County board endorses Farr push to reopen Clear Creek

The mountains lead into the Clear Creek area where many people used to use off-road vehicles before the property was closed in 2008.

San Benito County supervisors Tuesday declared support for a bill aiming to reopen Clear Creek National Recreation Area.

Supervisors at their 9 a.m. Tuesday meeting approved a letter of support for H.R. 1838 introduced by Congressman Sam Farr, D-Carmel, in April 2015. The bill passed in a House vote July 5 and will be considered by the Senate next.

If passed, the bill would direct the Bureau of Land Management to reopen the 75,000-acre Clear Creek Management Area in the two counties for recreational use, including for off-road vehicles. The bill would also protect an additional 21,000 acres of BLM land near Clear Creek and designate it as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness.

Clear Creek closed in 2008 after an Environmental Protection Agency analysis concluded that naturally occurring asbestos posed a risk to the public. Before its closure, the location was a popular off-road vehicle recreation site.

H.R. 1838 would instruct the BLM to create a plan to minimize risk of asbestos exposure, as well as educate the public about naturally occurring asbestos.

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