2015 August

September 1st, 2015

Factory Butte, Utah, with OHV tracks                                                                                          (Mike Painter)

August 31, 2015

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters –

Summer vacation is drawing to a close and many students are back in school. Autumn is an excellent time to get away to visit and explore America’s public lands and wilderness areas if you’re able. Upcoming on September 26 is National Public Lands Day, when admission to all National Parks is free and many organizations sponsor outings or service projects. You can find more information by following the links here.

There was not much news requiring action this month, so there aren’t many substantive items below. However, there were quite a few interesting articles, some relating to issues we’ve reported on in the past, so look to Item 5 for those links.

Best wishes,

1.   General Updates

2.   CalUWild Slideshows & Tabling
          a.   Long Beach
                    Thursday, September 17
                    Wednesday, October 7
          b.   Wine Country Optics Festival
                    Downtown Sonoma
                    Sunday, September 20
3.   Visions of the Wild: H2O
          Downtown Vallejo
          October 16 & 17

4.   Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Bill Signed

5.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   General Updates

Moab BLM Master Leasing Plan

Mid-month, the BLM’s Moab Field Office released a draft Master Leasing Plan (MLP) to guide its future leasing decisions.

According to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Moab MLP would specifically:

– Protect wild places that are currently under threat from oil and gas leasing and development, including Fisher Towers, Porcupine Rim, Six-Shooter Peaks and Goldbar Canyon. These landscapes would either be closed to future leasing or subject to “no surface occupancy” stipulations that prohibit physical development on the lease.

– Provide strong protections for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks’ classic southern Utah vistas, dark night skies and clean water.

– Require that the majority of all future leases issued in the MLP area be subject to common sense ‘controlled surface use’ stipulations. These are essential to give both industry and the public certainty about the ground rules for future development.

The plan will not:

– Protect well known landscapes like Labyrinth Canyon and its side canyons. These places remain threatened by oil, gas and potash development.

– Prevent potash leasing development immediately adjacent to the Green River and in important side canyons (Red Wash and Ten Mile Wash). Potash leasing and development could also occur on Hatch Point and Indian Creek, a scenic area that can be seen from Canyonlands National Park and Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park.

– The BLM also announced additional Master Leasing Plan efforts today to better balance development and conservation in the San Rafael Desert and Cisco Desert, while highlighting other MLPs in progress in places like Western Colorado.

A 90-day comment period began August 21. At this point we don’t have any firm recommendations for comments, but we’ll pass any along as we learn more.

Public Lands Initiative

The Public Lands Initiative that Utah Reps. Rob Bishop (R) and Jason Chaffetz (R) have been sponsoring the last couple of years, meant to “solve” the public lands controversy in the state, so far has produced no firm proposal, though a draft may be released by the end of September.. The latest county to submit its recommendations is San Juan, in the southeast corner of the state. It contains some of the most significant archaeological resources anywhere, as well as spectacular scenery. It’s also one of the most anti-preservation counties in the state.

So it is remarkable that the county is proposing any designation of wilderness or the creation of two national conservation areas, around Cedar Mesa and along Indian Creek, near the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. But since of the wilderness acres are within the NCA boundaries, there’s not as much land actually receiving protection as it might at first appear.

There are significant substantive drawbacks in San Juan’s proposal as well. Among other problems: It doesn’t go far enough to protect important areas; it prohibits Wilderness Study Areas and other areas with wilderness character not included in the proposal from future consideration as wilderness; it calls for an exemption for the county from any future national monument designations under the Antiquities Act; and it pretty much ignores much of the Native American proposal for the Bears Ears and other areas deserving protection.

Recapture Canyon OHV Ride Case

Controversy continues to swirl following the conviction of San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman for trespass after leading an ATV ride up a closed route in Recapture Canyon, outside Blanding, last year. Late last week the federal judge who presided over the trial withdrew from the case before sentencing, after the defense objected to the judge’s friendship with one of SUWA’s lawyers and also to a letter that urged a strict sentence. SUWA is not a party to the case (since it’s a criminal matter) but had urged prosecution of Lyman and others immediately after the protest ride. The judge decided that it was best to recuse himself in order avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Lyman’s defense also filed a motion asking for a new trial, claiming that the BLM had withheld a map from evidence, which showed Recapture Canyon as a legitimate RS 2477 route.

We’ll keep you posted as things develop further.

See Item 5, below, for links to press items about Utah

2.   CalUWild Slideshows & Tabling
          a.   Long Beach
                     Thursday, September 17
                     Wednesday, October 7

As part of our efforts to educate people about America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, I’ll be making two presentations on behalf of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in Long Beach, California. Alan Lowenthal (D-47), the local congressional representative, is the chief sponsor of the bill in this Congress, so it’s important that his constituents know about his efforts and support them.

