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November 24th, 2021

Click HERE for CalUWild’s Thanksgiving 2021 Update, our monthly newsletter. To sign up to receive the Update by email, click HERE.

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2021 Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2021


Fajada Butte and wall, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico                                                   (Mike Painter)

 
November 24, 2021

Dear CalUWild friends—

First of all, I want to wish you and your families and friends a Happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for, especially the public lands in the West and across the country—some of it protected as Wilderness—available for recreation to all, important wildlife habitat, preservation of Indigenous sacred and cultural sites, watersheds for clean water, increasingly important carbon sequestration, and more.

We’re particularly thankful that last month Pres. Joe Biden reversed the previous administration’s shrinking of the Bear Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons & Seamounts national monuments (shortly after our last Update went out). More generally, we’re thankful that the new administration in Washington sees the environment as something to be protected rather than exploited. We look forward to further progress from them.

We’re also thankful to learn that the Navajo Nation has endorsed America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, as well as being thankful for the increased attention being given to Native American concerns and cooperation with various tribes.

There are also two new California cosponsors for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act: Mike Thompson (D-5) and Ro Khanna (D-17). Quick ACTION ITEM: Please thank them. See our online California Congressional Information Sheet for contact information. If you’re not in either district, please take a look to see if your representative has cosponsored the bill. If they have, give a call to thank them; if they haven’t, ask them to become a cosponsor.

Finally we’re thankful for the enthusiasm that our members and supporters have shown for protecting wilderness and public lands in the 24 years since CalUWild’s founding. Together we have been making a difference!

 
Below are updates on various issues and other interesting articles from the press and elsewhere. Links to articles from the New York Times and Washington Post are “gift articles,” so you should be able to read them for free if you don’t have your own subscription.

 
As we mentioned last month, November is the beginning of CalUWild’s Annual Membership Appeal. Thank you to those who have contributed already! Dues have never been required to receive CalUWild’s Monthly Update, and while we run CalUWild on a shoestring, your support is needed and much appreciated. Look for a membership appeal letter in the U.S. Mail or an email in the coming weeks. More information is at the bottom of this Update.

 
Again, Happy Thanksgiving,
Mike

 
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IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
1. 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 Monuments Restoration

An article in the Washington Post: Biden expands Bears Ears and other national monuments, reversing Trump cuts

An article in The Guardian’s “This land is your land” section: Biden restores beloved national monuments, reversing Trump cuts

White House Fact Sheet

Links to proclamations:

Bears Ears
Grand Staircase-Escalante
Northeast Canyons & Seamounts

An editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune: What should come after restoration of national monuments in Utah, from the Tribune Editorial Board : Utah’s elected officials need to stop their hostility to public lands and work to protect them.

Bureau of Land Management

Tracy Stone-Manning was sworn in as BLM Director. You can read the press release from the Interior Department here.

An article in the Washington Post: Trump’s move of Bureau of Land Management HQ undercut diversity, watchdog finds

National Park Service

New director confirmed, as National Parks Traveler reports: Senate Confirms Sams As National Park Service Director

An article in High Country News: How tribal leaders want Chuck Sams to lead the Park Service

In California

The Point Reyes ranching controversy will not go away. A conversation at Mountain Journal

An article in the Los Angeles Times: Vexed by dust pollution, officials around Mono Lake call on Los Angeles to cease water diversions

A comprehensive look at the issues facing the Klamath Basin in Northern California and Oregon, from the Washington Post: Climate change fuels a water rights conflict built on over a century of broken promises

The San Luis Obispo Tribune hosted a discussion on proposals for wind energy development off the Central California Coast. The panelists included Rep. Salud Carbajal (D- 24), champion of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. You can watch a recording of the program here.

In Alaska

An article in the Washington Post: Biden officials to propose road ban on more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

In New Mexico – Chaco Canyon

In the New York Times: Biden Plans to Bar New Drilling Around a Major Native American Cultural Site

In General

Press release: Secretary Haaland Takes Action to Remove Derogatory Names from Federal Lands

A report, The Camping Crunch, by the Center for Western Priorities on the increasing popularity of camping on public lands. The page contains a link to download it, if you wish.

Criticizing Muir and misunderstanding the foundation of American nature conservation

 
 
 

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 good 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:

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

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2021 September – October

October 5th, 2021


Dana Plateau, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, California                                                       (Mike Painter)

 
October 4, 2021

Dear CalUWild friends —

There’s not much happening right now that requires detailed analysis or citizen input, so this month’s Update will cover recent developments mostly via links to articles in the press.

One useful new benefit from both the New York Times and the Washington Post is a limited number of monthly “Gift Articles” that subscribers can share. So to the extent possible we’ll be using those in the Update from now on, meaning that you won’t need subscriptions to read them. (This has been an inconvenience for some of our members.)

