2017 April

May 2nd, 2017

Red Rock Alcove, Utah                                                                                                                  (Mike Painter)

April 27, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

A very short introduction this month: We’ve always had one simple membership requirement here—Each person agrees to write one letter (or make one phone call) a month to someone about something. This month, if we had a way to enforce it, we’d make all the actions in Item 1 mandatory. I hope you’ll see why.

Thanks for your continuing support,

1.   The White House Orders a Review
           Of All National Monument Designations Since 1996
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
          Reintroduced in the House & Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

3.   Sen. Feinstein Reintroduces Desert Protection Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Mountain and Rivers Proposal
          For Northwestern California Gathers Steam—
          Great Old Broads to Hold 2 California “Broadwalks”
          July 6-10 & July 13-17
          And 1 in Washington, DC
          October 16-20

5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   The White House Orders a Review
          Of All National Monument Designations Since 1996
          (ACTION ITEM)

The fight for the protection of our federal public lands with the new administration has now begun in earnest.

Yesterday the White House issued an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all the national monument designations of more than 100,000 acres—or any others, at the Secretary’s discretion—made in the last 20 years. This timeline begins with the Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996 and ends with the Bears Ears designation last December. Both are in Utah, and that state’s politicians vociferously and continuously complained. They finally found willing ears in the White House and, it seems, in the Department of the Interior, where they all gathered for the signing ceremony. So, although the executive order covers all monuments, we’re putting this item first, in the Utah section of the Update.

Although Secty. Zinke stated after the signing that nothing is a foregone conclusion—that it this only a review—his later comments belied that claim when he expressed his hostility to the use of the Antiquities Act.

A press release from the Interior Department stated:

The designations of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 and the Bears Ears National Monument in 2016 are considered the book-ends of modern Antiquities Act overreach. Each monument is more than 1.3 million acres.

“Historically, the Act calls for the President to designate the ‘smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected,'” Zinke continued. “Despite this clear directive ‘smallest area’ has become the exception and not the rule. Under the President’s leadership, I will work with local, state and Tribal governments to review monument designations made the past 20 years and make sure they work for the local communities.

“The view from the Potomac is a lot different than the view from the Yellowstone or the Colorado. Too many times, you have people in D.C. who have never been to an area, never grazed the land, fished the river, driven the trails, or looked locals in the eye, who are making the decisions and they have zero accountability to the impacted communities. I’m interested in listening to those folks. That’s what my team and I will be doing in the next few months.”

It is true that of the monuments designated recently have been large, but they served the important purpose of protecting unique examples of the American landscape. Any such monument has to be large-scale by definition. It was an important part of then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s effort to refocus the Bureau of Land Management away from being strictly an extractive resource agency. Congress made the BLM National Landscape Conservation System permanent by law in 2009.

Mr. Zinke’s comments are also a gross mischaracterization of the process that the Obama Administration undertook in designating the latest national monuments. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell held numerous meetings in towns all over the West whenever a monument was proposed, and they were always well-attended. Though there were some objections raised at times, they were often based on mis- or dis-information, with the Bears Ear being the prime example. For the most part, there was widespread support for the new national monuments, both locally and nationally.

Mr. Zinke is to report back within 120 days as to whether any should be shrunk or otherwise modified, and he promised a review of the Bears Ears within 45 days. He is also make recommendations as to legislative changes to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the law authorizing the president to designate monuments.

Please call the Interior Department immediately to voice your objections. The direct number is:

202-208-7351. If you get a recording, press 0 to leave a comment or message.

Or use the contact page on the department website.

Since we are seeing government-by-tweet, you can also contact Secty. Zinke via Twitter: @SecretaryRyanZinke In fact he told one of our friends that’s how he prefers to hear from people …

Please contact the White House on its comment line:

202-456-1111 (though it seems to be busy all the time)

Please contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators. Information can be found on their websites at and (You can combine your call with a message about America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act—see Item 2.)

Finally, write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Please point out in any and all communications that the Bears Ears monument boundaries very closely matched those in Rep. Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (though he proposed a National Conservation Area instead of a monument). Pres. Obama waited until the last minute with his designation precisely because he wanted to see whether Congress would act on the PLI proposal. But since it didn’t, judging that the area was worthy of protection—as everyone seemed to agree it was—he used the only tool at his disposal, the Antiquities Act, to protect it.

Here is a list of the monuments affected by the executive order, by state or geographical area:

Grand Canyon-Parashant
Ironwood Forest
Sonoran Desert
Vermilion Cliffs

Berryessa Snow Mountain
California Coastal
Carrizo Plain
Giant Sequoia
Mojave Trails
San Gabriel Mountains
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains
Sand to Snow

Canyons of the Ancients

Katahdin Woods and Waters

Upper Missouri River Breaks

Basin and Range
Gold Butte

New Mexico
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
Rio Grande del Norte

Cascade–Siskiyou (partly in California, too)

Bears Ears
Grand Staircase-Escalante

Washington State
Hanford Reach

Atlantic Ocean Marine
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts

Pacific Ocean Marine
Marianas Trench
Pacific Remote Islands
Rose Atoll
World War II Valor in the Pacific

Reaction in the press and elsewhere was widespread, most pointedly from the Inter-Tribal Coalition, in a letter to Secty. Zinke. Here is an excerpt:

Our letters to your office from each of our Tribal nations, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and the Bears Ears Commission requesting meetings with you have gone unanswered. It seems illogical that letters sent nearly 100 days ago have not been answered, yet there will be review of Bears Ears within the next 45 days. The fact that you have not met with us is evident in your statement yesterday to the press. You said: “The administration has heard from Congress… The designation of monuments may have cost jobs, wages, and public access… It is the opinion of the West that it is abused.” Please do not forget – our Tribes are the original inhabitants of the West long before the United States was a nation, and we do not view Bears Ears National Monument as an abuse. To the contrary, it is a fulfillment of both our duty to preserve our cultures and our ancestral lands, and its designation was the result of a long, deliberative process with your predecessor to further our self-determination.

Other samples:

High Country News fact-checked the comments made by various people at the signing yesterday. Not surprisingly, misstatements were made.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an article setting the Obama Administration’s thinking out very clearly: Jewell defends Bears Ears monument process. Ms. Jewell was the CEO of REI before her appointment to Interior, and REI had this to say about the executive order.

The New York Times had an article: What Is the Antiquities Act and Why Does President Trump Want to Change It?, as well as the Washington Post: Trump orders review of national monuments, vows to ‘end these abuses and return control to the people’.

And a previous column in Time by CalUWild friend Heidi McIntosh: Gutting America’s National Treasures Is Unlawful and Unwise

Please speak out as loudly and as frequently as you can. And talk to your families, friends, and neighbors, encouraging them to do the same. Our shared American heritage is at stake in a profound way right now.

2.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
          Reintroduced in the House & Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we anticipated last month, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the House of Representatives on April 6.

The bill number is H.R. 2044.

In addition to Rep. Lowenthal, six Northern California representatives were among the 30 original cosponsors:

Jared Huffman (D-2)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Ro Khanna (D17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)

We just learned yesterday that Rep. Doris Okada Matsui (D-6) will join her colleagues in cosponsoring the bill.

Please call their offices to say Thank You.

We would like to see the following House Members from California sign on, as well. Those with an asterisk (*) next to their names have cosponsored in the past.

John Garamendi (D-3) *
Mike Thompson (D-5) *
Ami Bera (D-7)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-11) *
Barbara Lee (D-13) *
Eric Swalwell (D-15) *
Jim Costa (D-16)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19) *
Jimmy Panetta (D-20)
Salud Carbajal (D-24)
Julia Brownley (D-26) *
Judy Chu (D-27) *
Adam Schiff (D-28) *
Tony Cárdenas (D-29) *
Brad Sherman (D-30) *
Pete Aguilar (D-31)
Grace Napolitano (D-32) *
Ted Lieu (D-33) *
Norma Torres (D-35)
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Karen Bass (D-37)
Linda Sánchez (D-38) *
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40) *
Mark Takano (D-41) *
Maxine Waters (D-43) *
Nanette Barragán (D-44)
J. Luis Correa (D-46)
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Scott Peters (D-52)
Susan Davis (D-53) *

Contact information can be found on their websites at

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D), reintroduced the Red Rocks bill in the Senate yesterday, with 17 cosponsors. He gave a floor speech to mark the reintroduction and also criticized the White House move to review the national monuments discussed in Item 1. His office put out a press release, with links to the video and text of his speech.

Please contact Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and urge her to sign on as a cosponsor.

Phone:   202-224-3553 or via her website

3.   Sen. Feinstein Reintroduces Desert Protection Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

At the start of this Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) reintroduced her bill to protect areas in the Mojave Desert. The Desert Protection and Recreation Act of 2017 (S. 32) is the same bill she had introduced in the last Congress, except that the provisions regarding the Castle Mountains, Mojave Trails, and Sand to Snow National Monuments were removed, since Pres. Obama designated them last year.

Our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition provided this summary of the legislation. It would:

—   Protect 230,000 acres (359 square-miles) of federal land as wilderness in southeastern California, ranging from the Avawatz Mountains near Death Valley to Milpitas Wash in Imperial County;

—   Enlarge Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park by 43,000 acres (67 square-miles);

—   Protect important waterways such as the Amargosa River from future dam construction and development;

—   Establish the 75,575-acre (118 square-mile) Vinagre Wash Special Management Area in Imperial County where many ecologically sensitive areas and Native American heritage sites would be protected;

—   Designate the Alabama Hills area in Inyo County (the location for dozens of movies and television shows) as a National Scenic Area so that its priceless vistas are protected;

—   Permanently prohibit the staking of new mining claims on approximately 10,000 acres of land sacred to the Quechan Tribe in Imperial County;

—   Mandate the study and protection of Native American cultural trails along the Colorado River;

—   Help make it more difficult for developers to exploit groundwater in or near the Mojave National Preserve; and

—   Require the Department of the Interior to study the future impacts of climate change on the California desert, to mitigate these impacts and to identify and protect important wildlife migration corridors in the region.

The bill also protects five existing off-road vehicle recreation areas from mining, military base expansion, or other uses that would close them, requiring the BLM to write management plans for those areas. Though we are no fans of off-road motorized recreation, we feel the protective provisions listed above more than balance these out.

Please call Sen. Feinstein’s office and express support for her efforts.

DC office:   202-224-3841
Online here

4.   Mountain and Rivers Proposal
          For Northwestern California Gathers Steam—
          Great Old Broads to Hold 2 California “Broadwalks”
          July 6-10 & July 13-17
          And 1 in Washington, DC
          October 16-20

A campaign, spearheaded by the California Wilderness Coalition, is growing to restore and further protect public lands and waterways in the northwestern corner of the state, District 2, represented in Congress by Jared Huffman (D).

We’ll cover the proposal in more detail as time goes on, but here are links to pages with information on the three components of the proposal as it stands now:

Wild & Scenic Rivers

Great Old Broads for Wilderness will be hosting two weekend campouts—they call them Broadwalks—in July in the area of some of the proposal. Broadwalks are a fun way to get actively involved in protection campaigns, go hiking, and meet other people who share your interest. So if you love the redwoods or want to learn more about them and/or the proposal, join in the fun.

Click on the following links for more information:

Session I. July 6-10

Session II. July 13-17

Once you’ve gone to the redwoods you might consider joining the Broads for a few days, putting your knowledge to work in Washington, DC, supporting legislation growing out of the Mountains and Rivers Campaign and other campaigns in the West. Click here for more information.

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.

Public lands in general

An interview with the House Natural Resources Committee Ranking (Senior Minority/Democratic) Member, from Arizona: Congressman Raúl Grijalva’s Stand for Public Lands

An op-ed in the NY Times: The Endangered Antiquities Act

An op-ed in Outside: 5 Lies Being Used to Get Mountain Bikes in Wilderness

The Bundy saga

A Los Angeles Times op-ed by writer Rick Bass: The Bundy family and followers are on trial again. Win or lose in court, theirs is a lost cause

A report on the first verdicts in the Nevada trials: Bunkerville standoff case ruled a mistrial


An article in the Arizona Republic: Grand Canyon gondola proposal stalls in Navajo council: ‘They don’t have the votes’

A Salt Lake Tribune article: Utah’s Terry Tempest Williams to teach at Harvard. Terry is on CalUWild’s Advisory Board.

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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

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2016 April

May 5th, 2016

U.S. Postal Service National Park Forever Stamps, 2016

April 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

The first thing you probably noticed about this month’s Update is that the illustration is a bit different than usual. On June 2, the U.S. Postal Service will be issuing this panel of 16 stamps commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. (And you may have noticed a rare occurrence last month when the price of a first class stamp actually decreased-to $0.47.) So stock up!

In response to a recent inquiry: The armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and the 2014 standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada didn’t involve wilderness per se. At their foundations, however, is the federal management of public lands, upon which wilderness designation rests. It is important for wilderness supporters to have an understanding of those issues, which is why I’ve been including articles on different topics, all related in varying degrees. I can assure you that our coverage of wilderness issues has not been reduced because of these events. There simply hasn’t been a lot of Congressional or planning activity lately. However, we are still hoping that more California representatives will sign onto America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. (See Item 1.)

Everyone’s focus seems to be on the presidential campaign, in which there is very little discussion about the environment, let alone public lands. It’s important, though, for citizens to keep their representatives and others conscious of these important issues regardless. So, please, write or call Washington, DC and send letters to the editors of your papers whenever you think something needs attention.

Speaking of elections, the California Primary is June 7. There are no environmental propositions on the ballot, though there may be local issues, depending on where you live. The deadline to register vote is Midnight, May 23, which you can do online here.

Finally, I’ll be giving a slideshow on Wild Utah to the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society on Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m in the Recreation Room of the County Fair Building (formerly known as the Hall of Flowers) at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco). Please join us!

