By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Earlier today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) introduced the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act, legislation that would establish the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area. This designation would encompass 18,610 acres of the scenic Alabama Hills and would preserve it for recreational use by the public and future generations. A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map of the proposed Alabama Hills National Scenic Area can be found here.
This bill guarantees that all recreational activities currently taking place in the Alabama Hills will continue. This includes not only hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing, but hunting, fishing, and authorized motorized vehicle use as well. Additionally, recreational prospecting (rock-hounding) will continue in the historic mining areas under this legislation.
This bill is the culmination of months of work by Rep. Paul Cook and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group to draft legislative language acceptable to all key local stakeholders. The stewardship group is dedicated to promoting the long term vision, conservation, use, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Alabama Hills. Groups and organizations that have worked with the stewardship group include Inyo County, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, the Lone-Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, local business owners, and other key stakeholders.
Cook said, “The Alabama Hills are a natural treasure, and I’m excited to introduce this bill to help guarantee our children and grandchildren can enjoy them the same way we do. The level of local input has been incredible and should serve as an example for how land use decisions are made.
“Last year, I introduced legislation to establish the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area. While it didn’t become law last year, it provided local stakeholders and conservation groups the opportunity to suggest changes to make this a better bill. I’m excited to incorporate these changes in the new version of this important legislation this year. My constituents in Inyo have been working to get this done for years, and I’m hopeful that 2015 will be the year the Alabama Hills get the protection they deserve.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.