A question arose recently as to whether people should identify themselves as members of Californians for Western Wilderness when communicating with agencies and lawmakers. I think it’s preferable not to write as a member. CalUWild’s goal has always been to provide our members and the public with the information and the tools to be effective citizens (in the general, not legal, sense of the word). So just use your own name and words, and write from your own experience for maximum impact. CalUWild often submits its own letters, mentioning that we’re writing on behalf of our members, so decision makers are aware of our numbers.

September marked the 25th Anniversary of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, the first of the BLM-managed monuments, and designated by Pres. Clinton. CalUWild was founded the following year to support the development of the management plan for the monument. We will celebrate our 24th Anniversary next month.

Next month will also be the start of CalUWild’s Annual Membership Appeal. Dues have never been required to receive CalUWild’s Monthly Update, but we do rely on the support of our readers. If you’d like to help us save on printing and postage expenses for our mailing, you can send in a contribution ahead of time. More information is at the bottom of this Update.

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act Cosponsorship
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   No Decision Yet on Restoring the Shrunken
          Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Point Reyes National Seashore Releases Plan
          To Continue Ranching Operations
4.   California and Other Public Lands Bills Included
          In the National Defense Authorization Act
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Other California Items

IN WASHINGTON, DC
6.   Interior Department /National Parks Items

IN ALASKA
7.   Another Setback for the Pebble Mine

IN NEVADA
8.   Proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument

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IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act Cosponsorship
          (ACTION ITEM)

California Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-9) joined the ranks of cosponsors for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, H.R. 3780. Rep. McNerney is a long-time cosponsor of the bill and a strong supporter of America’s public lands. Please call his office to say thank you.

202-225-1947

DC contact information and cosponsorship status for California’s full congressional delegation can be found on CalUWild’s online California Congressional Information Sheet. If your representative is a cosponsor, please call their office and thank them. If not, call and ask them to sign on.

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

 
2.   No Decision Yet on Restoring the Shrunken
          Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

Despite Interior Secretary Haaland’s recommendation months ago that the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments be fully restored, Pres. Biden has yet to act on it. Native American tribes and others are growing impatient, and the Inter-Tribal Coalition sent a letter last month to the president asking him to act, as reported in this article in the Washington Post: Tribes want ‘immediate action’ to reverse Trump’s cut to Bears Ears National Monument (free access).

The Boulder Weekly published an interesting article: Re-indigenizing the story of Bears Ears.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Point Reyes National Seashore Releases Plan
          To Continue Ranching Operations

In an extremely disappointing decision, Point Reyes National Seashore approved it General Management Plan Amendment regarding ranching, making only minimal changes to the draft plan. Thus ranchers received pretty much everything they originally requested in their scoping letter. For more details and reaction, see this press release from Resource Renewal Institute. We had hoped that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland might change the Seashore’s ultimate direction, but she did not.

Ironically, the decision was signed 59 years to the day that Pres. John F. Kennedy signed the law establishing the Seashore “in order to preserve, for purposes of public recreation, benefit, and inspiration, a portion of the diminishing seashore of the United States that remains undeveloped”—not to preserve ranching.

It’s unlikely that the decision will remain unchallenged, and we will keep you informed as the situation unfolds.

Just before the decision was announced, a dump was discovered at one of the ranches, previously undetected by the Park Service, reported in the Point Reyes Light: Old dump site prompts park investigation.

 
4.   California and Other Public Lands Bills Included
          In the National Defense Authorization Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including an amendment adding to it the bills we have been following in recent years:

— Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act (Huffman)
— Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (Carbajal)
— San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (Chu)
— Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act (Schiff)
— Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (Kilmer)
— Colorado Wilderness Act (DeGette)
— Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act (Neguse)
— Grand Canyon Protection Act (Grijalva)

The NDAA is now in the Senate, where we hope for passage. Sens. Feinstein and Padilla are likely to support it, but it wouldn’t hurt to call their offices and let them know of your support.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:   202-224-3841
Sen. Alex Padilla:   202-224-3553

 
5.   Other California Items

An article in High Country News: Confused about what’s happening on the Klamath? Here’s a rundown.and a related article in Yale Environment 360 by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie: On the Klamath, Dam Removal May Come Too Late to Save the Salmon

An article in the North Coast Journal: State Commission Votes to ‘Restore the Name Sue-meg,’ Remove Patrick’s Point from Park’s Name

A press release from the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife: Gray Wolf In Ventura County Possibly OR-93. We’ve been following the arrival of wolves in California for the last few years.

 
IN WASHINGTON, DC
6.    Interior Department /National Parks Items

In the Washington Post: Bureau of Land Management headquarters to return to D.C., reversing Trump decision (free access). and an article in High Country News: 9 numbers that explain the BLM’s headquarters boomerang back to D.C.

An article in the Washington Post: Senate confirms Tracy Stone-Manning as Bureau of Land Management director in party-line vote (free access). Ms. Stone-Manning’s nomination raised quite a bit of controversy. She is the first director confirmed in over five years.