Best wishes,

1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Bears Ears Campaign Update

3.   Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
          Gives Major Conservation Speech
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Job Listing: Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
          DEADLINE: May 12

5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

There have been no recent cosponsorships from California for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, H.R. 2430, though there has been progress across the country. Totals now stand at 108 in the House and 20 in the Senate. Though 19 California representatives are cosponsors, in addition to Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47), the chief sponsor, we’d still like to see the following California House members sign on.

John Garamendi (D-3) *
Mike Thompson (D-5) *
Ami Bera (D-7)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Brad Sherman (D-30) *
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Linda Sánchez (D-38) *
Maxine Waters (D-43) *
Janice Hahn (D-44)
Mimi Walters (D-45)
Loretta Sanchez (D-46) *
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Susan Davis (D-53) *

* cosponsor in a previous Congress

If your representative is on the list, please ask them to become a cosponsor. And if you have friends or family living in one of those districts, please encourage them to contact the representative. That’s how we spread our message. A simple phone call will do, or send a note via an online comment form on the representative’s website. Complete contact information may be found by following the links here.

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

2.   Bears Ears Campaign Update

The campaign by the Bears Ears Coalition to have the area in southeastern Utah designated a national monument continues to gather steam. In an important step forward, the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s largest newspaper, published an editorial calling on the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to do just that: Obama should create a Bears Ears National Monument.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell gave a speech (see Item 3) in which she mentioned Utah, though not the Bears Ears specifically, as a place needing protection, and she said she and her staff would be visiting the state this summer as part of a national listening and fact-finding tour. In that speech, Secty. Jewell also strongly defended the use of the Antiquities Act, saying:

I believe it’s one of the most important tools a President has to improve our country. … I do not think the Act should only be used in places where there is complete agreement, as some are suggesting. If that were the case, then Teddy Roosevelt would never have protected the Grand Canyon or Muir Woods. And Franklin Roosevelt would never have protected Zion or Joshua Tree. These were all controversial when they were established. … [T]oday, every one of those (now) national parks is an economic engine and huge source of pride for its respective state.

A good way to gauge the impact of a campaign or proposal is to see how the opposition reacts. The anti-conservation politicians in Utah seem to be pulling out the stops against the Bears Ears.

In one move, last week Sen. Mike Noel (R) and the state’s Constitutional Defense Council asked Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate-“ferret out”- the connections, particularly financial, between the Inter-Tribal Coalition and the conservation groups supporting the monument proposal. Mr. Noel claims that the groups, particularly the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, are manipulating the Indian tribes into supporting the monument proposal.

Reaction was negative from many quarters. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted Utah Dine Bikeyah Chairman Willie Grayeyes as saying: “If lawmakers want to know, all they have to do is pick up a phone. Our door is open, and our financials are all online. The state of Utah should consider calling us and asking us how we are funded before launching an investigation. We buy our office furniture at the secondhand store, we have dozens of volunteers and our board members are all unpaid.”

The Tribune also editorialized against Sen. Noel-Noel’s conspiracy theory is insulting-and published several letters to the editor, among them: More ‘conspiracies’ for Noel to ferret out and Constitutional? No, just political.

The Constitutional Defense Council was set up and given a budget of $14 million to promote a lawsuit to transfer of much of the federal land within Utah’s borders to state control and management. It is telling that the Council’s Republican majority has refused to share its lawyers’ legal analysis with its Democratic Party members, despite the fact that those lawyers are hired by the Council, not the GOP members.

Giving yet another insight into the opponents’ mindsets, at a hearing last month of Utah’s Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands, State Sen. David Hinkins (R), the co-chairman, repeatedly asked one of the witnesses from the Ute Mountain Tribal Council, a woman, why there were no male representatives for the tribe testifying. He’s also been quoted in news stories as saying he’s seen no support among the Navajo tribe in Utah for a monument designation, despite the fact that six out of seven chapter houses in the state have voted to support it.

These examples show why those of us who treasure the federal public lands in Utah , but live outside the state need to be actively involved in citizen and legislative efforts to protect them. It’s abundantly clear that the state’s own politicians at both the local and federal levels have no real interest in doing so.

Click here for a map showing the Bears Ears proposal in relation to America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and the Greater Canyonlands monument proposal.

3.   Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
          Gives Major Conservation Speech
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell gave a speech at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. In it, she laid out important ideas for the country to pursue for the next 100 years.

Her speech looked at three broad themes: Make Parks Relevant to All Americans; Think Big: Landscape-level Planning; and Invest in America’s Public Lands. Here are a few highlights.

In addition to her strong defense of the Antiquities Act (mentioned above in Item 2), Secty. Jewell pledged to continue the “Every Kid in a Park” program, giving fourth-graders and their families free admission to national parks and monuments for a year. She continued, saying: “We also need to ensure that when a diverse class of 4th graders does visit, that they see park rangers who look like them. Or talk to wildlife biologists who share their background. Or see signs in their first language. Or, that they can visit a place that honors their heritage or culture,” citing César Chávez, Harriet Tubman, and the Buffalo Soldiers as finally having their historic contributions recognized by the Park Service. She also said she wants to hear from communities what they see as goals for conservation in the years ahead.

Secty. Jewell said it was necessary to “think big. It’s simply not enough to protect a few isolated places. … We need to take a holistic look at an ecosystem_-_on land or in the ocean_-_to determine where it makes sense to develop, where it makes sense to protect the natural resources, and where we can accomplish both.”

Thirdly, she talked about investing for the future, pointing out that parks generated about $32 billion on a budget of about $3 billion, a 10 to 1 return. But infrastructure such as roads and bridges isn’t the only area needing investment. She also mentioned the need “to check the spread of invasive species, build resilient coastlines in the face of climate change, and restore wetlands and watersheds.” Secty. Jewell also highlighted that “Congress can also do right by permanently authorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million as originally intended.”

Secty. Jewell concluded with a defense of public lands and an appeal to all Americans to continue to work for their protection on whatever level needed and “to set a new path for conservation in the 21st century.”

You may find the full text of Sally Jewell’s speech here and watch it online here, followed by Q&A.

Please send Secretary Jewell a message of thanks.

Hon. Sally Jewell
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Comment line: 202-208-3100
By email

4. Job Listing: Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
          DEADLINE: May 12

Our friends at CSERC have a staff position open for advocacy and fieldwork. Full details here. (Sorry for the short notice; we only got the announcement last week ourselves.)

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.

A couple of developments in the Oregon & Nevada standoff cases and related issues

Bundy brothers, three others refuse to enter pleas in Bunkerville standoff

Ammon Bundy to challenge authority of feds to prosecute Oregon standoff defendants

The Guardian published an article: Utah ranchers vow to stand up to government despite Oregon arrests

Bundy Militia’s Takeover Dreams Dashed by Bond Between Ranchers and Feds

The Christian Science Monitor wrote about one aspect of the aftermath: Why Malheur Wildlife Refuge is seeing green after the siege

Good news for the Klamath River in Northern California: State, US agree to dismantle 4 dams on Klamath River

A Denver Post article illustrating how legislation sometimes gets introduced: Tipton proposal, largely written by oil and gas company, draws criticism

We wrote last month about April 16-24 being National Parks Week. Pres. Obama issued a proclamation for it, which you can read here.

Video Link

Episode 19 in the US Forest Service’s Restore series: Sage Grouse Habitat

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here. “Like” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.

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2014 April

May 5th, 2014

Petroglyphs, Utah                                                                                                                                             (Mike Painter)

April 30, 2014

Dear CalUWild friends-

There is good news below and a couple of action items, so we’ll keep the introduction short this month.

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act here in California, noted artist Tom Killion, a long time supporter of wilderness in the state, has designed an original poster especially for the Golden State. It looks beautiful, and we are proud to be offering it to our members. It measures 18″ x 24″ and the price will be $10 plus shipping ($6 est., depending on mailing tube cost, order size & weight). Proceeds will benefit CalUWild.

I need to know how many to order, so please let me know by May 20th if you’re interested. While some posters may still be available over the summer, I’d like to get our order in early.

And this just in: At yesterday’s meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Thanks for your continued interest in our Western public lands and wilderness!

Best wishes,

1.   Appeals Court Rules Against San Juan County
          And the Road in Salt Creek
          In Canyonlands National Park
2.   50 States for Greater Canyonlands Campaign
           (ACTION ITEM)

3.   Court Rules Against the Adventure Pass
          Fees in Four National Forests
4.   Pt. Reyes National Seashore to Begin Ranch Management Planning
          DEADLINE: June 2, 2014
           (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Gulf of the Farallones & Cordell Banks
          National Marine Sanctuaries Announce Plans to Expand
          DEADLINE: June 2, 2014
           (ACTION ITEM)

6.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Appeals Court Rules Against San Juan County
          And the Road in Salt Creek
          In Canyonlands National Park

The battle between San Juan County and the Park Service and conservationists over vehicle use in Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park has been going on for years. (We’ve reported on Salt Creek several times, as far back as September 2003 and more recently in May 2011.) San Juan County claims the creek bed as a “highway” under R.S. 2477, the Civil War-era statue that granted rights-of-way for the construction of highways on public lands. The county first sued the Park Service in May 2004. The case has had a complicated procedural history, but the county has lost on the facts every time.

In May 2011, the District Court in Utah ruled that San Juan County had not shown by “clear and convincing evidence” that there had been ten years’ continuous use of the route before the national park was established. The county claimed that use by cattle ranchers, uranium miners, and others since the 1800s satisfied the requirement, and also that the correct standard for evidence was the more lenient “preponderance of the evidence.” So it appealed the ruling.

Last Friday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against the county, saying that the trial judge was correct in finding that the county had failed to show continuous public use, and that it had not shown it even using the more lenient standard.

You may read the court’s opinion here. The Salt Lake Tribune today ran a strongly-worded editorial supporting the decision and castigating Utah officials at the state and county levels for their statewide campaign to claim roads. It called on them to “give up this entire absurd crusade altogether.”

We couldn’t agree more.

2.   50 States for Greater Canyonlands Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

Over the last couple of years we’ve reported on efforts to protect the lands around Canyonlands National Park (as well as inside). In addition to being the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, 2014 is Canyonlands National Park’s 50th Anniversary. If you look at a map of the park (click on “View Park Map” link here), you can see that the boundaries are straight lines and bear no relationship to the geography of the region. They were the result of compromises at the time the park was established.

Harold Ickes, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, had proposed creating an Escalante National Monument in the basin in the 1930s, but it never happened. The time has come to make that dream a reality, and CalUWild has been part of a large coalition of groups working to support it. In the February Update, we suggested calling the White House. This month we have more suggestions how you can help protect this remarkable landscape.

50 states for 50 years: Protect Greater Canyonlands
   Join the campaign!

Thousands of people from across the country have called upon President Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands as a national monument. This widespread national support is one of the great strengths of our campaign, and we would like to capitalize on that. To make this support visible to the Administration we created the “50 States for Greater Canyonlands” project through which we plan to highlight shows of support from across the country. Interested in joining this nation-wide network of supporters? Add your voice to the project!

Take a photo: We have already collected almost 900 photographs, but always welcome additional photos from any state. Print out a copy of the “Protect Greater Canyonlands” sign on yellow paper or on white paper (which uses lots of yellow ink!) and write in your name, town, and state. Take a photo and email it to rachel [at] suwa [dot] org. If you take a group photo, please also hold a sign or banner with the group name if possible.

For a flyer describing other possible activities that you can take to support the campaign, click here.

Thanks for taking part!

3.   Court Rules Against the Adventure Pass
          Fees in Four National Forests

A federal judge in California has once again ruled against the U.S. Forest Service’s practice of charging citizens to park and hike in national forest areas that are not developed in any way. This case involved the Adventure Pass in the four national forests in Southern California: Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino. The decision came down on Monday.

The following report comes from the Western Slope No Fee Coalition, and you may read the short (5 pages), clearly-written decision here.

In a ruling issued April 28, 2014, Senior U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. found that the United States Forest Service cannot charge fees to visitors who park their vehicles and head off down the trail without using any developed facilities, such as picnic tables and bathrooms, that may be adjacent to the parking area.

“This ruling is a victory for the American public, be they hikers, equestrians, hunters or fishermen. The nationwide fee law has clearly prohibited fees solely for parking since 2004, and the U.S. Forest Service should now cease charging these fees immediately, across southern California and beyond,” said Alasdair Coyne, Conservation Director of Keep Sespe Wild and one of the four plaintiffs in the case.

The Forest Service has been levying such fees, and ticketing parked cars, at trailheads and roadside pullouts since 1996 under a program called the Adventure Pass which encompasses all four National Forests in southern California: the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino. The Adventure Pass began as an experiment called Fee Demo, which allowed recreation fees to be charged without restriction for any activity. Many Fee Demo fees were extremely unpopular, particularly the requirement to buy a pass merely to park and go for a hike in the woods. In response to rising complaints, Congress repealed Fee Demo in 2004 and replaced it with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).

The FLREA allows fees for use of amenities and services at developed sites, but prohibits them solely for parking or for passing through National Forests without using any facilities. This case, Fragosa et al v. US Forest Service, hinged on whether the Forest Service can require an Adventure Pass anywhere amenities are present, even if a visitor does not use them and only parks there while traveling through undeveloped areas.

In his ruling, Judge Hatter said decisively that they cannot.

In an earlier case, Adams v. U.S. Forest Service, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2012 that the Forest Service was similarly in violation of the FLREA when it charged visitors to Mt Lemmon, near Tucson, a fee to park anywhere along a 28-mile roadway that provides access to numerous backcountry trails. The Adams ruling is binding in the nine western states that comprise the 9th Circuit, including California, but the Forest Service there continued to require an Adventure Pass for parking, and to ticket unoccupied cars at trailheads.

