Newsletter Archive

Window, formerly in the Bears Ears National Monument, Cedar Mesa, Utah                        (Mike Painter)

May 3, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends –

This Update for April was delayed a few days because we thought that there might be news to share about new legislation for the San Rafael Swell in Utah. As it turns out, nothing happened, and Congress is on recess this week, but a bill could be introduced next week. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance says it could be very troublesome. See this message from its executive director, Scott Groene, for more details. We’ll let you know what happens in the May Update.

Another reason for the delay was that we had a grant proposal due May 1. CalUWild receives some funding from foundations, but the bulk of it comes from our members. This last year, many members contributed generously, and we appreciate their gifts. If you haven’t contributed, please consider doing so. And please respond as generously as you can. As always, dues are not mandatory, but are appreciated.

Dues payable to CalUWild are not tax-deductible, as they may be used for lobbying. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please make your check payable to Resource Renewal Institute, our fiscal sponsor. Click here for suggested membership levels. Either way, the address is:

P.O. Box 210474
San Francisco, CA 94121-0474

Finally, if you’re going to be in Utah in May, you should stop by Kanab for the 12th Annual Amazing Earthfest, a celebration of Southern Utah through film, art, outdoor activities, and more. Click here for a complete schedule of events beginning May 13.

As always, thanks for your interest and support!

P.S. (ACTION ITEM) This just came in while proofreading, so I’m not incorporating it into the body of the Update.

Our friends at WildEarth Guardians just sent out an alert requesting letters opposing a BLM lease sale that includes lands within 1 mile of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Please read the alert and follow the link to send a letter. Please personalize the sample they provide, and if you’ve been to Carlsbad Caverns (or hope to get there someday) make sure to mention that. Apparently there was a 10-day comment period on the proposal, which is obscenely short, so include an objection to that, too. Thanks!

1.   National Monuments Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

2.   Visions of the Wild Festival Preview II
          Double Bill with Tim Palmer and
          A River’s Last Chance, a film about the Eel River
          Thursday, May 10, 7 pm
          Downtown Vallejo

3.   Wilderness Bill Introduced for San Juan Mountains

4.   Park Service Drops Huge Fee Increase Proposal
5.   Job Opening: Western Environmental Law Center

6.   Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   National Monuments Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

The scoping comment periods have closed now for the new and shrunken Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante (GSENM) national monuments. We expect draft plans to be released late in the Fall, when comments periods will again be available. In the meantime, we’ll be watching for increased oil & gas leasing or other threats in the monuments. There has been little movement on the litigation. We’re still waiting for the federal judge to rule on a change of venue from Washington, DC to Utah. Just yesterday, San Juan County, where the Bears Ear is located, and Kane and Garfield counties, home to GSENM, made motions to intervene in the respective cases as defendants, claiming that their economic interests would be hurt if the monument revisions were overturned.

There was good news when Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and 15 of his colleagues sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke urging him to stop work on the draft management plans for the monuments until the legal challenges to their modification are resolved. Additionally, the letter challenged BLM’s plans to not consider any of the comments received as part of last Summer’s review process.

You can read the letter here.

Both of California’s senators signed onto it. Please contact them to say thank you!

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: 202-224-3841
Online here

Sen. Kamala Harris: 202-224-3553
Online here

An while you’re at it, ask Sen. Harris to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, S.948, the comprehensive statewide Utah wilderness bill.

The press has kept on the issue. Here is a sample:

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune: In Utah canyons where an ancient civilization once flourished, the feds are now inviting oil and gas drilling

Outside magazine published a very interesting article looking at the Bears Ears litigation from the tribal perspective: The Tribes v. Donald Trump

And an article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune looked at voting in San Juan County, where a court recently re-drew county district boundaries to remove gerrymandering. Southern Utah county’s targeting of Navajo candidate revives shades of Jim Crow

Throughout the month of May, the website is asking monument supporters to upload photos from places protected by the Antiquities Act. These photos will be compiled and delivered to key members of Congress to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Antiquities Act on June 8.

Also during May, please contact your congressional representative and senators to tell them of your support for national monuments and remind them: “An attack on one monument is an attack on all.”