An article in The Hill: Dept of Interior and Native American leaders will meet to return tribal lands

A photo spread in The Guardian, on the retirement of BLM photographer Bob Wick: Documenting American wilderness – in pictures

An op-ed in the New York Times: Why We Need More National Parks (free access), and a response in High Country News: More national parks won’t solve overcrowding

An article from The Guardian‘s “This Land Is Your Land” project: US national parks are overcrowded. Some think ‘selfie stations’ will help

 
IN ALASKA
7.   Another Setback for the Pebble Mine

An article in Crosscut: Inside the latest Indigenous push to stop a massive copper mine

 
IN NEVADA
8.   Proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument

From the Conservation Lands Foundation, an Avi Kwa Ame story map bringing together Indigenous leaders and voices to tell the cultural, spiritual, and historical stories of Avi Kwa Ame. There’s an online petition you can sign at the end.

 
 
 
 
 

Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and 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, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

Either way, mail it to:

CalUWild
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.

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Red Rocks Bill Introduced

October 5th, 2021

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Congress

CalUWild’s founding priority was protecting the wild lands of Utah. America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Congress would establish optimum protection there. Parts of the original bill have been enacted, and it establishes the standard against which all other bills and proposals must be measured. A detailed factsheet about the bill may be found on the website of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance HERE.

It is important that as many members of both the House and Senate become cosponsors of the bill. Please ask your reps and senators to sign on!

A list of California House and Senate cosponsors may be found HERE. A national listing may be found on SUWA’s website HERE.

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Protect the Bodie Hills

October 4th, 2021

Protect California’s Bodie Hills & Conglomerate Mesa

The Bodie Hills are a wild area just north of Mono Lake, home to wildlife, rare plants, and remarkable scenery, deserves permanent protection. CalUWild is a member of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership. Click HERE for more information.

Conglomerate Mesa, a wild area important to Indigenous Tribes, lies near Death Valley and is under threat from gold mining. CalUWild is also a member of Protect Conglomerate Mesa. Click HERE for more information.

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2021 July – August

August 19th, 2021


Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park,California                                                                                (Mike Painter)

 
August 12, 2021

Dear CalUWild friends—

I took the last week of July off and got away to the Eastern Sierra, Bodie Hills, and Yosemite, so this issue of the Update is a bit later than usual. It’s now mid-August, so time when kids go back to school, and though that takes some of the pressure off visitation to our public lands, more and more people are visiting in the “shoulder seasons,” too—if smoke and heat don’t interfere.

Congress is on recess right now, though that simply means that they are at home in their districts, not necessarily on vacation. It’s a good time to visit them personally and make your views known on the issues of the day. We need to keep the pressure on for protection of and funding for our public lands, even though there are many other important issues to be dealt with as well, protection of democracy being at the top of the list.

Two ACTION ITEMS this month are explained below in quite a bit of detail. There’s no need to use all the information contained in them; just take whatever you find most appealing, add your own perspective, and send in a comment.

Thanks, as always, for your interest in protecting our wilderness and other public lands!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsorship Status
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   BLM Opens Scoping on Conglomerate Mesa
          Gold Mining Project Expansion
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: August 30
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Point Reyes National Seashore
          60-Day Planning Delay
          Comments Needed ASAP
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
4.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

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IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsorship Status
          (ACTION ITEM)

In June, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) of California re-introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R. 3750) in the House of Representatives. The bill protects about 8.5 million acres of land in Utah, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as wilderness, It is CalUWild’s longest-standing and most important legislative priority. There are now 70 House cosponsors. Twelve are from California (including lead sponsor Lowenthal), and two Californians added their names last month:

Pete Aguilar (D-31) phone: 202-225-3201
Maxine Waters (D-43) phone: 202-225-2201

If you live in either district, please give their office a call to say thanks.

In the Senate, there are 17 cosponsors of S. 1535, including lead sponsor Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) is not a cosponsor yet, though he is a champion for California public lands. Please call his office urging him to sign on:

202-224-3553

Cosponsorship status and DC contact information for California’s full congressional delegation can be found on CalUWild’s online California Congressional Information Sheet.. If your representative is a cosponsor, please call their office and thank them. If not, call and ask them to sign on.

A full list of cosponsors nationwide, in both House and Senate, may be found here.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
2.   BLM Opens Scoping on Conglomerate Mesa
          Gold Mining Project Expansion
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: August 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

Gold mining and exploration continue to be issues east of the Sierra. We wrote about Conglomerate Mesa, a wild area between Lone Pine and Death Valley, in our October 2017 Update. Canadian company, K2 Gold/Mojave Precious Metals (MPM), is hoping to expand its exploratory drilling operations beyond the “Plan of Operations” that the Bureau of Land Management had previously approved and which have been going on for the last year or so. In response, the BLM has initiated a public comment scoping period for interested persons to provide input on the company’s proposal.