In the current case, four southern California hikers sued in October 2012 to require the Forest Service to follow the Adams ruling and to cease charging for parking throughout the Adventure Pass area. The Adventure Pass is the Forest Service’s largest fee program, selling more than 300,000 passes per year. After almost two decades it remains broadly unpopular, with more than 40,000 warnings and tickets for non-payment issued annually.

4.   Pt. Reyes National Seashore to Begin Ranch Management Planning
          DEADLINE: June 2, 2014
          (ACTION ITEM)

We’ve written over the last few years about the controversy surrounding the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in the Phillip Burton Wilderness in Pt. Reyes National Seashore, northwest of San Francisco. There’s no news to report on that right now, but in his decision not to renew the oyster farm’s lease, then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directed the seashore superintendent to prepare a management plan for other lands in the seashore that are leased or permitted for cattle grazing.

Dairy ranching has been a historic use of the Pt. Reyes Peninsula since the 19th century, and when the national seashore was established in 1962, ranchers were allowed to remain, although with restrictions on owners’ ability to sell. The ranches are not in the designated wilderness area but rather in the so-called “pastoral zone.” Thus there are not the same restrictions on commercial activities that exist under the Wilderness Act. (During the oyster farm controversy, many people did not understand this distinction.)

Last week, Park Service announced that it is beginning the planning process, and it wants you to weigh in with ideas, concerns, and suggestions. It published a Scoping Letter that you can download from its website by clicking on the link on this page. The letter contains the draft purpose, need, and objectives of the plan as well as questions it would like to have answered. From the Scoping Letter:

Scoping Questions

Below are some scoping questions you may consider as you are reviewing the draft purpose, need and objectives of the proposed project.

• What do you think the NPS should be considering as it develops this Ranch CMP?
• What are the most important issues regarding the lands under agricultural lease/permits that you believe need to be addressed in this plan?
• What are reasonably foreseeable future ranching activities that should be considered and reviewed as part of this plan?
• What are reasonably foreseeable actions related to the management of tule elk affecting park ranch operations that should be considered as part of this plan?
• What are potential park actions related to the management of cultural and natural resources on ranch lands that should be considered as part of this plan?
• What do you, as a member of the public, need from NPS to be meaningfully engaged in the planning process?

The Park Service is holding two scoping meetings:

          Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5-7 p.m.
          Dance Palace Community Center
          503 B Street
          Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

          Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 5-7 p.m.
          Bay Model Visitor Center
          2100 Bridgeway
          Sausalito, CA 94965

You may submit scoping comments in various ways:

at the meetings, or online here, or by mail or hand delivery to:

          Ranch CMP c/o Superintendent
          Point Reyes National Seashore
          1 Bear Valley Road
          Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

The Park Service says that comments will not be accepted by FAX, email, or in any other way than specified above.

The Park Service announced the following project timeline:

• April/May 2014: Public Scoping
• Summer/Fall2014: Alternatives development, including public workshops
• Spring/Summer 2015: Release Environmental Assessment for public review and comment
• Fall 2015: Planning process complete

For further information, please contact Outreach Coordinator Melanie Gunn at 415-464-5162.

5.   Gulf of the Farallones & Cordell Banks
          National Marine Sanctuaries Announce Plans to Expand
          DEADLINE: June 30, 2014
          (ACTION ITEM)

Two weeks ago, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which manages both the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries west and northwest of San Francisco, released a proposal to expand both sanctuaries significantly. The Farallones NMS would grow from 1,279 to 3,297 square miles and Cordell Bank NMS would expand from 528 to 1,286 square miles. NOAA is also proposing to revise its management plans for the two sanctuaries.

The Farallon Islands are a designated wilderness area.

We don’t have any talking points to share right now, but if you’d like to look at the documents, follow the links on this page, which also contains more details and information about the proposal.

There are three ways to provide public comment:

1. Attend a Public Hearing (see dates below)

2. Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal here. Click on the appropriate “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. If you have comments on more than one of the documents, you can record them by individual document (preferred) or as a combined comment on any of the four documents. All comments will be considered.

3. U.S. Mail to:

          Maria Brown
          Sanctuary Superintendent
          Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
          991 Marine Drive
          The Presidio
          San Francisco, CA 94129

Public Hearings

          Thursday, May 22, 2014, 6 p.m.
          U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model Visitor Center
          2100 Bridgeway
          Sausalito, CA 94965

          Monday, June 16, 2014, 6 p.m.
          Point Arena City Hall
          451 School St.
          Point Arena, CA 95468

          Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 6 p.m.
          Gualala Community Center
          47950 Center St.
          Gualala, CA 95445

          Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 6 p.m.
          Grange Hall
          1370 Bodega Ave.
          Bodega Bay, CA 94923

6.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

As always, if a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email.

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times opposing attempts by states to force the federal government to turn over public land

A Moab Sun News op-ed piece In Defense of Development with responses by two CalUWild friends: In Defense of Presevation and History Lesson

In the Denver Post

An op-ed, Protecting Public Lands

An article, Dust on Snow Presents Problems in Runoff discussing a problem, much of which is caused by overgrazing and ORV use further west

A Huffington Post profile of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Video links

The U.S. Forest Service has produced a series of short films on restoration, which we began to link to last month. This month we go back to Episode 1: Introducing Ecological Restoration in Pacific Southwest.

The National Park Service has also produced a series of short films, specifically commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Here’s one about Pt. Reyes.

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 information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here. “Like” CalUWild on Facebook.

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2011 April

October 26th, 2011

On Cedar Mesa, Utah                                                                                                                           Mike Painter

April 30, 2011

Dear CalUWild friends

There are a lot of items this month, so we’ll dispense with a lengthy introduction.

I do, however, want to point out an interesting report, Wrong from the Start, prepared by Solar Done Right, a coalition of environmental organizations, which looks at the current push to site industrial-sized facilities in the desert and other sensitive areas. It’s a downloadable PDF, which you can find here.

And now on to the items.

Thanks for all your interest and support!


1.   Red Rock Bill to be Reintroduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

2.   Sequoia Kings Canyon Wilderness Planning Scoping
          (ACTION ITEM)

3.   Grand Canyon Noise Management Planning
          Comment Deadline: June 20
          (ACTION ITEM)

4.   Wilderness Bill Introduced

5.   Stewardship Trips

6.   New BLM Wild Lands Policy
          Falls Victim to Budget Politics …
          And Utah Sues
7.   Wilderness Study Area Release Legislation Introduced
8.   Wilderness Volunteers Service Trips

9.   Gail Hoskisson Loper

10.   Center for American Progress
11.   Wilderness Land Trust (Internship)

12.   Utah Politicians


1.   Red Rock Bill to be Reintroduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) have announced that they’ll reintroduce America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act at the end of the first week of May. So it’s not too late to get your representative signed on as an original cosponsor. So far, 55 representatives have agreed to be cosponsors, almost 1/3 of the total for the last Congress.  Cosponsorship is important for several reasons. It sends a message to the political leadership that many representatives support the bill, helping fend off potential attempts to derail or compete with it. Cosponsorship also signals support to the BLM, both nationally and at the local level, hopefully discouraging projects that would be in conflict with its provisions.

Here are the current California cosponsors:

          Mike Thompson  (D-01)
          Lynn Woolsey  (D-06)
          George Miller  (D-07)
          Jerry McNerney  (D-11)
          Jackie Speier  (D-12)
          Pete Stark  (D-13)
          Mike Honda  (D-15)
          Sam Farr  (D-17)
          Lois Capps  (D-23)
          Howard Berman  (D-28)
          Laura Richardson  (D-37)
          Grace Napolitano  (D-38)
          Bob Filner  (D-51)

Reps. Thompson (D-01) and Speier (D-12) are new since the last Update.

If you live in their districts, please give them a phone call or send them an email of thanks. Or if you have relatives or friends in their districts, have them call. Contact information can be found at the members’ web pages on the House website.

Previous cosponsors are:

          Doris Matsui  (D-05)
          Barbara Lee  (D-09)
          John Garamendi  (D-10)
          Anna Eshoo  (D-14)
          Zoe Lofgren  (D-16)
          Brad Sherman  (D-27)
          Adam Schiff  (D-29)
          Henry Waxman  (D-30)
          Xavier Becerra  (D-31)
          Judy Chu  (D-32)
          Lucille Roybal-Allard  (D-34)
          Maxine Waters  (D-35), though not in the last Congress
          Jane Harman  (D-36)
          Laura Richardson  (D-37)
          Linda Sanchez  (D-39)
          Loretta Sanchez  (D-47)
          Susan Davis  (D-53)

Karen Bass (D-33), a new member, replaced Diane Watson, who was a previous cosponsor that retired last year.

Jim Costa (D-20) is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, but has never been a cosponsor. He, Dennis Cardoza (D-18), and Joe Baca (D-43) have said that they prefer to focus on local issues.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the cosponsor campaign.

The Salt Lake Tribune published a letter to the editor from me today, regarding their characterization of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. You can read it here.

2.   Sequoia Kings Canyon Wilderness Planning Scoping
          DEADLINE: July 25
          (ACTION ITEM)

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks comprise a good portion of the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada, and a large percentage of both parks (which are managed as one unit) is designated wilderness. The Park Service has announced its intent to prepare a management plan for the wilderness portions of the park.

The initial step is called “Scoping,” in which the Park Service collects information from the public concerning the issues to be addressed and analyzed in the plan. The public may also make suggestions for the “preferred alternative,” which the Park Service will likely make a part of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Some of the issues that the Park should address are: packstock use (both commercial and private) and its impacts on trails, meadows, and streams; wilderness permitting system and party size; day use; overall use levels; campsites, campfires and firewood; proper food storage; fish stocking in lakes; threatened and endangered species and other wildlife; backcountry ranger stations; trail maintenance.

If you have personal experiences related to any of these (or other) issues, it is helpful to the Park Service to know about them. It is also helpful to include as many facts as possible in support of your comments. The agencies often dismiss “mere opinion” in the planning process (though we think opinions are valid and should be considered).

You may submit comment online by following the links here.

Other documents and updates will be posted there as the process advances.

Comments may also be submitted by mail to:

          Superintendent Karen F. Taylor-Goodrich
          Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
          Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan
          47050 Generals Highway
          Three Rivers, CA 93271

All written comments must be transmitted, postmarked, or hand-delivered no later than July 25, 2011.

3.   Grand Canyon Noise Management Planning
          Comment Deadline: June 20
          (ACTION ITEM)

Grand Canyon National Park is preparing a noise management plan, and it’s now open for comment. Our friends at the Arizona Wilderness Coalition prepared the following alert.

Grand Canyon: Noisy or Naturally Quiet?

Grand Canyon is one of our premier national parks and naturally one of the quietest places on earth. For years, controversy has brewed on the number, location, and noise of tourist flights over the canyon.

Now is the time to make your voice heard on the issue of natural quiet in America’s premier park.

In early February, the National Park Service released the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on how to manage air tours at Grand Canyon. Their preferred alternative has drawn the ire of the tour operators as well as some conservationists. The fact is, there’s something for everyone in the plan, and nobody is fully satisfied.

First, the good news: A centerpiece of the park’s draft plan does the right thing by increasing the time after sunrise and before sunset when no flights are allowed. This means that as you sip your morning coffee or set up your tent, you’ll have some peace and quiet. The park deserves kudos on this point. Secondly, the plan raises the flight “ceiling,” meaning that over the rim or the canyon itself, tour operators can’t give you a buzz cut as they swoop over your camp. Also, the park’s draft plan reduces flights in Marble Canyon and also provides more seasonal restrictions on routes in other places. What this means is that overall, more of the park will be quieter for more of the time.

All is not perfect with the park’s plan, and your voice can help move the agency in the right direction. A major sticking point is the number of flights allowed. As of now, the park plans to actually increase the allowable number of flights by more than 10% above current levels, equaling about 8000 more flights every year. Many of these flights will be directed away from the hotel zone, impacting wilderness character in “sacrifice areas” that don’t deserve to be sacrificed. Additionally, exemptions may exist for certain helicopter and fixed wing tours in areas proposed for seasonal closure. Overall, the park’s goal is to keep half its area quiet for 75% of the day. Follow us here – that would allow tour aircraft to be audible for 25 percent of the day in half of the park, and any amount of noise in the other half of the park. While this may be a nominal improvement over current conditions, is it what we want to expect during a wilderness excursion into our premier park?

What happens at Grand Canyon is up to the American people, not the Park Service or the FAA. Please write asking to have the park’s natural quiet protected. Let your voice be heard! Alternative E – for those who love quiet places – is the best alternative. Click here to read, learn, and comment.

Comments can also be mailed to:

          Planning and Compliance
          PO Box 129
          Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Comments will be accepted through June 20, 2011.

4.   Wilderness Bill Introduced

This week Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) announced plans to introduce the Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act in the House. The bill would designate about 167,000 acres of national forest lands in the central part of the state and grew out of an ongoing stakeholder education process. Rep. Polis has a page on his website with maps and more information.

You can comment on the proposal there, as well. (The “STATE” field is limited to CO, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from saying “thanks,” though.)

5.   Stewardship Trips

Friends of Nevada Wilderness always has a full schedule of service trips in the Silver State:

Tuesday, May 3 – Wednesday, May 4  Training: UNR Cooperative Extension Invasive Weed Class

Stewardship – Two half-day sessions to train volunteers on the “Dirty Dozen” noxious weeds that are problematic in our area.

Thursday, May 5 – Saturday, May 7  Training: USFS Crosscut Saw Training

Stewardship – Volunteers will learn the art and skill of wielding a cross-cut saw. Participants will be certified to buck and clear downed trees.

Saturday, May 7  Spring cleaning in the Spring Mountains NRA

Stewardship – Help beautify the Spring Mountains by removing litter and trash.