The first program is with the El Dorado Audubon Chapter:

Thursday, Sept. 17
Doors open 7 p.m., meeting starts 7:30 p.m.
El Dorado Nature Center
7550 E. Spring Street
Long Beach

The second is for the Sierra Club Long Beach Chapter:

Wednesday, Oct. 7
7:30 p.m.
Long Beach Environmental Resources Building
2929 E Willow St
Long Beach

The program will consist of a video, narrated by Robert Redford, followed by a short slideshow, with ample time for questions and answers. If you’re in the area please join us, and pass the information along to anyone who might be interested.

There’s a chance other presentations may be added to the schedule, in which case we’ll post them on our Facebook page.

          b.   Wine Country Optics Festival
                     Sunday, September 20
                     Downtown Sonoma

Our friends at Sonoma Birding are hosting the 4th Annual Wine Country Optics & Nature Festival, Sunday, September 20, at the Sonoma Plaza Barracks and Casa Grande Plaza in Downtown Sonoma. 13 optics companies (such as Nikon, Celestron, Zeiss, and others) and 57 nonprofit organizations will have information tables, and various artists will be exhibiting, too. For the first time, California State Parks is co-hosting the festival. CalUWild will be setting up an information table.

There’s a lot of history in Sonoma, and it’s a nice day trip from many places in Northern California. Hope to see you there!

3.   Visions of the Wild: H2O
          Downtown Vallejo
          October 16 & 17

Last year’s Visions of the Wild Festival: Connecting Nature, Culture & Community, held in Vallejo, was such a success, that all the groups involved in organizing it, including CalUWild, decided to have a second festival this year. In 2014 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act; this year we’re focusing on water and watersheds.

The Festival will take place, as last year, in Downtown Vallejo and will include films, art exhibitions, guest speakers, field trips and outdoor recreation activities, a hands-on watershed restoration project, and water conservation demonstrations and information.

The schedule is still being developed, but the website is up and running, and will be updated as information becomes available.

So mark your calendars and join us for Visions of the Wild: H2O!

4.   Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Bill Signed

Pres. Obama signed a bill this month designating 275,000 acres as wilderness in Idaho, east of the existing Sawtooth Wilderness. The campaign for protection of the Boulder-White Cloud area has been going on for some 15 years, but the final congressional passage seems to have been propelled by fears that Pres. Obama might designate a national monument in the area. That monument, at least as discussed, would have protected a much larger area, approximately 571,000 acres.

The wilderness that was designated was split into three separate areas, separated by road corridors, diluting considerably their wilderness character. Finally, the bill released 155,000 acres of wilderness study areas and land recommended for wilderness by the Forest Service.

So while it was nice to see Congress actually do something productive, the results are somewhat of a disappointment, too.

The New York Times had a blog post on the editorial page about the Idaho bill, Pres. Obama, and the Bears Ears proposal in Utah.

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.

New York Times, general interest

A column by Nicholas Kristof on wilderness: This Land Is Our Land

An article A Culture Clash Over Guns Infiltrates the Backcountry on guns in the backcountry

with a follow-up editorial: Target Shooters Bring Mayhem to National Forests


A Salt Lake Tribune editorial: If Utahns don’t act, Obama should protect Utah’s amazing places

A Desert News article in which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the Administration has no intention of designating a monument I Utah without public involvement

An article in The Nation on Utah legislator Ken Ivory: Meet the ‘Snake-Oil Salesman’ From Utah Who Wants to Transform the American West

A Salt Lake Tribune article: As record-breaking Outdoor Retailer show opens this week, organizers again talk about moving

An article about Escalante in the Salt Lake Tribune: Is southern Utah town being stifled by the feds – or by residents’ refusal to roll with new industries?

An article in Science about a well-known pictograph and new identification techniques: ‘Winged monster’ on ancient rock art debunked by scientists


A Los Angeles Times article: Feinstein asks Obama to bypass Congress to create three desert monuments

California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife press release regarding the discovery of a wolf pack living in Northern California

And a followup editorial in the Los Angeles Times: Welcome back, gray wolf


An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Conservationists, company rally to protect Gold Butte

An essay in High Country News: The desert doesn’t need this “City” regarding the earth-art included in the Basin & Range National Monument, which we wrote about last month


An essay by CalUWild friend Kevin Proescholdt in High Country News: Idaho and BLM flout conservation laws for fallen officers (link for subscribers only). Reprinted in the Logan, Utah Herald Journal News here.