In addition to many cultural resources, scenic landscapes, and threatened habitat, Conglomerate Mesa is also an important area for the Timbisha Shoshone and Paiute Shoshone Tribes, who oppose gold mining in the area. Given the unique and important character of Conglomerate Mesa, we also oppose any operations there, even if only exploratory.

Please submit a comment, using the talking points below, provided by the Protect Conglomerate Mesa coalition. Comments are being accepted through August 30.

National Conservation Lands: Established in 2016, Conglomerate Mesa is part of the California Desert National Conservation Lands which directs BLM to manage them for conservation and recreation. Most development, such as renewable energy, is closed on National Conservation Lands. Although the 1872 Mining Law allows for mining, even the early stages of exploration go directly against the intended management of this landscape.

Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC): A large portion of K2 Gold’s mining activity falls within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern that is meant to provide protection to cultural resources, rare plant and animal species, and wildlife habitat. Conglomerate Mesa ACEC provides an opportunity to research the role Cerro Gordo played in the Owens Valley resource wars, answer questions about the ethnicity of charcoal makers, and allow for the examination of the prehistoric and historic lifeways of the Native American people who used this area. The Cerro Gordo-Conglomerate Mesa ACEC also includes unique plant assemblages, since it lies at the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert and the western edge of the Inyo Mountains.

Outstanding Botanical Values: Conglomerate Mesa is teeming with rare desert plants as the landscape transitions from the badlands of Death Valley, through the Mojave Desert and into the high Inyo Mountains. Many populations of rare and special-status plants that have been documented here could be adversely impacted by proposed drilling and road construction. Several rare species, such as Parry’s monkeyflower and Shockley’s prickleleaf, reach the edge of their range near the project area. Any exploratory drilling and road construction would significantly threaten this botanic oasis. Of particular concern are the Inyo rock daisy (known only from the Inyo Mountains) and healthy, reproducing stands of the iconic Joshua Tree (currently a candidate for listing under California’s Endangered Species Act). The Badger Flat thread plant, a rare species that is new to science, grows right in the middle of the proposed road footprint. Proposed drilling and road construction pose a significant threat to Conglomerate Mesa’s rare plants and the intact ecosystem of which they are a part.

Geologic Resources: Conglomerate Mesa provides an unusually complete record that is key to unraveling the evolution of the continental edge of the southwestern US. This record would be destroyed forever by open-pit mining and cannot be made right through backfilling or reclamation. The record dates all the way back to the Permian and early Triassic periods (c. 247-300 million years ago). Several strata contain fossils (fusulinids, a type of plankton with calcite casings, and corals) that accurately date them. Some of the fusulinids are endemic to the Conglomerate Mesa area.

Cultural Resources: Conglomerate Mesa is the traditional homelands of the Timbisha Shoshone and Paiute Shoshone people. This area is an important area for pinyon nut harvesting, hunting, and is one of the many blending zones of transitional territories. Numerous leaders in local tribes have opposed the gold exploration and mining by K2 Gold. We stand united with the Indigenous people in this opposition.

Preserving Our History: Conglomerate Mesa is rich in heritage resources, including the historic Keeler-Death Valley Trail, which transported mining supplies and workers. The Mesa is a little known and underappreciated location for charcoal production and stone masonry sites active in the 1890’s. These small groups of charcoliers would produce charcoal from pinyon trees and haul them north to the Cerro Gordo mines, which helped produce the silver that financed the construction of Los Angeles. These special sites and their stories must be preserved.

Wildlife: Conglomerate Mesa is commonly used by mule deer for overwintering and migration habitat. This area is prized by backcountry hunters. The area provides a home for a variety of rare wildlife and are hunting grounds for golden eagles and mountain lions. The area is also known to provide habitat for special status species, such as the Townsend’s western big-eared bat and Desert big-horned sheep, and mule deer. Few wildlife surveys have taken place at Conglomerate Mesa and more work is currently being done to research what wildlife live in these high desert habitats.

Recreation: Outdoor recreation is the economic engine of the Eastern Sierra, where local businesses are highly dependent on tourism-based revenue. The thousands of people who visit and recreate in Death Valley National Park, Conglomerate Mesa, and other surrounding public lands are the most powerful economic driver for the region. Mining operations severely limit public access, permanently scar lands, and drive visitors away.

 
For more information and photos of Conglomerate Mesa, visit the Protect Conglomerate Mesa website. Other detailed information can be found in BLM’s press announcement and the K2Gold/MPM Plan of Operations.

As always, personalized comments, in your own words, are best, especially if you have visited Conglomerate Mesa or plan to. Comments may be submitted as follows:

Via BLM’s ePlanning website

By email:

BLM_ca_ri_mojavePmetals [at] blm [dot] gov with “Mojave Project Scoping” in the subject line

By U.S. Mail:

Attn: Mojave Project
BLM Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Road
Ridgecrest, CA  93555

Again, the DEADLINE is August 30.