Saturday, May 14   Nevada Archaeological Site Stewardship

Stewardship – Learn how to become an archaeological site steward. The class is limited to 15 students. RSVP to Sali Underwood, Site Stewardship Coordinator, via email  by May 9. Refer to the flier for more info.

This is not a Friends of Nevada Wilderness sponsored training, but we support the effort to protect Nevada’s prehistoric artifacts and sites.

Friday, May 20 – Sunday, May 22   Training: Trail Construction and Crew Leaders

Stewardship – Volunteers can choose from a number of training tracks during this weekend facilitated by the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Friday, May 27 – Monday, May 30   Black Rock Rendezvous – learn, work, eat!

Stewardship – Join Friends and other conservation partners for our annual excursion to the Black Rock. Explore the desert, hear talks by local experts, give back to the land on a stewardship project, then taste the winners of our annual Dutch oven cooking contest. Family-friendly event for Memorial Day weekend.

Summer of Sheldon   Several chances to help the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge

Stewardship – In the past, we’ve had fun with the Sheldon Rendezvous. This year, instead of one giant day of restoration, we’re giving you multiple opportunities to join us in giving back to the pronghorn, sage grouse and other wildlife on this most-majestic Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. Same fun, same great food, multiple opportunities!

Pick one or many dates to join us on the Sheldon:

June 3-5  (Friday to Sunday),

June 23-26  (Thursday to Sunday),

July 22-24  (Friday to Sunday),

August 26-28  (Friday to Sunday).

Contact Friends at (775) 324-7667 or by email for more information or to RSVP for a project. More projects will be announced as they are scheduled. See later emails and the stewardship events page.

6.   New BLM Wild Lands Policy
          Falls Victim to Budget Politics …
          And Utah Sues
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last December, to much fanfare, the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management announced that they would once again formally take wilderness character into account in the land use planning process. This decision was a long-overdue reversal of the settlement that former Interior Secretary Gale Norton entered in to with former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt back in 2003 to settle a lawsuit over wilderness inventories by BLM.

The new Wild Lands Policy was not everything we had hoped for, since it did not formally recognize BLM’s authority to establish new Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). But it was a step in the right direction by recognizing that wilderness character is important and needs to be protected in places until Congress makes a final decision about the lands’ status.

The new policy came under immediate attack by conservatives in Congress, who claimed that it usurped Congress’s role in designating wilderness under the Wilderness Act. This isn’t true, as the Wild Lands designation is not permanent, and it could be removed for various reasons. It is not as strong a category as the WSA, which was authorized by the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). The opposition (purposely?) failed to understand the policy before leaping to the attack. Hearings were held in Congress, with the balance of witnesses very heavily tilted against the policy.

So when the budget agreement was announced earlier this month, the Wild Lands Policy found itself in the waste basket. The White House apparently felt it wasn’t that important, so it agreed that no funding could be used for 2011 to implement the policy. Of course, the policy doesn’t really cost anything to implement beyond what would be normal planning processes anyway, but nevertheless, it effectively kills the policy for now. (The White House also agreed to a provision removing wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act in several Western states. This is certain to provoke litigation.)

This was a very disappointing concession on the part of the White House. When the agreement came to a vote in the House, California representatives split along party lines, with Democrats opposing the budget resolution and Republicans in favor of it.

So now the battle turns to the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Once something is de-funded, it is more of a challenge to get that funding restored. But we have to try anyway. Please contact your Representative and Senators asking them to support the Wild Lands Policy and oppose any efforts to de-fund it in FY2012.

The New York Times ran an editorial this week opposing the agreement. You may read it here.

Even though the agreement was reached three weeks ago, it wouldn’t hurt to call the White House and let them know your thoughts on the administration’s caving in on the policy. The number for the comment line is:


Or you can leave a comment on the White House website.

To top it off, the State of Utah announced this week that it would sue the Department of Interior and BLM over the Wild Lands Policy. So we’re right back where we started.

See Item 7 for one further issue related to the Wild Lands Policy.

7.   Wilderness Study Area Release Legislation Introduced

The Republicans, the majority party in the House, keep trying to roll back the clock on many issues, and they are pushing on the wilderness front as well.

In the largest attack on the overall wilderness scheme in a very long time, on April 15 House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California (R-22), Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) introduced legislation that would release all the Wilderness Study Areas that BLM has recommended as not being suitable for wilderness designation. This would affect over 6.5 million acres of BLM land.

The bill would permanently abolish the Wild Lands Policy, discussed in Item 6.

But that’s not all. Roadless Areas in national forests  deemed “not suitable” for wilderness designation would also be released. Under early inventories (RARE II), that amounted to some 36 million acres. In addition, the Clinton-era Roadless Rule identified other areas that would become unprotected. Finally, the bill would terminate the Roadless Rule altogether and prohibit the Forest Service from issuing national regulations on how any of the released areas could be managed.

It is unlikely that the Senate would pass such a bill, or the White House sign one, but we will have to keep our vigilance up.

Rep. McCarthy’s hometown paper, the Bakersfield Californian, had an editorial opposing the legislation.

8.   Wilderness Volunteers Service Trips

A reminder that our friends at Wilderness Volunteers, a national service organization, still have spots available on most of their trips through the Fall. Their motto is “Giving Something Back,” and this is a perfect opportunity to do so.

For the list of projects, click here.

9.   Gail Hoskisson Loper

Long-time CalUWild friend and Advisory Board member Gail Hoskisson Loper passed away this month after a long illness. A native of Helper, Utah, Gail helped coordinate the volunteer inventory of potential RS 2477 claims in Utah in the 1990s. She went on to work at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, becoming their Washington, DC Director before retiring and moving back West. She was also the Co-Chair of the Utah Wilderness Coalition for many years.

Gail loved Redrock Country and protecting it was her life’s work. She brought enthusiasm and a fun spirit to everything she did, whether it was pounding the marble halls of Congress or rafting whitewater rivers. Gail was an inspiration and a friend to everyone who worked with her, and she will be missed by all of us.

10.   Center for American Progress

Manager of Research and Outreach, Public Lands Project

The American Progress Public Lands Project is a new effort to build support for policies that protect wide-open spaces found on America’s public lands. The team is seeking a Manager of Research and Outreach who will assist with communications and congressional education. Through a robust media campaign, the goal is to respond rapidly to mistruths spread about key policies. The project strives to use the clearest facts and the best arguments by conducting unique research that tells the economic story of public lands. The Manager of Research and Outreach will report to the Director of the Public Lands Project and the Senior Fellow and will also collaborate directly with CAP’s communications team.

Read the full description

11.   Wilderness Land Trust (Internship)

The Wilderness Land Trust Is Looking For A Summer Intern

Do you have a passion for wilderness protection, look forward to a career in wilderness conservation and want to spend the summer living in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado learning how to secure wilderness?  If so, we’re interested in talking to you.

Summer Internship

The Wilderness Land Trust seeks a summer intern based in its Carbondale, Colorado office for a minimum of 10 weeks this summer.  The position is an unpaid internship, but housing will be provided and work related travel reimbursed.

Internship Description

The summer intern will assist in the completion of multiple real estate transactions undertaken by the Trust during the term of the internship and become familiar with the intricacies of these acquisitions, shadowing projects in multiple states as they progress and completing specific tasks to further the completion of these undertakings.  The intern will also be given significant opportunity to learn the workings of the Trust, its conservation programs, development undertakings and coordination with partners and cooperators.

The Summer Intern will be responsible for researching and establishing a geo cashing/orienteering program based on Trust owned properties in several western States designed to increase the visibility of the Trust and public awareness of its mission and work.

Minimum Qualifications

To have successfully completed a course of study in the environmental field from an accredited four year institution, or to have achieved at least Senior status as of the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year.

We seek an exceptional individual with strong organizational skills and the ability to quickly learn and understand a layered, complex and established method of land acquisition, as well as willingness to undertake the creation of a public outreach project.

How to apply

Please submit a resume, writing sample and a letter of recommendation electronically to the Trust at the address below by May 30, 2011.

For more on the Trust’s work visit our website


12.   Utah Politicians

The chair of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club takes a look at politics in that state.

          Utahns, legislators don’t agree on conservation

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2010 April

September 8th, 2010

April 27, 2010

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters –

The Western Wilderness Conference at UC Berkeley 2 weeks ago was a great success. Over 500 people attended over the course of the 4 days, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The Conference received a last minute offer to videotape the proceedings, so we’re hoping to make the keynote speeches and panel presentations available online. We’ll keep you posted as that happens.

It was great to meet so many CalUWild members, too. Thanks to everyone who attended and who worked so hard to make the Conference a success!

On the financial front, funding for CalUWild this year is reflecting the generally dismal state of the economy. We don’t spend a lot of time or money mailing out numerous funding appeals during the year, but we’ll again include a brief reminder this month. If you haven’t sent in your 2010 dues, please consider doing so. Dues have always been voluntary, and we keep expenses to a minimum by using email as much as possible. Contributions of any size are welcome and will be put to good use.

Because dues may be used for lobbying expenses, contributions made payable to CalUWild are not tax-deductible. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, your check should be made out to Resource Renewal Institute, our fiscal sponsor. Either way, though, mail your contribution to:

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

Thanks to everyone who has supported CalUWild so generously over the years.

Best wishes,

1. Wilderness Bill Introduced for National Forest Lands
Along the Wasatch Front

2.   Settlement Reached Protecting Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art

3.   Signatures Filed to Place Parks Funding Initiative
On November Ballot

4.   Wilderness Encampment in San Diego County
May 22-23

5.   Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Planning
DEADLINE: June 7, 2010

6.   America’s Great Outdoors Initiative


1. Wilderness Bill Introduced for National Forest Lands
Along the Wasatch Front

On April 13, Utah Rep. Jim Matheson (D) introduced the Wasatch Wilderness and Watershed Protection Act of 2010, H.R. 5009, to add areas in the Wasatch Mountains above Salt Lake City to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The bill was a compromise involving several ski areas that wanted to preserve heli-skiing, which is prohibited under the 1964 Wilderness Act. So some of the originally-proposed acreage is being set aside as special watershed management areas, rather than being designated as wilderness. The management areas are contiguous to designated wilderness, and with the exception of heli-skiing, they are to be managed to preserve their wilderness character.

One of the proposed new designations is above Mill Creek Canyon and would be named the Wayne Owens Grandeur Peak-Mount Aire Wilderness. Rep. Owens was the original Utah author of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

There is no companion bill in the Senate.

2.   Settlement Reached Protecting Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art

We’ve written before about Nine Mile Canyon in Utah, sometimes called the world’s longest art gallery. Located in the Bookcliffs of Utah and stretching for nearly 40 miles, Nine Mile Canyon is home to numerous rock art panels and archaeological sites. The canyon itself and the plateau in which it lies have also been leased for energy development. As a result, truck traffic through the canyon has increased dramatically in the last few years, and there is evidence that the dust kicked up by vehicles is beginning to damage many of the panels along the road. In addition, chemicals spread on the dirt roads, acting as dust suppressants, may actually eat away at the rock even more corrosively.

During the previous administrations, BLM took advantage of “categorical exclusions,” which exempted the agency from rigorous environmental reviews of areas being leased for energy development. Several conservation groups-the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, and the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition sued BLM over its use of these exclusions, arguing that it was improper to use them when “extraordinary circumstances” are present.

Such circumstances include potential damage to historic and cultural resources, the environment, or to other important resources. At the end of March, the BLM settled with the organizations and agreed to conduct environmental reviews whenever projects threaten these types of resources. In addition, BLM agreed to undertake a study of the effects on the rock art of dust and dust-suppressing chemicals in Nine Mile Canyon.

Reaction from Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett (R) was swift and negative. The New York Times quoted Sen. Bennett as saying: “I find it outrageous and cynical that on the same day that the president is attempting to persuade Americans that he is supportive of new oil and gas development, a secret deal is announced … that will result in gutting one of the key energy streamlining provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005-ironically a bipartisan legislative achievement that both he and Secretary Salazar supported when in the Senate.”

It’s unlikely, however, that BLM will completely end the use of exclusions; rather it will simply look more carefully before employing them.

In other BLM-related oil & gas news, the trial of Tim deChristopher, the University of Utah student who bid on leases in December 2008 has been scheduled to begin June 21 in Salt Lake City. Although the leases were ruled illegal by a court and the Interior Department subsequently withdrew them, the U.S. Attorney is still pursuing the case. Mr. deChristopher has a website at with more details.

3.   Signatures Filed to Place Parks Funding Initiative
On November Ballot

Two weeks ago, a coalition of conservation organizations submitted 760,000 signatures to the California Secretary of State in support of an initiative that would add $18 to California annual vehicle registration fees. This would fund the state park system and allow vehicles with California plates free access to state parks. 433,931 valid signatures are required, so it seems likely to qualify.

The measure is expected to raise close to $500 million annually. 85% of the funds would go to the state parks, and the other 15% to the Department of Fish & Game, and other state conservation agencies. The park system’s current operating budget is about $380 million, so it looks like the system will have some extra funding to work with after the recent cutbacks.

4.   Wilderness Encampment in San Diego County
May 22-23

Our friends and colleagues at Wilderness4All in San Diego, the Sierra Club, and Great Old Broads for Wilderness, are hosting the following event. Here’s their announcement:

“Wilderness Encampment” to Bring Wilderness Advocates Together on May 22/23 in the Cleveland National Forest

Join dozens of enthusiastic wilderness and wild river advocates at this Wilderness Encampment convening on Saturday – Sunday, May 22-23, at Oak Grove Forest Service Campground and Community Hall, located midway between the communities of Aguanga and Sunshine Summit on SR79 in the Cleveland National Forest. Participants will enjoy rousing presentations, stimulating discussions, hikes, great food, and fellowship at this coming together of organizations and individuals who are working to establish federal wilderness and wild & scenic river protections for federal land in San Diego County.

