Newsletter Archive

June 21, 2007

Dear friends of CalUWild —

There are a few urgent Action Items this month, especially Items 4 and 1. Please take a few minutes to contact the appropriate officials. All the information you need is here. If you feel you need more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email or phone: 415-752-3911

Without further ado, we’ll get right to things.

Thanks for your efforts and support!


1. Town of Escalante Seeks Off Highway Vehicle Grant
Letters Needed

2. Utah Wilderness Slide Show in Stockton
Monday, June 25
3. Sequoia National Forest
a. No Appeal On Monument Plan Ruling
b. Vehicle Travel Plan Preparation
Comments Needed
Meetings Scheduled

4. Amendment on R.S. 2477 Rights-of-Way
Letters, Calls & Emails Needed

5. Wilderness Volunteer Trips with
Friends of Nevada Wilderness

6. Convicted Ex-Deputy Interior Secretary
Seeks Sentencing Leniency from Judge

7. California Wild Heritage Campaign Coordinator


1. Town of Escalante Seeks Off Highway Vehicle Grant
Letters Needed

Steve Allen, long-time friend of Utah’s wilderness, canyoneering guidebook author, historian, and member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, sent out the following letter. If you’ve spent time in the Escalante region, you know what a special place it is. It’s the last place where off-road vehicle use should be encouraged. Please write as suggested. Thanks!

Dear fellow canyoneers,

One of our worst nightmares may come to pass, unless we get your help! We have all hiked in and around the Escalante area of Utah for many years. It has been a quiet oasis in the midst of an onslaught by Off-road vehicles (ORVs) in other favorite areas. Unfortunately, while the town has been making money off us backpackers, canyoneers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, fishermen, river runners, rock art hunters, and horsepackers for years, they now want to change course and make the town of Escalante into the ORV capital of Utah.

Their immediate goal is to get a $50,000+ grant from the State of Utah to turn the downtown park into a formalized ORV staging area. This will then become the focal point for ORV rallies much like we now see with the Jeep Jamboree in Moab, with thousands of participants tearing up the terrain.

What would it mean to us, the quiet recreationists? We’ve lost the San Rafael Swell, Tenmile Country, much of Lake Country, the Upper Paria and many other areas to the ORV crowd. The Escalante has truly been the last bastion of quiet Wilderness in the State. If Escalante does become an ORV oasis, the peaceful ambience of the area will be gone; ORVs will dominate the landscape, with their noise, pollution, and of course, their endless trails and tracks that go absolutely everywhere.

What can you do?

Right now sit down and write a short letter to the contact person below. In one or two paragraphs tell about your experiences in the Escalante as a backpacker or canyoneer. Tell Mary Tullius that you do NOT want the Escalante area to become just another area trashed and ruined by the ORV crowd. Tell Mary Tullius that you spend a lot of money while in the area and that the quiet recreationists will not come back to the area if it is over-run by ORVs. Tell Mary Tullius that you object to the state granting the $50,000 to the town of Escalante for the ORV staging area.

The letter should be short and concise and to the point. The letters need to be to Mary Tullius by June 29, so write now. This is very important and time is of the essence.

Please write:

Ms. Mary Tullius – Director
Utah State Parks and Recreation
1594 W. North Temple, Suite 116
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6001

Phone: 801-538-7362
Fax: 801-538-7378


2. Utah Wilderness Slide Show in Stockton
Monday, June 25
7 P.M.

Bob Brister, the Interregional Outreach Coordinator for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance will be presenting the recently revised “Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness slide show at a meeting of the Sierra Club Delta-Sierra Group. CalUWild Coordinator Mike Painter will be joining him to speak briefly about CalUWild and the role Californians play in protecting wildlands in Utah and across the West.

Please join us if you can.

Monday, June 25, 2007, 7 pm.
Central United Methodist Church
3700 Pacific Ave., Stockton
The Fireside Room

3. Sequoia National Forest
a. No Appeal On Monument Plan Ruling

Last week the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Unites States Forest Service had changed its mind and had decided not to appeal a federal court ruling ordering it to prepare a new plan.