An article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide: Tribes seek to change name of Devils Tower, which takes on new significance, given Pres. Obama’s changing the name of Mt. McKinley back to Denali

Video links

Episode 15 in the US Forest Service’s Restore series: Penny Pines and Restoration

Another in the National Park Service series, America’s Wilderness. This time: Wilderness Hike: Death Valley

And finally, a young Grizzly Bear having fun at Denali National Park

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 August

August 31st, 2014

Pres. Lyndon Johnson Signs the Wilderness Act, September 3, 1964

August 31, 2014

Dear CalUWild friends—

Wednesday, September 3, is the official 50th Anniversary of Pres. Johnson’s signing of Wilderness Act (above). There’s a lot going on around the country to mark the occasion.

Two of the largest events in the country are the National 50th Conference, being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 15-19, and Visions of the Wild: Connecting Nature, Culture & Community, next week, Sept. 3-6 in Vallejo, California.

The website for the National Conference says (a bit vaguely) “Early registration extended until at least September,” so there is still time to take advantage of early-bird rates. Note that students, seniors (55 and older), and seasonal agency employees receive a 50% discount on registration. Also, check the lists of associated field trips and trainings on the conference website (extra cost).

I’ve been working with the Forest Service, Vallejo Community Arts Foundation, and many other groups on planning Visions of the Wild. The earthquake that shook the North Bay area last Sunday morning hit Vallejo pretty hard, and that has added a new layer of complexity to our planning this week. That means this Update will be brief. The Festival will be taking place, however, and none of the events has been cancelled. Item 2, below, lists some of the Festival highlights. We hope you’ll be able to attend one or more of the days.

To further celebrate the 50th Anniversary, you can support CalUWild by buying one of these specially-commissioned woodcut posters by Tom Killion. We still have a few left. The posters are printed on heavy paper, measure 18”x24”, and are priced at $10 each, plus a flat $5 shipping for up to 4, the maximum that can be rolled up in a mailing tube. Thanks to everyone who has already placed an order!

As always, we’re grateful to everyone for your efforts to protect what’s left of our Western wildlands and landscapes. Do something special on Wednesday the 3rd, to mark the occasion.

And: September 27 is National Public Lands Day, another occasion worth celebrating!

Best wishes,

1.   Canyonlands National Monument Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

2.   Visions of the Wild: Connecting Nature, Culture & Community
          Downtown Vallejo
          September 3-6, 2014

3.   National Parks Traveler‘s “Parkipedia”

4.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Canyonlands National Monument Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

The 50th Anniversary of Canyonlands National Park is rapidly approaching next month, too, but there’s still a little time to contribute a picture of yourself holding a yellow sign urging Pres. Obama to protect the Greater Canyonlands region with a national monument designation. As we’ve been writing the last few months, it’s simple: Download a sign and print it on yellow paper or on white paper. Sign it with your name (if you like), city, and state. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign and email it to

Thanks !!

Here are a few other items of interest (with links) connected to the campaign.

Jim Dabakis, a state senator in Utah and a member of the Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands, wrote an op-ed piece in the Salt Lake Tribune last week: By compromise or executive order, Greater Canyonlands needs protection

Four short videos made by young people supporting protection for Greater Canyonlands

BYU Students Call for Greater Canyonlands National Monument

Salt Lake City high school students call for Greater Canyonlands National Monument

A Plea for the Greater Canyonlands

Colorado College students call for Greater Canyonlands National Monument

2.   Visions of the Wild: Connecting Nature, Culture & Community
          In Downtown Vallejo
          September 3-6, 2014

Planning started a year ago for a regional 50th Anniversary celebration. Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service, with headquarters in Vallejo, spearheaded the planning, but a large number of other federal and local government agencies, arts and environmental organizations, local businesses, and individuals joined in. Vallejo is reportedly the most ethnically diverse city in the U.S., and the goal from the beginning was to reflect that diversity in attracting attendees as well as in the choice of speakers, artists, films, music, and youth and family activities. Saturday, September 6 has a full schedule of field trips, too/

Many events are free, though some, such as the keynote speeches, films, and panels, all of which will take place in the Empress Theatre, require passes for admission. Other talks by various authors and will take place at The Hub, and various organizations (CalUWild included) will have displays and information tables set up there.

We’ve tried to keep things as affordable as possible, and there are various options for families, students, single day passes, and more. For a full program and registration information, please go to the Festival website.

Program Highlights

Wednesday, Sept. 3: Wilderness Act Signing Date

Ceremonial Walk for Wilderness, Downtown

Thursday, Sept. 4: History & Politics

Films: Forever Wild and Rebels with a Cause (see article below)

Speakers: Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service

Mark Harvey, author of Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser and the Path to the Wilderness Act and The Wilderness Writings of Howard Zahniser, tells the story of Howard Zahniser, the person most responsible for getting the Wilderness Act through Congress.

