Wilderness Protection and Expansion

The Eel River Recovery Project Wilderness Committee formed in January 2013 with its initial focus on cleaning up industrial marijuana grows in and around South Fork Eel River Wilderness Areas managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Arcata Office.  The complete philosophy and agenda of the Committee is expressed in our Wildland and Wilderness Plan ).

Expanding Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River Reaches

We wish to expand Eel River Wilderness Areas to secure cold water refuge areas for salmon and steelhead, to increase habitat and corridors for wildlife, to maintain clean water supplies, and to provide places where people can seek solitude and have access to undespoiled nature.  We are allied with the California Wilderness Coalition and are working with Congressman Huffman as he promotes a Wilderness bill that includes expansion within the Eel River watershed and also promotes forest health.  The bill will include new reaches of Wild and Scenic River designation that we favor because that status allows facilitated transfer of land to federal agencies for conservation.  We work closely with Indian Tribes in the basin on Wilderness issues because the lands proposed for protection are their ancestral territories and the impact on cultural practices must be considered. Click map to enlarge.


Core Elements of the ERRP Wildlands Protection Strategy

  • Getting citizens and youth involved in wildlands recreation and stewardship activities, including cleaning up industrial marijuana grows, trail building, and trail maintenance.

  • Working with U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and California State Parks on wildlands policies and stewardship needs both inside and outside Wilderness.

  • Consulting with the California Wilderness Coalition and others on wildland, river and stream protection and designation needs.

  • Working with Native American Tribes to insure that they are invited as co-managers of Wilderness and consulted on any expansion plans.

Cleaning Up Industrial Marijuana Grow Garbage

From 2013-2016, ERRP involved more than 100 citizens in cleaning up nine large trespass marijuana grow sites within designated Wilderness and on other public wildlands. A total of 670 cubic yards of trash and waste has been removed; 40% of the removed waste and trash was recycled.  These projects were in cooperation with BLM and were funded through a Rose California Wildlands grant. (see reports)

ERRP CA Wildlands Final Report to Rose Foundation

ERRP Little Big Dann Clean Ups Report

Additional partners were the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, and service organizations and local volunteer fire departments that provided volunteers.

We currently have another Rose Wildlands grant and are still assisting BLM in and around the Red Mountain Wilderness with grow garbage clean up.  Call Wilderness Coordinator Phill Hosking, if you want to help at (707) 354-0631.