Newsletter Archive

In Bear Ears National Monument, Utah                                                                                                            (Mike Painter)

March 6, 2023

Dear CalUWild friends & supporters—

It’s a pretty short Update this month as the new Congress, the 118th, begins to get underway. The main news is that we expect our priority bill, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, to be reintroduced at the end of March or beginning of April. See ITEM 1 for details.

As we mentioned last month, the Molok Luyuk Coalition, of which CalUWild is a member, is asking its partners’ members to sign a petition in support of the expansion of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. If you haven’t already done so, please add your name. The Coalition also has a website with information about the expansion proposal.

Also mentioned last month: The congressional district boundaries changed after the last census, so we would like to update our records here to reflect our members’ districts, in (the rare) case that we need to send out information targeted to a specific district. Please click here to send a quick email to us with just your name and congressional representative. Our online California Congressional Information Sheet contains a full listing of representatives’ names and district numbers (as well as party affiliation and DC office phone number). Thank you for your assistance.

As always, many thanks for your support of CalUWild and our shared wilderness and public lands.

Mike Painter

1.   Red Rock Bill Reintroduction
          (ACTION ITEM)

2.   Great Old Broads at Joshua Tree
          March 16-19

3.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Red Rock Bill Reintroduction
          (ACTION ITEM)

First a bit of background: CalUWild was founded in 1997 after the designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument the previous year. Involving citizens in efforts to protect Utah’s wild places has been the top priority of the organization. And with your help, working with the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC—and of which CalUWild is a member), we have managed to permanently protect some areas and prevented harmful development in others. As a result, there remain many wild areas in the state, protecting important wildlife corridors, providing opportunities for quiet recreation, and preserving landscapes.

A critical part of the effort has been America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. First introduced in 1989 by Utah’s then-Rep. Wayne Owens (D), the bill has been reintroduced in every Congress since, with other representatives taking the lead in the House after he left. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) of California, the latest, retired at the end of the last Congress and Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) has agreed to be the lead sponsor going forward. (She was elected to replace Deb Haaland, who had become Secretary of the Interior.) In the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has been the lead sponsor since 1997.

Although the bill has not passed Congress in its entirety, parts of it have been enacted, and just as importantly, it sets a “gold standard” against which other legislation and administrative actions, both good and bad, can be evaluated. One component of the process is cosponsorship, where other representatives and senators add their names to the bill, indicating their strong support for it. Even stronger is original cosponsorship, meaning that they signed on when the bill is first introduced.

We are now kicking off the cosponsorship drive in this Congress. Our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, one of the lead organizations in the UWC, just sent out this action alert (slightly edited):

Good news! Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) will soon reintroduce America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the 118th Congress. This week, activists from across the U.S. are gathering in Washington, DC to meet with elected officials and ask them to cosponsor the bill.

You can support their efforts by contacting your members of Congress today and ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. At this point we are contacting Democratic offices only.

This legislation proposes federal wilderness designation for landscapes like the Dirty Devil, Desolation Canyon, Cedar Mesa, and parts of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments – places unparalleled in their natural beauty and cultural significance.

Protecting wilderness is more important than ever. As the climate crisis disrupts both natural ecosystems and human communities, safeguarding large tracts of public land from fossil fuel development and other adverse impacts can help preserve important habitat, boost climate resiliency, and increase carbon storage. Did you know that more than 20 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions come from fossil fuels extracted from public lands? It’s time to focus on solutions, and protecting more than 8 million acres of wilderness in Utah would be a great start.

Please help us build support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act by contacting your members of Congress today!

If your representative is a past cosponsor, please thank them first and then ask them to renew their cosponsorship before the bill is reintroduced by Rep. Stansbury and Sen. Durbin. Contact information may be found on our online California Congressional Information Sheet.

Contact information for offices outside of California may be found at and

2.   Great Old Broads at Joshua Tree
          March 16-19

The Southern California Broadband of Great Old Broads for Wilderness is organizing a campout at Joshua Tree National Park: The Joy of Joshua Tree. The focus of the weekend, March 16-19, will be learning about the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument, which lies just south of the park.

Broads and Bros are welcome!

Details and registration may be found here.

Contact Margaret Meyncke with any questions:

socalbroads [at] gmail [dot] com

3.   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 Utah

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by CalUWild Advisory Board Member Stephen Trimble, reprinted on Yahoo News: The Great Salt Lake is disappearing. Utah has 45 days to save it

An op-ed in the New York Times by John Leshy: Utah Wants to Disable the Law That Led to the Creation of Four of Its Magnificent National Parks (Gift link for non-subscribers)

In Nevada

An article in the Nevada Independent: Judge largely affirms federal permit for Thacker Pass lithium mine near Winnemucca. A couple of weeks later, another lawsuit was filed, again reported in the Nevada Independent: Tribes, environmentalists move to block Thacker Pass lithium mine construction.

In General

An op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal by Jim Baca, former director of the Bureau of Land Management: BLM must lead, prioritize meaningful conservation

An article in the Washington Post: Jimmy Carter, the president who tried to save the planet (Gift link for non-subscribers)

An op-ed in The Hill by CalUWild friend Anna Peterson: President Biden should move to protect more nature by using the Antiquities Act

An op-ed in the Washington Post: National parks made my immigrant family American (Gift link for non-subscribers)

Press Release: Interior Department Announces Significant Action to Restore Bison Populations as Part of New Restoration and Resilience Framework


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