Newsletter Archive

July 8, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

Summer has arrived, and there hasn’t been a lot of grassroots action needed in the last few weeks, so theUpdate decided to take June off.

That doesn’t mean, however, that things haven’t been busy here. Opposition to the Bush/Norton anti-wilderness agenda continues to build, and groups around the country are working closely together to reverse, or at least blunt the effects of, the latest actions from Washington.

In June, CalUWild helped draft a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton objecting to a request by 10 Utah and Arizona congressmen asking her to remove the Colorado River corridor from a Park Service wilderness recommendation to the president. This would have done an end-run around the current public planning process on river management. We rounded up 23 groups from around the West to sign on to the letter before sending it off to Ms. Norton. See Item 4 for further action on Grand Canyon.

Now with appropriations bills beginning their way in Congress, it’s time again to jump into action. See Item 1 for information on opposing the giveaway of rights-of-way across our wilderness areas and national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, and forests. Item 2 has the latest on the Fee Demonstration Program.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Act has not been re-introduced, but we are expecting that to happen sometime soon. For more information on the Wild Heritage Campaign, including hikes to proposed wilderness areas, check out their web site.

There are a couple of administrative items:

CalUWild’s “Guide to Effective Advocacy” has been attracting some welcome attention. Several organizations have approached us about distributing it to their members or using it in classrooms. It contains useful information for getting your message across to decision makers through letters, phone calls and meetings. It’s on-line at:

If you change your email address, please let us know your new one. We can’t afford to lose any of our members and will send you a postcard asking for your new address. That takes time and postage which could be spent on other things. So please try to remember to let us know by sending us an e-mail.

Please pass this Update along to people you know who might be interested in getting involved. Remember, the only formal membership requirement is to write one letter a month to a newspaper, an elected official, or to an agency. Dues are voluntary, but appreciated!

Thanks for your interest and support. And do get out into the wilds this Summer!

Best wishes,



1.R.S. 2477 Budget Amendment

2.Fee Demonstration Program


3. Job Announcement:
National Hispanic Environmental Council


4. Grand Canyon Wilderness


5. Colorado Wilderness Act Introduced


1.R.S. 2477 Budget Amendment

As we’ve discussed before, R.S. 2477 is a part of the Mining Act of 1866 that granted rights-of-way for the construction of “highways” over public land. R.S. 2477 was repealed in 1976, but existing rights were recognized. Counties and states around the West have claimed routes, many of them bogus, to defeat wilderness proposals and make their case for local control of federal public resources. In February, the Department of the Interior finalized new regulations making it easier for states and counties to make claims. In April, the department signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Utah setting out guidelines for processing claims using these new regulations.

Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO), one of the best friends of wilderness in Congress, has stepped up to take the lead in fighting against these new regulations. Rep. Udall has two pieces of legislation tight now dealing with R.S. 2477.

The most time sensitive is an amendment to the current House Interior Appropriations bill to simply ban the use of any funds for implementing the new regulations, plain and simple. We anticipate a vote on the R.S. 2477 amendment next Wednesday or Thursday.

Secondly, Mr. Udall has introduced legislation which sets appropriate standards for processing claims. The proposal sets deadlines for filing claims and defines what is meant by “construction” and “highway,” among other things. The bill number is H.R. 1639, and it has not been scheduled for hearings or a vote. It needs co-sponsors, though. So far, Lynn Woolsey (D-06) and George Miller (D-07) are the only California cosponsors among 9 on the bill, which was introduced in April.

Please make a phone call to your representative’s office before next Wednesday asking him or her to:

1.Vote in favor of Rep. Mark Udall’s R.S. 2477 amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill; and

2.Become a cosponsor of H.R. 1639.

Complete contact information for California congressional offices can be found in the Effective Advocacy Guide.

2.Fee Demonstration Program

The following information on the Fee Demonstration Program is adapted from an alert sent by Keep Sespe Wild.


Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA11), Chair of the House Resources Committee, has just indicated his intention to soon reauthorize (i.e., make permanent) the Recreation Fee Demo Program – for ALL the four agencies involved (Park Service, Forest Service, BLM and Fish & Wildlife Service).

