Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Congressmen Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), David G. Valadao (CA-21), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Paul Cook (CA-08) to reopen Clear Creek for recreational use.
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Congressmen Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), David G. Valadao (CA-21), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Paul Cook (CA-08) to reopen Clear Creek for recreational use.
H.R. 1913, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act
would direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reopen the 75,000 acre Clear Creak Management Area in San Benito and Fresno counties for public recreational use, including access for off-road vehicles. It would also protect an additional 21,000 acres of BLM land adjacent to Clear Creek as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness.
"Californians have been enjoying Clear Creek for decades and I am excited Republicans and Democrats came together to pass this bipartisan bill through the House today,” said Congressman David Valadao. He continued, “In addition to ensuring the public may access these lands for recreational purposes, the legislation will also preserve our beautiful California landscape for future generations.”
Congressman Valadao first cosponsored the legislation during the 113th Congress, and again in the 114th and 115th Congresses. H.R. 1913 passed with bipartisan support on the Floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 by unanimous consent.
Once considered a premier off-road vehicle recreation site, Clear Creek was temporarily closed in 2008 to the public after an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis laid out the perceived risk created by naturally occurring asbestos. H.R. 1913 instructs the BLM to develop a rigorous plan to minimize the risk from asbestos exposure and educate visitors about the naturally occurring asbestos. The BLM would also be required to develop ways to reduce the impact of off-road vehicles to protect the area’s habitat.
Located next to Clear Creek is Joaquin Rocks, sandstone outcroppings that rise over 4,000 feet from the valley floor. Considered the centerpiece of this remote area, the three scenic monoliths are the eroded remnants of an ancient Vaqueros Sandstone formation.
Due to the cool climate created by the rocks elevation, the formation is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna and several species of wildlife. In addition to falcons, hawks and owls, the cliffs provide a potential nesting habitat for the California condor which was reintroduced in the nearby Gabilan Range.
Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District of California, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.