Newsletter Archive

September 12, 2008

Dear CalUWild friends —

Once again, it’s necessary to start off with a word about energy.

In September 2001, I was in Washington, DC with representatives of other conservation and ranching groups. We were there for meetings with congressional staffs regarding sensible energy legislation at the time of the attacks on the Word Trade Center and Pentagon. Seven years later, we still do not have legislation in place that would lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. Instead we were treated last week to the scene of an arena full of delegates shouting, “Drill, baby, drill,” as if there were any way we could meet our energy needs by drilling for oil and natural gas.

As has been pointed out numerous times, the United States has about 3% of the world’s oil reserves, yet we consume nearly 25% of the world’s supply. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this can’t be sustained, for all sorts of environmental and foreign policy reasons. Despite this imbalance, years-long controversies, and the knowledge that the cheapest barrel of oil is the one not used, we have been unable to come up with even minimal improvements in conservation and efficiency standards. Tax credits for renewable energy research have been allowed to expire, while breaks for fossil fuels are extended. Even politicians who generally favor environmental protection are jumping on the drilling bandwagon.

This focus on extraction has impacts on our public lands. Some politicians and citizens seem to favor turning the West into a national sacrifice zone in order to produce the last bit of energy possible from the ground. Given that fossil fuels are finite resources and that alternatives will be needed some time in the future—they’re needed now, actually—it makes no sense to try to get a few months’ worth of energy out, at the expense of a landscape that took millions of years to form.


Please contact Congress, asking them to craft a plan that provides realistic solutions to our energy problems while protecting those places we love. Contact information for California’s congressional delegation can be found on CalUWild’s website.




1. BLM Releases 6 RMPs, Offering Little to No Protection

For Wild Places

2. Help Eradicate Non-Native Russian Olive in the Escalante

October 18 – 20


3. Tell the Governor to Sign A.B. 2923


4. CalUWild Slide Show in Petaluma

October 4, 5 p.m.



1. BLM Releases 6 RMPs, Offering Little to No Protection

For Wild Places

We’ve been reporting for the last year or so on the development of six Resource Management Plans (RMPs) by BLM’s offices in Price, Vernal, Moab, Monticello, Richfield, and Kanab. These offices manage much of lands in the Citizens’ Wilderness Proposal for Utah. RMPs provide the basis for management decisions for 10 – 15 years after their adoption, so they are important documents

The process has been stacked against citizen participation because of the timeline that BLM pursued. The six drafts, each over 1,000 pages long, were released within a few weeks of each other, with 90-day comment periods. This made it difficult for any organization, let alone a private citizen, to fully review, evaluate, and comment on the proposals. Many people believe that this was a purposeful tactic by the BLM to force the plans through while the current administration was in office, given its pro-energy extraction focus. BLM denies this charge. The results, however, speak for themselves.

Clayton Daughenbaugh, Midwest Regional Organizer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Chairman of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlands Committee prepared the following summary.

The Bureau of Land Management has now completed each of the six Resource Management Plans (RMPs) it has been rushing through this year. The plans reveal how the agency intends to “take care of” much of the land that would be protected as wilderness via “America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act”.

Over the years the BLM has inventoried approximately 6 million acres of the land within the wilderness proposal. Under much pressure there was an initial 3.2 million acres set aside as Wilderness Study Areas to be managed as wilderness pending a decision by Congress. An additional 2.8 million were found to have wilderness character (note the corresponding confirmation of our own citizens’ inventory on which the legislation is based), but not given that level of protection. Cumulatively, the BLM’s six RMPs will provide limited protections for only 16% of that 2.8 million acres. The rest is given over to off-road vehicle recreation and oil and gas development. You can see some of the details by linking to the fact sheet in the “In The Spotlight” section on SUWA’s home page at .

There is an appeals process in which Utah Wilderness Coalition organizations will participate. Likely, though yet to be determined, will be a court battle. 2009 will also likely see appeals to both administrative and legislative actions to reverse these plans – indeed the Salt Lake Tribune has already editorialized in favor of reversal in a very strongly worded editorial calling the BLM’s plans “ludicrous”.

