Newsletter Archive

Boundary Peak, White Mountains Wilderness, California                                                                          (Mike Painter)

May 5, 2021

Dear CalUWild friends—

There’s a lot to cover in this Update, so we’ll just say by way of an introduction that California’s new Senator, Alex Padilla (D), is making good on his pledge to be a champion for the protection of public lands. See ITEMS 2 and 5. Please call his office to thank him.

And Thank You for your support of public lands and wilderness, as well!

Best wishes,

1.   Red Rocks Bill Reintroduction
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Interior Secretary Haaland Visits Utah Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Online Events of Interest
          a.   Amazing Earthfest from Kanab
                    May 7–15
          b.   Paleontology of Bears Ears National Monument
                    Wednesday, May 19

4.   Exploration for Gold Proposed Near Mammoth Lakes
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: May 13
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Sen. Padilla Introduces PUBLIC Lands Act in the Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   30×30 Workshops and Information for California
          (ACTION ITEM)

          a.   Friends of the Inyo: Communications Director
          b.   Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance: Staff Attorney

8.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Red Rocks Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

As mentioned in our March Update, we are expecting the reintroduction of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Congress sometime soon. Chief sponsors of the bills in the House and Senate, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) and Illinois Sen. Duck Durbin (D), would like to have original cosponsors lined up before reintroducing the bills.

If you haven’t already contacted your representative or senators, please do so. The phone numbers for their DC offices may be found on our online California Congressional Information Sheet.

2.   Interior Secretary Haaland Visits Utah Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland last month followed through on her promise to visit Utah before she makes a recommendation to Pres. Biden regarding any restoration (or even expansion) of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Secty. Haaland spent three days talking with many interested parties about the monuments. So far, she has made no public comment about the Administration’s plans.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) each sent letters Pres. Biden urging that he undo any illegal actions undertaken by the previous administration.

You may read Sen. Durbin’s letter here.

You may read Sen. Heinrich’s letter here.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D) signed onto Sen. Heinrich’s letter. Please thank him! The phone number for his Washington, DC office is:


There was a lot of press coverage surrounding Secty. Haaland’s visit and the national monuments. Here is a sampling:

An article in The Guardian’s “This land is your land” section: ‘The earth holds so much power’: Deb Haaland visits sacred site Trump shrank

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune: Gov. Spencer Cox says Utah is ‘likely’ to sue if Biden unilaterally enlarges Bears Ears, Grand Staircase monuments. An op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune by John Leshy, former Solicitor at the Interior Department, responding: The facts about the Antiquities Act and the courts

An editorial in the Washington Post: President Biden must end the desecration of Bears Ears

A letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune by CalUWild Advisory Board Member Stephen Trimble: Biden should restore monuments on Earth Day

An op-ed in the New York Times: Women of Bears Ears Are Asking You to Help Save It

An article in the Washington Post: Tourists and looters descend on Bears Ears as Biden mulls protections

An article in the St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Research finds pack-like behavior among T. rexes in southern Utah national monument

3.   Online Events of Interest
           a.   Amazing Earthfest from Kanab
                    May 7–15

Southern Utah’s 15th Annual 2021 festival begins on Friday, May 7, at 1:30 PM (MDT). Kanab’s Amazing Earthfest continues to deliver the story of the community’s very special place among southern Utah’s national and state parks, national forests, monuments, and public lands, which form the foundation for a prospering local economy.

As always, the program includes films, lectures, and classes. All events will be delivered virtually again this year. Events are free, but registration for each is required. (Donations are gratefully accepted.)

For the schedule and registration, visit the website at

          b.   Paleontology of Bears Ears National Monument
                    Wednesday, May 19

Friends of Cedar Mesa presents a program online: Paleontology of Bears Ears National Monument: Rocks, Fossils, and Deep Time. Here is their announcement:

An afternoon on Zoom with paleontologist Rob Gay

Rob is a paleontologist and educator with Colorado Canyons Association, and has been working on fossils from the Bears Ears region for nearly 20 years. He attended Northern Arizona University and The University of Arizona, and was part of a team of paleontologists who helped the Obama Administration draft language helping to protect paleontological resources in the Bears Ears proclamation. Rob believes that Bears Ears is powerful because it houses 300 million years of stories, from some of the earliest animals to walk on land to the ancestral home for many Indigenous people in the West today.

Bears Ears National Monument preserves 300 million years of stories on the ground. Some of these stories are modern while some have been passed down through generations, and people alive today remember them. Others only remain as stone traces, fossils from tens of thousands or hundreds of millions of years ago. Many of these ancient stories are only beginning to be told today because of the establishment of Bears Ears National Monument. Learn more about the ancient beasts that once roamed the land of southeastern Utah, how Bears Ears National Monument is critical for telling those stories, and how those stories from the distant past may help us as our world continues to change today.

The program is free, but click here for required registration.

4.   Exploration for Gold Proposed Near Mammoth Lakes
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: May 13
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Eastern Sierra is facing yet another gold mining proposal, this time near Hot Creek, in Long Valley near Mammoth Lakes. The project site is directly north of the Mammoth Airport. KORE Mining, the company in question, has a page on its website explaining the project. The expandable menus (click on the “+” signs) include a map.

The Forest Service is conducting scoping at this stage, meaning that the public can provide input into how it should be proceeding with its analysis and decision-making. The Forest Service says it anticipates “that this project can be completed under a categorical exclusion,” meaning that it does not need to do an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We think that the potential impacts do warrant a real analysis and are working with coalition partners to submit lengthy, detailed comments on the project proposal.

But is useful for the general public to weigh in as well.

Our partners at Friends of the Inyo sent out the following alert with suggested talking points.

