Magic Mountain is up for Federal protection as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Act currently being considered by Congress.

The 4500-foot peak at the western end of the Angeles National Forest and its surroundings is just one area of nearly 750,000 acres of California land striving for Wilderness Protection, the highest level of protection under the 1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness status would prevent any new roads or structures from being built in the protected area, as well as prevent the use of any motorized equipment or vehicles from being used there.

Magic Mountain was a last-minute addition to the bill, by Santa Clarita Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, and local hiking groups are celebrating the addition and eager for the increased protection. From an LA Times article about the potential new status, it seems like the mountain’s current road and former Nike Missile site are trashed on a pretty regular basis:

The still-present missile pads are the reason for the mountain’s road, which is littered with reminders of how some people choose to recreate on public lands. At one spot, two bowling trophies are blown to bits by the side of the road. The ground nearby is littered with shell casings.

(A local hiking club) organized 53 trash cleanups last year, hauling off sofas, sinks, toilets, a fire pit and a martial arts dummy. Members have been hacking at a car that went over the side, pulling it out piece by piece.

Any move that protects more areas of Southern Californian Wilderness is a good one — and this especially so. Hopefully, if the protection goes through, we can keep the area clean for the native California Condors and other wildlife that use the area as a migration corridor.

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