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280,000 Acres of Protected Land for National Parks in California Fails Congress by 2 Votes*

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At Joshua Tree National Park | Photo by truello via Flickr
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A bill that would have added around one million acres of land to the National Wilderness System, including 280,000 acres in California, failed to pass the House of Representatives Wednesday by two votes. Republicans felt it had too many unnecessary earmarks. But the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 could head back to congress for another vote giving it one more chance.

When congress specifies land as part of the National Wilderness System, it gives it some of the highest protections. Even land within the already protected national parks gets protected from the National Park Service building roads, visitor centers and other infrastructure. Two parks in California would have had larger protected areas if the bill was passed and then signed by the President.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks would have had 90,000 acres added to the system, including "the redwood Mountain Grove, which is the largest stand of Giant Sequoia trees in the park," according to the blog National Parks Traveler.

Closer to Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park would have expanded an additional 190,000 protected acres adding parts of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and 31 miles of river.

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*Updated Post