Newsletter Archive

December 29, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends —

It’s the middle of the holiday season, and 2003 is drawing to a close. I hope you have been able to get some time away from your everyday activities to reflect on the gifts we Americans have of our public wilderness lands. Better yet, and weather permitting, I hope you have had a chance to get out and enjoy some of them.

Yet the task of safeguarding these treasures is never finished. As you make your New Year’s resolutions, please recommit to work for their proper management and protection in the new year.

CalUWild will be doing the same, working to make the most helpful and useable information available to you so your advocacy work can be most effective.

In 2004 we will have additional assistance in our efforts. Berkeley composer John Adams has graciously agreed to join CalUWild’s Advisory Board. John is probably the most frequently-played living composer these days, and is well-known for his operas Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, which was made into a film earlier this year. He was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his piece On the Transmigration of Souls, commemorating the victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001. An avid hiker, John has been a longtime admirer of Utah’s wild scenery, and we extend a warm welcome to him.

There was other good news in December when Federal Judge Emmett Sullivan blocked a decision by the Bush Administration to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park. Despite thousands of public comments supporting a ban and its own research which concluded that even the latest model snowmobiles would cause air and noise pollution, they sided with the snowmobile industry over public health. There was no word yet whether the administration would appeal the ruling, but we’ll keep you posted on further developments.

With the election coming up next year, it could be a tricky time for wilderness advocates. The administration may not proceed as forcefully with some of its plans. Or it may just be sneakier about them. Either way, we look forward to having you as part of an active and engaged membership working on the issues. And we thank you for your past support as well.

Best wishes for 2004,



1. Forest Service to Release Environmental Assessment on Mt. Whitney Toilets

Deadline: February 4, 2004



2. Huge Logging Project proposed in the Siskiyou National Forest

Deadline: January 5, 2004




1. Forest Service to Release Environmental Assessment on Mt. Whitney Toilets

Deadline: February 4, 2004


In our July 2001 Update, CalUWild reported the following: “Inyo National Forest is starting an Environmental Analysis for replacing the toilet buildings on the Mt. Whitney trail in the John Muir Wilderness. The proposed action is to replace the two existing toilets at Outpost and Trail Camp with buildings with a 500 square foot ‘footprint’.” (That’s the area of earth each would cover.)

* These buildings, on poured concrete slabs, would be two stories tall!
* The process for waste removal would involve depositing it into large bins, draining the liquid from the waste, and evaporating it. The remaining waste would then be dehydrated and flown out by helicopter.

CalUWild submitted comments adamantly opposing the proposed scale of this project, arguing instead that a solution needed to be found which respected wilderness values, even if it meant limiting the number of hikers using the area, something we would not normally like to support. Last week, the announcement below arrived in the mail, and I am happy to report that the Forest Service has decided to take a completely different approach to the problem. This shows that public input can have an effect!

Please read the EA when it is available and send in comments supporting the new preferred alternative.

From Inyo NF:

The Inyo National Forest is preparing to release an Environmental Assessment in early January regarding the future of the toilet facilities on Mt. Whitney. The Environmental Assessment, or EA, analyzes various alternatives to the existing toilets along the Mt. Whitney Trail. The Forest Service preferred alternative is to remove the toilets and institute a mandatory “Pack-It-Out” program. The Forest will be soliciting comments on the EA throughout the month of January.

Two public meetings will be held to explain the contents of the EA, including details of the preferred alternative. Public comments will also be taken at these meetings. The first meeting will be held in Lone Pine at Lone Pine High School on Thursday January 8, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. The second meeting will be held in Mammoth Lakes at the Mammoth Lakes Ranger Station and Visitor Center on Monday January 12, from 4:00 to 5:00 PM.

Starting January 5th, a copy of the documents will be available on the Inyo National Forest website . Hard copies are available by contacting Brian Spitek at the Mt. Whitney Ranger Station at 760-876-6217 or by email at

Public comments on the Mt. Whitney Toilet EA must be postmarked no later than February 4, 2004. They should be submitted to:

Garry Oye

District Ranger

White Mountain Ranger Station

798 N. Main Street

Bishop, CA 93514

They may also be submitted by FAX to:


or e-mail at:

For more information regarding the Environmental Assessment, or if you have specific questions, please contact Deputy District Ranger Mary DeAguero at 760-876-6227


2. Huge Logging Project proposed in the Siskiyou National Forest

Deadline: January 5, 2004


Information in this section comes from The Wilderness Society and the Siskiyou Project. Apologies for the short time frame. Please submit your comments even if you can’t do it by the deadline. Thanks!