 
3.   Point Reyes National Seashore
          60-Day Planning Delay
          Comments Needed ASAP
          (ACTION ITEM)

In July the National Park Service requested an extension on the deadline to submit its final plan for ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) in Marin County. The seashore said that the California Coastal Commission had introduced complications by raising concerns about water pollution from the ranches and that the transition to the Biden Administration had also impacted its decision making. The court set a new deadline of September 13 for a decision.

The plan that was most likely going to be released (Alternative B) would result in continued ranching. It also would change the terms of leases, making them longer-term, despite the fact that ranching was originally supposed to have been phased out. Most controversially, the plan would allow the culling of Tule elk in favor of cattle ranching.

Please take advantage of this court-approved delay to contact Interior Secretary Deb Haaland directly, requesting her to adopt Alternative F, which would protect Point Reyes, rather than allow (and even facilitate) the continued degradation of the environment there. Because of the court-imposed deadline of September 13, the earlier you can get your comments in for Secty. Haaland’s consideration, the better.

Over 50 conservation organizations, including CalUWild, sent Secty. Haaland a letter in June requesting that she stop PRNS from issuing its likely plan.

You can use the following main points from that letter as the basis for your comments. (Please look at the letter for more details if you wish.) Of course, add any ideas of your own, including your experiences at Point Reyes and why it is special to you.

Background: Politics over preservation
After the Park Service bought the ranches at Point Reyes, the ranchers were allowed to continue operations for up to 25 years or until their death (whichever came later). They’ve managed to change this to renewable special use permits, repeatedly leasing back 28,000 acres of the park for their operations. Chronic water pollution, habitat loss, and livestock-wildlife conflicts continue to go unaddressed.

Drought conditions: Worsening with the climate crisis
Marin County has declared a drought emergency for the second year in a row. Persistent drought is barely mentioned in the plan. Groundwater supplies are exhausted. Last fall the Park Service permitted a dairy rancher to draw up to 15,000 gallons of water a day from nearby wetlands to supply his herds and operation, without performing any environmental analysis.

Tule elk: Decimating a rare and native species
More than 150 Tule elk have died so far this year due to drought at Point Reyes. A fence separates one herd from sources of water and forage. The plan calls for the killing of “excess” Tule elk that interfere with ranching operations within the Seashore. There are more cattle at Point Reyes Seashore than there are Tule elk in the world.

Climate change: We must act now
Livestock are responsible for 62% of the Seashore’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Beef and dairy ranches on lands managed by PRNS account for 6% of Marin County’s total GHG emissions.

Diversification: Compounding the problem with new species and crops
Under the pending plan, ranchers will be allowed to introduce sheep, goats, pigs and row crops to Point Reyes, as well as mobile slaughter facilities—none of which were ever permitted before. This diversification of agriculture will further disrupt ecosystems, jeopardize wildlife habitat, and impact wildlife behavior, as predators will be drawn to smaller livestock. The Park Service’s choice to prioritize ranchers over the health of an entire national park ecosystem flies in the face of its mission to protect and preserve the park’s natural resources.

The plan: Unsupported by science or the public
The plan acknowledges—but dismisses—the ecological costs of ranching, including soil erosion, invasive plants, loss of native habitat, wildlife harm and abuse, the contamination of freshwater and marine environments with fecal waste from cattle, and ecological stress due to water deficit. At the same time, the Park Service has categorically dismissed public opposition to the plan. It received more than 7,600 public comments, of which 91 percent opposed ranching and killing Tule elk, while the California Coastal Commission received more than 45,000 public comments opposed to the plan.

Cultural heritage: Ranching history is honored. Native American history is not.
The Park Service abandoned its plans to preserve the Seashore’s Coast Miwok heritage, withdrawing its application to the National Register of Historic Places to establish PRNS as an Indigenous Archeological District. Instead, the NPS pursued a Historic Ranching District, which was added to the National Register in 2018. The history and culture of the original inhabitants of this region, the Coast Miwok people, are largely neglected, though they have lived in the region for millennia.

In conclusion, Alternative F, identified by the Park Service as the environmentally superior alternative, is the only alternative that conforms with the Park Service Organic Act. Alternative F received the most public support of all the alternatives, limits climate impacts, and restores biodiversity.

 
There are various ways to contact Secty. Haaland.

By email (and consider attaching a picture, if you have one):

feedback [at] ios [dot] doi [dot] gov

By online webform

U.S. Mail:

Hon. Deb Haaland
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC  20240

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
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.

The Administration

An article in the Washington Post about the difficulties faced by the nomine for director of the Bureau of Land Management: As a student, Tracy Stone-Manning sent a letter on behalf of eco-saboteurs. It’s now complicating her chance to lead the Bureau of Land Management.

