Using a little known provision in the Wilderness Act, BLM-California, with the help of the National Audubon Society and the Wilderness Land Trust, have expanded four Wilderness Areas for public use and enjoyment.
Section 6 of the Wilderness Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior and the BLM to accept gifts of land adjacent to Wilderness Areas for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The only condition is BLM must notify Congress and wait 60 days. Unless Congress objects, the addition becomes final.
BLM notified Congress in January that the National Audubon Society had donated 434 acres to BLM to preserve wilderness characteristics on several parcels in and around the Bright Star Wilderness in San Bernardino County. Now that 60 days has passed, the areas are officially part of the Wilderness Area.
At the same time, BLM also notified Congress that the Wildlands Trust had donated two parcels of land, totaling 2,400 acres adjacent to the BLM’s Kiavah, Domeland, and Sacatar Trail Wilderness Areas. Under the Section 6 process, these lands also are also now protected as Wilderness Areas.
BLM -California is fortunate to have generous donors such as the groups listed who acquire lands from willing sellers that meet the criteria for wilderness designation and meet the requirements under Section 6 of the Wilderness Act. In this way, designated Wilderness Areas with boundary or management issues can be enhanced and suitable areas added to them for better long-term protection.