Newsletter Archive

Stornetta Public Lands, California Coastal National Monument                                               (Mike Painter)

December 31, 2015

Dear CalUWild friends-

It’s the last day of the year, and there is not much news to report, nor are there any Action Items this month. A few issues from 2015 will carry over into the new year: cosponsorship of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative and, with it being the last year of Pres. Obama’s term, a continued push for new national monument designations in Utah, California, and elsewhere. We will also continue to work for permanent reauthorization of the Land & Water Conservation Fund, although Congress did pass a three-year extension in the closing days of the session earlier in the month.

As always, in the year ahead we’ll keep you informed about the latest developments and the ways in which you can help support wilderness and public lands in the West.

Many thanks again to our many members who have given their financial support during our Membership Appeal. If you haven’t already sent in a contribution, please consider doing do. We can’t keep on top of things without you. Our membership information and contribution form can be found here.

Best wishes for a good start to 2016,

1.   Brief Issue Update

2.   National Park Service Fee-Free Days in 2016
3.   Job Announcement: Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter

4.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Brief Issue Update

There were a couple of developments on issues we’ve been following in Utah.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who organized the 2014 Off-Highway Vehicle protest ride into Recapture Canyon outside of Blanding, was sentenced to ten days in jail and three years probation, and ordered to pay a fine of $1,000, in addition to the $96,000 in restitution to the BLM for expenses.

The Salt Lake Tribune wrote an editorial comparing Mr. Lyman’s case to that of Tim DeChristopher, who protested oil & gas leases by placing bids on them, Lyman’s sentence just; DeChristopher’s was not.

Mr. Lyman is considering appealing the sentence.

We reported in our September Update that Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R) proposal to expand the Utah Test & Training Range (UTTR) was not attached as a rider to the Defense Appropriations bill. It also was not attached to the end-of-the-year spending bill. However, now he and Utah’s other senator Mike Lee (R) have introduced a stand-alone bill, the Utah Test & Training Range Encroachment Prevention and Temporary Closure Act, S. 2383. The bill would grant rights of way to countless routes claimed by Box Elder, Juab, and Tooele counties under defunct R.S. 2477. The bill would also exchange school trust land within the UTTR land for lands outside, some of which are in proposed wilderness areas.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an op-ed by Jen Ujifusa, the Legislative Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

We’ll keep you posted as things progress.

2.   National Park Service Fee-Free Days in 2016

2016 is the centennial of the founding of the National Park Service. Though the parks aren’t the only federal public lands we’re able to enjoy (not by a long shot!), they are the most visible and widely known. We need to support their wise management, recognizing that preservation of their resources is on an equal management footing with public enjoyment. This is important to remember at a time when visitation in many parks is hitting record levels.

So it’s a mixed blessing that as part of the commemoration, the Park Service announced 16 entrance fee-free days for 2016:

January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
April 16 through 24 – National Park Week
August 25 through 28 – National Park Service Birthday (and following weekend)
September 24 – National Public Lands Day
November 11 – Veterans Day

Our hope is that people who have not been exposed to the parks will take advantage of these opportunities to discover them.

3.   Job Announcement: Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter

The Sierra Club’s Mother Lode Chapter in Sacramento is looking for a Chapter Director, beginning March 1, 2016. Full information may be found here.

4.    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. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

National Parks and other Public Lands

A report from National Parks Conservation Association on the funding problems at Olympic National Park, representative of the issues facing national parks across the country. Click on the DOWNLOADS link here for format options.

A look at disturbing trends in visitor behavior: “It Is Obvious We Need To Educate The Visitors”

An op-ed in the New York Times on new models of land conservation, The Yellowstone of the Future

An op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Preserving public lands a matter of patriotism, by Oscar Franquez Jr., a San Diego-based staff sergeant in the Marines.

An op-ed in Indian Country Today, 9 Tips for Preserving Important Sacred Sites, discussing vandalism of sacred sites and rock art, with important reminders.

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie: How a stunning Klamath Basin water agreement has been doomed by lawmakers

Children & Nature

Preschool Without Walls Who would have thought that the section of the New York Times titled “Fashion & Style” would have an article like this?


CalUWild friend Jason Mark, who’s recently become editor of Sierra Magazine after editing the Earth Island Journal for many years, published a book of essays recently, Satellites in the High Country. The book takes a fresh look at the relationship between humans and wild nature in an era when it seems everything has been touched by human activity. The book has been widely reviewed, and two good reviews are by CalUWild co-founder Vicky Hoover on the last page of the December Words of the Wild, which she edits. The second is on PBS station KQED’s website. (Available from your local bookseller or

Video Links

Yosemite Nature Notes: Bighorn Sheep

Wild Earth Guardians has produced a series of documentary short films on sage grouse. The third focuses on the efforts of Rahul Mukherjee, a Salt Lake City high school student, to successfully block a subdivision that otherwise would have wiped out the Henefer sage grouse lek, one of the most popular birding sites in the Salt Lake area. We’ll link to others in the series in future editions of the Update.

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” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.