In Utah

An editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times: President Biden should undo Trump’s assault on our nation’s natural wonders

An op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune by writer and CalUWild Advisory Board Member Stephen Trimble: Mike Lee is Wrong. Capitol Reef is no place for OHVs. Steve is the editor of The Capitol Reef Reader, published by the University if Utah Press.

Another op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune dealing with Sen. Lee: Public lands pay dividends, and false narratives hurt Utahns the most

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune: The outdoors is Utah tech firms’ No. 1 recruiting tool

An article in The New Yorker on Glen Canyon emerging from the shrinking Lake Powell: The Lost Canyon Under Lake Powell

30×30

An example of what will be needed to achieve 30×30 in this article in The New Yorker: Florida’s Remarkable New Wildlife Corridor from the Panhandle to the Keys

An article in CalMatters: California is betting $61 million that new highway crossings will keep wildlife safe. Wildlife crossings help with wildlife corridor connectivity, one of the underlying 30×30 goals.

The Nature Conservancy has released a “story map” with details about what is needed to reach 30×30 in California.

In Nevada

An op-ed in the Sierra Nevada Ally by Russell Kuhlman, executive director of the Nevada Wildlife Federation: Reimagine Our Public Lands? The Diamond Valley Oil Project

In General

An article in the New York Times: Smartphone Directions May Put Novice Hikers in Danger, Experts Say

A different viewpoint on rewilding, in High Country News: Rewilding is a two-way street: A letter from your neighborhood deer.

An essay in Earth Island Journal re-examining the controversy surrounding John Muir: Who Was John Muir, Really?. The authors are 3 current and former members of the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors.

 
 
 

Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and 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, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

Either way, mail it to:

CalUWild
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.

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2021 June

June 30th, 2021


John Muir Wilderness, California                                                                                                           (Mike Painter)

 
June 30, 2021

Dear CalUWild friends—

Summer is officially here, the traditional time when people take vacations, so in that spirit, we’ll keep this month’s Update very brief, with no Action Items and only a few from the press.

Last year saw record visitation to national parks and other public lands, and many places were overrun. This year promises to be no different, and an increasing number of the more popular areas are now requiring reservations for visits and camping, so please plan accordingly. (Or consider visiting some new places, off the beaten path.)

With the 4th of July holiday coming up, Congress will be on a two-week recess, with all members at home in their districts. Congress will also be recessed for the month of August. If your member schedules a town hall meeting, it would be a perfect opportunity to talk to them or their staff about your concerns.

As we reported last month, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland sent her recommendations regarding the Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts national monuments to Pres. Biden. It was later leaked that she recommends restoring them in full, but the White House has not made any announcement yet. We’ll keep you posted.

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act now has a bill number in the House: H.R. 3780. As in years past, the lead sponsor is Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) of California. In the Senate, it’s S. 1535, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). If you haven’t contacted your representative or Sen. Alex Padilla, asking them to sign on as a cosponsor, now would be the time to do it! A list of California’s Congressional delegation and their DC phone numbers may be found here. We’ll have information on another wilderness issue in our next Update.

Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the Southwest Region 5 of the Forest Service (California & Hawaii), will become Chief of the Forest Service later in July. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed him earlier this week. We congratulate Mr. Moore and wish him all the best.

 
As always, thanks for your willingness to speak up for our wild places,
Mike

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
1.   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.

In Alaska

An article in the Anchorage Daily News: Biden administration will restore parts or all of ‘roadless rule’ in Southeast Alaska, reversing Trump action

In Arizona

An op-ed in Scientific American: Let’s Rebuild the U.S. Jaguar Population—Yes, Jaguars

In Colorado

An op-ed in the Denver Post by Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club: Bennet and Hickenlooper should support the Colorado Wilderness Act — today

In Nevada

An essay about Thacker Pass, covered in last month’s Update, in the Columbia Climate School’s State of the Planet: Stop Calling Green Energy ‘Clean’

An op-ed in the Nevada Independent: Local leaders call on the Biden administration to protect the Ruby Mountains and places like it

In General

An article in the New York Times on the importance of intact wild areas: Our Response to Climate Change Is Missing Something Big, Scientists Say

 
 
 

Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and 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, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

Either way, mail it to:

CalUWild
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.

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2021 May – June

June 9th, 2021


Sunset over the Henry Mountains and Capitol Reef National Park, Utah                                                            (Mike Painter)

 
June 8, 2021

Dear CalUWild friends—

On this day, 115 years ago, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act of 1906 into law. It gave the president the authority to designate national monuments for “the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.” Initially it grew out of the need to protect archaeological sites in the Southwest from destruction and looting, such as pot hunting and grave desecration. The first national monument was Devil’s Tower (known as Bear’s Lodge by several Native American tribes) in Wyoming. Two years later, Pres. Roosevelt designated Grand Canyon National Monument. Many of our national parks “began life” as national monuments.