From the vantage point of our car-camp location at Oak Grove, we will enjoy splendid views of the Palomar range including Agua Tibia Proposed Wilderness to the south, and Beauty Mountain Proposed Wilderness to the north. These pristine areas in San Diego County comprise Congressperson Darrell Issa’s “Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Wilderness Act of 2009” (H.R. 4304), which would add 13,635 acres to the Beauty Mountain Wilderness, and 7,796 acres to the Agua Tibia Wilderness – which were established in Riverside County in 2009 by Congressperson Mary Bono Mack.

Sierra Club CA/NV RCC Wilderness ( and Forest Committees are joining with the venerable Durango, Colorado-based group Great Old Broads for Wilderness (, and Wilderness4All ( in San Diego County to stage this momentous event.

Here are some details…

Audience: Sierra Club members and guests who care about preserving wild places — from various places in California and Nevada, especially southern California

Guest speakers: Rick Halsey of The Chaparral Institute, Land management agency officials, and other guests

Format: Campout Friday night followed by sit-down wilderness meeting Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, group dinner (provided) in campground, with evening walk or program. Group breakfast Sunday (provided)

Hike: Sunday morning hike in the Beauty Mountain Proposed Wilderness Addition led by Geoffrey Smith, finished by 3:00 pm

Meeting agenda topics include: Current Wilderness legislation, wilderness management issues, agency reports, forest updates, off-road vehicle concerns, public lands fees concerns, outing reports and listings, and more.

Meals: Lunch provided during Saturday meeting. Saturday camp night dinner and Sunday breakfast provided; donations will be requested to cover meal costs.  Bring own utensils, cups, bowls, etc.

Costs: $10/person camping fee; $10/person fee for catered Saturday dinner (RSVP by May 12); $3 each donation for Saturday lunch and Sunday breakfast, both prepared by acclaimed gourmet camp cook Vicky Hoover.

Sound fun?  It will be!  For more details and to register, write to (preferred), or call 858.442.1425.  Hope to see you there!  – Geoffrey Smith

5.   Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Planning
DEADLINE: June 7, 2010

2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is updating its Comprehensive Conservation Plan and is seeking public input. Comments should be submitted by June 7, and may be sent by email, fax, U.S. Mail, or through the Refuge’s Comment Form on its planning website, also linked to below.

By Email:

Include “Arctic NWR CCP” in the Subject line.

By Fax:   907-456-0428, Attn: Sharon Seim, Planning Team Leader

By U.S. Mail:

Sharon Seim
Planning Team Leader
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
101 – 12th Avenue, Room 236
Fairbanks, AK  99701

Our friends at Wilderness Watch have sent out the information below giving background and suggested issues and talking points. Please follow the links in their alert for more detailed information.

The future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is being decided and we need your help to Keep it Wild! The Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning to revise the Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP). The Plan will make important decisions regarding the degree to which the Refuge will remain natural, wild and free. It will guide many aspects of Refuge management, especially “on the ground” activities and uses of the Refuge. This also presents an historic opportunity to recommend the Plan include a wilderness review for all non-Wilderness Refuge lands, including the coastal plain.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an irreplaceable national treasure, the crown jewel of America’s wilderness. It has no comparison in its vastness, remoteness, awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife. Protecting the Arctic from both incremental changes caused by visitors and development/industrial exploitation is a great challenge that must be addressed by the revised plan. A strong, effective plan is essential to keeping the Arctic wild.

We’ve posted information below on the Refuge, suggestions for ensuring a strong CCP, and other resources. Please be sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back for updates to this page, including alerts and more information.

Take Action Now:
Help keep the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge wild by sending in your comments today. Fish & Wildlife Service is looking for public input on important questions regarding the Refuge’s future, including whether additional areas should be designated as Wilderness. Comments are being accepted through June 7, 2010.

The Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch has brought together the collective knowledge of veteran Arctic Refuge activists and former agency stewards to identify provisions that will be essential for an effective plan. Included in these suggestions are:

• Wilderness and Ecological Values
• Indigenous Cultures and Subsistence Use
• Recreation
• Information and Interpretation
• Access
• Inholdings
• Climate Change
• Agency Actions

Please consider incorporating some of this information in your comments. You can read the Suggested Provisions online or download a Word document by clicking here.

1) Go to the Arctic Refuge planning website.
2) Download the Planning Booklet.
3) Use the comment form to provide your comments-send them electronically or print the form and send via mail.
4) Request to be placed on the mailing list.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Facts:

• Originally established by Executive Order in 1960 for “preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values,” Congress doubled its size in 1980 through enactment of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
• At 19.3 million acres, the Nation’s largest refuge. It extends 200 miles north to south.
• Has 8 million acres (40% of the Refuge) of Wilderness.
• Contains a full range of arctic and subarctic habitats.
• Inupiat Eskimos and the Athabascan Indians have lived here for thousands of years.
• More than 20 rivers run through it, with three designated Wild Rivers-the Sheenjek, Ivishak and Wind.
• Home to 45 species of land and marine mammals, 36 species of fish, and more than 194 species of birds from six continents. Wildlife includes:

– The 120,000 Porcupine Caribou herd migrates throughout the Refuge and uses the coastal plain to give birth and raise young.
– Muskoxen and thousands of Dall sheep.
-All three North American bears live here-black, grizzly and polar.

• No roads, trails or commercial developments-visitors must travel by foot, boat or plane.
• According to FWS, “The Arctic Refuge is a place where the mystery of nameless valleys remains alive, where visitors can experience solitude, self-reliance, exploration, adventure, and challenge.”

Resources and Links:

• Arctic NWR website
• FWS Map of the Arctic NWR
• FWS Arctic NWR brochure
• Celebrating a Wilderness Legacy, The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, essay by Roger Kaye
• To download a Word document letter to FWS by Johanna Eurich, urging an end to game spotting by plane, click here.
• Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper: Human predators outpace other agents of trait change in the wild

For More Information:
Fran Mauer, Wilderness Watch Alaska Chapter Representative
George Nickas, Wilderness Watch Executive Director: 406-542-2048

6.   America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

On April 16, President Obama kicked off the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. In a speech and signing ceremony, the President announced a program to help “Reconnect Americans, especially children, to America’s rivers and waterways, landscapes of national significance, ranches, farms and forests, great parks, and coasts and beaches, by exploring a variety of efforts.”

An 11 minute White House video of the President’s comments and signing may be watched here. The President’s memo may be read here.

This is just the beginning of a process that will include public listening sessions and more. Some of the topics we would like to see addressed include:

• Wilderness designation & proper wilderness management
• Establishment of a formal system of wildlife corridors
• Adequate funding levels for land management agencies
• Restoration of degraded areas
• Establishment of new parks and recreation areas at all levels
• Pitfalls of privatization of public resources

We’ll keep you posted a things develop. In the meantime, you can check out the Department of Interior’s website for the Initiative. They are already accepting comments and suggestions. Please speak up for the issues you care about.


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2009 April

April 22nd, 2009

April 22, 2009

Dear CalUWild members and friends –

Since the passage and signing of the Omnibus Lands Bill, it’s been pretty quiet here, so this month’s Update will be a short one.

One of the things that contributes to making grassroots activities successful is working in coalitions with organizations and people who pool their energies and talents together. Over the years, CalUWild has worked with diverse groups on a wide variety of topics. So we’re happy, from time to time, to spread the word about public lands issues that our partners are working on, even if they’re not specifically wilderness issues. Items 2 and 3 below fall into that category: legislation expanding the National Public Lands Service Corps; and habitat restoration for endangered species, involving the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Although for many of us every day is Earth Day, it’s especially appropriate to be thanking you today for your concern and efforts at protecting wilderness and public lands in the West; they are noticed and appreciated by many!


1. Red Rock Wilderness Act Still in Need of Cosponsors

2. Public Lands Service Corps Legislation
Cosponsors Needed

3. Sharp Park Habitat Restoration Proposal
Public Hearing April 30, 1pm
San Francisco City Hall


1. Red Rock Wilderness Act Still in Need of Cosponsors

On April 2, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the U.S. Congress. The Red Rock Bill has long been CalUWild’s major legislative focus, and the 111th Congress will be no different.

Traditionally, California’s congressional delegation has been strongly supportive of wilderness designation for deserving BLM lands in Utah. We’ve done well so far, with 19 representatives and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) signing on as cosponsors. But there is still some work to do.

The bill numbers are H.R.1925 in the House and S.799 in the Senate.

The following representatives were cosponsors in the last Congress but haven’t signed back on yet. Please give them a call if you live in their district. And/or encourage your family and friends to so, too!

Doris Matsui (D-05)
Lynn Woolsey (D-06)
Xavier Becerra (D-31)
Diane Watson (D-33)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34)
Maxine Waters (D-35)
Linda Sanchez (D-39)
Loretta Sanchez (D-47)

These three representatives haven’t signed on in the past, but are supportive of environmental issues and it would be good if they were on the bill as well.

Jackie Speier (D-12)
Laura Richardson (D-37)
Mary Bono Mack (R-45)

In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein (D) was a cosponsor once, but has never returned to the bill. You can reach her at her office in Washington: 202-224-3841

Finally, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance keeps an up-to-date list of cosponsors, so you can check here for a complete listing. If your representative is named, please call him or her and thank them!

Saying “thank you” is important when it comes to communicating with legislators (and other officials). In fact, a message of thanks can make even more of an impact, because fewer people think to do it. Please check the House and Senate websites for complete contact information.

2. Public Lands Service Corps Legislation
Cosponsors Needed

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), chairman of the Subcommittee on Parks & Public Lands, has introduced the National Public Lands Service Corps Act, H.R.1612, which has attracted a few cosponsors, including Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. More of our friends in Congress should be supporting it as well, so please contact your representative and ask him or her to sign on.

The following information about the bill, which you can use as talking points, comes from an alert sent out by our friends at the National Parks Conservation Association.

— The Public Lands Service Corps Act will expand service opportunities for national parks and other public lands through important expansions to the existing Public Lands Corps. The AmeriCorps expansion that Congress just approved begins to provide additional service opportunities within national parks, but it does not complete what is needed to fully authorize these service opportunities.

— The Public Lands Service Corps Act will improve service-learning opportunities in the national parks, help restore natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources in the parks, train a new generation of Park Service leaders, and promote the value of public service and civic engagement.

— The proposed expansion of the existing Public Lands Corps seeks to enhance the intergenerational opportunity to volunteer in national parks and train the next generation, by authorizing mentorship opportunities from more experienced volunteers, including veterans, military retirees and others who can train, mentor and lead service crews.

— The bill also provides for enhanced training of corps participants, to equip them for careers in the National Park Service or other public land agencies, and to diversify the ranks of the National Park Service.

— Participants will continue to be eligible for a stipend or a national service educational award upon completion of their term of service.

— The expansion of national service opportunities President Obama has requested creates an enormous chance to help repair the parks, and to capitalize on the untapped opportunities the national parks have to offer communities across the country.

— If our nation is investing in greater national service, the historic position and significance of national parks makes them uniquely suited to play a strong role.

3. Sharp Park Habitat Restoration Proposal
Public Hearing April 30, 1pm
San Francisco City Hall

Finally, Earth Day seems like a good time to remember that public lands issues, even federal ones, don’t just involve areas that are removed from our bigger cities and towns. Areas in our own backyards are important as well for many reasons, not least is that they are often the first introduction that kids get to the outdoors, which can lead to a lifelong fascination with nature. They are no less worthy of protection than our wilderness areas and national parks.

One such area is Sharp Park, a golf course located in Pacifica, but owned and operated by the city of San Francisco, located just to the north. The golf course is known habitat for the red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake, both federally-listed endangered species. The golf course and its impacts on these species have been the subject of controversy for several years now, and one of San Francisco’s supervisors has come up with a proposal to turn the golf course over to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area so that the National Park Service can restore it, as it is doing on land adjacent to the golf course (alone or jointly with San Francisco).

Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity and Nature in the City are among the leading supporters of the proposal, which has attracted attention from all quarters. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will be holding a hearing on the proposal next Thursday, April 30. We encourage people who support habitat restoration efforts to attend if they are able.

The hearing will be at:

San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
1 p.m.

More information on the issue can be found online.

San Francisco Chronicle
Center for Biological Diversity
Nature in the City and CBD

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2008 April

April 24th, 2008

April 24, 2008

Dear CalUWild members and friends –

Congress is beginning to recognize the unique character of much of the Western landscape and see the need for its preservation (see Item 3). But at the same time, the administration’s march of oil & gas leasing continues across the West, as if we can somehow drill our way out of our energy predicament (see Item 2). If we who love the West don’t make our thoughts and opinions known on these matters, then it’s unlikely that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy these natural wonders in the way that we do.

Thanks to a volunteer who responded to the appeal in last month’s Update, the contact list for California’s congressional reps and others has been brought up to date. It will be posted soon CalUWild’s website.

As always, thanks for your interest and involvement!

I’ll be out of the country for the latter part of May, so barring an emergency, the Update will be taking a break for the month.

Best wishes,


1. Washington County Bill Reintroduced by Sen. Bennett
2. Desolation-Gray & Nine Mile Canyons Threatened by Oil & Gas
Comments Needed

3. National Landscape Conservation System Legislation Passes House

4. Exploratory Trip Wovoka Proposed Wilderness
Memorial Day Weekend


1. Washington County Bill Reintroduced by Sen. Bennett

Earlier this month, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) introduced public lands legislation (S. 2834) in the U.S. Senate for Washington County, the southwestern corner of Utah, around St. George. It has already had a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. The bill is an improvement over the legislation Sen. Bennett introduced two years ago, which the conservation community was able to stop. However, there are still enough problems with the current version that for now we are not ready to support it.