2.   Visions of the Wild Festival Preview II
          Double Bill with Tim Palmer and
          A River’s Last Chance, a film about the Eel River
          Thursday, May 10, 7 pm
          Downtown Vallejo

2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and National Trails Act. For the fifth year in a row, CalUWild is working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation to plan Visions of the Wild, a festival with films, art exhibitions, field trips, and other events. While most events are taking place in September, a few “preview” events are planned. The next one will be Thursday, May 10, with a double bill featuring:

• A talk and film by Tim Palmer, a renowned river advocate, author and photographer. He will speak about America’s Wild & Scenic Rivers.
• A screening of A River’s Last Chance, a new film about the Eel River in northern California.

Tim Palmer is the award-winning author of 26 books on rivers, conservation, and the environment. He is also an accomplished photographer with one of the most complete collection of photos of rivers in the United States. For over 40 years, Tim’s writing and photography work have braided together his love of rivers and nature with his drive for creative expression and his deep commitment to conservation. A primary focus of Tim’s work is public speaking. He has been featured at hundreds of national, statewide, and provincial conferences, conservation gatherings, and at colleges and universities nationwide. An inveterate river-lover, Tim has canoed or rafted on more than 300 rivers in the United States and western Canada. He lived for 22 years as a nomad in his van, traveling throughout the country to do research, writing, and photography for his book projects.

Plus there will be a screening of the short film PROTECTED: A Wild & Scenic River Portrait.

Follow river paddler, author, and conservationist, Tim Palmer, through the enchanting waters of Oregon’s Wild Rivers Coast, which has the highest concentration of National Wild & Scenic Rivers in the US. With just a canoe, a camera, and an old van, Tim finds his bliss and his calling on these rivers, and has found a way to share their beauty… while reminding us all about the significance of national Wild & Scenic Rivers program that protects beautiful rivers all across the country. Produced in Partnership with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

This will be followed by A River’s Last Chance (67 minutes).

The Eel River in Northern California is arguably the best opportunity for wild salmon recovery on the entire west coast. The river and salmon have weathered decades of over-fishing, abusive logging, catastrophic floods, droughts and a dam that diverts water and blocks fish passage. Today, the Eel’s recovering wild salmon compete for water with the region’s lucrative wine and underground cannabis economies. This film shows we can live symbiotically with our watersheds and encourage both a river’s recovery and economic future.

The program takes place

Thursday, May 10
7 pm
Empress Theatre
330 Virginia St.
Vallejo, CA 94590

Tickets are $10. Advance tickets online here.

The California Wilderness Coalition will also be showing A River’s Last Chance

Monday, May 7th
6:30 pm-8:30 pm
GU Energy Labs Headquarters
1609 – 4th St.
Berkeley, CA 94710

Tickets are $20. Find out more and RSVP here.

Finally, it’s being shown at the DocLands Documentary Film Festival

Friday, May 4
9:00 pm
Christopher B. Smith Film Center
1118 – 4th St.
San Rafael, CA 94901

Tickets are $15. Buy them online here.

3.   Wilderness Bill Introduced for San Juan Mountains

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has reintroduced the San Juan Wilderness Act, a bill to protect lands in the San Juan National Forest in southern Colorado. If passed, it would designate 61,000 acres in the San Juan Mountains as wilderness, including Mt. Sneffels and Wilson Peak. Ten other wilderness or other special management areas would be expanded or designated, as well.

Although Sen. Bennet consulted closely with the local count commissioners to draft the bill, the local congressman, Scott Tipton (R), says that there isn’t widespread consensus in support of the proposal, but Mr. Tipton is not generally known as a strong supporter of public lands. The Colorado Snowmobile Association is concerned it will close trails and cut off access to others.

We’ll see how the bill progresses and keep you posted.

4.   Park Service Drops Huge Fee Increase Proposal

In our October Update we wrote about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s proposal to drastically increase entrance fees at 17 of the most popular national parks during their 5 months of highest visitation. During the 30-day comment period, more than 100,000 comments were submitted, with 98% of them opposed to raising fees.

In April, Secty. Zinke announced that he had heard what the people said and so has decided not to proceed. (Why he didn’t hear what the people said when they spoke out overwhelmingly in support of preserving national monuments is a good question, though.) Instead, fees will be going up, sometimes by as much as $5, at parks that charge entrance fees, beginning in June.