Save Siskiyou Wild Rivers from Extreme Post-Fire Logging

The Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon is internationally renowned for its wilderness, wild rivers, and biological diversity. The rugged area has the most complex soils, geology, landscape, and plant communities in the Pacific Northwest. At the heart of this fabulous wildland treasure is the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. Several large roadless areas surround the Kalmiopsis. Conservationists have sought designation of a Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Conservation Area to recognize and protect the area’s unique qualities.

During the summer of 2002, the Biscuit Fire burned much of the Siskiyou National Forest, fulfilling a crucial natural role in this wilderness ecosystem. The Biscuit fire was a natural, weather-driven event that burned in a mixed mosaic pattern, helping to maintain the area’s phenomenal ecological diversity. Natural rejuvenation is taking place already, with many fire-adapted plants and trees reemerging.

The Bush Forest Service has unleashed plans for massive logging of sensitive Biscuit Fire affected forests in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area. The “preferred alternative” in the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) proposes 518 million board feet of logging across 29,090 acres – including 12,179 acres of logging in Inventoried Roadless Areas.

The preferred alternative is greater than the combined logging of all National Forests in the Pacific Northwest last year. The most extreme proposal in the DEIS includes 1.02 billion board feet of logging – enough to create a line of logging trucks 2,700 miles long reaching from Portland, Oregon to the East Coast.

This is the most extreme, massive logging operation in the modern history of our National Forests.

Talking Points: Pick several that are most interest to you and discuss them in your own words. If you are familiar with any areas in the proposal, please write about your experiences there.

1. Please choose the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Conservation Alternative, which is fairly similar to the existing Alternative 4 without the “Learning Opportunities” research logging component.
2. The Siskiyou Wild Rivers area in which the Biscuit fire burned is extremely important for its giant roadless areas, beautiful rivers, wild salmon and its famed biological diversity. These outstanding values and the recreation they support should be protected as a National Conservation Area, not subjected to massive post-fire logging,.
3. The Preferred Alternative in the DEIS proposes extreme logging that would hurt recovery and drive chainsaws into two of Oregon’s largest unprotected roadless forests – the North and South Kalmiopsis Roadless Areas. Another huge flaw in the DEIS is the so-called logging “research” component. It serves no real scientific purpose and should be abandoned.
4. The proposal would destroy 88 square miles of potential wilderness
5. Large burned trees aid natural recovery and serve critical roles in forest ecosystems for hundreds of years. Logging these trees will damage sensitive soils, cause erosion, increase fire risk and hurt recovery. There should be absolutely no post-fire logging of large trees or trees of any size on steep slopes, severely burned sites and areas with rocky, erosive or fragile soils.
6. Areas scarred by fire fighting and other human impacts should be rehabilitated
7. All fire lines should be closed to motorized use. In addition, old mining tracks and spur roads in the fire area should be closed and decommissioned to protect watersheds and prevent the spread of noxious weeds and Port-Orford-cedar root disease. These roads include the Chetco Pass road, McGrew Trail and all tracts in inventoried roadless areas.
8. The proposed logging will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Most job will be short-lived and given to people outside the local community. It is unlikely new jobs will be created – most likely, the jobs will simply shift from other logging work elsewhere. This logging would also drastically lower timber prices – hurting companies not receiving this taxpayer-subsidized logging binge.
9. Of particular concern are Roadless Areas, Botanical Areas, Late Successional Reserves and Wild & Scenic River corridors – these special places must not be logged. In addition, nursery trees hsould be planted only in existing tree plantation areas. The extraordinary botanical diversity of the Siskiyou should not be corrupted by the creation of unnatural, fire-prone conifer tree plantations.
10. Fuels Management Zones should be developed in the wildland urban interface, not in roadless areas, botanical areas or other sensitive places.
11. The Hoover Gulch Research Natural Area should be expanded to include the Babyfoot Lake area and the watersheds of Dailey, Rancherie, Fall, Days and Fiddler Creeks. This area is botanically rich and important for recreation and tourism.


Mr. Scott Conroy, Forest Supervisor

c/o ACT2

PO Box 377

Happy Camp, CA 96039-0377

Fax: 530-493-1775 or 530-493-1776


DEADLINE: January 5, 2004