According to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Sierra Club’s analysis of the bill, it would designate as Wilderness 140,000 of the 300,000 acres identified by the Utah Wilderness Coalition in the Citizens Wilderness Proposal. This amount is up from the previous bill. However, some areas are left out near Zion National Park. Also, the Beaver Dam Wash area is not included in the wilderness designation. Rather it is designated a national conservation area, but without the strong protection that wilderness designation brings with it. In addition, “nonconforming uses” are permitted in the wilderness areas designated, and other areas are released from consideration as wilderness, using language that might preclude future consideration as wilderness.

The legislation also gives Washington County 10% of the amount brought in from the sale of public lands. Generally, proceeds from land sales are used to acquire other lands that are of interest. Since this land belongs to all Americans, the public at large is shortchanged.

The bill also mandates the creation of the High Desert ORV Trail and a transportation corridor route that would likely degrade habitat of the Desert Tortoise (an endangered species).

The conservation community is looking forward to working with Sen. Bennett’s staff to improve the bill and get it to the point where we can perhaps support it.

So far, no House bill has been introduced, but we’ll follow the progress of the discussions and keep you informed.

2. Desolation-Gray & Nine Mile Canyons Threatened by Oil & Gas
Comments Needed

In February’s Update, we mentioned that the Price Office of the BLM was considering an oil & gas leasing plan that would pose serious threats to Nine Mile Canyon, one of the premier rock art sites in the world. It turns out that the same plan is also a threat to Desolation and Gray Canyons along the Green River, one of the most isolated roadless areas in the lower 48 states and a fantastic area for river rafting.

It’s now a short deadline. The link in the February Update for emailing comments also had an error, so I apologize on both counts. The correct link is:

Please submit comments on Nine Mile Canyon and the Green River corridor as well, using information from February’s Update and from the following alert, which came out from River Runners for Wilderness.


RRFW Riverwire
Desolation Canyon Threatened By Huge Gas Field, Comments Needed!
April 22, 2008

Your comments are need by May 1 on a massive, 3-decades-long, gas drilling project proposed for Desolation and Gray Canyons!

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has put together a giant project called the West Tavaputs Plateau Natural Gas Full Field Development Plan, encompassing approximately 137,930 acres of Federal, State, and private lands on both sides of the Green River in Desolation Canyon.

This plan would impact the first thirty four miles of Desolation Canyon, an area renowned for its remoteness, its unimpaired beauty and its wilderness characteristics. The developments proposed by the BLM in this plan will seriously damaging these irreplaceable resources.

Infrastructure for this mammoth project would be clearly visible from the river for thirty four miles, and would include a network of almost 200 miles of new roads and pipelines, year-round gas drilling and compression stations, new airfields, temporary worker housing, and other facilities. To see a viewshed impact map click here:

The Green River corridor through Desolation and Gray Canyons is home to mountain lion, black bear and four native fish on the federal Endangered Species list. One of these fish species, The Colorado River pike minnow (squawfish), has its only known breeding area near Three Fords rapid in Desolation Canyon. Other endangered fish have critical habitat along the river immediately below Flat Canyon and at other localities below Jack Canyon (a tributary.)

This vast long-term development plan includes drilling up to 807 new natural gas wells on 538 locations spanning both sides of the Green River in Desolation Canyon over a period of approximately eight years, with the potential to produce natural gas for up to 34 years.

At a minimum it would also include three 5-acre storage sites. Under the Agency proposal there are no restrictions on the number of drill rigs, or seasonal drilling restrictions. The proposal includes three 15-acre surface water disposal sites and the EIS is mute on liquid and solid waste disposal pits required for the operations.

This plan is going through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) review process, and the BLM is taking comments on the Draft EIS through May 1, 2008.

If you have rafted or paddled through the Desolation and Gray Canyons (known to river runners as Deso-Gray), it’s time to pay back to the resource that has nourished you, your family and paddling friends!

• Tell the BLM in your own words that you have traveled through this pristine wilderness area and:

• All the draft alternatives improperly infringe on the Desolation Canyon Wild and Scenic River Study Area.

• Every one of the draft alternatives improperly infringes on the Jack Canyon Wilderness Study Area.

• Before any alternative is selected, all wilderness resource and wildlife surveys and studies must be completed, and the adverse impacts to these critical resources by gas drilling must be considered.

• Each of the alternatives fails to take into account the adverse impact this gas field development will have to the roughly 6,000 do-it-yourself and commercial river runners who use the Green River corridor each year.

• Every alternative is deficient in explaining how toxic material, either through liquid spill, airborne contamination or solid waste, will be contained to avoid being spilled into the Green River from drill sites within one half mile from the river.

• The BLM must consider at least one no-drill alternative that has no drilling, no new roads, and no new development.

Comments must be submitted by May 1, 2008, and may be submitted by e-mail at

Written comments should be sent to:

Bureau of Land Management
Price Field Office
Attn: West Tavaputs Plateau Natural Gas Full Field Development Plan DEIS
125 South 600 West
Price, Utah 84501

If you are e-mailing comments, please copy your e-mail to the following three Congressional Representatives:

U.S. House of Representatives, House Committee on Natural Resources, Honorable Nick Rahall II, Chairman, email:

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Honorable Jeff Bingham, Chairman, email:

U.S. House of Representatives, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Representative Jim Matheson, email:

You can find additional information on the DEIS at:

3. National Landscape Conservation System
Legislation Passes House

As Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt created the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) in 2000 to “conserve, protect, and restore [designated] nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.” Up until, the NLCS has been a purely administrative designation, meaning that any Secretary of the Interior could do away with the System unilaterally.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), a longtime champion of public lands, introduced legislation (HR 2016) in the House that would make the NLCS permanent, and it passed the House two weeks ago, by a vote of 278-140.

No Democrats voted against the legislation and among California Republicans, only Brian Bilbray (CA-50) and Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) voted in favor of the bill. A full roll of the vote can be found here.

Your congressional representatives would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the vote. Contact information for them can be found on the House website for now, until CalUWild’s is updated.

The Administration has indicated its support for the legislation, and there is a companion bill in the Senate. We’ll keep you posted as the legislation progresses.

Click here for more information on the NLCS and the organizations working to support it. A short YouTube video has information on the NLCS in a different form.

4. Exploratory Trip
Wovoka Proposed Wilderness
Memorial Day Weekend

May 24-26 (Saturday-Monday)
Explore Wild Nevada’s Wovoka

Just east of the Sweetwater Mts. on the CA/NV border are the Pine Grove Hills and the newly proposed Wovoka Wilderness Area in western Nevada. Join a Memorial Day exploratory car camping trip with Vicky Hoover. Hike toward (we hope to) the area’s high point, Bald Mountain (9544 ft.) Central commissary. Meet Friday evening, trip ends Monday early afternoon. For details, contact Vicky,, (415) 977-5527.

Lyon County’s Wovoka Proposed Wilderness:

The Pine Grove Mountains (or Pine Grove Hills) are in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, just east of the Sweetwater Mountains of California and Nevada, and a little west of Walker Lake and the town of Hawthorne. Volcanic cliffs, and rugged canyons and ridges—places with names like Wichman Canyon, Slide Rock, Halsey Canyon. In the southern Pine Grove range the large roadless area featuring Bald Mountain, 9544 feet, is a candidate for wilderness protection as the Wovoka Proposed Wilderness, of nearly 86,000 acres. Bald Mountain offers view east to Mt. Grant and the distant Toiyabe Range and west to the Sweetwaters, the Sierra, and the Whites in California. The Pine Grove Mountains provide good habitat for mule deer, raptors, mountain lion, badger, grey fox, bobcat, black bear and sage grouse. Bordering this range, the East Fork of the Walker River has 11 miles of wild river.

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2007 April

April 30th, 2007

April 30, 2007

Dear CalUWild members, supporters, and friends —

Earlier this month I took part in a two-day symposium on wilderness and wilderness values at San Francisco State University. It had the somewhat unfortunate title of “Redefining Wilderness,” leading many people to fear that it was an attack on the 1964 Wilderness Act itself. However, what the organizers had hoped for was an effort to broaden the community of people for whom wilderness is important. With that in mind, the speakers and panelists came from a wide spectrum of backgrounds: land managers, wilderness trip leaders, Native Americans, academics (both biology and social science), therapists, activists, mountain bikers, attorneys, and others. It was enlightening to see the variety of approaches to wilderness.

The good news is that there was no wholesale attack on the Wilderness Act or on the basic concept and need for wilderness. The bad news, though, is that many people don’t seem to have a clear concept of what wilderness actually is. There weren’t quite as many definitions as attendees, but it came pretty close. The problem is that you can’t have a meaningful discussion about something if you have too broad a range of focus. And unfortunately, people said that they found wilderness everywhere from cracks in the sidewalk and backyards to isolated landscapes and mountaintops.

The other stumbling block, expressed several times, is that wilderness is somehow “anti-people” or that people are “factored out” of wilderness. It became apparent, though, that this idea comes from a basic lack misunderstanding of language: that the fact that Wilderness is an area “not populated by people” does not mean that people are excluded, but rather that permanent structures and roads are prohibited. The unfortunate thing is that these ideas are being passed along to students, who incorporate them into their thinking, making our task as advocates for wilderness that much more difficult.

But it’s good to know where you stand, and CalUWild will be adjusting its message to take some of these ideas into account as we continue our outreach efforts.

Speaking of definitions and language, the administration recently published its draft designations for two “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.” These covered the Southwest and Mid-Atlantic states. My dictionary defines “corridor” as “a belt of land between two other areas”—in other words, longer than wide. The shaded area on this map represents the corridor for the Southwest. Click on it and see what you think. You have to wonder what the point was in having a comment period when you see such a perversion of the English language. Unfortunately, it’s typical these days.

Fortunately, though, the courts continue to rule against some of the administration’s worst excesses. Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Forest Service could not eliminate protections for endangered species and for public comment (itself an endangered species these days) when drafting National Forest management plans. Congratulations to the Western Environmental Law Center and the plaintiffs in the case!

We all have to keep up our efforts. Thanks for your help!

Best wishes,

1. Red Rock Wilderness Bill Introduced
In House and Senate
Letters Needed: “Thank Yous” and Requests for Cosponsorship
2. Backcountry Volunteers Service Trips

3. Carrizo Plain Management Plan
Comments Needed

4. Job Announcement
Defenders of Wildlife
California Representative


1. Red Rock Wilderness Bill Introduced
In House and Senate
Letters Needed: “Thank Yous” and Requests for Cosponsorship

As it has been in every Congress since 1989, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was introduced this month in Congress. The bill numbers are:

H.R.1919 in the House
S.1170 in the Senate

We had an extremely successful pre-introduction cosponsor campaign, and here in California, there are only a few representatives who were previous cosponsors who aren’t on the bill this time.

Here is the complete list of cosponsors, previous cosponsors, and representatives we’d still like to see on the bill.

Thompson (D-01)
Woolsey (D-06)
Miller (D-07)
Lee (D-09)
Tauscher (D-10)
McNerney (D-11)
Lantos (D-12)
Stark (D-13)
Eshoo (D-14)
Honda (D-15)
Lofgren (D-16)
Farr (D-17)
Capps (D-23)
Sherman (D-27)
Berman (D-28)
Schiff (D-29)
Waxman (D-30)
Becerra (D-31)
Solis (D-32)
Roybal-Allard (D-34)
Waters (D-35)
Millender-McDonald (D-37)
Napolitano (D-38)
Sanchez (D-39)
Sanchez (D-47)
Filner (D-51)
Davis (D-53)

Cosponsors in the 109th:
Matsui (D-05)
Watson (D-33)
Harman (D-36)

Other hopeful possibilities:
Dennis Cardoza (D-18)
Jim Costa (D-20)
Mary Bono (R-45)

In the Senate, Barbara Boxer is a cosponsor, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not.

Please call or write your representatives and senators either thanking them or asking them to sign on.


2. Backcountry Volunteers Service Trips

We’ve mentioned Utah Backcountry Volunteers before. Their latest list of service trips for 2007 came out recently, so we’re including it here. Service trips are a great way to help protect the land, and quite different from writing letters! Before signing up for a trip, check for space availability.

You still have time to make this year’s vacation an unforgettable and fulfilling experience! Spend a week in Utah’s spectacular outdoors this Spring lending your muscle to make a difference on the ground where you’re enthusiasm and support is needed most. Trips are filling up!

2007 Service Trips
May 13-19, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Russian olive & tamarisk removal
(6 spaces open)
June 10-16, Manti-LaSal NF, 12-Mile Canyon, Twin Lake, ORV damage control
(9 spaces open)
June 24-30, Manti-LaSal NF, Dark Canyon Wilderness, trail & campsite work
(7 spaces open)
September 9-15, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Paria River, ORV damage control
(6 spaces open)
September 23-29, Monticello BLM, Beef Basin, archaeology protection
(6 spaces open)
October 14-20, Capitol Reef NP, trail work & vegetation removal
(8 spaces open)

Registration is easy. Send your tax-deductible $175 trip fee to the below address and you’re all set. Check out trip details at or call Dave at (435) 785-8955 for more information. See you in the backcountry!

For more information, contact:

Utah Backcountry Volunteers
P.O. Box 526197
Salt Lake City, UT 84152
(435) 785-8955

3. Carrizo Plain Management Plan
Comments Needed

In 2001, Pres. Bill Clinton designated the Carrizo Plain in California a national monument. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Plain is the largest substantially intact remnant of the San Joaquin Valley ecosystem. The BLM began drafting a management plan for the monument in 2002, but it was only an environmental assessment (EA), which does not go into the same level of detail as a full-blown environmental impact statement (EIS).

The agency has decided to start over, and is beginning the scoping process again. Comments are due June 12. If you submitted comments in 2002, the agency says they will be included in the latest planning round. But it might be a good idea to re-submit your comments or ask the BLM to incorporate your previous comments.

