Newsletter Archive

DuNoir Bonneville Pass, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming
(photo: Wyoming Wilderness Association)

November 15, 2012

Dear friends and supporters—

CalUWild is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this month!

America’s wilderness and public lands are among our greatest treasure and blessings, so it’s fitting that our anniversary falls in the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving.

We’ve come a long way since we began work on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument management plan in 1997. We soon began working to protect the other wild areas in Utah, working with the Utah Wilderness Coalition to support inventories and legislation. Other states stepped up their citizen wilderness inventories and other efforts, and CalUWild broadened its scope to support them as well.

At the same time CalUWild has kept a focus on how people can effectively use the (admittedly imperfect) political system in favor of public lands rather than succumb to the cynicism that often infects the country.

There have been some disappointments, but overall, we can report success. Our membership stands at over 800. The number of monuments has grown, too. And while no comprehensive wilderness bill for Utah has passed, several smaller ones have. We’ve also beaten back legislation that would have had negative impacts. Wilderness bills have passed in California, Nevada, and other states. The Clinton-era Forest Service Roadless Rule has finally been upheld. Opportunities for volunteer activities on public lands are increasing.

CalUWild is proud to be a part of these efforts, but the real success belongs to you. Thank you for your support, both of our wild places and for the organization.

Speaking of support for the organisation, November and December traditionally bring our Annual Membership Appeal.

We do need your financial support in addition to your phone calls, letters, and comments. It’s been a rough few years for everyone, but our expenses keep going up. (The Postal Service just raised the fee for our post office box by 25%, from $96 to $124, for example.) At the same time, support from foundations continues to decrease.

We continue to run as lean and responsibly as possible, but we need to ask you to help out. Dues have always been voluntary (but appreciated), and we’d like to keep it that way. We ask your understanding then as—for the first time in many years—we find it necessary to increase our suggested membership contribution levels.

You can help us save printing and postage costs by printing the online membership form and mailing it to us with your contribution before the Appeal goes out. Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Just as I was ready to hit SEND, Jim Catlin at the Wild Utah Project and CalUWild Advisory Board member, forwarded a petition currently at that I think is worth including at the last minute.

If you’ve been to Moab, Utah, you have likely heard of and hiked in Negro Bill Canyon. The name has long been the subject of debate and embarrassment. The petition requests the USGS Board of Geographic Names, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Grand (Utah) County Council to formally change the name to Grandstaff Canyon (the correct spelling of his name). If you’d like to sign the petition, click here.

1.   Outdoor Industry Association Letter
          Supports Greater Canyonlands Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Quick Update on Tim DeChristopher
3.   Election Results
4.   Lawsuit Filed over Fees in Four Southern California Forests
5.   This Just In: Gov. Brown Appoints
          New California State Parks Director
6.   Shoshone National Forest
          Management Plan Comments Due
          DEADLINE: November 26
          (ACTION ITEM)
7.   House Democrats Announce Resume Bank
8.   Links to Articles of Interest


1.   Outdoor Industry Association Letter
          Supports Greater Canyonlands Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and 113 outdoor businesses this week released a letter calling on Pres. Obama to designate a large area surrounding Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah as a national monument. Calling Greater Canyonlands “without question a world class landscape deserving of the highest levels of protection,” the letter went on to say: “It is a place of unparalleled beauty, a geologic wonderland and a treasure trove of ancient cultural and archeological artifacts. Greater Canyonlands also offers superlative recreational opportunities that draw people from around the globe.”

Additionally, the OIA letter pointed out the large contribution that outdoor recreation makes to the U.S. economy, “generating $646 billion in national sales and services in 2011 and supporting 6.1 million jobs, powering the economy in a manner comparable to the financial services and insurance industries or outpatient health care.”

We welcome the OIA taking a strong position on this important conservation initiative!
For a map showing the monument proposal, click here.

To read the OIA letter, click here.

You can add your voice to those asking for a Greater Canyonlands National Monument by calling the White House at:


You can also leave a comment on the White House website comment form.

