Green acres galore

Congress could be on the verge of protecting a huge expanse of California wilderness

Environmentalists and other open-space advocates are lobbying for a move to permanently protect a huge swath of California’s wild landscape.

Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are pushing for Congress to approve a plan that would preserve about 800,000 acres, which would be the largest expansion of federally protected land in the state in the past 14 years, reported the Sacramento Bee. (Congress established the 7 million-acre Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks and Mojave National Preserve back in 1994.)

The areas up for protection include 470,000 wilderness acres in Inyo, Mono and Los Angeles counties, 52 miles of Death Valley’s Amargosa River, as well as the headwaters of Owens River. While permanently shielded from development, the land reportedly would be open to recreation, such as hiking, hunting and fishing.