District Court Judge Charles Breyer had ruled last year (see CalUWild’s Sept. 06 Update) that the management plan did comply with the Monument Proclamation, but he found it contradictory in places and incomprehensible and ordered the Monument to prepare a new one. A Monument spokesman said it has “decided to take a more constructive and positive approach.

b. Vehicle Travel Plan Preparation
Comments Needed
Meetings Scheduled

On June 15, Sequoia National Forest published a notice in the Federal Register, stating its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on 10 actions affecting motorized vehicle use in the Monument.

Among the proposed actions are:

1. The addition of approximately 71 miles of existing unauthorized routes to the National Forest System (NFS) of motorized trails, open to wheeled motorized vehicle use by the public.

2. Opening approximately 21.8 miles of existing NFS roads, currently closed to public wheeled motorized vehicle use, to wheeled motorized vehicle use by the public, making them primarily OHV trails.

3. Opening another approximately 23.2 miles of existing NFS roads, currently closed to public wheeled motorized vehicle use, to all wheeled motorized vehicle use by the public, street legal vehicles as well as OHVs.

4. Changing approximately 5,500 acres of semi-primitive non-motorized (SPNM) to semi-primitive motorized (SPM), to conform to a proposal to allow motorized vehicle use of the NFS trail north of Dry Meadow.

5. Closing approximately 19.5 miles of existing NFS roads, currently open to wheeled motorized vehicle use by the public.

6. The prohibition of wheeled motorized vehicle travel off of designated NFS roads, NFS trails, and areas by the public, except as allowed by permit or other authorization.

We have seen no details on these proposed changes, and there is nothing listed on the Forest Service’s website. But in general, our national forests are already crisscrossed with roads. It’s good when the Forest Service closes existing roads or routes. We do not generally support the opening of new routes, and we emphatically do not support the legitimizing of unauthorized routes. All that does is reward previous illegal vehicle use by now making it legal.

The Forest Service will be holding five public meetings regarding the Public Wheeled Motorized Travel Management Environmental Impact Statement. These meetings are to provide additional information related to the proposed action and the project area. This information may be helpful to you in identifying issues (a point of disagreement, debate, or dispute), regarding the proposed action, which you may submit for consideration to the Forest Service. Issues that are determined to be significant will be used to formulate alternatives to the proposed action.


• Monday, June 25, 6 PM to 8 PM, Veteran’s Hall, 6405 Lake Isabella Blvd., Lake Isabella, CA

• Thursday, June 28, 6 PM to 8 PM, Council Chambers, 100 W. California Avenue, Ridgecrest, CA

• Saturday, June 30, 10 AM to 12 PM, Doubletree Inn, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court, Bakersfield, CA

• Monday, July 9, 6 PM to 8 PM, Tulare County Office of Education, 2637 West Burrel Avenue, Visalia, CA (west of County Courthouse)

• Tuesday, July 10, 6 PM to 8 PM, Supervisor’s Office, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA

Completion of the draft EIS is expected in September 2007, and the final EIS is expected in September 2008.

Send written comments to:

Chris Sanders
Travel Management
Sequoia National Forest
1839 South Newcomb Street
Porterville, CA 93257

For further information contact: Chris Sanders at 559-784-1500 or at the address listed above.

4. Amendment on R.S. 2477 Rights-of-Way
Letters, Calls & Emails Needed

R.S. 2477, the Civil War-Era statue granting rights of way over public lands continues to be an issue around the West. The administration has tried its hardest to make it easier for road claims to be validated in many areas that people thought were protected, even private property.

It’s appropriations season in Congress right now, and Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) has stated that he will introduce an amendment on the floor of the House banning the use of any funds to implement the administration’s rules on rights-of-way. A vote could be held as soon as early next week.

The following alert just came from the California Wilderness Coalition. Please make a phone call to your House representative right away. Contact information for most California House offices may be found on the CalUWild website or you may use the email link below. (Email is not always as effective as phone calls or faxes.)

