Newsletter Archive

April 22, 2009

Dear CalUWild members and friends –

Since the passage and signing of the Omnibus Lands Bill, it’s been pretty quiet here, so this month’s Update will be a short one.

One of the things that contributes to making grassroots activities successful is working in coalitions with organizations and people who pool their energies and talents together. Over the years, CalUWild has worked with diverse groups on a wide variety of topics. So we’re happy, from time to time, to spread the word about public lands issues that our partners are working on, even if they’re not specifically wilderness issues. Items 2 and 3 below fall into that category: legislation expanding the National Public Lands Service Corps; and habitat restoration for endangered species, involving the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Although for many of us every day is Earth Day, it’s especially appropriate to be thanking you today for your concern and efforts at protecting wilderness and public lands in the West; they are noticed and appreciated by many!


1. Red Rock Wilderness Act Still in Need of Cosponsors

2. Public Lands Service Corps Legislation
Cosponsors Needed

3. Sharp Park Habitat Restoration Proposal
Public Hearing April 30, 1pm
San Francisco City Hall


1. Red Rock Wilderness Act Still in Need of Cosponsors

On April 2, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the U.S. Congress. The Red Rock Bill has long been CalUWild’s major legislative focus, and the 111th Congress will be no different.

Traditionally, California’s congressional delegation has been strongly supportive of wilderness designation for deserving BLM lands in Utah. We’ve done well so far, with 19 representatives and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) signing on as cosponsors. But there is still some work to do.

The bill numbers are H.R.1925 in the House and S.799 in the Senate.

The following representatives were cosponsors in the last Congress but haven’t signed back on yet. Please give them a call if you live in their district. And/or encourage your family and friends to so, too!

Doris Matsui (D-05)
Lynn Woolsey (D-06)
Xavier Becerra (D-31)
Diane Watson (D-33)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34)
Maxine Waters (D-35)
Linda Sanchez (D-39)
Loretta Sanchez (D-47)

These three representatives haven’t signed on in the past, but are supportive of environmental issues and it would be good if they were on the bill as well.

Jackie Speier (D-12)
Laura Richardson (D-37)
Mary Bono Mack (R-45)

In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein (D) was a cosponsor once, but has never returned to the bill. You can reach her at her office in Washington: 202-224-3841

Finally, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance keeps an up-to-date list of cosponsors, so you can check here for a complete listing. If your representative is named, please call him or her and thank them!

Saying “thank you” is important when it comes to communicating with legislators (and other officials). In fact, a message of thanks can make even more of an impact, because fewer people think to do it. Please check the House and Senate websites for complete contact information.

2. Public Lands Service Corps Legislation
Cosponsors Needed

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), chairman of the Subcommittee on Parks & Public Lands, has introduced the National Public Lands Service Corps Act, H.R.1612, which has attracted a few cosponsors, including Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. More of our friends in Congress should be supporting it as well, so please contact your representative and ask him or her to sign on.

The following information about the bill, which you can use as talking points, comes from an alert sent out by our friends at the National Parks Conservation Association.

— The Public Lands Service Corps Act will expand service opportunities for national parks and other public lands through important expansions to the existing Public Lands Corps. The AmeriCorps expansion that Congress just approved begins to provide additional service opportunities within national parks, but it does not complete what is needed to fully authorize these service opportunities.

— The Public Lands Service Corps Act will improve service-learning opportunities in the national parks, help restore natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources in the parks, train a new generation of Park Service leaders, and promote the value of public service and civic engagement.

— The proposed expansion of the existing Public Lands Corps seeks to enhance the intergenerational opportunity to volunteer in national parks and train the next generation, by authorizing mentorship opportunities from more experienced volunteers, including veterans, military retirees and others who can train, mentor and lead service crews.

— The bill also provides for enhanced training of corps participants, to equip them for careers in the National Park Service or other public land agencies, and to diversify the ranks of the National Park Service.

— Participants will continue to be eligible for a stipend or a national service educational award upon completion of their term of service.

— The expansion of national service opportunities President Obama has requested creates an enormous chance to help repair the parks, and to capitalize on the untapped opportunities the national parks have to offer communities across the country.

— If our nation is investing in greater national service, the historic position and significance of national parks makes them uniquely suited to play a strong role.

3. Sharp Park Habitat Restoration Proposal
Public Hearing April 30, 1pm
San Francisco City Hall

Finally, Earth Day seems like a good time to remember that public lands issues, even federal ones, don’t just involve areas that are removed from our bigger cities and towns. Areas in our own backyards are important as well for many reasons, not least is that they are often the first introduction that kids get to the outdoors, which can lead to a lifelong fascination with nature. They are no less worthy of protection than our wilderness areas and national parks.

One such area is Sharp Park, a golf course located in Pacifica, but owned and operated by the city of San Francisco, located just to the north. The golf course is known habitat for the red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake, both federally-listed endangered species. The golf course and its impacts on these species have been the subject of controversy for several years now, and one of San Francisco’s supervisors has come up with a proposal to turn the golf course over to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area so that the National Park Service can restore it, as it is doing on land adjacent to the golf course (alone or jointly with San Francisco).

Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity and Nature in the City are among the leading supporters of the proposal, which has attracted attention from all quarters. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will be holding a hearing on the proposal next Thursday, April 30. We encourage people who support habitat restoration efforts to attend if they are able.

The hearing will be at:

San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
1 p.m.

More information on the issue can be found online.

San Francisco Chronicle
Center for Biological Diversity
Nature in the City and CBD