(a) There is hereby established a California wilderness preservation system to be composed of state-owned areas designated by the Legislature as “wilderness areas” and units of the state park system classified as “state wildernesses” by the State Park and Recreation Commission pursuant to Article 1.7 (commencing with Section 5019.50 ) of Chapter 1, and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, provide for the protection of such areas, preserve their wilderness character, and provide for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness. No state-owned areas shall be designated as “wilderness areas” except as provided for in this chapter or by subsequent legislative enactment.
(b) Notwithstanding the inclusion of an area within the system, a wilderness area shall continue to be subject to the jurisdiction of the state agency or agencies having jurisdiction thereover immediately prior to its inclusion in the system. The secretary shall adopt guidelines for the management of wilderness areas. Each state agency or agencies having jurisdiction over a wilderness area shall adopt regulations for the management of such areas consistent with the guidelines adopted by the secretary and the objectives of this chapter. Such regulations shall include provisions to protect endangered or rare native plant and animal species.
(c) A wilderness area, in contrast to those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. A wilderness area is further defined to mean an area of relatively undeveloped state-owned land which has retained its primeval character and influence or has been substantially restored to a near natural appearance, without permanent improvements or human habitation, other than semi-improved campgrounds and primitive latrines, and which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which:
(1) Appears generally to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable.
(2) Has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.
(3) Has at least 5,000 acres of land, either by itself or in combination with contiguous areas possessing wilderness characteristics, or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition.
(4) May also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.
FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.
FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.