As new Chair of the Resources Committee, which oversees all public lands, Rep. Pombo hasn’t until now revealed his position on the Recreation Fee Demo Program. Now thatwe know he’s supportive of making Fee Demo permanent, we must immediately demonstrate how contentious a move this will be, by an outpouring of protest mail and calls to Rep. Pombo’s offices.

We also know that the White House is pushing strongly for permanent public lands fees. It’s been a while since we’ve asked you to contact the White House about Fee Demo. Now is the perfect time to send them the message, again, that Fee Demo must go (except for National Parks).

Remember, the outpouring of protest you helped generate in opposition to Fee Demo kept permanent fee proposals from moving forward in 2002. We can do it again!


Please fax or mail a letter to Rep. Pombo, or call the House Resources Committee. There’s no deadline, but early July is best. Remember, letters to DC are still delayed by screening. Send a copy to President Bush at the White House, or call and leave a message.

Below are talking points, where to fax or mail it, the resources committee phone number, and contact info for the white house, followed by a brief update on other recent developments with fee demo in DC.

Fax numbers for Rep. Pombo:

Try any of these fax numbers that isn’t busy! Remember, faxes from western states may go through to DC more easily AFTER 5 p.m. EST.

(1) Rep. Pombo’s Resources Committee – (202) 225-5929

(2) Rep. Pombo’s District Office in DC – (202) 226-0861

(3) Rep. Pombo’s Stockton, CA office – (209) 951-1910

Mailing address for Rep. Pombo:

Rep. Richard Pombo
Chair, House Resources Committee,
1324 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC20515
House Resources Committee phone number: (202) 225-2761.

Please be brief and to the point and ask whoever picks up the phone that Fee Demo be canceled for the Forest Service, BLM and Fish & Wildlife Service. If you vote Republican, please say so. Call Fee Demo a new tax.

White House contact info:

President G. W. Bush,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
FAX to (202) 456-2461

Leave phone messages at the White House comment line:
(202) 456-1111, (9 am to 5 p.m., EST, Mon – Fri)


Use your own words. Letters that look a lot alike carry less weight.
Please do not support extending the Recreation Fee Demo Program for the US Forest Service, the BLM or the US Fish & Wildlife Service. These fees must be canceled as soon as possible. They are a new tax on rural Americans.
The Forest Service has been spending $15 million to raise $15 million from forest fees, according to the April 2003 GAO Report. The BLM and USFWS fees are bringing in only a few million dollars nationwide.
The money raised by Fee Demo for these three agencies is not worth the controversy caused by fees to go for a walk or a drive on lands we already own.
Please write your name and address very clearly!

Additional points to mention in your letter

Please add your own comments (brief is OK) on Fee Demo.
If you vote Republican – please state so in your letter. The opinions of conservatives certainly weigh more with both the President and Rep. Pombo.


The House Appropriations Committee voted on 6/26/03 to extend Fee Demo for two years for all four agencies, as part of the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill. We had been assured this WOULD NOT happen, so it is somewhat of a disappointment. However, this Committee created Fee Demo and all its extensions to date.

We know the Administration has been pushing hard for this. The Senate is more supportive of our opposition to permanent fees for the Forest Service, the BLM and the USFWS, so this extension may well not be included in the Senate’s version of the Appropriations Bill, due up quite soon. We’ll ask you to contact the Senate later in July.

The long and the short of it is that we’ll need you to be faxing, writing and/or calling to DC several times this summer – so keep those forest fee protest letters on your computer, ready to adapt each time as appropriate…

Who else do you know, who you can ask to write or call? This is the summer to pull out all the stops on generating Fee Demo protest mail and calls to DC! Can you set up a table in an appropriate public place and get 10, 20 more letters written?

As ever, we thank you for your help. Your response to these grassroots alerts will be vital to ending forest fees at the earliest opportunity.

Alasdair Coyne
Conservation Director
Keep Sespe Wild


3.Job Announcement: National Hispanic

Environmental Council

Below is a brief summary of a position that the NHEC and California Wild Heritage Campaign are looking to fill. For a full job description, please contact Pamela Flick at CWHC:

JOB TITLE:Hispanic Outreach Coordinator,

California Wild Heritage Campaign

ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND:The National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC) is a national, non-profit, membership based organization, founded in 1995, and headquartered in Alexandria, VA (just outside Washington, D.C.). NHEC seeks to educate, unite, and engage Latinos on environmental, natural resource, and sustainable development issues; provide a national voice for Latinos before federal, state, and non-profit environmental decision-makers; and actively assist Latinos and other minorities to pursue the many career, business, educational, and policy opportunities in the environmental field. We operate various programs that accomplish this mission, and further our guiding credo: “because it’s our environment too.”

