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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
9/16/2008--Reported to Senate amended. California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act of 2008 - Title I: Designation and Expansion of Wilderness Areas - (Sec. 102) Designates the following lands in California as wilderness: (1) certain Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in the Cleveland National Forest, to be part of the Agua Tibia Wilderness; (2) specified lands in the San Bernardino National Forest to be known as the Cahuilla Mountain Wilderness and the South Fork San Jacinto Wilderness and certain BLM land in such Forest as part of the Santa Rosa Wilderness; (3) certain BLM land in Riverside County, to be known as the Beauty Mountain Wilderness; (4) certain land in Joshua Tree National Park, to be part of the Joshua Tree Wilderness; (5) certain BLM land in the county as part of the Orocopia Mountains Wilderness (excluding specified corridors); (6) certain BLM land in the county as part of the Palen/McCoy Wilderness; (7) certain BLM land in the county to be known as the Pinto Mountains Wilderness; and (8) certain BLM land in the county as part of the Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness.
Declares that nothing in this Act prohibits construction, operation, or maintenance of existing utility facilities outside of the wilderness areas and additions designated by this Act.
(Sec. 103) Designates certain lands in the Joshua Tree National Park as potential wilderness. Requires the Secretary of the Interior to manage such land as wilderness until it is incorporated into the Joshua Tree Wilderness, effective when the Secretary publishes notice that all uses of the land prohibited by the Wilderness Act have ceased and that sufficient inholdings have been acquired to establish a manageable wilderness unit.
(Sec. 104) Requires any land within the boundaries of a wilderness area or wilderness addition that is acquired by the United States to become part of the wilderness area in which the land is located. Withdraws the land designated as wilderness from all forms of: (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and (3) disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.
Authorizes the Secretary to take such measures in a wilderness area or addition designated by this Act as are necessary for the control of fire, insects, and diseases. Prohibits anything in this Act from limiting funding for fire and fuels management in the wilderness areas and additions designated by this Act.
Directs the Secretary to: (1) amend the local fire management plans that apply to the land designated as a wilderness area or addition by this Act; and (2) establish agency approval procedures (including appropriate delegations of authority to the Forest Supervisor, District Manager, or other agency officials) for responding to fire emergencies and enter into agreements with state or local firefighting agencies.
Provides for the grazing of livestock in the wilderness areas and wilderness additions designated by this title.
Provides for access to the Cahuilla Mountain Wilderness by Indian tribes for traditional cultural purposes.
Title II: Wild and Scenic River Designations - (Sec. 201) Amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate as wild, scenic, or recreational rivers specified segments of the North Fork San Jacinto River, Fuller Mill Creek, Palm Canyon Creek, and Bautista Creek in California.
Title III: Additions and Technical Corrections to Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument - (Sec. 301) Amends the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Act of 2000 to include additional lands within the boundaries of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
(Sec. 302) Amends such Act to revise the number of members of the advisory committee of the National Monument needed to attain a quorum from eight members (under current law) to a majority of the appointed members.