Jon Mooallem’s recent book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America is a tour through the eccentric cultural history of people and wild animals in America.

Audrey Peterman is the author of Our True Nature and Legacy on the Land. On a 20,000-mile road trip around the country with her husband Frank, the Petermans saw less than a handful of Americans of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Native descent in the national parks and forests, and they determined to do something to change that.

Friday, Sept. 5: Culture & Values

Youth & Family Activities

Panel: Wilderness & Culture—Native American, African-American, Vietnamese, and Hispanic perspectives

Evening Gallery Walk to view special exhibitions

Films: Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims & Tourists, followed by discussion with filmmaker Christopher McLeod and Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. Several short films will also be shown

Saturday, Sept. 6: Spirit & Journey

Field Trips, including 2 Napa River Cruises

Youth & Family Activities

Eco Hip Hop performance and workshop at the JFK Library (see article below)

Films: Mile, Mile & a Half and Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, followed by discussion with Stephanie Dodaro speaking about her experiences on the Camino and walking California’s El Camino Real.

Panel: Wilderness & Spirituality—Buddhist, Native American, Christian, and Hindu perspectives

Evening Jam, with singers, dancers, choir, and more

Two articles and a letter to the editor appeared in today’s Vallejo Times-Herald

‘Rebels’, other films part of Visions of the Wild festival

Eco hip hop artist part of ‘Visions’

Brenda Crawford, an African-American woman, writes about the Festival: Here comes a unique learning experience

It’s a full schedule, with multiple events often taking place at the same time, but there’s something for everyone.

We’d like to thank the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund for a generous grant to CalUWild in support of the festival.

Bookshop Benicia will be selling books by our featured authors and panelists, as well as a selection of other wilderness and natural history titles, at the Festival Headquarters, 515 Virginia Street in Downtown Vallejo.

We hope you can join us for the celebration, and tell your friends!

3.   National Parks Traveler‘s “Parkipedia”

Here’s a recent piece that appeared in National Parks Traveler that might be of interest.

Explore, and Contribute to, Parkipedia, the First Crowd-Sourced Approach to National Park Guides

Bring us your knowledge of the National Park System, travelers, and grow the Internet’s first-ever crowd-sourced approach to the ultimate national park guides.

Parkipedia has been up and running for some months now, and as a result we’re going to be phasing out our page with the Essential Park Guides. That same content is shifting over to the Parkipedia pages where, with your help, it can grow and be updated swiftly and regularly to reflect changes in lodging and dining, trail conditions, wildlife sightings, and more. This approach negates the need for printed guidebooks that, due to publishing schedules, often carry outdated pricing information and don’t reflect incidents that impact on-the-ground activities in the parks, such as storms like Hurricane Sandy that down trees, washout roads, and shutter parks.

Your knowledge can help us develop the most thorough sections on hiking in the national parks, paddling in the parks, photography in the parks, birding in the parks, and so much more. Have a favorite trail in a favorite park? Add it to the guide and highlight what makes that trail so great. Know where, and when, to look for wildlife through the seasons in the parks? Contribute that knowledge. Are there specific family activities or programs that your kids especially loved? Point them out to others looking for those programs. Which parks are particularly user-friendly for RVers? Let other park travelers know.

Some of the guides already in Parkipedia are mostly complete. Some, such as our latest on Lassen Volcanic National Park, are in various states of construction. Many others need to get off the ground.

There’s no charge to contribute to, and benefit from, Parkipedia. Simply click on the Parkipedia button on the menu bar, read the introduction to the guide, and dive in!

4.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy.

New York Times articles

An op-ed piece: A Cathedral Under Siege: Two Development Projects Threaten the Grand Canyon

An article on thrillseekers at Corona Arch, near Moab, Utah

A column by Nicholas Kristof: Go Take a Hike!

An op-ed piece by Timothy Egan: New West Renaissance

An article about Native Americans working to restore wildlife to ancestral lands

An article on Giant Sequoias and climate change

An op-ed piece: Preserving Biocultural Diversity

An op-ed piece on the futility of a beach restoration project by the Army Corps of Engineers

An op-ed piece on birds and human resilience

An op-ed piece in High Country News: Wilderness at 50: A place to be free, a place to hide

Racing through nature, an op-ed piece about a recent speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail and the relationship to wilderness, including comments by CalUWild friend, filmmaker John de Graaf

A Los Angeles Times article: BLM, local law enforcement tensions near breaking point in the West

An op-ed piece—Protect San Gabriel Mountains, rivers—supporting Rep. Judy Chu’s legislation to create a San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation area, which we wrote about in June

And a last laugh: The Colorado Republican Party used pictures of Utah to promote itself …

Note: We’ll resume our links to the Park Service Wilderness and Forest Service Restoration video series next month.

