Newsletter Archive

September 26, 2004

Dear Friends of CalUWild:

I’ve just returned from a week in Washington, DC, where more than 350 wilderness activists from around the country gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act. It was a week filled with good spirits and a sense of what we’ve accomplished together over the last 40 years. At the same time, all were mindful of the challenges facing us in the present, especially the threats posed by the current administration’s quest to open every last place to oil and gas exploration and its refusal to support wilderness protection for deserving areas.

Many wilderness supporters met with congressional offices, explaining these threats and seeking support for wilderness designation in states all around the country. It was a week well-spent, and both the Utah Wilderness Coalition and the California Wild Heritage Campaign took part. For some participants, it was the first time they had ever ventured to Washington on behalf of wilderness. Others were veterans of multiple trips.

Future opportunities for citizen activists are planned, so if you are interested in traveling to the nation’s capital with a group of like-minded folks, please contact me at, and we’ll see what can be arranged.

This month’s UPDATE contains two action items, both of which are calls for comments on Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plans — one in Utah and one in California. RMPs, as they are called, are extremely important documents, because they establish the land management practices and programs for a given area for a time period of 10-15 years. Thus, public participation is critical! Please submit comments as suggested below. Thanks!

The upcoming election is probably the most important in a very long time for people who care about the environment. The deadline for registration in most states is 30 days before the election — October 3 this year. So if you’ve moved recently or your registration has lapsed for some reason, please register. To make it easy to register, we’ve added a button to CalUWild’s home page that will take you to the Earth Day Network’s voter registration site. Follow the instructions there to register. And then don’t forget to vote on November 2!

The response to our dues mailing in August has been very gratifying. A big “thank you” to everyone who has responded. If you received a notice and haven’t yet sent in a contribution, please do so if you can.

Finally, we need more citizens working to protect our wilderness areas and public lands. Please pass this UPDATE along to people you know who might be interested in helping out. Ask them to get involved! If they send us their e-mail address, we’d be glad to add them to our list. Currently the UPDATE goes out to more than 650 people across the country. (And as we’ve always stated, we do NOT share our mailing list with ANYone for ANY reason.)

Thank you for your enthusiasm!


1. Price BLM Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 14, 2004

IN California
2. BLM San Diego County Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 12, 2004

IN Wyoming
3. Forest Service Roadless Rule
Comment Period Extended
Deadline: November 15, 2004 (Action Item)


Price BLM Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 14, 2004

Most of the information in this item comes from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

In July, the Price Office of the BLM released its Draft Resource Management Plan. The Price RMP is one of five that will be released in coming months, and they will determine to direction that the management of the BLM lands will take: what areas will be opened to oil and gas exploration, off-road vehicle use, and mining, and what places will be protected for their natural qualities. Much of the land has been proposed for Wilderness status and is included in America’s Redrock Wilderness Act.

The Price plan covers a large portion of central Utah, including such special places as: Desolation Canyon, Turtle Canyon, Price River, Humbug Canyon, Lost Spring Wash, Mexican Mountain, Sids Mountain, Eagle Canyon, Molen Reef, Upper Muddy Creek, Muddy Creek, Devil’s Canyon, Rock Canyon, Hondu Country, San Rafael Reef, Cedar Mesa, Mussentuchit Badlands, San Rafael River, Labyrinth Canyon, and Sweetwater Reef.

Of more than 1.5 million acres proposed for wilderness preservation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (90% of which the BLM has previously agreed has wilderness characteristics), nearly 1 million acres will be open to oil, gas, and mineral development. Areas proposed for wilderness but open to oil and gas leasing under the BLM plan include Desolation Canyon, Turtle Canyon, Mexican Mountain, the San Rafael Reef, and Eagle Canyon. Of the entire 2.5 million-acre planning area, only 584,128 acres will be closed to leasing (almost all of which are Wilderness Study Areas already protected from leasing by Congressional mandate).

Regarding off-road vehicles, although the BLM has committed to designating trails, they are leaving open illegal, user-created routes that are detrimental to protecting Utah wilderness. The plan leaves open routes in Wilderness Study Areas, like Devil’s Racetrack in Sids Mountain WSA in the San Rafael Swell, as well as the notorious Five Miles of Hell, and Behind the Reef Road.

