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Legislation Would Designate Wilderness In San Diego County

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Vista Republican Congressman Darrell Issa introduced a bill this week to set aside more than 20,000 acres in North San Diego County as protected wilderness.

Vista Republican Congressman Darrell Issa introduced a bill this week to set aside more than 20,000 acres in North San Diego County as protected wilderness.

The bill would designate more than 13,000 acres in the Beauty Mountain area north of Warner Springs and nearly 8,000 acres near Palomar Mountain as wilderness.

Some of the land is already part of the Cleveland National Forest.

But Rick Halsey with the Chaparral Institute says if the legislation passes, the land would be protected from development.

"The real issue is not so much what we're going to lose, but what we've lost already," said Halsey. "There's just so much habitat that's been eliminated that we just really have to protect what's left. I mean there just isn't any more room for compromise in terms of that."

Halsey says the chaparral shrub that dominates much of the proposed wilderness provides needed habitat for other plants and wildlife.

Wilderness designations are more restrictive than national forest or park designations because they ban man-made structures and are intended to preserve the natural landscape.

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