Over the years, all presidents (except Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush Sr.) have designated monuments of various sizes, most of them under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. However, Bill Clinton’s Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt decided that large landscapes should be protected as well for scientific research and other purposes, and he established the National Landscape Conservation System. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah was the first of these, designated in 1996, and Congress codified the idea in 2009 (now called National Conservation Lands).

As we’ve reported numerous times over the last three years, the previous administration shrank Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50% and reduced Bears Ears NM by a whopping 85%. Pres. Biden campaigned on the promise to restore the two monuments, and shortly after his inauguration, he issued an executive order requiring the Department of the Interior to report on the options. Secty. Deb Haaland visited Utah and spoke with many interested parties. She submitted her report to Pres. Biden last week, but its conclusions have not been made public. In the meantime, the litigation over the reduction of the monuments is on hold.

We look forward to these monuments being fully restored—and possibly expanded in the case of Bears Ears. We also hope that Congress will act to strengthen the Antiquities Act to explicitly state that a president cannot reduce monuments established by a predecessor. (And in fact, Secty. Haaland introduced legislation doing just that when she was in Congress as a representative from New Mexico.)

Last month, the Biden Administration released its anticipated report on 30×30, Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, the proposal to protect 30% of America’s land and oceans by 2030. It was short on specifics but did set out a broad framework.

Many in the conservation community expressed concern that the report cast too wide a net as to the level of protection from development that would ultimately qualify, because of the report’s strong focus on recreation and “working landscapes.” While important, saving them from commercial development doesn’t necessarily do anything to increase their value to biodiversity, which is the goal of 30×30. The Administration said that the overall effort would be broader than simply biodiversity, but that this was just the beginning of the process, and that it welcomes more input from all interested parties. So we’ll have to work to see that scientifically valid protections are implemented to achieve a full 30×30 result. (And this is just the start, because many scientists believe that we must protect 50% of the biosphere in order to ensure its continued survival.)

We’ll keep you posted on developments regarding these issues and how you can be effective advocates for them in Washington and elsewhere.

As always, many thanks for your interest and support!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rocks Bill Reintroduced in the House
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Rim of the Valley Corridor Bill Reintroduced in the Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA
3.   Setbacks for Leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
          And for the Pebble Mine

IN NEVADA
4.   Lithium Mine Proposed at Thacker Pass
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rocks Bill Reintroduced in the House
          (ACTION ITEM)

California’s Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) today re-introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the House of Representatives. The bill protects about 8.5 million acres of Utah BLM land as wilderness and is CalUWild’s longest-standing and most important legislative priority. It has 57 original cosponsors, with ten from California (including Rep. Lowenthal):

Doris Matsui   (D-6)
Anna Eshoo  &nbsp(D-18)
Jimmy Panetta   (D-20)
Julia Brownley   (D-26)
Judy Chu   (D-27)
Grace Napolitano   (D-32)
Karen Bass   (D-37)
Mark Takano   (D-41)
Nanette Barragán   (D-44)
Alan Lowenthal   (D-47)

If your representative is on the list, please call their office and thank them. If not on the list, call and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor. (The bill does not have a number yet.)

In the Senate, there are 14 cosponsors of S. 1535, including lead sponsor Sen. Dick Durbin. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) is not a cosponsor, though he is a champion for California public lands. Please call his office urging him to sign on.

DC contact information and cosponsorship status for California’s congressional delegation can be found on CalUWild’s online California Congressional Information Sheet.

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

 
In a related development, the Utah NPR station KUER reported last month that Utah’s senator Mitt Romney (R) and representative John Curtis (R) had introduced a bill to protect 289,000 acres of national forest land in Illinois, Sen. Dick Durbin’s home state, to get back at him for being the Red Rock champion.

We think Sen. Durbin should sign on as a cosponsor!

 
IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Rim of the Valley Corridors Bill Reintroduced in the Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) reintroduced the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, S.1769, the companion bill to Rep. Adam Schiff’s bill covering many of the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley. That bill passed the House earlier this year as part of H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. Sen. Alex Padilla is an original cosponsor.

According to Sen. Feinstein’s office, the bill gives National Park Service the authority to:

• Add more than 191,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
• Implement capital improvements, including new trails, roads and public facilities.
• Monitor and study wildlife and ecosystems.
• Participate in cooperative conservation and recreation planning.
• Provide technical assistance for resource protection and recreation planning.
• Contribute financially to projects that protect important natural resources.
• Acquire land through donation, exchange or purchase.

For a map of the lands covered by the legislation, click here.

Please call Sens. Feinstein and Padilla to thank them for introducing the legislation. Contact information may be found here.

 
IN ALASKA
3.   Setbacks for Leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
          And for the Pebble Mine

Earlier this month, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland reversed a decision made just two weeks before the end of the previous administration, when she suspended oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Department said that the approved leasing program contained “multiple legal deficiencies” including “insufficient analysis” required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Secty. Haaland also said that the program failed to analyze alternatives to leasing. So she placed a temporary moratorium on all activities and ordered “a new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the oil and gas program.”

