Newsletter Archive

Canyon, San Rafael Reef, Utah                                                                                                                         (Mike Painter)

August 5, 2022

Dear CalUWild friends—

California and the West are seeing the fire season kick into full gear. Though we are only at the beginning, we hope the situation will not get any worse. Please do what you can to support relief efforts for those affected. And if you do visit our public lands, please pay strict attention to any fire restrictions in effect.

Here at CalUWild we’ve been busy with Congressional staff meetings in support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act, as well as coalition meetings for protecting the Bodie Hills, Conglomerate Mesa (both east of the Sierra) and other national efforts, as well.

The House January 6 Committee hearings continued last month, and will start up again in September. Please pay attention to them and be mindful of the threats to democracy here in the U.S. We need to preserve and improve our system to allow all citizens fair and unfettered access to voting, representation, and opportunities to make their opinions known.

Finally, CalUWild turns 25 this fall, and we find ourselves right back where we began, with management planning for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. See ITEM 1.

Because of a busy meeting schedule at the end of this month, the September Update will not be sent out until after Labor Day. So in the meantime, please enjoy the rest of the summer.

There is a lot going on. Thank you for being a part of it.

Best wishes,
Mike Painter, Coordinator

1.   Scoping for New Management Plan for
          Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
          DEADLINE: September 27
          (ACTION ITEM)

2.   Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
          Expansion Bills and Others Advance
          (ACTION ITEM)
          Conservation Campaign Organizer

4.   Film: Stewart Udall: The Politics of Beauty
          Kickstarter Campaign

5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Scoping for New Management Plan for
          Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
          DEADLINE: September 27
          (ACTION ITEM)

CalUWild got its start in 1997 as Californians for Utah Wilderness in response to the initiation of management planning for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, v.1. The previous administration cut the monument’s size in half and divided it into three sections, giving us v.2. Finally, the Biden Administration released v.3 when it restored it, Bears Ears, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts national monuments last October.

But the restoration doesn’t simply re-implement the previous management plan; the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must develop a new plan in line with the new presidential proclamation for the monument. BLM issued two press releases announcing the start of the process, a 60-day scoping period, and public meetings (virtual and in-person). To provide a full picture of the process, especially from our newer members, here are extended excerpts containing background information, as well as meeting and commenting information:

BLM kicks off planning for management of
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Public comment sought

KANAB, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input to inform a new land use plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which will ensure ongoing protection of the Monument’s physical, social, biological, historic, and scientific objects and values. Ongoing and future efforts to protect the Monument are consistent with President Biden’s Proclamation 10286, which restored the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to its size and boundaries as they existed prior to Dec. 4, 2017, in order to ensure the proper care and management of the Monument’s objects of historic and scientific interest.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante landscape is a geologic treasure characterized by bold plateaus, multihued cliffs, and narrow slot canyons. It has a rich human history, spanning from the indigenous people and cultures to Anglo-American explorers and early Latter-day Saint pioneers. In addition, hundreds of scientific studies and projects have been conducted within the monument, including discovering many previously unknown species of dinosaurs. It is home to innumerable individual fossils, archaeological sites, and rare species, including more than 600 species of bees – some of which likely exist nowhere else on Earth.

The comment period will provide the public with an important opportunity to help guide the monument planning process, and the BLM welcomes public input to identify critical management concerns to help the BLM determine the scope of the environmental analysis, including issues for analysis and alternatives development. Future public scoping meetings will also provide an opportunity to speak with resource specialists and to submit written comments in person.

The BLM welcomes the public to submit comments concerning the scope of the analysis, potential alternatives, identification of relevant information and studies, and nomination of areas of critical environmental concern. To provide the BLM the opportunity to consider issues and areas of critical environmental concern raised by commentors in the Draft Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement, your input must be received by Sept. 27, 2022, or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later.

The resource management plan will be developed with maximum public involvement, including the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Advisory Committee; Tribal, local and state governments; and permittees and other stakeholders.

The BLM recognizes the importance of these lands to Tribes and the importance of including Tribal knowledge in developing this management plan. The BLM continues its commitment to conducting meaningful consultations with Tribes and using that information to inform planning efforts.

The Bureau of Land Management will host three in-person and two virtual public scoping meetings as part of the ongoing land use planning for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The public is encouraged to help identify any issues or concerns that should be addressed in the planning process.

The BLM invites members of the public to attend virtual public meetings via Zoom.  Advance registration is required; upon registration, an email containing a unique link to join the meeting will be provided.

Virtual public scoping meetings are scheduled as follows:

Aug. 17, 2022, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. MT
          Register for this Zoom meeting here

Aug. 30, 2022, from 1 – 3 p.m. MT
          Register for this Zoom meeting here

Additionally, the BLM invites members of the public to attend in-person public scoping meetings, which are scheduled as follows:

Aug. 24, 2022, from 6 – 8 p.m.
          at the Escalante Showhouse, 50 W Main St, Escalante, UT 84726

Aug. 31, 2022, from 6 – 8 p.m.
          at the Kanab Center, Ballroom C, 20 N 100 E, Kanab, UT 84741

Sept. 7, 2022, from 6 – 8 p.m.
          at the Panguitch Elementary School Gymnasium, 110 S 100 W, Panguitch, UT 54759

The open house meetings will provide opportunities for the public to speak with resource specialists, ask questions and submit written comments in person. Written comments may be submitted at the meetings or anytime through Sept. 27, 2022, via mail at:

ATTN: GSENM RMP Project Manager
BLM Paria River District
669 S Highway 89A
Kanab, UT 84741

or via the ePlanning project page.