Mining Exploration Threatens Long Valley

What’s happening?
KORE Mining proposes to construct a total of fourteen drilling pads, measuring 30 feet by 50 feet each. Access to these drill pads will require re-opening roughly a third of a mile of road for the duration of the project. Impacts of this proposed project include local quality of life, tourism, air quality, noise pollution, decimated habitat of local flora and fauna (including the at-risk sage grouse and local mule deer). The impacts of the exploration might be only the beginning, however. If the company finds a sufficient quantity of gold to mine, that activity could affect important habitats, create long-lasting water pollution issues, and forever scar Long Valley. Finally, the struggle for water in the area doesn’t allow for further demand to support mining in the area as well.

What can I do?
If you live, work, or recreate in the Eastern Sierra and have concerns about the impact of this proposed project, or the prospects of large-scale mining in this scenic and important landscape, we encourage you to submit your comments by May 13, 2021, and ensure your concerns are included in the Inyo National Forest’s analysis.

In your comments, we suggest you let Inyo National Forest know that:

•   You oppose the categorical exclusion for this project.
•   You request that KORE Mining provide an environmental assessment.

ALSO: If you have been to the area yourself, please discuss your experience and why the issue is important to you.

Comments may be submitted via the Forest Service’s online comment page

or by U.S. Mail to:

Ms. Colleen Garcia
Inyo National Forest
351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514

The Forest Service’s preferred deadline is Thursday, May 13, for comments to be most useful, but they may be submitted afterward, as well.

5.   Sen. Padilla Introduces PUBLIC Lands Act in the Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

On Monday of this week, California’s new senator, Alex Padilla (D), introduced the “Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act.” (A prize goes to the person who came up with that title!)

The bill is made up of three of the four public lands bills included in the package that passed the House earlier this Congress and that we discussed in our February Update:

— The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act (Huffman, D-2)
— The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (Carbajal, D-24)
— The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (Chu, D-27)

The bill designates more than 625,000 acres of wilderness. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a cosponsor of the bill, and we hope she will soon reintroduce the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, championed in the House by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-28). Sen. Feinstein has been the Senate sponsor of that bill previously.

Please thank Sen. Padilla for taking on the mantle and introducing the PUBLIC Lands Act. The phone number for his Washington, DC office is:


The press covered the bill’s introduction:

An article in the Los Angeles Times: California could get 600,000 acres of new federally protected wilderness

An article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Padilla introduces bill to advance California wilderness additions

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle: Padilla proposes increased protection for 1 million acres of California wilderness. (The headline uses “wilderness” in an expansive fashion!)

6.   30×30 Workshops and Information for California
          (ACTION ITEM)

The State of California is kicking its 30×30 planning program into high gear. Over the past two weeks, the Natural Resources Agency has been holding a series of online regional workshops to introduce the program and gather feedback and ideas from Californians. They all follow the same format: a general introduction and then various polling questions, the answers to which are recorded.

There are still two more for which you can register by clicking on the linked region. Both start at 4 p.m. (PDT):

May 6:   Inland Deserts
May 11: San Diego

You can also participate, regardless of region, by answering the same questions in an online questionnaire. It will be open until May 14, and there will likely be future questionnaires as things move along.

If you’re interested in seeing the introductory materials, the past workshops were recorded and are on the California Natural Resources Agency’s YouTube page. Look for “Nature-Based Solutions and 30×30 Virtual Regional Workshops.”

For more information, go to

          a.   Friends of the Inyo: Communications Director

Join FoI’s small team of 7. Benefits include flexible work location, retirement plan, sick and annual leave, health insurance, paid sabbatical, among others. Live and work in the beautiful Eastern Sierra!

Click here for the job description and application procedure.

Application DEADLINE: May 16

          b.   Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance: Staff Attorney

Our friends at SUWA have an immediate opening in their Salt Lake City office for a staff attorney. It is a litigation position with a docket that includes national monument defense, energy development, off-road vehicles, Quiet Title Act/R.S. 2477, and vegetation removal.

Click here for the job description and application procedure.

Application DEADLINE: May 21

8.   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.

The Administration

An interview in Outside with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland: Deb Haaland Says Public Lands Should Reflect America

Pres. Biden nominated Tracy Stone-Manning to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management. If confirmed, she will be the first permanent director since the Obama Administration. This article from the Associated Press gives a good overview of her background and the reaction to her nomination: Biden taps Montana environmentalist for US public lands boss

An article in The Hill: Grijalva calls for return of public lands agency to DC after Trump moved BLM out West.

In California

For Earth Day: The Voice of a River, a short film about CalUWild friend Mark Dubois and the aftermath of his unsuccessful fight to protect Stanislaus River in the 1970s.

An article in the Marin Independent Journal: California Coastal Commission endorses Point Reyes ranch, elk plan. We will keep you posted as the fight to restore Pt. Reyes National Seashore continues.

In Alaska

An article in The Hill: Interior delays consideration of opening public Alaska lands to development

In Arizona

An article in the Washington Post: This land is sacred to the Apache, and they are fighting to save it. We wrote about the Forest Service’s decision to withdraw the proposal in the March Update.

A lengthy look, in AZCentral: Trump’s border wall scarred sacred lands, displaced wildlife and drained water. Can it be taken down?

In Idaho

An article in The Oregonian: Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy arrested 3rd time at Idaho Statehouse

In Montana

The Associated Press reports: Former Trump official Zinke eyes Montana’s new US House seat

In Washington State

An op-ed in the Seattle Times: Protect Mount St. Helens’ volcanic landscape

Our friends at American Rivers published an informative blog post on the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act

Public Lands in General

The Trust for Public Land has released an interactive map with information on all projects undertaken with assistance from the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

An op-ed in the Colorado Sun by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): Why America needs a 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps

An article in the New York Times: Pandemic Wilderness Explorers Are Straining Search and Rescue


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