Newsletter Archive

February 4, 2004

Dear CalUWild members and supporters —

The presidential primary season is in full swing, and one topic that is missing from almost everyone’s agenda is the environment. George W. Bush didn’t mention the word once in his State of the Union address.

However, that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening on the environmental front. Two weeks ago, Jim Walters, the Intermountain Region Wilderness Program Coordinator for the National Park Service resigned over the lack of support for and progress in the Park Service’s wilderness programs. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has a copy of Walters’s letter to Park Service Director Fran Mainella on its web site at:

I encourage you to read it. PEER also has a page with links to information regarding other Park Service actions which neglect its responsibilities to wilderness areas under its jurisdiction:

It, too, makes interesting reading.

This neglect in some areas — to say nothing of the outright attacks in others, which are the hallmarks of the Bush Administration — mean that citizens need to redouble their efforts to influence agency employees, legislators, newspaper editors, and their fellow citizens through comments, letters, and phone calls.

There are other ways to get involved as well, including inventorying wilderness areas and road claims. Habitat restoration projects are also an important tool, which help people feel connected to the areas they are trying to preserve. See Item 3 for a volunteer possibility, and other projects abound in the West.

Finally, slide shows are a great tool for people to learn more about various issues. CalUWild has put together a slide show highlighting Utah’s wilderness, using it as a prime example of the issues facing wilderness all over the West. in 2004 we would like to increase the number of shows we present, especially in Southern California. If you’d be interested in helping organize a show to a group (Sierra Club chapter, high school or college environmental club, Rotary Club, etc.) anywhere in the state, please contact me at .

And speaking of slide shows, the next 2 weeks will see a series of slide shows in California, Oregon, and Washington about wilderness and the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. See Item 2 for details.

As always, CalUWild is here to help you be more effective advocates for wildlands. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail, snail mail, or phone. Contact information is at the end of this UPDATE.

Thank you for your support of our wild heritage!




1. Los Padres Oil & Gas Drilling Proposal (ACTION ITEM)


2. Grand Canyon Slide Show Tour

3. Tamarisk Restoration Projects in Grand Canyon National Park



1. Los Padres Oil & Gas Drilling Proposal February 18 Event in Santa Barbara and Letters Needed (ACTION ITEM)

For the last 2 years, CalUWild has been working with a coalition of groups to stop a proposal to open sensitive areas in Los Padres National Forest to oil and gas leasing. These areas are in proposed wilderness and immediately adjacent to release areas for the endangered California Condor restoration program.

After numerous delays, the Forest Service is preparing to release its Environmental Impact Statement in April. Therefore it is CRITICAL that people let the local congressman, Elton Gallegly, know of their opposition to these plans. So far he has not taken a stand against them.

Erin Duffy, the Santa Barbara representative for the California Wild Heritage Campaign, has organized an event for February 18 in Santa Barbara and sent out the following announcement:

Demonstrate your opposition to further oil and gas drilling in Los Padres National Forest!!

Please join Congresswoman Lois Capps and local elected officials WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2004 10:45am Santa Barbara County Court House at the entrance to the sunken gardens.


The Forest Service is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement that will determine where they will open up our forest to oil and gas development. The people of the south central coast know all too well the catastrophes associated with this type of extraction. This month marks the 35 anniversary of the 1969 oil spill off the coast, and we need to tell the Forest Service, “NO MORE OIL!”

For further information on how to get involved: please contact Erin Duffy of the California Wild Heritage Campaign at 805-564-2460 or

Please take a moment to write a short letter to Elton Gallegly regarding this short-minded energy plan!

Representative Elton Gallegly
US House of Representatives
2829 Townsgate Road, Suite 315
Thousand Oaks, CA 91361

Talking points to include in your letter:

* Twenty federally listed threatened or endangered species are at risk from expanded oil and gas activities, including the California condor and San Joaquin kit fox. So far, $35 million has been spent on the Condor Recovery Program, an investment not worth risking for a few days of oil.
* If the current drilling expansion proposal is successful, 66 percent of the oak woodland within the Los Padres National Forest could be destroyed.
* New oil and gas development would hinder recreational opportunities to fish, hunt, hike, and backpack in serene, safe surroundings as streams and trails are contaminated by runoff and sedimentation and air pollution is increased.
* Unexplored archeological sites that contain Native American history, including a permanent village and temporary habitation sites, cemeteries, rock art and places of religious significance, could be damaged or destroyed by expanded oil and gas development.
* New drilling in Los Padres National Forest will not lead to U.S. energy independence. While drilling in these areas poses significant risk, it offers no real solution – providing, at most, a five-day supply of energy for the nation.
* Los Padres National Forest contains less than one percent of the gas and oil thought to exist in federal lands throughout the United States according to the Forest Service.
* By promoting conservation and efficiency and investing in renewable energy like wind and solar, we can maintain our quality of life, meet our energy needs, and preserve our remaining wild lands.