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-11), who replaced Rep. Richard Pombo, may be reached at:

In DC: 202-225-1947; 202-225-4060 (f)
In Pleasanton: 925-737-0727; 925-737-0734 (f)
In Stockton: 209-476-8552; 209-476-8587 (f)

Please personalize the message and use your own words.

Act Now: Stop the Public Lands Give-Away!

Ask your representative today to protect America’s national parks, wilderness and other special places by voting in favor of the Udall R.S. 2477 amendment.

A little known 19th century statute is threatening to crisscross your public lands with a spider web of roads and development. Right now, some western states, counties, and off-road vehicle groups are trying to crisscross our public lands with a spider web of roads and development across our national parks, monuments, wilderness, and refuges.

Congress may vote by next week to stop this public lands give-away, when Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO) offers a proposal that would close this dangerous and antiquated loophole.

These states, counties, and off-road vehicle groups have alleged that hiking trails, wash bottoms, streambeds, dog sled trails, and little-used two-tracks are actually constructed highways under a loophole in an 1866 law known as R.S. 2477 and have tried to get the federal government to accept these claims and surrender management, and some are trying to develop these trails and routes into paved highways and/or allow off-road vehicle use. Some hope these new (so called) highways will promote mining, timber, and oil and gas development.

These claims cut through protected areas including some of California’s most iconic landscapes, such as Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.

The Udall amendment will use Congress’s power of the purse to bar the administration from using tax dollars to approve questionable highway claims. This is a last-minute opportunity to protect vast areas of open space millions of Americans enjoy, but we need your help to make sure it passes!

Please ask your representative to support the Udall amendment today. Please mail or fax the sample letter below to your representative:

Find and write your representative:

Sample Letter:

Dear [Representative]:

Please support Rep. Mark Udall’s amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that will stop a massive public lands give-away.

Our national parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges protect abundant wildlife, pure water, archeological treasures, and open space that millions of Americans enjoy.

But some western states, counties, and off-road vehicle groups are trying to seize control of tens of thousands of miles of hiking trails, cow paths, streambeds, and little-used two-tracks across these lands and turn them into constructed highways where no roads belong. In California, Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve are at risk.

They rely on a Civil War-era loophole known as R.S. 2477 that Congress repealed more than 40 years ago.

What’s worse, the administration has adopted several policies that could give away these little-used routes to states and counties who could then pave and bulldoze roads through sensitive areas with little or no public review.

The Udall amendment would prevent the administration from implementing these policies, and protect America’s special places from such harmful development.

America’s public lands should stay in public hands.

Please support the Udall amendment to end the public lands give-away.

[Your Name]
[Your Full Address]

5. Wilderness Volunteer Trips with
Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Friends of Nevada Wilderness organizes volunteer restoration trips to help wild landscapes recover from noxious weeds, illegal vehicle use and other impacts. You can explore scenic Nevada and help keep it wild at the same time! Our trips are free, and the beautiful wild areas you get to enjoy are priceless!

NOTE: Lots of other trips are scheduled throughout the season. Please check the Friends website at or their blogspot at for the entire schedule.

To sign up for a trip, contact Friends of Nevada Wilderness at 775-324-7667 or

6. Convicted Ex-Deputy Interior Secretary
Seeks Sentencing Leniency from Judge

In the introduction to the March 07 Update, we mentioned the conviction in Federal Court of J. Steven Griles, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, for making false statements to a Senate committee in connection with the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. The time for sentencing is drawing near, and an organized campaign has sprung up among Mr. Griles’s friends and supporters, both in government and out, to seek a lenient sentence for him. 91 letters have been submitted to the judge in the case from people such as former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, under whom he served, and Wyoming Rep. Barbara Cubin (R).

Reportedly, Griles could receive a maximum sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine. The Justice Department prosecutor recommended 10 months’ imprisonment. Griles himself has asked to receive a $15,000 fine, three months of house arrest, and 500 hours of community service. Half of the community service hours would be with an organization devoted to injured veterans of the Iraq War.

