Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 15 (rh) To designate a portion of the Otay Mountain region of California as wilderness. [Reported in House] ...

H.R. 15 (rh) To designate a portion of the Otay Mountain region of California as wilderness. [Reported in House] ...

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  1st Session
                                 H. R. 15



                             April 13, 1999

   Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and 
                           Natural Resources


                                 AN ACT

  To designate a portion of the Otay Mountain region of California as 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Otay Mountain Wilderness Act of 


    The Congress finds and declares the following:
            (1) The public lands within the Otay Mountain region of 
        California are one of the last remaining pristine locations in 
        western San Diego County, California.
            (2) This rugged mountain adjacent to the United States-
        Mexico border is internationally known for its diversity of 
        unique and sensitive plants.
            (3) This area plays a critical role in San Diego's multi-
        species conservation plan, a national model made for 
        maintaining biodiversity.
            (4) Due to its proximity to the international border, this 
        area is the focus of important law enforcement and border 
        interdiction efforts necessary to curtail illegal immigration 
        and protect the area's wilderness values.
            (5) The illegal immigration traffic, combined with the 
        rugged topography, also presents unique fire management 
        challenges for protecting lives and resources.


    In furtherance of the purposes of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
1131 et seq.), certain public lands in the California Desert District 
of the Bureau of Land Management, California, comprising approximately 
18,500 acres as generally depicted on a map entitled ``Otay Mountain 
Wilderness'' and dated May 7, 1998, are hereby designated as wilderness 
and therefore as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation 
System, which shall be known as the Otay Mountain Wilderness.


    (a) In General.--As soon as practicable after the date of enactment 
of this Act, a map and a legal description for the Wilderness Area 
shall be filed by the Secretary with the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the 
House of Representatives. Such map and legal description shall have the 
same force and effect as if included in this Act, except that the 
Secretary, as appropriate, may correct clerical and typographical 
errors in such legal description and map. Such map and legal 
description for the Wilderness Area shall be on file and available for 
public inspection in the offices of the Director and California State 
Director, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior.
    (b) United States-Mexico Border.--In carrying out this section, the 
Secretary shall ensure that the southern boundary of the Wilderness 
Area is 100 feet north of the trail depicted on the map referred to in 
subsection (a) and is at least 100 feet from the United States-Mexico 
international border.


    The Congress hereby finds and directs that all the public lands not 
designated wilderness within the boundaries of the Southern Otay 
Mountain Wilderness Study Area (CA-060-029) and the Western Otay 
Mountain Wilderness Study Area (CA-060-028) managed by the Bureau of 
Land Management and reported to the Congress in 1991, have been 
adequately studied for wilderness designation pursuant to section 603 
of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1782), 
and are no longer subject to the requirements contained in section 
603(c) of that Act pertaining to the management of wilderness study 
areas in a manner that does not impair the suitability of such areas 
for preservation as wilderness.


    (a) In General.--Subject to valid existing rights and to subsection 
(b), the Wilderness Area shall be administered by the Secretary in 
accordance with the provisions of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et 
seq.), except that--
            (1) any reference in such provisions to the effective date 
        of the Wilderness Act is deemed to be a reference to the 
        effective date of this Act; and
            (2) any reference in such provisions to the Secretary of 
        Agriculture is deemed to be a reference to the Secretary of the 
    (b) Border Enforcement, Drug Interdiction, and Wildland Fire 
Protection.--Because of the proximity of the Wilderness Area to the 
United States-Mexico international border, drug interdiction, border 
operations, and wildland fire management operations are common 
management actions throughout the area encompassing the Wilderness 
Area. This Act recognizes the need to continue such management actions 
so long as such management actions are conducted in accordance with the 
Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.) and are subject to such 
conditions as the Secretary considers appropriate.


    Any lands within the boundaries of the Wilderness Area that are 
acquired by the United States after the date of enactment of this Act 
shall become part of the Wilderness Area and shall be managed in 
accordance with all the provisions of this Act and other laws 
applicable to such a wilderness.


    The Congress does not intend for the designation of the Wilderness 
Area by this Act to lead to the creation of protective perimeters or 
buffer zones around the Wilderness Area. The fact that nonwilderness 
activities or uses can be seen or heard from areas within the 
Wilderness Area shall not, of itself, preclude such activities or uses 
up to the boundary of the Wilderness Area.


    As used in this Act:
            (1) Public lands.--The term ``public lands'' has the same 
        meaning as that term has in section 103(e) of the Federal Land 
        Policy and Management Act of 1976.
            (2) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Interior.
            (3) Wilderness area.--The term ``Wilderness Area'' means 
        the Otay Mountain Wilderness designated by section 3.

            Passed the House of Representatives April 12, 1999.


                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,


Pages: 1

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