CalUWild doesn’t have specific talking points to share yet, but we hope to have some in the next Update. In the meantime, if you have been to the monument or hope to visit, please submit a comment describing what is special and important about the area to you and how you would like to see it managed and preserved.

2.   Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
          Expansion Bills and Others Advance
          (ACTION ITEM)

In late July, the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources gave its unanimous approval to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act, S.4080, Sen. Alex Padilla’s (D) bill to add approximately 4,000 acres of the now-named Walker Ridge to the Monument. The bill, which is the Senate companion to Rep. John Garamendi’s (D-3), also changes the name of the ridge to Molok Yuluk (Condor Ridge in the local Patwin language). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a cosponsor of the bill.

The two bills are significant in that they are the first to legislatively mandate co-management among federal agencies and Native American Indian Tribes.

In the House, Rep. Garamendi’s bill, H.R.6366, was added as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, along with the:

— Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation & Working Forests Act;
— Central Coast Heritage Protection Act;
— San Gabriel Mountains Foothills & Rivers Protection Act;
— Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act;
— Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act;
— Colorado Wilderness Act; and
— Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act.

CalUWild has long supported all of these bills. The NDAA passed the House by a vote of 329–101, and it now goes to the Senate. The fate of these amendments is uncertain, however, as there have been threats to strip out all the public lands-related amendments. That does not mean that all hope is lost, however, as there is often a public lands omnibus package assembled and passed at the end of a Congress.

Rep Garamendi is still seeking cosponsors for his bill, so please check our online California Congressional Information Sheet and call your representative with a request to cosponsor or with your thanks, as appropriate.

We’ll keep you posted.

          Conservation Campaign Organizer

Our friends (and partners in the Molok Yuluk campaign) at Tuleyome are looking for an experienced organizer to advance the campaign to bring about the Berryessa Snow Mountain, Molok Yuluk, expansion discussed in ITEM 2.

Click here for a full job description and application details.

4.   Film: Stewart Udall: The Politics of Beauty
          Kickstarter Campaign

We don’t engage in a lot of fundraising for ourselves here (though contributions are always welcome!), let alone for others, but we thought this was worth mentioning. CalUWild’s long-time friend, filmmaker John de Graaf, has been working on a full-length documentary on Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Mr. Udall was arguably the most effective person ever to hold that position.

John is now finishing up the film and is looking for funding to bring it to completion. Two weeks ago he started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $41,500, and he’s already reached 93% of the goal. If you’d like to learn more about the film and maybe make a contribution, large or small, click here. Thanks!

5.   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. Gift links are temporary links from some websites, allowing non-subscribers to view articles for free. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

In California

There is a new website describing some of the projects—and the people behind them—supporting the 30×30 initiative that have started up in California.

An article in the New York Times: At Yosemite, a Preservation Plan That Calls for Chain Saws (gift link for non-subscribers). And a related op-ed in the New York Times, also regarding logging and fire: The Case Against Commercial Logging in Wildfire-Prone Forests

An article in the Los Angeles Times: Endangered salmon will swim in California river for first time in 80 years, looking at the efforts of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe to restore salmon to the McCloud River behind Shasta Dam. (may be behind a paywall)

In Alaska

An article in the Washington Post: Climate activists worried after Biden releases review of Alaska oil project (gift link for non-subscribers)

An article in the New York Times: Biden Administration Signals Support for Controversial Alaska Oil Project (gift link for non-subscribers)

The Center for American Progress released a short video and call for comments to the EPA regarding the proposed Pebble Mine above Bristol Bay. You can view their page here. We’ve written several times over the years opposing the Pebble Mine.

In Nevada

An article from the Associated Press looking at “green energy” development in Nevada: Nevada court fights raise caution flags on green energy push

In New Mexico

An op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal: It’s time to finally protect Chaco Canyon

In General

A “story map” looking at the history of designations of national monuments: Monuments to America’s Past: How presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect and shape history

An op-ed in the New York Times by New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) and Chris Wood, President of Trout Unlimited: This 150-Year-Old Mining Law Hurts Taxpayers and the Environment (gift link for non-subscribers)

With more and more national parks and federal campgrounds requiring online advance reservations, this article appeared in the New York Times: National Park Booking App Leaves Users Feeling Lost in the Woods (gift link for non-subscribers)


Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and appreciated. Dues are not tax-deductible, as they may be used for lobbying activities. There are several ways to contribute:

– PayPal: email address info [at] caluwild [dot] org (We’re an unincorporated citizens group
and not selling any goods or services.)

– Zelle (interbank transfers): email address info [at] caluwild [dot] org, Michael Painter
(account administrator)

– By Check payable to CalUWild

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please send a check payable to Resource Renewal Institute, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

All checks should be mailed to:

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

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 membership information, click here.

Please “Like” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.