According to our friends at the Western Slope No Fee Coalition, though, the battle against higher fees isn’t over yet:

The NPS is considering a long list of other fee-increase possibilities that have been proposed in the past by the National Park Hospitality Association, which represents the private concessionaires doing business in the Parks, including:
•          Per-person entrance fees instead of per-carload
•          Charging daily fees, vs. the current weekly price
•          Lowering the age for free entrance from 16 to 12
•          Charging a fee for disabled visitors (including disabled veterans), who currently are entitled to free entry
•          Charging foreign visitors premium fees
•          Variable pricing – lower on advanced purchase, higher on same-day entry

We keep following the issue as it moves forward.

5.   Job Opening: Western Environmental Law Center

The following comes from our friends at the Western Environmental Law Center in Eugene, Oregon.

Career Opportunity: Shared Earth Wildlife Attorney

The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 25-year legacy of success using the power of the law to safeguard the public lands, wildlife, and communities of the American West in the face of a changing climate. We seek an attorney with 0-4 years of experience to join our team on a full-time basis beginning September 2018 for a two-year period with the prospect of an extension or permanent position contingent on funding and performance. Our preference is to locate this position in Eugene, Oregon but we will also entertain applicants interested in either our Taos, NM, Seattle, WA, or Helena, MT office locations. The position will defend and advocate for federal wildlife and public lands conservation protections across the Western U.S.

Requirements and qualifications for the position include:

•          Familiarity with Western U.S. federal wildlife conservation and public lands law and issues.
•          Willingness to use a complete set of legal advocacy tools including collaboration, administrative engagement, policy development, negotiations, and litigation.
•          Some measure of litigation, administrative advocacy, or strategic/policy campaign experience, e.g., through attorney, clerkship/internship, or advocacy positions.
•          Admission to and good standing with a state bar as of the position’s start date or soon thereafter.
•          A biology or science background is a plus.
•          Creative, strong-willed capacity to achieve objectives in the face of adversity.
•          Exceptional research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
•          Strong interpersonal skills to foster relationships with our clients, partners, funders, and allies.
•          Demonstrated commitment to the public interest; to equity, inclusion, and justice; and to WELC’s mission and strategies.
•          A positive, friendly, and enthusiastic attitude towards making the world a better place.
•          A love and respect for the wildlife and public lands of the Western U.S.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning May 14, 2018 until the position is filled. To apply, please email the following as PDF attachments to

(1) cover letter addressed to Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Executive Director;
(2) resume;
(3) minimum of three references; and
(4) writing sample involving, ideally, federal wildlife conservation or public lands law and policy.

No phone calls or in-person visits please.

Western Environmental Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. We value diversity and our programs and employment are open to all. We offer a friendly, team-based environment, highly competitive salaries, and an excellent benefits package.

6.   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.

Out West

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Proposed highway sparks concern over threatened tortoise
regarding a road through the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area in St. George, Utah.

An article in the New York Times travel section: At Basin and Range National Monument, Landscapes, Art and Aliens

Congress & the Administration

An op-ed in The Hill by our friend José Gonzalez at Latino Outdoors: Diversity is essential when it comes to stewarding public lands

An article in The New Yorker: The Interior Secretary, one of President Trump’s most loyal allies, sees public lands as the key to an “energy dominant” future. So why isn’t the petroleum industry more interested in buying them up? Ryan Zinke’s Great American Fire-Sale

An article in the New York Times, Ryan Zinke Is Opening Up Public Lands. Just Not at Home. , wondering why Montana seems to be spared.

The Washington Post has an article, Interior agency blocks group of archaeologists from attending scientific conference about the BLM not allowing many of its employees to attend the annual Society for American Archaeology meeting.

An op-ed in the New York Times: Stop the G.O.P.’s Conservation Demolition Crew

An article in The Guardian: Democratic senators scrutinize Koch brothers’ ‘infiltration’ of Trump team

An article in the Sacramento Bee: Trump administration sues California again, this time over rights to sell public land

The Outdoor Industry

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has released Outdoor Recreation Economy reports for each of the 435 congressional districts. It’s useful information to have to access to when needing to use economics as a reason to protect public lands.

An article in The Guardian: ‘We have to organize like the NRA’: outdoor industry takes on Trump


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