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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2013 August

August 27th, 2013

DSC_2079a2aLooking over the San Rafael Swell (See Item 1)                                                                                    (Mike Painter)

August 24, 2013

Dear CalUWild friends-

Congress is on recess, and many people have been out on vacation for August, and once more there’s not too much to report this month. However, there are two upcoming open houses worth announcing. See Items 2 & 3.

Summer is almost over, so it’s time to make plans for the Fall, often the best time to visit our wilderness areas and other public lands. Thanks for your interest in efforts to protect them!


1.   BLM to Offer Parcels in
          The San Rafael Swell and Elsewhere
          For Oil & Gas Development

2.   Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge
          Proposes Plan to Eradicate Invasive Mice
          Public Meeting in San Francisco
          August 29
          COMMENT DEADLINE: September 30
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Legislation for a San Gabriel Mountains NRA
          Town Hall Meeting
          September 7, 2013
          (ACTION ITEM)

4.   Job Posting: SUWA Hiring a GIS Analyst

5.   Links to Items of Interest


1.   BLM to Offer Parcels in
          The San Rafael Swell and Elsewhere
          For Oil & Gas Development

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Wednesday that the Bureau of Land Management would be offering nearly 140,000 acres of land in Emery, Carbon, and Uintah counties to energy companies for energy exploration and development. The lease sale is scheduled for November.

Much of the land is in the San Rafael Swell and has been acknowledged by the BLM to have wilderness character. However, since that “character” was not recognized at the time initial inventories were done, many of the areas were never given formal “Wilderness Study Area” status. Thus BLM is under no obligation to manage them as wilderness. The Swell is an area of striking geological features and archaeological sites. Much of it is included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the comprehensive Utah wilderness bill in Congress.

It is ironic and extremely disappointing that BLM would be proposing these leases, since the San Rafael Swell has frequently been mentioned as a possibility for designation as a national monument. In fact, the Swell was on this Interior Department’s early list of 14 potential monument additions to the BLM’s Conservation Lands System. The leaking of that list in 2010 created such an uproar that the Obama Administration retreated and pretty much halted efforts at formal land conservation, substituting its Great American Outdoors Initiative.

This lease is the latest in the Administration’s ongoing program of opening up public lands to energy development of all sorts, continuing at a rapid pace, despite industry claims to the contrary.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial opposing the lease sale this morning

We’ll keep you posted as things develop.

2.   Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge
          Proposes Plan to Eradicate Invasive Mice
          Public Meeting in San Francisco
          August 29
          COMMENT DEADLINE: September 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

Did you know that there is federally designated wilderness in San Francisco? If not, don’t feel bad. Most people aren’t aware that the Farallon Islands, almost 30 miles offshore, are within the City and County of San Francisco and that much of the area is designated as a wilderness area, too. The islands were designated a national wildlife refuge by Pres. Teddy Roosevelt in 1909. The South Farallones were added to the Refuge in 1969, and all, except Southeast Farallon, were designated as wilderness in 1974. The Refuge is managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and is the largest and one of the most important seabird rookeries in the Lower 48 States.

In the 1800s, house mice were introduced to the South Farallon Islands. Without many natural predators, the mice have reached “plague-like densities” according to the FWS. In fact, population densities may be the highest on any island in the world. The mouse population has affected seabirds, native vegetation, and may act as a vector for disease for the pinnipeds that inhabit the islands as well. FWS says: “The effect of mice in the wilderness is widespread and readily noticeable and has degraded wilderness character. The removal of mice would lead to long-term significant benefit to wilderness character by allowing the wilderness to be more influenced by natural forces.”

In order to restore some balance to the ecosystem, FWS is proposing to eliminate the mice completely, using rodenticides. Last week the agency released a Draft EIS analyzing three alternatives: a No Action Alternative and two that would use different rodenticides.

The Refuge will be hosting a public meeting to present the plan, answer questions, and accept comments.

Thursday, Aug. 29
6 pm – 8 pm
General’s Residence, Upper Fort Mason
Franklin & Bay Streets
San Francisco

For directions click here.

You can download the lengthy Draft EIS by clicking on the link under Supporting Documents on this page.

You may submit written comments by one of the following methods:

Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the Search box, enter FWS-R8-NWRS-2013-0036, which is the docket number for this notice. Then, on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Notices link to locate this document and submit a comment.

Comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM, EDT, September 30, 2013.

By U.S. Mail:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R8-NWRS-2013-0036
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203

Comments must be postmarked by September 30, 2013.