BLM is holding a public meeting May 5 at the Monument to discuss the scoping and planning process.

May 5, 2007 at the California Valley Community Services District building on Soda Lake Road. The center is located approximately three miles south of Highway 58 adjacent to the California Valley Fire Station 42. This meeting is being held in conjunction with a Carrizo Monument Advisory Committee meeting. The planning effort will be discussed (with time for public scoping input) from 10 a.m. to noon. Lunch will be available for $8. The MAC meeting will then continue from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. focusing on other agenda topics related to the national monument

The Wilderness Society has prepared the following list of talking points for scoping comments.



The Monument is a special and fragile place–that’s why it was given special status and why its management should be special too:
1 The Carrizo Plain National Monument is a unique, diverse and spectacular landscape. It is a singular place of national and worldwide significance.

2 Its species, communities and ecosystems are extremely rare and imperiled. The very future of its extraordinary plants and animals, unique ecosystems and other outstanding features could very well depend on the decisions made in the RMP.

3 Because of its significance, designation as a National Monument and inclusion in the National Landscape Conservation System, the BLM should manage the Carrizo Plain National Monument differently than other BLM lands. The BLM should prioritize resource preservation.

4 The Natural Area Plan and the preferred alternative in the February 2004 draft of the Environmental Assessment provided a solid foundation for future management. The BLM should build upon these recommendations.

The valuable and fragile evidence of pre-historic and historic peoples should be protected:
5 Painted Rock and other archaeological and historic sites within the Monument preserve an important span of history. The BLM should ensure that it manages the Monument to provide for their preservation and restoration.

The road system on the ground should support transportation needs around the Monument, but must also support protection of the Monument’s natural values:
6 The natural splendor of the Monument is best protected by limiting the number of roads. The BLM should limit the roads in the Monument to those that support the mission of protecting the Monument’s values.

7 The BLM should consider the road network and fencing across the Monument in the context of the connectivity of the landscape.

8 The BLM should consider removing fences which inhibit the movement of pronghorn.

9 The BLM should consider closing and rehabilitating redundant roads, roads that serve no visitor or administrative purpose, and roads in sensitive resources areas.

10 There are a number of locations where off-road vehicle use is occurring contrary to the Monument proclamation and the current management plan. The BLM should document off-road vehicle use, analyze its impacts and develop a plan to address the impacts including signage, law enforcement and restoration.

Grazing/invasive species need to be managed to protect the natural environment:
11 The BLM should analyze the impacts of livestock grazing to plant and animal species and ecosystems. The BLM should permit livestock grazing only if it can be demonstrated to benefit native species and ecosystems.

12 The BLM should consider phasing out the remaining long-term grazing leases and replacing them with annual free use permits if grazing is used as a resource management tool.

13 To control exotic plant species, the BLM should analyze and consider the use of prescribed fire in conjunction with or as an alternative to livestock grazing and other methods.

14 The BLM should develop fire management policies and prescriptions for the Monument which provide for the use of naturally occurring fire to restore and maintain the Monument’s species and ecosystems.

Oil and gas drilling can impact the natural landscape, plants and animals:
15 The BLM needs to address the potential impacts of oil and gas drilling on split estate lands.

Only responsible hunting and firearm use should be permitted:
16 Hunting is one of many ways that visitors use and enjoy the monument. However, the BLM should consider the impacts of non-game hunting to the Monument’s ecosystems and to threatened and endangered species found on the Carrizo Plain including the San Joaquin kit fox and the San Joaquin antelope squirrel. The BLM should consider limiting hunting to game species in season.

17 The BLM should consider prohibiting the use of lead bullets, because lead poisoning from those bullets can kill the California condor, an endangered species, golden eagles, and other raptors.

18 Target shooting can result in the accumulation of litter, soil contamination by lead and wildfires. It can also impact the safety and experience of visitors. The BLM should maintain its current policy of directing target shooters to facilities outside the Monument.

Now is the time to develop a smart approach to managing visitors to the Monument:
19 Visitor use is expected to increase and the BLM should identify ways to accommodate current and future visitor use in a way which will prevent or lessen the potential impacts of visitor use.

Please submit your comments before June 12 to:

Ms. Johna Hurl, Manager
Carrizo Plain National Monument
BLM Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308

We don’t have an email address available for submitting comments. For further information, please call the Monument at 661-391-6000.

4. Job Announcement
Defenders of Wildlife
California Representative

California Representative
Supervisor: Director, California Program

This professional-level position is responsible for representing Defenders of Wildlife’s legislative and administrative interests before state and federal government agencies, Congress, the State Legislature, and the media. It also involves a wide variety of responsibilities promoting and expanding the program and operations of the California Program Office.

The position will involve working in areas involving governmental affairs, habitat conservation, media, fund raising and legal affairs. Must possess excellent communication, research, and writing/editing skills. The position will be responsible for starting up specific campaigns on a number of water, habitat and species issues. Must be extremely well-organized and capable of juggling many different projects and tasks.

Assignments are results- or goal-oriented, requiring substantial discretion on the part of the position in determining how to meet the assigned goal (e.g., putting together a new conservation campaign or producing a research report).


1. Expand and promote habitat conservation program including research, development of strategy and oversight of new campaigns involving wetlands protection, transportation, and land use planning.
2. Expand and promote a water program including research, development of strategy and oversight of new campaigns involving water transfer, groundwater development and water quality.
3. Implement strategies, campaigns, programs, projects, work plans, budgets, publications, educational materials and reports for each assigned program area.
4. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with members of the State Legislature, Congress, legislative staff, state and federal agency personnel, biologists, scientists and staff of leading NGOs.
5. Represent Defenders in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, national forums, and in general communications with public officials, the media, members, the donor community and the public.
6. Identify, inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters, in areas of particular importance.
7. Assist all Defenders departments with tasks relating to education, development, publications and media coverage.
8. Other duties as assigned by supervisor.


1. Degree in Law with an emphasis on Natural Resources, Land Use Planning, Biology, or related field.
2. At least 2 years of advocacy experience involving natural resource and land use planning issues.
3. Experience working with wildlife/habitat conservation issues, water policy, and knowledge of state and federal resource agencies, laws, and policies dealing with the use and conservation of natural resources.
4. Political experience and judgment, including an understanding of lobbying and grassroots organizing.
5. Experience developing, implementing and managing advocacy campaigns.
6. Strong writing, media and communications skills.
7. Ability to conduct research, analyze information, and produce work-products in a consistent, efficient and timely manner.
8. Other relevant experience with public policy, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development.
9. Ability to handle efficiently and effectively many projects and topics at one time.

Interested applicants, please reference California Representative and send resume, cover letter, and salary history (must be included to be considered) to; Fax to (202) 682-1331 or mail to:

Attn: HR
Defenders of Wildlife
1130 – 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-4604

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2007 April

2006 April

April 18th, 2006

April 18, 2006

Dear friends and supporters of CalUWild—

It’s a very short Update this month. Only several items have come across my desk to pass along.

Item 1, the only ACTION ITEM this month has a very short deadline (tomorrow), so please attend it to it immediately. I apologize for that—it’s not the way we try to do things around here. The call for action from SUWA only came out late last week, and with the holiday weekend and Tax Day, it wasn’t possible to get the Update together any faster.

To make it easier, we are doing something we have never done before: including a link to a website where you can send an e-mail automatically to the offices in question. Please take the time to personalize the message there, using your own experiences in the Zion-Mojave area and the talking points included in Item 1.

Thanks for helping to preserve our wildlands in Utah and other places!

Best wishes,

1. Write to protect the Zion-Mojave Wilderness

In Southwest Utah
DEADLINE Wednesday April 19

2. Mark Your Calendars
California Wilderness Coalition Turns 30!
Celebrate April 28

3. Job Announcement
California Wilderness Coalition
Wilderness Trail Surveyor


1. Write to protect the Zion-Mojave Wilderness
In Southwest Utah
DEADLINE Wednesday, April 19

Our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Coalition sent out the following alert.

Washington County Growth Bill Shortchanges Zion-Mojave Wilderness
Send Your Comments to Sen. Bennett and Rep. Matheson Today

A couple of weeks ago, Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) announced that he would be introducing legislation that would dramatically change the landscape of southern Utah. His so-called Washington County Growth and Conservation Act would sell off up to 25,000 acres of federal land to developers, while leaving unprotected tens of thousands of acres of wildlands that are part of America’s Redrock Wilderness.

If enacted without changes, this bill is bad news for the Zion-Mojave proposed wilderness, and bad news for all Americans who care about protecting it.

Senator Bennett and Representative Jim Matheson, whose district encompasses Washington County, have said they want to hear what people think of this proposal. We think they should too. Unfortunately, they have set an arbitrary deadline of April 19 to hear people’s comments.

Because this legislation affects land that belongs to ALL Americans, we are urging people throughout the country to email Senator Bennett and Representative Matheson, and let them know what they think of this proposal.

Please go to the following link and use it to send them an email TODAY. Go to:

You can use the sample letter on this link, and you can add your own comments about the proposal. Please do this TODAY—but no later than April 19. We want your voices to be heard!

For further information about this proposal go to


Use the following talking points (also from SUWA) to personalize your message. Be aware that the American Wilderness Coalition/CapWiz site may hold onto your e-mail address and send you emails on issues unless you specifically ask them not to.

Senator Bennett’s bill is a huge loss for wilderness.
• The County Growth bill would undermine America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act by denying wilderness protection for almost 70% of the proposed BLM Zion-Mojave wilderness in Washington County, including lands that the BLM found to qualify as wilderness.
• It rolls back current protection for over fifteen square miles of Congressionally-protected Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs).
• The bill obscures the harmful effects it will have on open space, quality of life, and sprawl by designating wilderness in ZNP – lands that are already protected.

It will put St. George sprawl on steroids.
• The County Growth bill sells off 40 square miles of public land for private development.
• It gives water developers money from the sale of these public lands for the construction of water development pipelines and reservoirs.
• The sell-off of public lands will finance, among other things, sprawl inducing activities like roads, pipelines, and water development projects.
• It gives water developers free of charge approximately 14 square miles of public land for water development.
• The County Growth bill allows the damming of the free-flowing stream in the Beaver Dam Narrows.
• It permits a new bypass highway to be constructed through public land previously set aside to protect desert tortoises.

It will make Off Road Vehicle (ORV) problems worse for the Zion-Mojave wilderness.
• It mandates a new ORV trail system, paid for with money from the sale of public lands – drawing in significant new ORV use at the expense of taxpayers, while doing nothing to manage already uncontrolled ORV use in Washington County.
• The legislation would continue to favor ORV use above all others recreational uses. In Washington County, there are already over 435,000 acres of BLM land open to unmanaged or cross-country ORV use.
• It fails to address current shortfall in ORV management. The BLM is seven years overdue in fulfilling its duty to rein in off-road vehicle use by developing a comprehensive transportation and recreation plan.

Please write if you are able—it needn’t be a whole letter. It is important to show Sen. Bennett and Rep. Matheson that there are people outside Utah who value the public lands there.

2. Mark Your Calendars
California Wilderness Coalition Turns 30!
Celebrate April 28

The California Wilderness Coalition invites you to join us for our 30th Anniversary Celebration

Honoring California State Assemblymember Lois Wolk and Senator Dianne Feinstein

Featuring the California Academy of Sciences’ exhibit HOTSPOT: California on the Edge and the Steinhart Aquarium

Friday, April 28th
6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
California Academy of Sciences
875 Howard Street in San Francisco
(Powell Street BART Station)

Wine and Buffet

$35 suggested donation; all contributions are welcome and tax-deductible.
Call 510-451-1450 for questions or to RSVP by April 21.

3. Job Announcement
California Wilderness Coalition
Wilderness Trail Surveyor

The California Wilderness Coalition (CWC) seeks a motivated and detail-oriented Wilderness Trail Surveyor to conduct off-road vehicle route inventories on National Forests throughout California. CWC protects the landscapes that make California unique, providing clean air and water, a home to wildlife, and a place for recreation and spiritual renewal.

The coordinator will be responsible for documenting the environmental impacts of off-road vehicle routes in National Forests throughout California. The coordinator will personally conduct route inventories and train and manage volunteers to ensure that all problematic routes are inventoried in a timely manner. They will work with CWC staff to make sure that all data is meticulously compiled.

Position requirements include:
• Well organized and energetic individual dedicated to environmental protection
• Grassroots organizing and/or field surveying experience
• Ability to hike long distances and willingness to camp for multiple days in National Forests
• Ability to read trail maps and a compass
• Familiarity with or ability to learn global positioning systems
• Willingness to travel throughout California to remote forests

Candidates should be able to lead and inspire volunteers and interns. Ideally, candidates will have Wilderness First Responder certification or similar first aid training. A bachelors degree with scientific and/or environmental coursework is preferable.

Compensation: This is a contract position with a stipend of $2,700 a month, from 3 to 5 months depending on workload. There are no benefits. The position has flexible hours and a flexible base location. The position begins June 1.


To apply please email a resume and short cover letter explaining your interest in the position and any relevant experience to . Deadline to apply is May 5th, 2006. Please write “Wilderness Trail Surveyor” in the subject line of the email.

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2006 April

2005 April

April 29th, 2005

April 29, 2005

Dear CalUWild friends:

April is just about over, and the IRS has collected taxes from many of us again. Unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t make public land management and protection a very high priority, so it’s up to us citizens to work on the ground to see that the places we treasure are there for us, our children, and our grandchildren to enjoy. There’s never of a shortage of issues to be involved in, as you’ll see below. But despite setbacks on occasion, we continue to get our message through to Congress and the land managers.

As most of you probably know, we had one setback this month : the vote on including revenues from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in the budget. Even though the amendments to strip the provision out failed, the story is far from over, and we’re not giving up hope. We’ll keep you posted on things to do.

