Newsletter Archive

DSC_0799a3aLooking toward Carson Peak in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, California                            (Mike Painter)

October 31, 2014

Dear CalUWild friends-

I spent much of October attending (as well as traveling to and from) the Wilderness50 Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was an excellent opportunity to get together with people working for non-profit organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and interested citizens-from across the country, and all with a passion for protecting wild places. The program was packed with interesting speakers and panels covering all aspects of wilderness policy, management, education, history, and more. It gave participants a lot to think about, and it will take a while to digest it all. The most gratifying thing, though, was simply seeing the number of people concerned about protecting and learning about wilderness and our public lands.

With the San Francisco Giants having just won the World Series, now is the perfect opportunity to link to star pitcher and MVP Madison Bumgarner’s public service announcement about wilderness, which he made for The Wilderness Society.

This just came in this week: The Center for Biological Diversity and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council are reporting that a radio-collared wolf has been spotted at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. If confirmed, this would be the first known wolf to visit there in some 70 years, most probably coming from the restored population in Wyoming, 800 miles away to the north.

A reminder: As we announced last month, Jeff Hunter from the Bodie Hills Conservation Alliance, of which CalUWild is a member, will be at three REI stores in the Bay Area to talk about the Bodie Hills Campaign. All presentations are at 7 pm. Click on the store links for details.

          Tuesday, Nov. 4: REI Santa Rosa
          Thursday, Nov. 6: REI Berkeley
          Tuesday, Nov. 11: REI Fremont

Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means that time is nearing for CalUWild’s Annual Membership Appeal. We hope you find the Monthly Updates and the information they provide useful. But the Update isn’t the only thing we do. We work with other organizations to plan and support strategies for wilderness and public land protection, write comments and letters to decision makers, inform congressional staff about issues, present slideshows, take part in other public events, and more-all with the goal of educating people about wilderness and how they can be effective advocates for its protection.

Please consider making a contribution so our work can continue.

We only make one request for contributions a year, and it will be going out toward the end of November. But you can help us save on printing and postage costs by sending in a contribution before then. Just print out a membership form and mail it with your gift to the address on the form.

As always, contributions are voluntary but much appreciated.

Finally, since CalUWild encourages participation in the democratic process (even with all its problems) as much as it seeks to protect wild places, please remember to VOTE on Tuesday, November 4. As one CalUWild member posted on her Facebook page: “Choosing not to vote isn’t Rebellion. It’s Surrender.

Thanks, and best wishes,

1.   One County Reaches Agreement on Land Protections
          (And Other News)

2.   Pres. Obama Designates San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Pt. Reyes Seashore Oyster Farm Agrees to Close
4.   Yosemite National Park: Entrance & Camping Fee Increases Proposed
          COMMENT DEADLINE: November 20, 2014
          (ACTION ITEM)

5.   Great Old Broads for Wilderness Auction
          November 3 – 16, 2014
          (AUCTION ITEM)

6.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   One County Reaches Agreement on Land Protections
          (And Other News)

Last year, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (R), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, initiated a process to bring some sort of conclusion to some of the public lands issues swirling in some of Utah’s counties, including wilderness designations, recreation, and energy development. We haven’t reported much on it for several reasons: the process been confined mostly to meetings and field trips among Rep. Bishop’s staff, officials from various counties, and interested stakeholder groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and Natural Resources Defense Council; the process is still ongoing; and finally, has there hasn’t been any real opportunity for people outside of Utah to participate. It is now showing signs of progress.

Many people greeted Rep. Bishop’s initial suggestion with skepticism, but the conservation community decided to show its good faith and participate anyway. The process continues, and Rep. Bishop has said he’s hoping to be able to introduce legislation early in the next Congress, when it is likely he’ll be chairman of the full Natural Resources Committee in the House, replacing retiring Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), who has been exceptionally anti-wilderness in attitude.

This month, Daggett County (in the northeast corner of Utah, bordering Colorado and Wyoming) became the first of the counties involved to set forth a proposal for its public lands. Conservation organizations and Utah’s governor Gary Herbert endorsed the deal, which would, among other things:

– add 50,000 acres of wilderness to the High Uintas Wilderness, managed by the U.S. Forest Service;
– create about 30,000 acres of BLM-managed wilderness, most of the land that is included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act;
– designate 14 miles of the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir as Wild & Scenic;
– create a national conservation area managed by the BLM, also about 30,000 acres in size;
– transfer state trust lands inside the various federal jurisdictional boundaries for other federal lands outside of the protected areas; and finally
– resolve county’s road claims under R.S. 2477 and provide continued access to off-highway vehicles outside of the protected areas.

Click here to read Rep. Bishop’s press release and here to read the announcement from SUWA. SUWA has also posted a map of Daggett County and the lands affected.

Daggett County is relatively small, with a population of slightly more than 1,000, so it remains to be seen if other counties in Utah will be able to replicate the process. However, the parties to the agreement were optimistic that it would serve as a model. Next up: Uintah and Emery Counties.

Briefly, in other Utah news, we reported last month (Item 2 in the Update) that five men had been charged in the Recapture Canyon OHV protest ride. This month they all pled not guilty. There’s been no trial yet, but we’ll keep you posted as the case progresses. Click here if you’d like to read the Salt Lake Tribune‘s article on the development.

2.   Pres. Obama Designates San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

Following up on last month’s enormous expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (Item 7, September Update, Pres. Barack Obama continued to make good on his promise to protect worthy public lands when on October 10 he designated the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument on the northern edge of Los Angeles.