It’s the other half of his proposed hours that raises eyebrows, however. Griles has requested that he be allowed to work with “WOW – Wonderful Outdoor World.” WOW is the result of a 2003 Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of the Interior, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Walt Disney Corporation, the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), and others. The parties work “on issues of common interest and to jointly plan and implement mutually beneficial programs and activities,” to quote from the MOU. Griles was Deputy Interior Secretary at the time the MOU was signed.

ARC promotes “increased access to public lands and is a strong supporter of snowmobile use in the national parks. Much of its agenda would result in increased commercialization and privatization of public resources, so if Mr. Griles were to work with WOW, he would be simply returning to the policies he espoused while at the Interior Department. That’s hardly a punishment.

7. California Wild Heritage Campaign Coordinator

Position: California Wild Heritage Campaign Coordinator
Location: Los Angeles, California
Classification: Exempt/Grade
Reports To: Dan Smuts, Deputy Regional Director, California/Nevada Office

Application Deadline: Open until filled, Posted May 2007
Start Date: Immediately

General Description:
The Wilderness Society (TWS), a national non-profit membership organization devoted to the conservation of wilderness and public lands, seeks an experienced Campaign Coordinator to help organize the California Wild Heritage Campaign – a legislative campaign to designate new wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers throughout California.

The Campaign Coordinator will serve as a central point person for the Wild Heritage Campaign helping to coordinate multiple legislative campaigns and maintain communication among the Campaign’s many partner organizations and activists. This position will function as a communications and organizing linchpin for this complex and fast-paced campaign. The Coordinator will be responsible for preparing and distributing materials and information regarding ongoing campaigns; keeping grassroots activists and partner organizations around the state engaged; maintaining a grassroots database and website; assisting field organizers as needed; and ensuring timely and appropriate responses to inquiries from the media and others. In addition, this position will be responsible for cultivating new legislative opportunities for wilderness and wild & scenic river protection.

The ideal candidate has significant experience in environmental advocacy, grassroots campaigns and legislative work. In addition, the Coordinator must have outstanding communication skills, the ability to work well with diverse interests in a coalition setting, a proven track record of leadership, and a love of wild landscapes. Experience working specifically on public land conservation and/or wilderness issues is highly desirable, as is fluency in Spanish. A substantial amount of travel, primarily within California, is required.

– Help develop outreach and educational materials for the press, general public, community leaders and decision makers.
– Ensure effective communication among campaign partners to maximize the effectiveness of a very large and diverse coalition.
– Help coordinate outreach activities of Campaign field organizers, contractors, and partner organizations.
– Develop and implement outreach strategies to cultivate wilderness proposals in new parts of the state.
– Build and maintain partnerships with select statewide constituency groups, including: conservation groups; unions; businesses; and scientists.
– Organize advocacy trips to Washington D.C. and Sacramento, as well as annual strategy meetings for partners.
– Communicate with local decision makers, federal agencies, and members of Congress.
– Serve as a point person for inquiries from the media and others and ensure timely responses are provided.

– 3-5 years experience working in a senior role in a grassroots advocacy campaign.
– Experience working with grassroots volunteers in the environmental movement, political campaigns, or similar efforts.
– Excellent communication skills, including writing and editing as well as oral communications.
– Strong knowledge of the federal legislative process.
– Familiarity with public lands conservation issues and federal land management agencies.
– Leadership and diplomacy skills to work effectively in a coalition setting with many different interests and personalities.
– A strong sense of initiative and the ability to work creatively and independently with limited supervision.
– Experience working successfully with the media to place stories, op-eds, Letters to the Editor, and editorials.
– Dedication to the preservation of California’s public lands.
– Ability and willingness to travel.

We offer a very competitive salary and benefits package, including health and dental insurance and a pension plan. The Wilderness Society is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees and constituents regardless of differences based on culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or sexual orientation.

Submit resume, cover letter, writing samples and references to:

The Wilderness Society
Attn: California Wild Heritage Campaign Coordinator
Presidio Building #1016
P.O. Box 29241
San Francisco, CA 94129

Fax: 415-561-6640
Email to

No phone calls please.