Newsletter Archive

April 22, 2004

Dear CalUWild members and supporters —

As the presidential campaign continues, there continues to be little, if any, discussion of the environment, as people’s attention is focused more on foreign policy and the economy. These issues have impacts on the environment, though, which many people don’t seem to recognize. The instability in Middle East demonstrates that we need to find other sources of energy. But at the same time, it makes no sense to open up our wildlands for a few days’ or weeks’ supply of oil or gas. They have higher uses than that. We need a comprehensive energy program that addresses consumption and conservation even more than new supplies. The present administration does not want to face this fact.

Furthermore, the ultimate basis of our economy is the environment-clean water, minerals, or even recreation opportunities. It should be clear that we cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment.

This is where citizens-you-come in. It is important that decisionmakers know that the issue is important, through letters and phone calls-to the editor, our elected representatives, and the candidates’ campaigns. So please write a letter on an issue. that’s important to you. Possible topics are below.

A correction is needed to last month’s UPDATE. Item 3, regarding snowmobile use in California proposed wilderness areas, contained an incorrect e-mail address for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor. The correct e-mail address is If you haven’t sent a letter to him, please do so! See item 3 on the March update for the details.

A reminder: It takes funding to keep CalUWild afloat. If you’ve received an Annual Appeal letter recently, please send in the card with your contribution. And if you haven’t, consider sending in a little something extra. We could use the help!

As we celebrate Earth Day 2004 today, many thanks for all you do to protect our wildlands.

Best Wishes,



1. Court Upholds Creation of Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument

2. Interior Department Plotted Wilderness Rollbacks
Long Before Utah’s Lawsuit Was Revived


3. Southern California National Forest
Planning Meetings Scheduled


4. Fee Demonstration Program Hearings in Washington
Letters Needed

5. Job Opportunity at Friends of the River



1. Court Upholds Creation of Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument

Utah Federal Distrcit Judge Dee Benson-no friend of wilderness-ruled that the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM was properly designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The ruling came this week in a case in which several Utah counties and the Mountain States Legal Foundation sued, claiming that Mr. Clinton had abused his discretion by designating the 1.9 million-acre monument.

Benson’s ruling states: “It is evident from the language of the proclamation that the president exercised the discretion lawfully delegated to him by Congress under the Antiquities Act.”

The plaintiffs in the case had argued that the monument designation was simply a way to designate wilderness. (Only Congress can designate wilderness, with a statute.) Benson wrote in his decision: “Although a significant percentage of land in the Monument may qualify as wilderness under the Wilderness Act, the president did not designate wilderness; he designated a national monument.”

This ruling is particularly noteworthy for CalUWild, since the organization got its start when the BLM began developing the management plan for the monument in 1997.

The plaintiffs have not indicated whether they will appeal the decision. No national monument designation has ever been overturned by a lawsuit.

An interesting bit of trivia: George W. Bush is the first president since Teddy Roosevelt and the passing of the Antiquities Act in 1906 who has not designated a single new national monument.

2. Interior Department Plotted Wilderness Rollbacks
Long Before Utah’s Lawsuit Was Revived

The court settlement reached last year between the Department of the Interior and the State of Utah ended BLM wilderness inventories and eliminated protections for wilderness study areas designated since 1993. (For details, see the May 2003 CalUWild UPDATE at .)

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that these policy changes were being contemplated by the BLM as early as October 2002, long before the lawsuit by Utah was resurrected in 2003.

This revelation tends to confirm conservationists’ suspicions that the settlement was simply a way for the administration to impose its policies without having to go through the public comment process required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Given the Bush Administration’s devotion to secrecy, however, it decided to use litigation, done behind closed doors to lock out the public.

Additionally, the use of a court settlement severely hamstrings the policy options of any future, more wilderness-friendly administration.

The documents also showed that Interior Department officials helped the Alaska delegation draft a letter to the Department requesting a cessation of wilderness inventories in that state. And in fact, the Department announced an end to Alska inventories as well last April.

This entire approach makes a mockery at every level of Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s widely touted “4 Cs: communication, consultation and cooperation, all in the service of conservation.”

Attorneys for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, and other conservation groups have asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to void the Utah settlement.


3. Southern California National Forest
Planning Meetings Scheduled

CalUWild has been part of a coalition of groups which in 2002 submitted a “Conservation Alternative for the Management of the Four Southern California National Forests” to the Forest Service during scoping for the forest plans revision. The Draft EIS for the management plan should be coming out some time around May 1. The alternative that is supposedly based on our Conservation Alternative is going to be “Alternative 6.”

The following information comes from the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the leaders of the coalition.

Southern California’s national forests are within a few miles of millions of people, and the threats to our endangered species are growing daily. Think of the poor Cleveland NF, with upcoming proposals for a freeway and transmission line running through it, or the Los Padres NF with a plan to open tens of thousands of acres of wildlands to oil and gas exploration.

After the release of the DEIS, there will be a 90-day comment period. The Forest Service is holding a series of open houses to provide people with information about the document and the comment process. The off-roaders, et al., are likely to be out in full force – we need to top their numbers and show the Forest Service that southern Californians overwhelmingly support protection for wild spaces and biodiversity. The open house schedule is listed below. Please attend the meeting nearest to you.

[Note: Space does not permit a complete list of all meeting locations; only city, date, and times are listed. For complete details, please visit on the Web.]

In addition, conservation groups are planning a large-scale rally at the Saturday June 5 meeting in Pasadena. If people can put this particular open house on their schedule, we could really make a huge impact.