2.   Quick Update on Tim DeChristopher

We reported last month that Tim DeChristopher, convicted of making illegal bids in a 2008 oil & gas lease sale, was eligible for a work-release program. It turns out that the Federal Bureau of Prisons decided not to allow him to work with the Unitarian Universalist Church on social justice issues, since they said his crime itself involved social justice—despite the fact that Federal Judge Dee Benson never permitted him to mention it in court. He wrote an article appearing in the current issue of the Unitarian magazine UU World, on the philosophy of activism. Click here to read it. A profile of Mr. DeChristopher also appears there.

Tim was offered a job working at a bookstore in Salt Lake City instead.

3.   Election Results

The White House
As everyone knows, President Barack Obama was re-elected. In his first term he was not the strongest proponent of public lands, but he did reverse some of the worst policies of the previous administration. He designated four new national monuments, and two of them, Ft. Ord and César Chávez, are in California. The other two are Chimney Rock in Colorado and Ft. Monroe in Virginia. CalUWild was involved at some level in the campaigns to designate each of these.

It’s not clear at this point what changes will take place in the president’s cabinet. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been reported to be hoping to return to Colorado, but has made no formal announcement. Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture (which oversees the Forest Service), has also made no announcement. His wife lost a bid to be elected to Congress from Iowa.

U.S. Senate
In California, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) easily won re-election. Sen. Feinstein has been a champion of California desert issues for many years. (Sen. Barbara Boxer is not up for re-election until 2016.) Overall, the Democrats picked up two seats and with three Independents likely to caucus with them they hold a 55 – 45 seat majority in the Senate.

U.S. House of Representatives
With newly redrawn House districts and an open primary system, California had an interesting election. Several races involved either incumbents running against each other or two candidates from the same party. Overall the prognosis for public lands looks good.
There are still some races that have not been decided, but nationally, it looks like the Republicans lost a few seats, though they retained their majority. Committee assignments have not been announced. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she would seek to retain her position.

Here is a rundown of some races of note, using the new district numbers.

Dist. 1:   Jared Huffman (D) replaced retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey. We thank Rep. Woolsey for always being a champion of wilderness and public lands. Mr. Huffman was an assemblyman prior to this election and had a good environmental record.

Dist. 3:   Rep. John Garamendi (D) was re-elected. He is a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior and also a longtime public lands champ.

Dist. 5:   Rep. Mike Thompson (D) was re-elected. Rep. Thompson was the chief sponsor of the North Coast wilderness bill, but he represents a more inland district now.

Dist. 7:   This race has not been finalized, but at this point, Rep. Dan Lungren (R), former California Attorney General and no friend of the environment is trailing Ami Bera (D).

Dist. 15:   20-term Congressman Pete Stark (D) lost his bid for re-election to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell. Rep. Stark has been a longtime friend of the environment and a member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board. We thank him for his support over the years and wish him well!

Dist. 24:   Rep. Lois Capps (D), also a longtime wilderness supporter, was re-elected in a tight race against former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R).

Dist. 30:   Rep. Brad Sherman (D) defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman. Both have been supporters of public lands and the environment in general. Rep. Sherman is also a member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board. We wish Rep. Sherman well and thank him for his support.

Dist. 35:   Gloria Neglete McLeod (D) defeated Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Baca, who was not very strong on conservation issues.

Dist. 36:   Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) lost her bid for re-election to Democrat Raul Ruiz. Rep. Bono Mack was the author of several public lands bills, including the creation of Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and several wilderness bills. We appreciate her support over the years.

Dist. 51:   Rep. Bob Filner left Congress to be elected mayor of San Diego. Rep. Filner has also been a longtime champion of wildlands and environmental protection. Rep. Filner is a member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, and we wish him well in his new role. Juan Vargas (D) was elected to fill the seat.

Dist. 52:   Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) lost his race to Democrat Scott Peters. We thank Rep. Bilbray for being the author of the Otay Mountain Wilderness Act in 1999.

In Utah:   Gov. Bob Herbert was re-elected, as was the entire congressional delegation. The state also gained a fourth congressional seat in the last census, and Republican Chris Stewart was chosen to fill it. Utah Rep. Rob Bishop may be in line to head the House Natural Resources Committee.

In Arizona:   Proposition 120, which would have amended the state’s constitution to claim sovereignty over all the land within the state’s borders, taking all federal lands away, failed by a two-to-one margin.

4.   Lawsuit Filed over Fees in Four Southern California Forests

In the February 2012 Update we reported that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled against the Forest Service and its fee program for simply parking or hiking in undeveloped forest areas in Arizona. In theory, the decision applies to the Forest Service in California, since it also lies in the Ninth Circuit. However, the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino national forests continue to require that an “Adventure Pass” be displayed on parked vehicles, even when people are only hiking and not using the types of developed facilities that the law requires.

Four Californians had enough and filed suit last month in District Court in Los Angeles to enforce the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. The following is an excerpt from the plaintiff’s statement when filing the suit:

“It should now be possible to go for a hike in your local forest without having to risk a ticket if you don’t pay an access fee,” says plaintiff Alasdair Coyne, Conservation Director of Keep Sespe Wild, a Los Padres watershed organization based in Ojai. “Eight months after the Arizona court ruling is quite enough time for the Forest Service to bring their other local fee programs into compliance. The Forest Service is not above the law.”

Recreation fees on federal land are governed by the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, or REA. Fees are authorized under the REA for use of campgrounds and day use sites that meet certain minimum requirements, but fees are prohibited for some activities, even where those requirements are met. The activities for which fees are prohibited include parking, passing through without use of facilities and services, camping in dispersed undeveloped areas, and general access.

The hikers challenging the Adventure Pass are represented by public interest attorneys Matt Kenna of Durango, Colorado, and René Voss of San Anselmo, California, with support from the Colorado-based Western Slope No-Fee Coalition.

“The 9th Circuit ruling is quite clear that forest visitors who don’t use developed facilities can’t be charged a fee,” said Coalition President Kitty Benzar. “Yet fee signage across southern California’s four National Forests, as well as information on the Adventure Pass website, says you must pay just to park your car to access trails, rivers, lakes, and undeveloped backcountry. People are being intimidated into paying illegal fees under threat of federal prosecution. We are confident this lawsuit will put a stop to that.”

You may read a copy of the lawsuit here. The Forest Service has 60 days to respond.

5.   This Just In: Gov. Brown Appoints
          New California State Parks Director

Two days ago, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed retired Major Gen. Anthony Jackson (USMC) as head of the California State Parks System. We’ve reported regularly over the last few years on the funding and other challenges facing the parks. While we don’t know much yet about Gen. Jackson’s approach to these issues, we do know that he has his work cut out for him.

Click on the links below to read articles about the appointment.

Los Angeles Times

Sacramento Bee

San Francisco Chronicle

6.   Shoshone National Forest
          Management Plan Comments Due
          DEADLINE: November 26
          (ACTION ITEM)

We received the following alert from our friends at the Wyoming Wilderness Association, somewhat edited for space and formatting. If you’re interested in a map or more information and suggestions, go to WWA’s website.

Your comments will help keep our Nation’s FIRST National Forest & critical link to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem — a Wild Legacy for generations to come!

WWA encourages you to participate in the 90-day public comment period for the Shoshone National Forest Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Writing in your own words and about your own experience in the wild and your own personal connection to these areas will have greater impact and be treated as an individual comment.

Important Wilderness Recommendations we urge the Agency to include in the Final Plan:

WILDERNESS: The Forest Service should recommend a few key wilderness areas (and they have not in their preferred alternative) in the Final Plan. We urge the agency to adopt wilderness recommendations for the DuNoir, the DuNoir Additions, Wood River, Franc’s Peak, and Trout Creek as outlined in Alternative D (learn more about these special areas inside).

ROADLESS AREAS: The Forest Service must not allow new motorized roads or trails in inventoried roadless areas. The agency must manage all 684,800 acres of primitive roadless areas as backcountry non-motorized (Management Area 1.3).


DuNoir Special Management Unit & Additions
•   38,000 acres, Rated HIGH in all wilderness criteria in 2008 & 2012 Forest Service Wilderness Evaluations
•   Long recognized for wilderness characteristics (recommended three times since 1970s). Now is the time!
•   Great public access & many diverse backcountry recreation opportunities from hunting to backpacking to horse packing & wildlife viewing & solitude;
•   Superb scenic values including the iconic Ramshorn Peak, Brook’s Lake Pinnacles, & Kissinger Lakes;
•   Prime elk habitat & critical elk calving grounds, home to grizzly bear, trout, & bighorn sheep; and
•   Existing wilderness characteristics are threatened by motorized & mechanized use which are inconsistent with management prescriptions.

Trout Creek
•   40,000 acres, Rated HIGH in all wilderness criteria in 2008 & 2012 Forest Service Wilderness Evaluations
•   Important lower-elevation habitat for bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, & grizzly bear;
•   Prime opportunities for solitude & primitive recreation, no current motorized recreation;
•   Adjacent to North Absaroka Wilderness & bordered by private lands which help keep area intact; and
•   Spectacular view-shed in Trout Creek Basin with views of entire Big Horn Basin.

Wood River & Franc’s Peak
•   Wood River 57,000 acres, Franc’s Peak 68,000 acres, Rated HIGH or MODERATE in all wilderness criteria in 2008 & 2012 Forest Service Wilderness Evaluations;
•   Middle Fork of the Wood River recognized for wilderness protection since 1970s;
•   Rich cultural heritage highlighted by a few of the world’s most substantive prehistoric archeological sites; and
•   Critical lower-elevation habitat, including identified army-cutworm moth grizzly-feeding sites, coveted bighorn sheep hunt units, winter range for elk & even pronghorn!

You can see the plan here.

Submit your comments by email to: shoshone_forestplan [at] fs [dot] fed [dot] us.

or by U.S. Mail to:

Shoshone National Forest
Forest Plan Comments
808 Meadow Lane Avenue
Cody, WY 82414

Deadline for email and postmarks is November 26.
If you have any questions, please contact Sara at 307-455-2246 or sara [at] wildwyo [dot] org.

7.   House Democrats Announce Resume Bank

The following announcement arrived last week. Please pass it along to anyone you know who might be interested. If we hear of anything similar from the Republican side, we’ll be sure to send it out as well.

Whip Hoyer, House Democratic Caucuses Announce the Launch of House Democrats’ First Online Resume Bank

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), the Blue Dog Coalition, the New Democrat Coalition, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) announced jointly today that they have launched a new resume bank at where members of the public can submit resumes that will be viewable by all new and existing House Democratic offices. For the large freshman class of Democrats that will be joining the 113th Congress, this will be a useful tool as they set up their offices and hire staff members.

“The resume bank launched today will allow House Democrats to improve our hiring process and further strengthen our staff diversity,” said House Democratic Whip Hoyer. “It advances our commitment to openness, transparency, and equal opportunity by creating a new way for any citizen to submit a resume that will be shared with all House Democratic offices, including the large incoming freshmen class. We are excited to launch this new, unprecedented process, which we believe will be an invaluable resource to our Members as they prepare for the 113th Congress, and for applicants looking for a job on Capitol Hill.”

Members of the public can go online to where they can fill out a form and upload a copy of their resume. That information will then be posted in a searchable, sortable resume bank on DemCom, the official intranet for House Democratic staff. Democratic offices will be able to browse candidates for open positions, and DemCom users will be able to recommend, endorse, or comment on submissions in the resume bank, either in their personal capacity, or on behalf of their office.

Democratic Whip Hoyer’s office manages DemCom, which has been in use for four years and is used regularly by over 2,000 House Democratic staffers. DemCom hosts all internal documents within the Democratic Caucus including “Dear Colleague” Member letters, Leadership fact sheets and talking points, organization position papers, and public sentiment from, all organized by specific legislation.

8.   Links to Articles of Interest

Salt Lake Tribune
Arches trying to cure 50 years of growing pains

Los Angeles Times
A High Sierra State of Mind

San Francisco Chronicle
Google cameras map popular Grand Canyon trails