3.   Legislation for a San Gabriel Mountains NRA
          Town Hall Meeting
          September 7, 2013
          (ACTION ITEM)

The following information is taken from an announcement sent out by the California Wilderness Coalition. Rep. Judy Chu (D-27) is a member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board.

Congresswoman Judy Chu has indicated that she will author legislation to establish a San Gabriel National Recreation Area (SGNRA) that will include the National Forest lands in the San Gabriel Mountains. It is important that Rep. Chu include Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River designations in the legislation she is developing. In order to gather public input on the issue, Rep. Chu will be hosting a town hall meeting.

Saturday, September 7, 2013
10:30 AM
Taylor Reception Hall
1775 N. Indian Hill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711

There has been widespread support for wilderness protection, but there is opposition as well, based on false claims that protecting the most scenic, sensitive, and undeveloped National Forest lands in the San Gabriel Mountains will somehow adversely affect downstream water rights and facilities, public access to public lands, and even private property rights. None of these claims are true. In fact, the opposite is true – wild and scenic river and wilderness designations maintain existing property rights, water rights and public access to public lands. Wild and scenic river designation safeguards our rivers in their free-flowing condition and wilderness designation protects the land for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. We need to let Rep. Chu know that we want her SGNRA legislation to include Wilderness and Wild Rivers.

At stake are some of the most outstanding and pristine areas remaining in the San Gabriel Mountains, including the upper forks of the San Gabriel River, and additions to the Sheep Mountain and Cucamonga Wilderness areas. These lands and rivers provide drinking water sources to local communities and places for locals to hike and keep cool in the summertime. These places are also critical habitat for bighorn sheep, and are home to other wildlife and native plants that make our mountains so special. These newly proposed Wilderness areas in the northern part of the Angeles National Forest are threatened by mining, illegal off road vehicle use, and other development. We must act now to ensure that Rep. Chu knows how crucial it is to preserve these lands as wilderness and wild and scenic rivers for our communities. For a list of the proposed Wilderness and Wild Rivers in the San Gabriel Mountains, click here.

The California Wilderness Coalition and its coalition partners have been working for more than a decade to develop local support to protect more than 122,000 acres of Wilderness and nearly 63 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers on the National Forest lands in the San Gabriel Mountains. Many local cities, businesses, and community leaders support our proposal. When the National Park Service released a study in 2011 that considered establishment a National Recreation Area (NRA) in the San Gabriel Mountains and foothills, and along the San Gabriel River, we combined the NRA proposal with our wild places protection package. Of the 12,000 comments received by the National Park Service in response to their study, more than 95% supported establishment of the SGNRA along with protection of Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers on the National Forest lands.

Please attend the town hall on Sept. 7 and speak out for wilderness and wild rivers. Key points that you should mention:

•  Thank Rep. Chu for proposing to introduce legislation to establish the San Gabriel National Recreation Area.

•  Urge Rep. Chu to include the package of Wilderness and Wild River protections proposed by the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition for the most scenic, sensitive, and undeveloped National Forest lands in the San Gabriel Mountains.

•  Note that protecting Wilderness and Wild Rivers will preserve water quality and clean air, outstanding recreational opportunities for millions of people, and important habitat for fish and wildlife.

•  Many of the Wilderness areas were recommended for protection by the Forest Service and all the Wild & Scenic Rivers were identified by the agency as eligible for federal protection.

•  Establishing the SGNRA without protecting Wilderness and Wild Rivers on the National Forest lands will not ensure protection of the most scenic, sensitive, and undeveloped wild places in the San Gabriel Mountains.

•  Protecting Wilderness and Wild Rivers on the National Forest lands in the San Gabriel Mountains will not affect water rights and water facilities or private property rights. In addition, it will not limit or reduce public access to our public lands (since the proposal avoids closing all legal roads and motorized trails, as well as the most popular existing mountain bike trails).

If you cannot attend the town hall meeting on Sep. 7, please send an email to Rep. Chu. Rep. Chu has established an email address to specifically receive comments about this issue. The email address is SGRec [at] mail [dot] house [dot] gov.

For more information concerning the town hall or the Wilderness/Wild Rivers proposal for the San Gabriel Mountains, please contact Monica Argandoña at the California Wilderness Coalition.

Rep. Chu has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the proposed NRA on her website.

4.   Job Posting: SUWA Hiring a GIS Analyst

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah’s largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening in its Salt Lake City office for a GIS Analyst. Interested applicants should send the following materials via e-mail to hiring [at] suwa [dot] org: cover letter, resume, transcript, and 3 references. SUWA offers a competitive salary-based on experience-and excellent benefits (health, dental, retirement plan, sabbatical). Materials should be submitted no later than September 20, 2013.