POSITION OVERVIEW:Publicly owned land in California belongs to all state residents. Yet, not all Californians participate equally, or receive equal benefits, from involvement in our wondrous public lands. For example, Latinos, despite having strong affinities for and a love of the outdoors, still do not recreate in wilderness areas in the numbers one might expect. While recent polls in California clearly demonstrate that Latinos overwhelmingly support efforts to protect wilderness areas, Latinos remain under-involved and under-represented. Together with NHEC, the CWHC seeks to reach out to Latinos to enlist their support for preserving and protecting California’s remaining wild places.


Thorough understanding of both English and Spanish, including strong ability to effectively translate CWHC materials, both orally and in writing.
Excellent written and oral communications skills.
Some demonstrated understanding of and familiarity with environmental issues.
Demonstrated ability to work cheerfully and constructively with all kinds of people.
Demonstrated ability to be a self-starter — to be someone who does not require constant supervision — and to show great initiative in the performance of the position.
Proficiency with email, word processing, and database management.
Commitment to the preservation of the earth, especially California’s public lands and rivers.


Experience in Campaign and/or political organizing.
Experience with national forest or river related issues, and/or with public lands, natural resource, or conservation issues.

JOB LOCATION:Fresno, with work in surrounding Central Valley and Sierra communities. The position will require a fair amount of regional travel in the respective areas. Thus, the candidates must live within a reasonable distance to his/her respective areas (i.e., those applying must live in reasonable proximity to Fresno). Job related travel expenses will be paid.


4.Grand Canyon Wilderness

As mentioned in the introduction above, Interior Secretary Norton received a request to remove the Colorado River corridor from the Park Service’s wilderness recommendation for Grand Canyon National Park. Should she comply, it would pave the way for motorized rafts being allowed permanently on the river, since motorized equipment is generally prohibited in wilderness areas.

Motorized rafts were supposed to have been phased out years ago, but that has never happened. Now the Park Service is undertaking a comprehensive River Management Plan review, and it is our hope that the Park will finally implement the phaseout.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) circulated a counter-letter to Secty. Norton in Congress, requesting that the planning process be allowed to continue unimpeded. It received 28 representatives’ signatures, including 11 Californians:

Lois Capps (D-23)

Mike Honda (D-15)

Tom Lantos (D-12)

Barbara Lee (D-09)

George Miller (D-07)

Grace Napolitano (D-38)

Linda Sanchez (D-39)

Adam Schiff (D-29)

Ellen Tauscher (D-12)

Henry Waxman (D-30)

Lynne Woolsey (D-06)

If your representative is on the list, please call to say thank you.


5.Colorado Wilderness Act Introduced

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) has re-introduced H.R. 2305, the Colorado Wilderness Act. It is based on a citizens wilderness inventory, just as America’s Redrock Wilderness Act in Utah and the California Wild Heritage Act are. The bill would designate 1.6 million acres of BLM lands and 300,000 acres of National Forest, on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

“This plan will protect 59 areas comprising 1.6 million of acres of wilderness public land across our beautiful State. It is a broad and ambitious piece of legislation that will keep some of the few remaining wild places we have left in Colorado for future generations,” DeGette said.

She continued, “Unfortunately, the lands in this bill need protection now more then ever. A few weeks ago, late on a Friday evening, in the midst of the war in Iraq, the Bush Administration signed a deal, behind closed doors with no public notification or input, that fundamentally changed the way our public lands are managed for wilderness protection….The decision from Washington, DC was made without any input or consideration from Coloradoans. This is particularly troubling given that, over the course of the last decade, Colorado citizens spent countless hours on the trails inventorying the lands of our state to ensure that they did, indeed, warrant wilderness status. Their efforts, which led to the development of the Citizens’ Wilderness Proposal, form the basis for my Colorado Wilderness Act. It is a plan developed by Coloradoans to protect Colorado land.”

We’ll keep you posted on the bill’s progress.