Western Caucus Members Tour Yosemite National Park In California

  • Yosemite
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the Western Caucus Foundation hosted a Summer policy roundtable and field tour in Yosemite National Park, California, with eight Western Caucus Members, congressional staff, and stakeholders.

The policy roundtable and field tour included participation from Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Vice Chairs Tom Tiffany (WI-07) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01), House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR-04), and Reps. Tom McClintock (CA-05), John Duarte (CA-13), David Valadao (CA-22), and Darrell Issa (CA-48).
"The Western Caucus has once again shown that putting boots on the ground to see the issues firsthand is the best way to interact with stakeholders," said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). "Yosemite is one of the crown jewels of our nation and we must protect it through active management to ensure its beauty can be enjoyed for generations to come."

"Sitting in the shadow of the iconic Half Dome, it was clear to see why our national parks are the Crown Jewels of America. Millions of people travel from all over the world every year to recreate in the spaces we are privileged enough to call home. Unfortunately, these national treasures face an increased threat of catastrophic wildfires every year. More than a century of fire suppression and mismanagement has turned our federal forests into powder kegs waiting for a single spark to ignite," said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR-04). "Perhaps nothing exemplifies our wildfire crisis and the threat to an iconic species more than the loss of 20 percent of the world’s Giant Sequoias in just two short years. Just last year, the Mariposa Grove, which we toured this week, was threatened by fire. Firefighters and land managers alike both credited prior treatments such as thinning and prescribed burning as saving the grove. These are the kinds of proactive solutions we must apply to every American forest, and the hearing gave us insight into crafting a path forward. It was an honor to lead this historic outdoor hearing. I know it won't be the last as Republicans continue the fight to conserve our resources so future generations can enjoy the great outdoors as well."

“The trip to Yosemite highlighted how true conservation of our federal lands has been increasingly hamstrung by a preservationist agenda being pushed by extreme environmentalists and President Biden,” said Vice Chair Tom Tiffany (WI-07). “It is clear that our federal forests and giant sequoias are in a crisis due to these self-inflicted decisions, and the Western Caucus will continue to advocate for active forest management to limit catastrophic wildfires and protect crown jewels of rural America, like Yosemite National Park, for generations to come.”

“Thank you to the Western Caucus Foundation for hosting the Yosemite National Park Policy Roundtable and Field Tour," said Vice Chair Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01). "I am grateful for the leadership of Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse, Senate Western Caucus Chairwoman Cynthia Lummis, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman, and Rep. Tom McClintock as the Caucus continues to focus on forest management, to prevent and diminish the impact of wild fires and work to ensure access to public lands for recreation.”

"It is so important that members of Congress experience the natural beauty of Yosemite and also see the damage that catastrophically bad forest management policy has done to the surrounding forests," said Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-05). "The discussions held last week add urgency and understanding to the necessity of restoring the policies that produced healthy and fire resistant forests throughout the 20th century."

"Yosemite's beauty is a reminder of the importance of safeguarding our natural treasures for future generations," said Rep. John Duarte (CA-13). "But we cannot ignore the fact that mismanaged forests pose a serious threat to both our environment and the safety of our communities. It was an honor to join my Western Caucus colleagues in emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive reforms that address forest health, wildfire prevention, and responsible land management."

“Proper forest management is key to preventing the catastrophic wildfires we’ve seen in California that have devastated people’s livelihoods, homes, and businesses,”said Rep. David Valadao (CA-22). “We need to streamline some of the burdensome regulations and bureaucratic red tape that make it difficult for our land managers to properly manage our forests and confront the threat of wildfires. Thank you to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman and Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse for bringing members from across the country to California to learn about some of these challenges firsthand.”

“Last week showcased the best of the Western Caucus and the majesty of California’s Yosemite National Park," said Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-48). "This policy forum was an educational and informational opportunity for all of us, with detailed discussions about land, water and resource management – including new and better strategies to prevent the devastating fires that we are reminded once again can strike without warning. I look forward to continuing these critical conversations.”

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