WILDERNESS LEGISLATION PASSED IN THE 106TH CONGRESS (1999 – 2000)
Below is a list of the Wilderness legislation passed by the 106th Congress and signed into law by the President. The 106th Congress approved a total of eight Wilderness bills adding approximately 1,066,000 acres of public land to the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Gunnison Gorge Wilderness & Expansion of Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado)
(Public Law No: 106-76)
This bill expanded the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Wilderness Area by 4,419 acres and designated the 17,700-acre Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area (total of 22,119 acres). The measure also redesignated the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument as a National Park. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Representative Scott McInnis (R-CO).
Otay Mountain Wilderness (California)
(Public Law No: 106-145)
The measure designated 18,500 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in southern California as the Otay Mountain Wilderness Area. The Otay Mountains are home to the Tecate Cypress and more than a dozen other sensitive species. The measure was sponsored by Representative Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
Dugger Mountain Wilderness (Alabama)
(Public Law No: 106-156)
The bill designated 9,200 acres in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama as the Dugger Mountain Wilderness Area. Dugger Mountain, the second-highest peak in Alabama, is located 70 miles east of Birmingham. Alabama conservationists worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to see Dugger Mountain permanently protected as Wilderness. The measure was sponsored by Representative Bob Riley (R-AL) and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness (Colorado)
(Public Law No: 106-353)
The bill designated 75,000 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management outside of Grand Junction, CO as the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Area and also created the adjacent 122,000-acre Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area. This region contains innumerable spires, pinnacles, and the second highest concentration of natural rock arches in the Southwest. The measure was sponsored by Representative Scott McInnis (R-CO) and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO).
Steens Mountain Wilderness (Oregon)
(Public Law No: 106-399)
The bill designated approximately 172,000 acres of Wilderness in eastern Oregon as the Steens Mountain Wilderness Area. Of the Wilderness designated by the measure, 100,000 acres are "cow-free." Steens Mountain located in Oregon's high desert is one of the crown jewels of the state's wildlands. It is some of the wildest and most remote land left in Oregon. The legislation is the result of months of intense negotiations between Oregon's Governor, the state's congressional delegation, public land managers, ranchers and conservationists. It was sponsored by Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).
Spanish Peaks Wilderness (Colorado)
(Public Law No: 106-456)
The measure designated 18,000 acres of high mountain forest land (reaching elevations of up to 13,626 feet) in the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado as the Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area. This area has been studied and considered for wilderness designation for nearly two decades. The U.S. Forest Service first recommended creating a wilderness area around the peaks in 1979. The bill was sponsored by Representative Scott McInnis (R-CO) and Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO).
Priest & Three Ridges Wilderness (Virginia)
(Public Law No: 106-471)
The bill designated two Wilderness areas on the George Washington National Forest in Virginia: the 5,963-acre Priest Wilderness Area and the 4,608-acre Three Ridges Wilderness Area. Both of these areas are located in the northern part of the National Forest and lie east of the town of Montebello and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Nelson County. The Appalachian Trail runs through both the Priest and Three Ridges Wilderness areas. The measure was sponsored by Representative Virgil Goode (Ind.-VA) and Senators Chuck Robb (D-VA) and John Warner (R-VA).
Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Wilderness (Nevada)
(Public Law No: 106-554)
The bill permanently protected approximately 757,000 acres of land managed by the BLM in northwestern Nevada as Wilderness. The areas designated as Wilderness were encompassed in 11 existing Wilderness Study Areas. The measure also created the nearly 800,000 acre Black Rock Desert Emigrant Trail National Conservation Area (much of the Wilderness acreage overlaps with the boundaries of the NCA). This unique region is home to huge playas, rugged mountains, and a wide array of wildlife. The historic Applegate-Lassen Emigrant Trail, which played a pivotal role in the western migration and California Gold Rush, runs through the heart of the region. Passage of this bill has effectively doubled the amount of designated Wilderness in the state of Nevada. The measure was sponsored by Senator Richard Bryan (D-NV) and co-sponsored by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).