In order to provide for public outdoor recreation use and enjoyment of certain areas within the Sierra National Forest and the Sequoia National Forest, to protect those areas’ natural, archaeological, and scenic resources, and to provide for appropriate fish and wildlife management of those areas, there is hereby established the Kings River Special Management Area (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the “special management area”). The special management area shall be administered by the Secretary of Agriculture (hereinafter in this Act referred to as “the Secretary”) through the Sierra National Forest.
The special management area shall consist of the lands, waters, and interests therein within the area generally depicted on the map entitled “Boundary Map, Kings River Special Management Area”, dated April 1987. The map shall be on file and available for public inspection in the offices of the National Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. The Secretary of Agriculture may from time to time make minor revisions of the boundary of the special management area.
The Secretary shall administer the special management area in accordance with this Act and with the provisions of law generally applicable to units of the National Forest System. In the case of any conflict between the provisions of such Acts, the provisions of this Act shall govern. In the administration of the special management area the Secretary may utilize such statutory authority as may be available to him for the conservation of wildlife and natural resources as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit grazing within the special management area to the same extent, and in accordance with the same rules and regulations as applicable in the absence of this Act. The Secretary may permit the cutting of timber within the special management area only in those cases where in the judgment of the Secretary the cutting of such timber is required in order to control the attacks of fire, insects, or diseases or to otherwise conserve the scenery or the natural or historical objects in the area.
Subject to valid existing rights, lands within the special management area are withdrawn from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws of the United States, from the operation of the mineral leasing laws of the United States and from operation of the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 [30 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.].
The Secretary shall permit hunting and fishing on lands and waters within the special management area in accordance with applicable Federal and State law. The Secretary may designate zones where, and establish periods when, such activities will not be permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, fish and wildlife management or public use and enjoyment. Except in emergencies, regulations issued by the Secretary under this subsection shall be put into effect only after consultation with the appropriate State agencies responsible for hunting and fishing activities.
After consultation with the State of California, the Secretary shall publish a management plan for the special management area within three years after November 3, 1987. The plan shall provide for public outdoor recreation use and enjoyment of the special management area, protect the area’s natural, archeological, and scenic resources, and provide for appropriate fish and wildlife management within the area. The plan shall contain provisions for management of vegetation within the area designed to enhance the wildlife carrying capacity of the area. The plan shall permit off-road vehicular use of off-road trails to the same extent and in the same locations as was permitted before November 3, 1987. The plan shall provide for the development of hiking trails in the special management area and shall include a trail from Garlic Creek to Little Tehipite Valley.
If any State or privately owned land or any valid mining claim or other valid occupancy is within the special management area, or if State or private subsurface rights underlie public lands within the special management area, the Secretary shall provide the State or private owner, claimant, or occupier and their successors in interest such rights as may be necessary to assure adequate and feasible access for economic and other purposes to the site concerned. Such rights shall be subject to reasonable regulations issued by the Secretary to protect the natural and other values of the special management area, taking into account the traditional and customary means of access used prior to November 3, 1987.
In recognition of the dispute that exists over whether a dam project should be constructed in the segment of the Main Stem of the Kings River from the point at elevation 1,595 feet above mean sea level downstream to the point at elevation 990 feet above mean sea level, Congress declares its intention at this time not to designate that segment of the Kings River as a component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal lands may be used for the construction of any dam or diversion within the boundaries of the special management area without specific authority of the Congress. In order to protect the natural, cultural, recreational, fishery, and wildlife values of the river segment referred to in this subsection, that segment shall be subject to the provisions of section 1278(a) of this title, in the same manner as if it were designated. Nothing in this Act shall preclude the Kings River Conservation District from conducting studies as it may deem appropriate.