The GIS Analyst will support SUWA’s litigation, legislative and advocacy staff and will focus on energy development, Quiet Title Act/R.S. 2477, off-road vehicles, BLM land use planning, and legislative initiatives. The GIS Analyst will work closely with issues and legislative staff in SUWA’s Salt Lake, Moab, and Washington, D.C. offices and is supervised by the legal director.

Qualifications include: Master’s Degree in Geography or a related area or a Bachelor’s Degree and significant relevant experience; formal training in GIS and demonstrated professional GIS analytical and cartographic skills, including data development and analysis; excellent research, investigative and analytical skills; competence with aerial photography and satellite imagery interpretation and analysis; excellent general computer skills (e.g. spreadsheet and database applications); ability to organize and manage documents and files; and ability to work independently, quickly and within deadlines. A list of sample duties is set forth below.

GIS Analyst sample duties:

•  Provide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis using both data produced by governmental and non-governmental sources and data developed in-house through scanning of hardcopy maps, on-screen digitization, and database development.

•  Prepare GIS cartographic and tabular products for pleadings, in-house support, and other purposes as needed.

•  Provide analysis of historical and current maps, aerial photography, satellite imagery, and related information.

•  Consult with attorneys on the potential for application of GIS to case development and litigation and provide GIS functions when necessary.

•  Consult with attorneys and, where appropriate, provide expert witness testimony in litigation where the opponents have utilized GIS or related technology or data.

•  Provide technical support for legislative and advocacy staff with GIS regarding legislative initiatives.

•  Provide task-specific coaching and project review for advocacy staff working with GIS in order to ensure that the desired analysis and/or product is produced.

•  Establish and implement standards and templates to ensure that GIS work products and associated analysis and data reflect the organization’s commitment to quality.

•  Consult with staff that utilize GIS and identify and implement opportunities to develop a stronger organization-wide program.

•  Maintain the organization’s GIS software licensing and technical support through ESRI Conservation Program grants and other opportunities as identified.

5.   Links to Items of Interest

If a link is broken or you are unable to access an article, please let me know.

Sally Jewell: Locked in the Obama Cabinet?, article and analysis from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on the Interior Secretary and Washington, DC

Interview with Huey Johnson, long-time conservationist, President of Resource Renewal Institute, and member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, in Bay Nature

Article in the Washington Post Magazine about SkyTruth and the use of satellite images for environmental monitoring. SkyTruth is one of the groups CalUWild has long worked with on oil & gas issues.

Report from the Center For American Progress, Blueprint for Balance: Protecting America’s Public Lands for Future Generations Amid the Energy Boom

As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email. For information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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2012 August

September 5th, 2012

Blue Canyons                                                                                  (Patrick Dengate, oil on canvas, 18″ x 30″)

August 16, 2012

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters—

It’s summertime, and I hope you’ve been able to enjoy some time in the great out-of-doors. (This month’s Update is later than usual because I’ve been doing that myself.) Getting away allows you to temporarily escape the rhetoric of the election campaign, which is in full swing. Republican candidate (and likely nominee) Mitt Romney—who doesn’t know why we have so much public land—has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee as his running mate. Rep. Ryan released a report earlier this year that looks favorably on proposals to sell off millions of acres of public lands in the West to reduce management costs and help balance the budget. These troublesome attitudes give some indication of the types of policies that might be put into place if they are elected. Though the current administration has not moved fast enough to reverse many of the policies developed by its predecessors, one thing is for certain: we can’t afford to move backward.

Pat Dengate, the artist who painted Blue Canyons, is the founder of Michigan Friends of Redrock Wilderness. Another painting of his appeared in the July 2011 Update. His website is

In keeping with the summer season, we’ll keep the rest of this Update short.

As always, thanks for your interest and support,

1.   Sen. Boxer Introduces Berryessa-Snow Mountain Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.    Forest Service Planning for Lake Tahoe Basin
          DEADLINE: August 30
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Death Valley National Park Wilderness Planning
          Open Houses in Lone Pine and Beatty
          Aug. 21 & 23
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   State Parks Update: Hidden Funds Found

5.   BLM Grants Rights of Way for Water Transfers to Las Vegas

6.   Bill Introduced in Congress to Bypass Ruling
          Ordering Removal of Fire Lookout in Wilderness Area
          (ACTION ITEM)

7.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Sen. Boxer Introduces Berryessa-Snow Mountain Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

In July, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) introduced legislation to designate a national conservation area in the Coast Range of Northern California. The legislation, S. 3375, is a companion bill to the bill introduced in May by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-1), Lynne Woolsey (D-6), and John Garamendi (D-10), the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Act (H.R. 5545). See the June Update for legislative details.

