Colfax – Standing on the banks of the Bear River and amid the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed historic legislation creating the Sierra Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “The 25 million acres within this Conservancy are a gift to the people of California,” said Governor Schwarzenegger, surrounded by an enthusiastic audience of 250.
“With this bill, we issue our declaration that our children and grandchildren will see and enjoy the same Sierra Nevada that we value so much today. AB 2600 is common sense legislation to preserve and protect our environment and allow energyone to enjoy our Sierra Nevada Mountains for years to come.”
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy will establish funding for environmental preservation while providing support for economic sustainability across 25 million acres from the Oregon border to Kern County. As California's largest Conservancy, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy will provide grants to local governments for environmental protection, resource conservation, recreational opportunities and economic growth.
“A perfect balance has been struck with the establishment of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy between resource conservation and economic benefit,” said California Resources Agency Secretary Mike Chrisman. “People living within the borders of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy will be able to protect the environment in which they live while influencing the prosperous future of the their communities. The tremendous gain for those within the region and beyond is immeasurable.”
“I believe the cooperative, bipartisan spirit that created this Sierra Nevada milestone will be the hallmark of the Conservancy for decades to come,” said bill co-sponsor Assemblymember Tim Leslie. “Not only will the Sierra now receive much needed funds for important projects, but local residents will finally have a seat at the table in shaping the destiny of their communities and the region.”
Bill co-sponsor Assemblymember John Laird said “The Sierra Nevada Conservancy will stand as testament for generations to come, not only as an example of environmental protection and economic balance, but as an example of what people can do when they work together to protect our most precious resources.”
The Sierra Fund, which spearheaded this year’s successful campaign to pass historic legislation creating a Sierra Nevada Conservancy, today applauded the signing of the bill and Governor Schwarzenegger’s commitment to protect the majestic Sierra Nevada.
The organization credited the Governor’s early endorsement of a Sierra Nevada Conservancy during his campaign in 2003 as a key factor in achieving bi-partisan support for the idea in the Legislature, and predicted the Governor’s commitment to protect the Sierra will be a lasting legacy of his environmental leadership.
“The grandeur of the Sierra Nevada is greater than the physical sum of its parks, peaks, forests, wild lands and waterways,” said Shawn Garvey, Chief Executive Officer of The Sierra Fund. “When our grandchildren look upon the restored rivers and forests of the Sierra Nevada, they will recall the efforts of visionaries like John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Now they also will add the name of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the list of visionary champions. The Governor provided critical leadership at the right moment to bring this historic conservation effort together.”
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For a map of the new Sierra Nevada Conservancy, click here.