Here are links to three recent Salt Lake Tribune editorials:

August 29, 2008

Inviting plunder: Vernal BLM plan caters too much to OHVs

September 8, 2008

Drill, drill, drill: BLM plan for Carbon, Emery counties goes for the gas

September 9, 2008

Open invitation: BLM Monticello plan invites destruction of relics

2. Help Eradicate Non-Native Russian Olive in the Escalante

October 18 – 20

Bill Wolverton is one of the unsung heroes of Utah’s wilderness, waging war against tamarisk and Russian olive wherever he finds them, as a backcountry ranger in Glen Canyon NRA. Every year he leads groups of volunteers to canoyons in the Escalante region, working their way downstream to effectively wipe out Russian olive trees, one of the introduced scourges of the Southwest. Join him, Vicky Hoover (CalUWild’s cofounder) and Jim Catlin (godfather of the Utah wilderness campaign) for the next expedition. It’s a great way to see the landscape and help restore it!

Here is Vicky’s announcement:

Join the October 18-20 Harris Wash Russian Olive celebration!

No, no, the Russian olives won’t be celebrating – WE will celebrate as we cut, saw, tear, rip, and otherwise demolish these pesky, ugly, exotic intruders in one of the loveliest of the Escalante River canyons. Savor the autumnal beauty of the area as you help legendary Russian olive warrior hero Bill Wolverton restore the canyon to its native species.

This service trip is the Xth Annual Sierra Club Russian Olive festival, cosponsored by national Utah Wilderness Task Force and Utah Chapter. Meet at the Escalante Visitor Center 9 a.m. Saturday, October 18, caravan to trailhead on Hole in the Rock road, backpack in three and 1/2 miles. Work Sat pm and Sunday, leisurely hike out and return home (or closer to home) Monday. Central Commissary for 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners provided by Vicky Hoover, Utah Task Force, for the exorbitant fee of $15/person.

To sign up, or for more info, including carpooling, contact Vicky ( or Jim Catlin (, or 801-328-3550 w).

Signed-up participants will receive gory details on equipment to bring, how to avoid Russian olive attacks or cold, wet feet, and more.


3. Tell the Governor to Sign A.B. 2923


Most of CalUWild’s work involves federal lands, but California has a state Wilderness Act as well. Under it, state agencies are supposed to conduct inventories of lands that qualify and then recommend which should be included in the state wilderness system. Unfortunately, not all the necessary inventories have been done, although there is land that would qualify. Much of it is adjacent to lands designated federal wilderness by the North Coast Wild Heritage Act in 2006, Rep. Mike Thompson’s bill. Therefore, California Wilderness Coalition worked with Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D – 07/Santa Rosa) to introduce legislation this session requiring the State Lands Commission and the Resources Agency to prepare inventories and report on suitability. They would have until December 1, 2009 to do so.

The bill lists some specific areas in addition to its general requirements:

Henry W. Coe State Park.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

Austin Creek State Recreation Area.

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.

Knoxville Wildlife Area.

Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area.

Cache Creek Wilderness.

South Fork Eel Wilderness.

Sanhedrin Wilderness.

Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness.

Yuki Wilderness.

Already opposition to the bill is mounting because some see this a wilderness bill. It’s important to note that this bill only requires inventories as to suitability and recommendations. Provisions include public hearings. The bill sets in motion the process for potentially designating areas, but it does not designate any areas itself.

Because of California’s budget mess, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has threatened to veto all bills coming to him (with the exception of the high speed rail bond measure). Nevertheless, it’s important for Californians to let him know their views on this legislation.

You can write the governor at:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

State Capitol Building

Sacramento, CA 95814

or call him at: 916-445-2841;

or fax him at: 916-558-3160;

or email him via his website.

4. CalUWild Slide Show in Petaluma

October 4, 5 p.m.

As many of you know, the wild landscape of Utah has been an inspiration to painters, photographers, and writers for years. Few visitors fail to fall in love with the place.

Joan Hoffmann has made annual trips to Utah for more than 20 years, as have I-Joan prowling the landscape and painting the wildness on location, and I hiking numerous miles and taking countless photos. Joan is a recent lecturer at the University of Utah Museum’s show “Monet to Picasso” as well as being a recent Artist in Residence in Yosemite.

Please join Joan and me on Saturday October 4, at 5 p.m., as I share some of my slides and talk about the issues facing the spectacular wildlands of Utah. The slideshow is in conjunction with a showing of some of Joan’s oils, depicting some of the special places in that state. Enjoy Joan’s Gallery Exhibit of impressionist oils before or after the slide show. Her show runs until October 10th (Petaluma Gallery Walk evening).

Picture Perfect Gallery

21 Kentucky St.

Downtown Petaluma

October 4, 2008

Time: 5-7pm (slides at 5:30)


FREE, although contributions of any size are welcome

Please pass this invitation along to anyone you know who might be interested. Thanks!