We’ve written several times about the proposed Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska, most recently in our November 2020 Update, when the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit to the Canadian mining company saying its plan to deal with waste from the mine did not comply with the Clean Water Act. The mine, if developed, would threaten the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world’s most productive sockeye salmon fishery.

 
Today it was publicly announced that the Pedro Bay Corp., the local Native Alaska corporation, had agreed to sell conservation easements to the Conservation Fund. The easements would prohibit development on some 44,000 acres of land controlled by the corporation, including the land over which the most feasible road to the mine would need to be constructed.

The project isn’t totally dead, however, as the mining company has appealed the Army Corps’ permit denial and claims there is an alternative route available for its road. But it may not be economically feasible, if potential investors are reluctant to fund it.

We’ll continue to follow both issues and keep you informed.

 
IN NEVADA
4.   Lithium Mine Proposed at Thacker Pass
          (ACTION ITEM)

Controversy has been brewing over a proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass, northwest of Winnemucca, Nevada. Approved only five days before the end of the previous administration, the proposal threatens land culturally significant to the local Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, which has never agreed to the project. In addition to being critical sage grouse and pronghorn habitat, Thacker Pass has golden eagle nesting areas and is home to many plants used by the tribes for traditional medicinal purposes. The project also threatens Indigenous burial sites and groundwater resources.

Our friends at Western Watersheds Project, Great Basin Resource Watch, Basin & Range Watch, and Wildlands Defense filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management, claiming that the mine’s approval—which was fast-tracked—violated NEPA and the Federal Land Policy & Management Act.

The plaintiffs announced today that Lithium Nevada Corp. and BLM had agreed to not engage in any activities that would disturb the ground before July 29, giving the court a chance to look at evidence in support of their case against the project. Their press release goes into some detail about their objections to the project. More information may be found at protectthackerpass.org and the gofundme page set up by the tribes.

Please sign the Change.org petition started by the Paiute and Shoshone tribes. More information about the project can be found on the petition page. You can also voice your opinion about the project on the Department of Interior’s contact page or by direct email.

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
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. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

The Administration

An article in the New York Times: The Promise and Pressures of Deb Haaland, the First Native American Cabinet Secretary

From the White House: A Proclamation on Great Outdoors Month, 2021

30×30

The Washington Post reported on the America the Beautiful report: A narrow path for Biden’s ambitious land conservation plan

An article in Vox: The right-wing effort to derail Biden’s conservation plan, explained

An op-ed in The Hill by CalUWild friend Erik Molvar: How best to conserve public and private lands under the 30×30 initiative

An article in Yale Environment 360: How Returning Lands to Native Tribes Is Helping Protect Nature

In Utah

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by CalUWild Advisory Board Member Stephen Trimble: President Biden, take the next step at Grand Staircase-Escalante

In California

Several articles about Pt. Reyes National Seashore

A long but interesting article in the Pacific Sun about Indigenous culture at Pt. Reyes National Seashore and how the Park Service and others have ignored it while promoting ranching: Tamál Húye: Coast Miwoks Fight for Recognition of Point Reyes’ Indigenous History

High Country News published an article about the Pt. Reyes controversy examining the Tule Elk controversy: The battle over Point Reyes’ tule elk

An op-ed in Outside: Yvon Chouinard Says We Need to Protect Point Reyes

An op-ed in RealClear Policy by Violet Sage-Walker: President Biden Should Designate Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. The author is vice chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council.

In Idaho

An article from the Associated Press: Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy runs for Idaho governor

In Oregon

An article in The Guardian: Amid mega-drought, rightwing militia stokes water rebellion in US west

In General

An article in the Washington Post: Higher prices and hard-to-find reservations: What to know about outdoor adventures this summer

An article in The Conversation: Overcrowded US national parks need a reservation system

 
 
 

Support CalUWild!

Membership is free, but your support is both needed and 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, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor. If your address is not on the check please print out and enclose a membership form.

Either way, mail it to:

CalUWild
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.

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2021 April – May

May 8th, 2021


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,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
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

IN CALIFORNIA
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)

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

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
8.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rocks Bill
Reintroduction
          (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:

202-224-3553

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 AmazingEarthfest.org.

 
          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.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
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:

202-224-3553

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 californianature.ca.gov.

 
7.   JOB OPPORTUNITIES
          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

 
IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
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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Point Reyes Planning 8/19

April 27th, 2021

Point Reyes National Seashore Needs Your Help

The Park Service has released a Management Plan that prioritizes cattle ranching above all other uses—including wildlife and landscape—over a wide area of the Seashore.

Thanks to everyone who submitted comments. For more information, visit Save Point Reyes National Seashore.

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