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Northern California District
Release Date: 01/13/11
Contacts: Jeff Fontana , 530-252-5332  
News Release No. CA-N-11-19

BLM Finalizes Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness Designation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that the Elkhorn Ridge Potential Wilderness Area in Mendocino County, California, has officially been added to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

“We are excited that this unique and beautiful area will now receive permanent protection as wilderness,” said Lynda Roush, manager of the BLM Arcata Field Office.  “This designation is the result of hard work by many local partners and the strong support of Congressman Mike Thompson.”

Congressman Thompson added, “The official designation for Elkhorn Ridge makes certain this very special place will be enjoyed by future generations.  The area is rich in wildlife and aquatic species, diverse forestland, chaparral habitat and many areas of undisturbed ancient forest.  I am please the area is permanently protected.”

The area was designated as a potential wilderness area by the 2006 Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act.  This interim designation provided time for the BLM to assess and, if necessary, restore 1,565 acres of private lands acquired for public ownership shortly before the Act’s passage.  The Act required that the area be designated as wilderness once conditions were compatible with the Wilderness Act, or no later than five years after the Act’s passage. 

The BLM determined no additional restoration of the Elkhorn Ridge area was necessary as the area had naturally rehabilitated itself over the five years.  Consequently, a publication in today's Federal Register announces that the interim designation has been lifted and the area is now designated wilderness. 

The Wilderness Land Trust and Resources Legacy Foundation worked with the BLM to acquire private inholding lands shortly before the wilderness legislation was passed in 2006.  The lands are now in public ownership.

The Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness is approximately 60 miles north of Ukiah, just west of U. S. Highway 101.  The 11,271-acre wilderness contains rugged Coast Range ridges covered with thick forests of redwood, Douglas-fir, and tan-oak.  It includes a seven-mile-long segment of the South Fork Eel Wild and Scenic River, which provides important spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead trout which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

“People who visit the wilderness are completely isolated from the sights and sounds of the modern world,” Roush said.  “This opportunity for solitude makes Elkhorn Ridge a valuable addition to our nation’s wilderness preservation system.”

For more information, contact the BLM Arcata Field Office at (707) 825-2300.


Northern California District   355 Hemsted Drive, Redding, CA 96002  

Last updated: 01-13-2011