent opposition to the Blue Ridge Berryessa National Conservation Area (BRB NCA), the Woodland based environmental group, Tuleyome, has elected not to include private lands in their proposed designation. The NCA designation would have encompassed over 800,000 acres of public and privately owned land in Colusa, Yolo, Solano, Lake and Napa Counties. Tuleyome’s campaign to gain support for the designation was not met with open arms. Instead, local agricultural based groups and local governments decided to oppose the designation because of the negative impacts to private landowners.

In mid-March, the Solano County Daily Republic ran an article titled, Idea of Blue Ridge-Berryessa conservation area draws mixed reactions. In this article Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan was quoted saying, “there’s always strings to such programs. Perhaps there would be restrictions for towers on the Blue Ridge to provide wireless coverage.”

“‘They get their nose in the tent and the other environmental groups start imposing more restrictions as you go,’” Reagan said.

“’Lake Solano Regional Park and the ridgelines are already being preserved, Reagan said. And Solano County can already apply for state and federal grants,’” he added. ‘We don’t need their help,’ he said.

Colusa County Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution in opposition of the designation in March, stating “a Federal Land Designation may over time have a negative impact on private landowner’s ability to utilize their property…an 800,000 acre conservation area with a one-size fit all regulation is contrary to the concept of local government Home Rule.”

In addition, even the revised designation that attempts to
address landowner concerns still has the potential to have negative impacts on neighboring landowners. Proponents of the designation state that not including private lands “is a missed opportunity”. The new designation that Tuleyome is campaigning for will be renamed the Blue Ridge Snow Mountain National Conservation Area.

The proponents of the designation claim that this will allow for Congress to deem this particular region a “region of interest” and therefore create a management plan for the public lands. The management plan may help state and federal agencies better coordinate their land management practices, but neighboring landowners may also have additional restrictions placed on them.

Turning control of a region over to the federal government is sure to be a disaster. Private landowners have preserved this region for over one hundred years and have proved themselves to be good stewards of the land. ■


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