2. Grand Canyon Slide Show Tour

CalUWild has been working with another coalition of groups to secure wilderness status for Grand Canyon National Park, especially for the Colorado River corridor in the Park. A planning process has been going on for the river, and a draft plan is expected in a few months. There have been proposals to circumvent the planning process, but so far they have been beaten back. A big issue for wilderness advocates is the presence of motorized rafts and helicopter flights in the Canyon, since mechanical means of transport are banned by the Wilderness Act (except under certain circumstances).

Tom Martin, Co-Director of River Runners for Wilderness, one of the coalition partners, and guidebook author (“Day Hikes From The River: A Guide to 100 Hikes from Camps on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park.”), will be presenting 8 slide shows on wilderness in Grand Canyon, beginning next week. I urge you to attend one of them if possible!

Here is the schedule:

Tuesday, February 10 – 7:00 PM
Fresno, CA
Viking Elementary School
NW corner of Ashlan and Winery Avenues
Fresno, CA
Local contact: Paul Martzen 559-441-1383
Wednesday, February 11 – 7:00 PM
Oakland, CA
California Canoe and Kayak
409 Water St.
Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94607
510-893-7833, 800-366-9804
Thursday, February 12 – 7:00 PM
Rancho Cordova, CA
California Canoe and Kayak
12401 Folsom Blvd. Suite 205
Nimbus Winery Mall
Exit off Highway 50 on Hazel Avenue South.
Rancho Cordova, CA
Friday, February 13 – 7:00 PM
Roseburg, OR
Walt and Jody Bammann Home
251 Woodberry Ln
Roseburg, OR 97470
Saturday, February 14 – 7:00 PM
Seattle, WA
University of Washington Campus
Hub Auditorium
Seattle, WA
Sponsored by the University Kayak Club and RRFW
Monday, February 16 – 7:00 PM
Tacoma, WA
Backpackers Supply
5206 S. Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409
Tuesday, February 17 – 7:00 PM
Portland, OR
Templeton Student Center’s Council Chambers
Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, just off I-5 via
Terwilliger Boulevard
Portland, OR
Sponsored by North West Rafters Association, Lewis & Clark College and RRFW
Wednesday, February 18 – 6:30 PM
Bend, OR
Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe
805 SW Industrial Way
(The Old Mill District)
Bend, OR

River Runners for Wilderness publishes an e-mail newsletter “Riverwire” about Colorado River issues and can be found on the Web at:

3. Tamarisk Restoration Projects in Grand Canyon National Park

Starting the weekend of February 13 and running through the weekend of March 26, Grand Canyon National Park will be conducting tamarisk eradication expeditions into the Canyon. The four-day trips will take place every Friday through Monday (with a few exceptions) and will involve hiking down from various points on the South Rim and camping in the backcountry. Your days will be filled with cutting tamarisk trees and hauling cut brush to designated areas. The Revegetation staff with your group will also be applying herbicide to assist in the eradication effort. The work will be hard, but definitely rewarding! Fortunately, the inner canyon won’t be too hot at this time of year (it will probably even be chilly).

Some of you may not live nearby, but this is a great excuse for a weekend getaway! This opportunity is open to anyone who would like to help.

Tamarisk is an invasive tree from the Mediterranean that has been gaining quite a stronghold in waterways throughout the Southwest. In the Grand Canyon, this plant was introduced by settlers as a bank stabilizer along streams and the Colorado River. Unfortunately, it has adapted too well to our unique riparian environments and is crowding out native vegetation and sucking up precious water that other plants need!! We have recently begun a fairly aggressive campaign along the River to eradicate this plant, but we need more help in order to control the spread of tamarisk into side canyons.

For more information or to schedule your sweaty, tiring, fun-filled trip, please contact Kim Fawcett at:

Thanks in advance for all of your work to preserve Grand Canyon’s natural environment! If you are interested in doing other volunteer projects, please contact Deb Shannon, volunteer coordinator, Grand Canyon Revegetation Crew: