Newsletter Archive

November 26, 2002

Dear CalUWild friends —

This Fall there is a lot to be thankful for. At the top of the list are the magnificent wildlands around the West, and the citizens movement that has grown up to protect them, which grows stronger every day.

Evidence of this is that the Clark County, NV wilderness bill, discussed in the October UPDATE, was signed as expected by Pres. Bush. Also, the first segment of the California Wilderness bill has passed both the House and Senate in Washington (see Item 3). British Petroleum today announced it was withdrawing from Arctic Power, an industry lobbying group seeking to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Finally, Rep. Jim Hansen’s Title XIV, containing language undermining the 1964 Wilderness Act, was left out of the final version of the Defense Authorization Act (see Item 1).

None of these could have happened had it not been for citizens getting actively involved.

Of course, the elections three weeks ago will likely make it a bit more difficult to protect wilderness and other public lands around the country. As you know, the House remained under the control of the GOP, and they regained control of the Senate. However, the Senate is not filibuster-proof, so there is room for optimism that we won’t lose on some important issues.

Here in California, all 27 cosponsors of America’s Redrock Wilderness Act were re-elected, In addition, Linda Sanchez (D) was elected to represent the new congressional district we gained after the 2000 Census. Linda is the sister of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a cosponsor of the bill. In addition, San Francisco congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was just elected House Minority Leader.

Wilderness’s most important defense will be the fact that Americans support environmental protection. There is no doubt, though, that we will have to work harder to get our message through to decision makers. The most effective ways to do this is to increase the number of letters we write and to increase our membership. If every member were to get just other person to join, we would have over 1,000 members. Spread the news about CalUWild!

There are a few of administrative items with which we could use your assistance.

1) Already boasting the largest congressional delegation, California added a district this year. We now have 53 representatives in Washington, DC. It is important that we know in which districts our members live so we can target information as needed. We are sending out separately a short survey asking for updated district information and a couple of questions in addition to general database information. Please return it as soon as possible — this will save us having to manually look up each address by ZIP code. Member information is NOT shared with ANYone for ANY reason. Thanks!

2) Many thanks to those of you who have responded to CalUWild’s Annual Appeal, sent out to many members earlier this month. The response so far has been gratifying. If you haven’t returned your yellow card with a contribution, please consider doing so. If you’d like to make an additional end-of-the-year gift, please send it to the address at the end of this UPDATE.

Reminder: dues to CalUWild are not tax deductible. For a tax deductible contribution, please make your check payable to Resource Renewal Institute.

Happy Thanksgiving!



1. Rep. Hansen’s Title XIV Dead

2. San Rafael Swell National Monument Loses at Polls


3. Big Sur Wilderness Bill Passes


4. King Range Conservation Area Planning

DEADLINE: December 15


5. Volunteer to Help the Wild Heritage Campaign!


6. Olympic NP Rebuilding Huts in Wilderness Areas

DEADLINE: December 6



7. Snowmobiles to be Allowed in Yellowstone


8. Yellowstone’s Bison Herd

(December 9)

9. Colorado River Delta

(December 1)



1. Rep. Hansen’s Title XIV Dead

Utah Rep. Jim Hansen’s sneaky attempt to stop the storage of nuclear waste on the Goshute Indian Reservation by creating wilderness was stopped last week by House and Senate negotiators.

Outside of the normal committee process Rep. Hansen (R) had slipped language into the Defense Authorization Act which would have created 500,000 acres of wilderness. This created resentment among many House and Senate members, who felt the subject should have been addressed by environmental committees rather than defense.

Wilderness advocates opposed the bill because it would have given unprecedented control of the wilderness areas in BLM lands to the military. For example, the BLM would have had to get permission from the Defense Department and the Utah National Guard before making any changes in management of the land. The bill also contained hard release language, which would have prevented areas not included in the bill from being considered for wilderness designation in the future.

As was typical throughout Mr. Hansen’s career, his actions were overreaching and alienated many. He retired at the end of this term having lost just about every battle over Utah wilderness in which he participated.

2. San Rafael Swell National Monument Loses at Polls

Voters in Emery County, UT defeated a nonbinding proposal for a San Rafael National Monument. The monument had been proposed in early 2002 by Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt as way of ensuring local input into land use decisions in Emery County. The vote was close: 2,151 against and 1,882 in favor. For the time being, the proposal appears to be dead. Gov. Leavitt had said he wouldn’t proceed without local support.

Environmentalists had mixed reactions to the monument proposal. On the one hand, we would like to see the spectacular lands of the San Rafael Swell protected. On the other, a poorly crafted monument proposal might have allowed continued off-road vehicle use to continue. There was additional concern that with the proposal being limited to Emery County, lands deserving protection outside that county would not be included. Many people also felt that the proposal was nothing more than a thinly-disguised economic development plan for the county.

We’ll keep you posted as the saga continues.


3. Big Sur Wilderness Bill Passes


Last week, the lame duck House and Senate passed H.R. 4750, the “Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act of 2002.” The president is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

This is the first section of the California Wild Heritage Act to pass Congress. The bill protects 55,000 acres of public lands in Monterey and San Benito counties: 37,110 acres of Ventana wilderness additions, 17,055 acres of Silver Peak wilderness additions, and 2,715 acres of additions to Pinnacles National Monument.

It’s time to celebrate and write or call, thanking Rep. Farr, and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein for their efforts shepherding the bill through the Senate at the last minute. Letters to Sen. Feinstein are an especially good idea, indicating to her your support for wilderness in California.

Hon. Sam Farr

701 Ocean Street, Room 318

Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Hon. Dianne Feinstein

U. S. Senate

One Post St., Suite 2450

San Francisco, CA 94014


415-393-0710 (fax)

Hon. Barbara Boxer

U.S. Senate

1700 Montgomery St., Suite 240

San Francisco, CA 94111


415-956-6701 (fax)

The bill received quite good coverage in the press around the state, so a letter to the editor of your local paper is also a good idea.

For more information on the Ventana, Silver Peak, and Pinnacles wilderness additions, visit the California Wilderness Coalition at:

and the Ventana Wilderness Alliance at:

4. King Range Conservation Area Planning

DEADLINE: December 15


The BLM has announced a planning process for the King Range National Conservation Area, also known as the Lost Coast. Immediately below is information for submitting scoping comments to the BLM, followed by an action alert from the California Wilderness Coalition.

BLM requests that you address the following questions:

A Vision for the King Range

What do you value most about the King Range National Conservation Area, and why?

What changes would you like to see?

What is your vision for the future of the King Range National Conservation Area? What do you want it to look like in 20 years? Or even in 50 years when our grandchildren come here?


What are your key concerns about the environment within the King Range? Please be specific.

Visitor Services

What improvements should be made to better accommodate visitors (e.g., campgrounds, trails, etc.)? Please be specific.

What aspects of visitor services and facilities do you like most and want to keep the same?

Community Collaboration

The King Range National Conservation Area is part of the fabric of the surrounding communities. It is tied into the local economies, recreational activities, culture and social activities of its neighbors.

If you live near the King Range NCA, please let us know … what are the greatest benefits and/or drawbacks of living near the King Range NCA?

What could be done to improve the King Range NCA’s effects on surrounding communities (e.g., the local economy, tourism, traffic, etc.)? Please be specific.

Please feel free to email your responses to these questions and/or any other thoughts you might have on the King Range Management Plan to the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office or if you prefer mail your ideas to:

King Range Plan Worksheet

USDI BLM Arcata Field Office

1695 Heindon Rd

Arcata, CA 95521


General information on the planning process may be found at:

Click here for a list of scoping meetings:

Please attend a meeting time and place that’s most convenient for you. If you can’t attend one of these meetings, you can still share your ideas by contacting BLM representatives Lynda Roush at (707) 825-2309 or Bob Wick at (707) 825-2321.

The California Wilderness Coalition sent out the following alert:

The King Range National Conservation Area (NCA) in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, part of California’s famous Lost Coast, is the longest stretch of roadless and undeveloped coastline in the United States outside of Alaska. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now seeking public input on the future management of the NCA — most of which is wilderness. The agency has done an excellent job of managing the King Range over the last decade, but given the current anti-conservation leadership in the White House, it is important that Californians let the BLM know that they want this excellent management to continue. This is where you can help!

The King Range has been proposed for Wilderness designation in the California Wild Heritage Act. Please write the BLM to let them know that you support permanent protection for this special place. Specific points to mention:

–All roadless land in the NCA should be identified and managed as a Wilderness Study Area.

–Senator Boxer and Representative Thompson’s proposed King Range Wilderness should be managed in a manner that is consistent with the Wilderness Act.

–No new areas should be opened to motorized vehicle use.

–Tree cutting should be limited to the removal of only small trees for fire management or habitat restoration.

Feel free to share any other suggested management improvements you may have, and to explain why the King Range is important to you.

For more information about BLM’s management of the King Range, please contact CWC Policy Director Ryan Henson at or call him at 530-474-4808.

5. Volunteer to Help the Wild Heritage Campaign!

The California Wild Heritage Campaign has local organizers working around the state to mobilize citizen support for wilderness protection in California. To be effective, the campaign needs citizens to help with some of its activities.

Dave Westman, the Bay Area organizer, sent us the announcement below, directed at folks living in the Bay Area. If you’d like to get involved in similar activities for the Campaign but live elsewhere, please contact me at:

Dave writes:

I wanted to let you know that there are loads of opportunities for you to get involved with protecting California’s last wild places right here in the Bay Area! On the third Tuesday of every month some volunteers and I get together in San Francisco or Berkeley for our monthly Bay Area Wilderness Meeting, where we write letters and plan for new ways to get active in our community and raise the profile of wilderness in the Bay Area.

We are coming out of a great victory this week! Congress passed the Big Sur Wilderness bill. And a few weeks ago, the campaign released a letter to Senator Feinstein, signed by over 250 mostly rural businesses from across the state, requesting her to support Senator Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Act. So we move into the holiday season with loads of momentum behind us, and are hoping to bring out more volunteers before Congress starts anew at the end of January.

If you want to attend a local meeting, whether it’s in Berkeley, Sonoma, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco or Marin, give me a call:

510-622-0290 ext. 220

or send me an email:

If you can’t make it to our monthly meetings in Berkeley or San Francisco, please consider spending a few hours over the next few weeks to ask your friends, family and co-workers to sign the hard-copied version of the petition!

You can access this petition by clicking on the link below (if your email does not accept links, you can “copy” and “paste” the URL onto your web browser):

then click on: ” Download the Petition here in PDF format (76KB)”

If you have any questions about the petition, the campaign or wilderness areas near to the Bay Area, please feel free to give me a call. Whether its one hour a month, or one day a week, I’d love to help you get involved with the campaign to protect California’s last wild places!


6. Olympic NP Rebuilding Huts in Wilderness Areas

DEADLINE: December 6


The following alert comes from Wilderness Watch:

Olympic National Park officials propose to fly two newly constructed shelters into subalpine meadows in the heart of Olympic’s magnificent wilderness. One will be dropped on Low Divide, the other on Home Sweet Home meadow.

The shelters are built, the sites cleared, and funding for heavy-lift helicopter flights is in hand. Now park officials want to know what you think.

Park officials view the forest service structures as cultural treasures, more significant than the wilderness the are charged to protect. They have announced that they will issue an environmental assessment (EA) on the shelter “rehabilitations.” The EA will consider a range of options, including removing the remains of the two old existing shelters (they collapsed due to winter snows).


Write or email Olympic National Park. Tell park officials to adhere to the Wilderness Act by removing these and other dilapidated Forest Service shelters or allowing their remains to recycle quietly into the ecosystem.


– Issues that seriously impact wilderness values should be determined by a Wilderness Management Plan with an environmental impact statement, subject to full public review (14 years after designation, Olympic still lacks such a plan).

– New construction is not “rehabilitation” or “repair”, especially in wilderness.

– The park needs to demonstrate precisely the overwhelming cultural significance of these structures that cause them to trump wilderness protection.

Remind the NPS their TOP priority should be protecting Olympic’s spectacular wilderness, not building bureaucratic legacies.

The deadline for comment is December 6, 2002.

Please email or write to the following address:


Planning Coordinator

Olympic National Park

600 East Park Avenue

Port Angeles, WA 98362


7. Snowmobiles to be Allowed in Yellowstone


The Bush administration has announced plans to allow continued use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, which connects the two. In fact, the plan actually calls for increasing the number of snowmobiles allowed every day in the parks.

This decision reverses the Park Service’s plan to phase out the vehicles and flies in the face of almost 340,000 public comments received, nearly 80% of which supported a ban.

Please write your representative and Senators Boxer and Feinstein (addresses above) voicing your views on this matter.


8. Yellowstone’s Bison Herd

(December 9)

The Foundation for Deep Ecology sent out the following invitation:

America’s last wild buffalo herd is in store for a tough winter …

Wild Buffalo are a symbol of American national heritage, yet the United States government and the state of Montana, under the influence of the powerful livestock industry, have slaughtered over 3,000 native buffalo that roam out of Yellowstone park in just over ten years – including one-third of the herd in the winter of 1996 – 1997. This year may be the most damaging to the herd yet …

Buffalo Field Campaign was formed to provide frontline defense for Yellowstone’s wild buffalo on their traditional wintering grounds. Through volunteer patrols and video documentation, the campaign has advocated for their protection and saved hundreds of wild buffalo. Please join us in finding out why they need help in overcoming the plight of the last wild buffalo herd.

Monday, December 9, 2002

6 p.m.

Building 1062, Ft. Cronkhite

GGNRA, Sausalito

R.S.V.P. to Tracee at 415-229-9339 by Dec. 6

Refreshments provided

9. Colorado River Delta

(December 1)

The following comes from Defenders of Wildlife:

Please join us December 1, 2002 at the Los Angeles River Center.

This free event is a slide show/reading/book signing of Red Delta: Fighting for Life at the End of the Colorado River. Sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife, the event will give an overview of one of the most remarkable environmental stories on the continent: the unexpected and accidental revival of the wetland ecosystems in the delta, the natural history discoveries by scientists from both the United States and Mexico, and the binational efforts to protect, preserve and restore the delta. Once one of the most spectacular desert deltas in the world, the Colorado River delta in Mexico now offers some of the greatest conservation and restoration opportunities in North America. All that is required is water, which places the delta squarely in the middle of the intense water conflicts over water resources in the West. It will be a memorable night of eye-opening slides and description of people, places, and endangered creatures.


Sunday, December 1, 2002

Los Angeles River Center

2 pm – 3:30 pm

570 W. Avenue 26, Suite 100

Los Angeles, CA 90065

If you have questions, please call Melinda Booth with Defenders of Wildlife (916) 313-5805.