The monument covers more than 345,000 acres of national forest lands, mostly in the Angeles NF, but also in the San Bernardino NF. It is the product of a citizens campaign that began years ago with proposals for a national recreation area, studies by the National Park Service, legislation by Rep. Judy Chu (D-27 and member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board), and finally a call by Rep. Chu for a presidential proclamation when her legislation went nowhere in Congress.

Many AngeleƱos hike and otherwise recreate in lands of the monument, as it provides some 70 % of the open space for Los Angeles. There was a great deal of support in the community for the protection of the area, expressed frequently during the public meetings and other comment periods held over the years.
Predictably, though, opposition to the designation came from the usual quarters. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-23) was quoted: “Once again this Administration is taking unilateral action without Congressional or public input by naming the San Gabriel Mountains a National Monument.”

However, Pres. Obama declared that he isn’t finished yet.

You can read the White House announcement here and the full proclamation here.

SCVTV in Santa Clarita, California published an op-ed piece by CalUWild friend Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel on the designation, which you can read here.

Click here to read the Forest Service’s page on the new monument.

Please thank the president by sending a letter or postcard to:

Pres. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

You may also call the White House at: 202-456-1111 or use the online Webform.

3.   Pt. Reyes Seashore Oyster Farm Agrees to Close

We reported in Item 4 last month’s Update that a federal court in California had ruled against a coalition of business owners attempting to overturn the non-renewal of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease. This was just the latest in a series of setbacks for the company. Earlier this month, owner Kevin Lunny and his family reached an agreement with the National Park Service to cease operations completely, effective December 31, 2014.

As part of the deal, the Park Service agreed to remove all the facilities and infrastructure both on land and in Drakes Estero and also provide relocation and rental assistance benefits to some of the company’s employees who had lived on the premises. The Lunnys agreed to drop their claims against the Park Service and Department of the Interior. The district court approved the deal shortly after it was announced.

The Lunnys plan to open a restaurant along nearby Tomales Bay and continue selling oysters raised at other locations to retail customers.

You can read the agreement here.

4.   Yosemite National Park: Entrance & Camping Fee Increases Proposed
          COMMENT DEADLINE: November 20, 2014
          (ACTION ITEM)

Yosemite National Park sent out the following announcement this month. CalUWild is not taking a position on the proposal, but if you have opinions, we encourage you to weigh in. Details for commenting are included in the announcement.

Proposed Entrance Fee and Campground Fee Increases

Yosemite National Park is proposing to increase entrance fees into the park. The single vehicle entrance fee would change from $20 to $30 for a seven day pass. The park’s annual pass would increase from $40 to $60. The current rate of $10 per individual or motorcycle would increase to $15 for an individual and $25 per motorcycle. Interagency Passes, which are honored at all federally managed land units, are not affected by the proposed fee increase and will remain at $80 for the regular pass, $10 for the Senior Pass and free for the Access and Military passes. The current park entrance fees have been in place since 1997, when a seven day pass was increased from $5 to $20 per vehicle. According to the U.S. Bureau of labor and Statistics, $20 in 1997 is equivalent to $29.64 in 2014. This fee change will allow Yosemite to maintain consistent revenue while adjusting accordingly for inflation.

The additional revenue from the fee increase will be used to enhance visitor services, including repair and maintenance of park facilities, restoration and rehabilitation of visitor service buildings, additional park programs and transportation services, and increase resource protection.

Yosemite National Park is also evaluating current campground rates to determine if camping fees are adequate to sustain campground operations. The current campground rates have been in place since 2006 and range between $5 per night to $20 per night for family sites and $40 per night for group sites. The park is proposing to raise camping fees with fees ranging from $6 per night to $24 per night for family sites and $48 per night for group sites. The park will utilize comparable campground rates and public feedback to determine if an adjustment to campground fees is warranted.

A 30-day public engagement period on the proposed fee increase is open today, Monday, October 20, 2014 through Thursday, November 20, 2014. Feedback will be accepted via email at:

yose_planning [at] nps [dot] gov

and via U.S. Mail at:

Attention Proposed Fee Increase
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

The public is also invited to an open house in the Yosemite Valley Auditorium, located behind the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., which will include public engagement.

The new fees could be implemented in early 2015. However, the implementation schedule may vary based on the results of civic engagement. The park will develop an implementation schedule that supports local communities and interested stakeholders.

The park is a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. Previous fee increases have had no negative effect on visitation levels. This fee increase is part of a larger National Park Service initiative to standardize fees in similar national parks across the country.

5.   Great Old Broads for Wilderness Auction
          November 3 – 16, 2014
          (AUCTION ITEM)

Sharp-eyed readers noticed that we jumped the gun on this item last month with a headline but no corresponding item. However, this month the Great Old Broads’ annual auction actually goes live. It’s their main fundraising event of the year. We work closely with the Broads and are happy to support their efforts. Full details can be found here.

6.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy.

From the New York Times

An article on efforts to name a wilderness peak in the Sierra after Henry David Thoreau: Wild and Craggy, Just Like Thoreau

An article on range conflicts in the West caused by wild horses

An op-ed piece, When the Ice Melts, about hiking with one’s son to see a glacier

A Salt Lake Tribune article: Legal scholars challenge underpinnings of Utah’s public lands campaign. Click here to read the abstract of the white paper being reported on and follow the link there to download it.

An op-ed piece from The New West: ‘Keeping the Wild’ challenges status quo

The Center for Western Priorities issued a report looking at Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s accomplishments thus far and the opportunities for the Interior Department over these final years of the Obama administration.

Video link

Episode 6 in the Forest Service Restore series: Aspen Restoration on the Lassen National Forest

As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to change your e-mail address or unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email. For information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here. “Like” CalUWild on Facebook.