If you’ve been to any of these places (or others in the area) explain which specific areas you’ve visited; what activities you’ve engaged in; what you saw; and how you think these lands should be managed to ensure that resources and activities important to you are protected. Additional points to raise in your comments:

* Do not offer citizen proposed wilderness lands to oil companies for development. Preserving special places now proposed for wilderness from oil and gas development will ensure that these natural wonders, critical plant and animal habitat, riparian corridors, and ecologically sensitive areas will not be squandered for short-term, speculative gain.
* Designate off-road vehicle trails outside of citizen proposed wilderness areas. Designate citizen proposed wilderness areas as semi-primitive non-motorized to protect them as such.
* Protect lands that contain significant cultural, geologic, scenic, recreational, and plant and wildlife habitat as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs).

Written comments should be sent to:

Price Field Office RMP Comments
Attention: Floyd Johnson
125 S. 600 W.
Price, UT 84501

Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to:

or at the BLM website:

If you use the website, I suggest using “special designations” description for comments. In accord with the backroom settlement made last year between Interior Secretary Gale Norton and then-governor Mike Leavitt, there is no “wilderness” category.

Finally, comments may be faxed to: 435-781-4410.

If you have questions, you may call BLM at: 435-636-3600 or contact Margi Hoffman at SUWA: 801-486-7639 ext. 20 or

IN California
2. BLM San Diego County Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 12, 2004 (Action Item)

The following alert comes from the Sierra Club San Diego Chapter.

Protect San Diego County’s Wild Places

San Diego County is known for its beautiful landscapes and mild weather. It also is blessed with an incredible variety of plants, animals, and insects. In fact, some experts feel this is the most biodiverse county in the entire U.S.

Please help protect these wild places by sending a letter or email to the Bureau of Land Management’s El Centro field office. The El Centro field office is preparing a new Resource Management Plan for public lands in the eastern part of San Diego County (north of interstate 8, east of the Laguna and Volcan Mountains). The BLM is required by law to address in the plan any concerns the public raises during the comments period.

If you have been to any of the affected areas, please mention your experiences in your letter. A few possible concerns are also listed below. To give your letter more weight with the BLM, please use your own words.

Protect Endangered Species:

The peninsular bighorn sheep lives in the area. Please urge the BLM to redraw the grazing allotments to prevent grazing in areas that have been declared critical habitat for the bighorns.

There may be Quino Checkerspot butterflies in the area. This endangered species lost much of its habitat during last fall’s wildfires. Please urge the BLM to conduct biological surveys to see if the butterflies are present in this area and if they are, to manage those areas to protect the butterfly.

Protect Wilderness Study Areas:

There are four Wilderness Study Areas (Table Mountain, Sawtooth Mountains A, San Ysidro Mountain, and San Felipe Hills) in the region. The BLM probably will drop the first three from consideration for wilderness because they are less than 5,000 acres each and the fourth because of surrounding private property. Please urge the BLM to manage these areas to protect their biodiversity and solitude if they lose WSA status.

Protect Wilderness Areas:

The Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness and Carrizo Gorge Wilderness are within the area. They border on places where off-roaders like to ride. Please urge the BLM to monitor these wildernesses for off-road vehicle intrusions and to take quick action to eliminate illegal routes into them.

Protect Cultural Resources:

The area contains many cultural resources, such as Native American village sites and sacred sites. Please urge the BLM to fully survey these cultural resources and manage the area to protect them.

Manage for Biodiversity:

The area’s plants, animals, and insects are threatened by other uses of the area, including grazing, off-roading, poorly controlled target shooting, and possible future mining. Please urge the BLM to make its management decisions based on what will be good for the long-term biological health of the area, not what brings short-term benefit today.

For additional information contact:

Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter, Desert Committee
Kelly Fuller,
Larry Klaasen,

Letters must be postmarked by October 12, 2004. E-mails also are due October 12, 2004.

Send comments to:

Ms. Lynnette Elser
Eastern San Diego County RMP and EIS
Bureau of Land Management
1661 S. Fourth St.
El Centro, CA 92243

or e-mail them to:

3. Forest Service Roadless Rule Comments Needed
Comment Period Extended
DEADLINE: November 15, 2004

In response to requests from CalUWild and numerous other organizations, the Forest Service granted a 60-day extension of the comment period on its proposed revisions to the Clinton Administration’s Roadless Rule. Comments may now be submitted until November 15, 2004. If you didn’t get a chance to submit comments before the original Septmeber 15 deadline, here’s your chance!

Please see CalUWild’s August UPDATE for details and suggested talking points.

Comments are due November 15, 2004. Send them by mail, fax, or via e-mail.

Mail comments to:

Content Analysis Team
Attn: Roadless State Petitions
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 221090
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

Fax: 801-517-1014