In sum, we need to 1) flood the Forest Service with comment letters and 2) make a huge show of numbers at these open houses, in support of the conservation alternative (this is, of course, hoping that Alternative 6 will be adequate, which is a big assumption). Thanks for helping to make this happen.

Monica Bond, Staff Biologist
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 493, Idyllwild, CA 92549
(909) 659-6053 x304 (phone)
(909) 659-2484 (fax)

Angeles National Forest

* Santa Clarita: May 26 ( Wednesday), 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
* Palmdale: May 27 (Thursday), 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
* Glendora: June 3 ( Thursday), 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
* Wrightwood: June 4 (Friday), 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
* Pasadena: June 5 (Saturday),11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Cleveland National Forest

* San Diego: May 10 (Monday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Corona: May 11 (Tuesday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Ramona: May 12 (Wednesday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Alpine: May 13 (Thursday). 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Escondido: May 14 (Friday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* San Juan Capistrano: May 15 (Saturday), 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Los Padres National Forest

* Salinas: May 17 (Monday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Big Sur: May 18 (Tuesday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Arroyo Grande: May 19 (Wednesday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Goleta: May 20 (Thursday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Frazier Park: May 24 (Monday), 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
* Ojai: May 25 (Tuesday), 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
* Pacific Valley: June 2 (Wednesday), 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

San Bernardino National Forest

* City of Big Bear Lake: June 8 (Tuesday), 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
* Twin Peaks: June 9 (Wednesday) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* Garner Valley: June 10 (Thursday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* Victorville: June 15 (Tuesday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* San Bernardino: June 16 (Wednesday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
* Rancho Cucamonga: June 17 (Thursday), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.


4. Fee Demonstration Program Hearings in Washington
Letters Needed
Deadline: May 4

CalUWild is also part of a coalition fighting the fee demonstration program. The following alert is taken from information provided by several coalition members.

Action Alert! Senate Fee Demo Hearing April 21st, Contact Dc Now, To Help End Forest Fees!

In February, the Senate Energy Committee unanimously passed Senate bill 1107, which would make Fee Demo permanent for ONLY the National Parks (if it is passed into law). However, fee supporters in the Administration, led by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, are still working hard with the public lands agencies to convince Congress to find a way to make Fee Demo permanent for the US Forest Service, BLM and US Fish & Wildlife Service also. They’re not giving up and we can’t either!

Oversight hearings on Fee Demo (USFS, BLM, USFWS), which took place yesterday (4/21/04), are likely to lead to new legislation to make fees permanent for these 3 agencies. We must head off this initiative!

Background: Senator Larry Craig chairs the Senate’s Public Lands and Forests subcommittee, which is holding the hearings. In the past, Sen. Craig has not stated clearly what he thinks about Fee Demo for these 3 agencies. He’s heard strong opposition from his Idaho constituents, but his Fee Demo public statements have varied widely. We believe that S. 1107 (see above) is being delayed from a Senate floor vote until after this hearing; there is intense pressure to expand it beyond permanent National Park fees.

Sen. Craig’s own press release from yesterday indicates he does not support general entrance fees in national forests, wildlife refuges or BLM lands. In fact, he joked that “there would be a ‘hearing user fee’ to attend the hearing, which is paid for with tax dollars, but not to worry: services would be enhanced. Š These are public lands and they should remain open to the public.”

The public record is open for your comments on the hearings until midnight Tuesday, May 4th. A brief fax or email is just fine.

What To Write:

* Ask that Fee Demo not be extended or made permanent for the US Forest Service, BLM or US Fish & Wildlife Service.
* Ask that your comments please be included in the public record for the Fee Demo hearing on 4/21/04.
* State, in your own words, why you oppose Fee Demo.
* Mention that, according to a 2003 General Accounting Office report, US Forest Service fees are making very little money after expenses are paid. (In fact, US Forest Service Fee Demo required a $10 million boost from appropriated tax dollars in 2001!)
* The fight over fee-demo is rapidly shifting to a debate about which fees are acceptable and which are not. If you think no recreation fees are acceptable, then tell Craig and the committee exactly that. If you think fees for National Parks, visitor centers and/or developed campgrounds are acceptable, then tell them that. Tell them what you think is right Š and do so in your own words.

Address your fax/email to:
Senator Larry Craig
Chair, Senate Public Lands & Forests Subcommittee
364 Dirksen
Washington, DC 20510

Fax your letter to: (202) 224-6163

With faxes, please print your name and address very clearly!


5. Job Opportunity at Friends of the River


Position Open: April 26, 2004

Description: Reporting to the Development Director, the Membership Assistant is responsible for data entry, maintenance, and upgrading of database records and hard files for Friends of the River’s members, donors, and events. He or she will also be responsible for the production and mailing of gift acknowledgments, renewal notices, appeals, invitations, and other donor communications. He or she will participate as a member of the organization’s development team; respond to membership questions by phone or e-mail, attend and assist at special events, and support the Development Director as needed. This is a full-time position, with benefits, at our office in midtown Sacramento.

Qualifications Required:

* Excellent organizational and administrative skills
* Computer and data entry skills, especially database and word processing
* Good problem-solving skills
* Ability to work with minimal supervision once fully trained

To Apply:

Fax resume and cover letter to Marian Bender, Friends of the River,
or email to

Starting Wage: $11 – 12.50/hour, non-exempt

For more info on Friends of the River please visit

Deadline: May 7, 2004

God bless America. Let’s save some of it. –Edward Abbey