Spring has been wet around the West, leading to a profusion of wildflowers everywhere. And the late snows in the Sierra and elsewhere indicate that it should be a good year for river rafting. So make plans to get out and enjoy Nature-and see some of the places we’re working so hard to preserve.

Thanks for your efforts and enthusiasm,




1. America’s Redrock Wilderness Act

Reintroduced in Congress
With Record Cosponsorship

2. Cedar Mountains Bill Reintroduced in Congress
3. Vernal Resource Planning Needs Comments

For Desolation Canyon and the White River
DEADLINE: Indefinite

4. Rising Levels in Lake Powell Threaten (Again)

Uncovered Areas and Sites


5. Inventory Volunteers Needed


6. Union Pacific Dynamites Wilderness



7. New Report Details Perils to Wilderness, Parks & Monuments
8. Job Posting: Wilderness Watch



1. America’s Redrock Wilderness Act

Reintroduced in Congress
With Record Cosponsorship

Last week, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-New York) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) re-introduced America’s Redrock Wilderness Act in the 109th Congress. Both bills, which would designate many qualifying areas in Utah as wilderness, enjoyed a record number of original cosponsors: 151 in the House and 14 in the Senate.

This level of supports sends a strong message to the Administration: Americans support wildlands protection, and the Administration needs to rein in its policies that view our lands as something to be exploited solely for economic gain. If not, then Congress needs to stand ready to act.

The California delegation came through with flying colors: all cosponsors from the 108th Congress signed on as original cosponsors this time. Here is the complete list:

Sen. Barbara Boxer
Mike Thompson (D-1)
Doris Okada Matsui (D-5)
Lynn C. Woolsey (D-6)
George Miller (D-7)
Barbara Lee (D-9)
Ellen O. Tauscher (D-10)
Tom Lantos (D-12)
Fortney Pete Stark (D-13)
Anna G. Eshoo (D-14)
Michael M. Honda (D-15)
Zoe Lofgren (D-16)
Sam Farr (D-17)
Lois Capps (D-23)
Brad Sherman (D-27)
Howard L. Berman (D-28)
Adam B. Schiff (D-29)
Henry A. Waxman (D-30)
Xavier Becerra (D-31)
Hilda L. Solis (D-32)
Diane E. Watson (D-33)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34)
Maxine Waters (D-35)
Jane Harman (D-36)
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-37)
Grace F. Napolitano (D-38)
Linda T. Sanchez (D-39)
Loretta Sanchez (D-47)
Bob Filner (D-51)
Susan A. Davis (D-53)

Please send Sen. Boxer and your representative (if listed) a thank you letter. If not on the list, please send a letter stating your views on wilderness and asking them to become a cosponsor.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein was a cosponsor in the 106th Congress, but despite many letters urging her to cosponsor again, she never has. A letter to her couldn’t hurt. You’d do best to view it as letting her know your views rather than expecting to convince her to cosponsor again. But you can never tell-it might just work.

The bill numbers are H.R. 1774 in the House and S. 882 in the Senate.

A complete listing of contact information for the entire California delegation can be found at:

2. Cedar Mountains Bill Reintroduced in Congress<

On April 6, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop (R) reintroduced the Utah Test and Training Range Preservation Act, HR 1503. This bill, which passed the House-but not the Senate-in the last Congress, would designate 100,000 acres of the West Desert’s Cedar Mountains as wilderness. The main motivation behind the bill, however, is to stop the Goshutes Indian tribe from developing a portion of their land as a waste dump for out-of-state waste. Designation as wilderness would prevent the construction of a rail line into the reservation to transport the waste.

Utah has long suffered the negative consequences of America’s history of nuclear testing, being downwind from the above-ground testing in Nevada.
Thus, the state has absolutely no interest in having a waste repository within its borders. (Utah itself has no nuclear power plants.)

The bill has support from the entire Utah congressional delegation, the governor, and many conservation groups. It’s one of the few times where it seems everyone’s interests have converged.

No companion bill has been introduced in the Senate yet, where its future may be slightly clouded, since Nevada’s senators probably still remember the fact that Utah’s senators did not support Nevada in its opposition to the much-troubled Yucca Mountain nuclear facility. Therefore, Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats’ leader may not be enthusiastic about lining up support for the bill. This remains to be seen.

We’ll keep you posted as things develop.

3. Vernal Resource Planning Needs Comments

For Desolation Canyon and the White River
DEADLINE: Indefinite

The Bureau of Land Management’s web site has been non-functioning for a while now, due to ongoing web security concerns. So the Vernal, Utah Resource Management Plan comment period has been left open, since people are currently unable to submit their comments over the Internet.

This gives us a chance to continue our efforts to bring some control to off-road vehicle use and oil & gas exploration in many wild areas.

* In Upper Desolation Canyon, the BLM should not designate ORV routes in the San Wash area, the put-in area for the Green River through Desolation Canyon, to preserve the non-motorized qualities of the river. Numerous routes that the BLM’s preferred alternative would designate are re-naturalizing, are not needed for motorized recreation, and would further create BLM management compliance concerns.
* Near the White River, BLM is proposing several routes that go toward the river corridor. Specifically, Saddle Tree Draw and Atchee Wash should not be designated as open. The current endpoints of these routes are unmanageable and the routes should end further south to preserve the primitive and wild character of the area.
* Routes should not be designated in areas proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Redrock Wilderness Act.
* Oil & gas leasing should not be permitted in areas near either the Green or White Rivers, nor in areas covered by the Redrock Wilderness Act.

Using the above as talking points only, please submit comments in your own words soon to:

Vernal Field Office RMP Comments
Attention: Planning Coordinator
Bureau of Land Management, Vernal Field Office
170 South 500 East
Vernal, UT 84078

The BLM Vernal RMP website is:

Once the web site is functional again, the deadline for comments on the Draft RMP/EIS will be extended at least as many days as the web site was down, and you’ll be able to submit comments through it.

4. Rising Levels in Lake Powell Threaten (Again)

Uncovered Areas and Sites

The Intermountain West has been suffering through a drought for nearly eight years. Water consumption has greatly exceeded runoff, causing the water level in both Lake Powell and Lake Mead to drop drastically. The drop in Lake Powell has been especially dramatic-more than 150 feet, uncovering many drowned side canyons and archaeological sites. The Spring runoff has begun, and the lake level is rising, but will again resume its overall drop later in the Summer and Fall.

The Glen Canyon Institute is starting a campaign to protect the emerging sites, and the information below comes from them.

Save Cathedral in the Desert and Fort Moqui

The Issue:
It does not make sense to pretend the drought is over and surpluses will happen again. Recent studies on the future hydrology of the Colorado River demonstrate that Lake Powell will be below its current 35%-of-full most of the next century. At this low level, the costs to maintain the dam and reservoir, as well as detrimental environmental impacts, surpass the benefits that are achieved at higher water levels, such as hydropower and recreation on the reservoir.

Protection of cultural, historic and scenic sites:
As reservoir levels have fallen, some of Glen Canyon’s most spectacular features have emerged, including Cathedral in the Desert, Register Rock, Fort Moqui, and the inscriptions at Hole in the Rock. Unnecessary water level fluctuation during spring runoff is destructive to these emerging cultural, historic, and scenic sites in Glen Canyon. As water levels at Lake Powell drop, they should not be allowed to rise and further damage these emerging fragile sites in Glen Canyon.

Fill Mead First!
Western states can secure water in a more sustainable manner by storing Colorado River water at Lake Mead and in available upper basin reservoirs.
Evaporative losses from storing water primarily at Lake Mead will be lower than if water is kept at both Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The occasional flood captures at Lake Powell can easily be stored in existing reservoir and aquifer facilities elsewhere across the basin. This can eliminate the destructive water level fluctuations at Glen Canyon that currently threaten emerging sites in Glen Canyon.

This is a good opportunity for a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and/or to Secretary Gale Norton. Use the above talking points, but write in your own words. If you have personal experience at Lake Powell, write about its importance to you. Secretary Norton’s address is:

Hon. Gale Norton
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

You can find contact information for major California newspapers at:

If you feel like you’ve written enough letters this month, Glen Canyon Institute has an on-line petition you can sign at:

However, a personal letter is always preferred!


5. Inventory Volunteers Needed
The following comes from the California Wilderness Coalition.

How often do you get to combine one of your favorite pastimes with a good cause? The California Wilderness Coalition (CWC) needs you to take a walk for wilderness!

CWC needs your help to identify and protect wilderness candidates through our Golden State Wilderness Campaign. We are seeking volunteers to visit targeted parcels of state-owned land and document their wild character.
This is an ideal project for school groups, hiking clubs, or even just motivated individuals. All you need to get involved is a digital camera and hiking gear. CWC will provide all of the maps and everything else you will need in your official survey packet.

If you’re interested, contact:

California Wilderness Coalition
1212 Broadway, Suite 1700
Oakland, CA 94612

Email: Info@Calwild.Org
Telephone: 510-451-1450


6. Union Pacific Dynamites Wilderness


It’s not very often that we ask for letters to a corporation, but here’s a case when it would be good to write. This comes from Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

Severe floods in January washed away roads, bridges and railroad tracks and bridges in Lincoln County near several new Wilderness areas. While repairing the railroad, Union Pacific ignored the Clover Mountain Wilderness boundary and blasted away 5 acres of beautiful cliff in the Wilderness to get rock. Had they bothered to contact the BLM, as rock source outside the Wilderness could have been found easily. Ely BLM personnel discovered the damage on March 14 and ordered the Railroad’s contractor, Las Vegas Paving Corp., to stop work immediately.

Union Pacific has a history of disregarding wilderness protection, and this latest violation is outrageous. Union Pacific needs to be held accountable for their illegal actions. Friends of Nevada Wilderness is working with the BLM to see that Union Pacific rehabilitates the damage done to the Clover Mountain Wilderness.

You can help. Please write Union Pacific and tell them to restore the damage they did to Clover Mountain Wilderness.

Richard Davidson, CEO
Union Pacific railroad Company
1400 Douglas Street
Omaha, NE 68170

Fax: 402-271-3298


7. New Report Details Perils to Wilderness, Parks & Monuments

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Working Group, (EWG) a nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC, released a report stating that extractive industry interests (oil & gas and mining) control land in or near more than 2/3 of the nation’s wilderness areas, national parks, and national forests. The report, titled “Losing Ground,” went on to state: “At current loss rates, within 20 years, mining and oil and gas industries will actively drill, mine, or otherwise control public lands inside or within five miles of every Western natural treasure, including all national parks and wilderness areas.”

Of course, industry and the administration have long claimed that conservationists have prevented access to much of the West’s landscape. But the truth is that, for example, the oil and gas industry has been unable to begin to exploit all the areas it has under lease now. And they still want more access. EWG found that in the last 15 years, industry has had access to over 200 million acres of public lands in the West, which is an area larger than Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

The data that EWG used for its study does not include proposed drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado’s Roan Plateau, New Mexico’s Otero Mesa, or Wyoming’s Red Desert, all areas that CalUWild has been working to protect.

In addition, the report disagreed with industry’s claim that environmental damage from extractive uses tends to be temporary and not very significant.

You can find more information on the report on-line at:

8. Job Posting: Wilderness Watch

Wilderness Watch has been one of CalUWild’s partners over the years on several issues: motorized recreation in the Grand Canyon, management of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho, and others. They are circulating the following job announcement:

Wilderness Watch is seeking a highly motivated person for the position of Membership and Development Coordinator. WW is a national Wilderness protection organization based in Missoula, Montana. We are looking for a person experienced in fundraising and membership development, who cares passionately about Wilderness, works well with others, and wants to continue and expand our successful development program.

The primary responsibilities for the Membership and Development Coordinator include foundation research and prospecting, grantwriting, grant reporting and developing / maintaining a healthy working relationship with our foundation supporters. The job also includes coordinating Wilderness Watch’s individual giving program, member acquisition, member renewals, donor campaigns, and management of the membership database.

Other duties include coordinating our accounting system with the bookkeeper, participating in staff and Board of Director meetings, and generally serving as an active participant in organizational activities.

A passion for protecting Wilderness is essential to being successful and happy in this position. Knowledge of Wilderness and / or other natural resource issues is a big plus.

Minimum Qualifications:

* Demonstrated experience in grantwriting and membership/donor development (minimum 3 years)
* Experience using a database (FileMaker Pro is preferable-WW uses ebase)
* Excellent writing and verbal communication skills
* Working familiarity with computers (WW uses MacIntosh) and basic software and e-mail programs (Word, Excel)
* Willing to travel

The successful candidate must be able to effectively handle multiple projects and deadlines, be self-directed and detail oriented. Must be able to work effectively as a member of a team, and be willing to help with other organizational priorities when necessary.

Salary and Benefits:
Salary range is comparable to similar positions in the Northern Rockies and the Northwest. Individual salary dependent on experience.

Benefits include medical and dental insurance, 4 weeks paid vacation (2 weeks first year), sick leave and 10 paid holidays.

Benefits also include knowing you are part of the leading citizens’ effort to protect America’s Wilderness legacy.

Applicants should provide a cover letter, resume, 1-3 short writing samples and 3 references. Send by regular mail or e-mail (Word format, please) to:

Executive Director
Wilderness Watch
PO Box 9175
Missoula, MT 59807


Wilderness Watch is the leading national organization for protecting and ensuring the proper stewardship of the lands within the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness Watch has a staff of five, and we work closely with other wilderness activists around the country. For more information about our work, our staff and our Board of Directors visit our website at

Missoula Montana is a progressive community known for its wealth of environmental advocacy groups, history of wilderness research, protection and training, and for its close proximity to some of our nation’s premier Wilderness lands and rivers.

God bless America. Let’s save some of it. –Edward Abbey

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