Please thank Sen. Boxer for sponsoring the bill. Please remember that because all written correspondence and envelopes, addressed to Washington, DC is irradiated and delayed, it’s better to write to local offices. Complete contact information for the senator may be found here. Click here for a webform to submit comments online.

2.   Forest Service Planning for Lake Tahoe Basin
          DEADLINE: August 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we reported last month, the National Forest Service has issued a draft plan for the future management of Lake Tahoe Basin. Talking points for public comments are now available. When writing, please use the following information from the California Wilderness Coalition. If you have additional thoughts and personal experiences, be sure to include them as well.

The Forest Service is the largest land manager in the Lake Tahoe Basin. How much of this public land is allocated to uses that allow new road building, logging, and ski area development, and how much is protected as wilderness or wild and scenic rivers will be determined in the new revised forest plan.

John Muir thought Lake Tahoe should have been a National Park. Instead, much of the Basin was logged over in the 1800s to provide timber for Nevada’s mines. In more modern times, Lake Tahoe has suffered from helter-skelter development of casinos, ski areas, strip malls, and commercial resorts. With the release of the draft forest plan, the public now has the opportunity to ensure that at least the public lands surrounding this nationally-iconic lake are protected for the enjoyment of present and future generations and to protect the lake’s outstanding clarity.

Speak out in favor of protecting more public land around Lake Tahoe as wilderness and wild and scenic rivers. Thank you!

• Support the California Wilderness Coalition’s wilderness proposals for Meiss Meadows and Trimmer-Hell Hole areas of the Dardanelles and Freel Peak roadless areas, and for Granite Chief addition in the North Blackwood Creek Canyon. These proposals have been crafted to reduce conflicts with existing mountain bike and OHV trails.

• Urge the Forest Service to consider at least one alternative that proposes wilderness protection for all roadless areas in the Basin, including Dardanelles, Freel Peak, Lincoln, and roadless additions to the Desolation, Granite Chief, and Mt. Rose Wilderness areas, as well as Wild & Scenic protection for all eligible rivers and streams.

• Urge the Forest Service to recommend Wild & Scenic River protection for all 32 miles of the Upper Truckee River and its tributaries that support and provide crucial habitat for threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.

• Urge the Forest Service to reconsider Wild & Scenic protection for the 24 miles of eligible segments of the Lower Truckee River downstream of Lake Tahoe.

You may review the draft plan here.

E-mail comments to:
Subject: “Draft Land Management Plan”

Or submit written comments to:

Draft Land Management Plan
35 College Dr.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

The Forest Service will be accepting comments until August 30.

3.   Death Valley National Park Wilderness Planning
          Open Houses in Lone Pine and Beatty
          Aug. 21 & 23
          (ACTION ITEM)

Death Valley National Park has announced the preparation of a Wilderness & Backcountry Stewardship Plan for the Park, most of which is designated wilderness. We’ve received no information on the draft document, but will try to include talking points in the next Update. In the meantime, the Park Service is holding two open houses next week in Lone Pine, CA and Beatty, NV. If you’re in the area, you might consider dropping in for information.

Tuesday, Aug. 21
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Statham Hall
138 North Jackson St.
Lone Pine, CA

Thursday, Aug. 23
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Beatty Community Center
100 A Avenue South
Beatty, NV

Information on the draft plan may be found online here.

The deadline for comments is October 9, 2012, and they may be submitted online here or by email.

Written comments may be submitted to:

Superintendent, Death Valley National Park
Attn: Wilderness Plan Comments
P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, CA  92328

4.   State Parks Update: Hidden Funds Found

The California State Park System was in the news again last month when $54 million was found stashed away in two previously unreported accounts—$20 million in the general parks fund, and $33.5 million in the Off Highway Vehicle Fund. State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned immediately, though she apparently had no knowledge of the funds, and a deputy director was fired. No evidence of illegality has surfaced, but the announcement dealt a serious blow to the credibility of the department.

The latest word from Sacramento is that the Legislature will allow the Parks Department to keep the funds and is also considering a moratorium on parks closures for two years. A permanent funding solution has yet to be found.

5.   BLM Grants Rights of Way for Water Transfers to Las Vegas

In our March 2012 Update we wrote that the Nevada State Engineer had granted Las Vegas the rights to pump groundwater from remote valleys in the state to supply the city with more water. This month, the BLM granted rights-of-way for a 300-mile-long pipeline to carry the water from White Pine County, heading south. The BLM decision does not include Snake Valley, east of Great Basin National Park, because Utah has not signed an agreement for the division of the water in that valley, astride the Utah-Nevada border. Nevada has threatened to go to the U.S. Supreme Court with a lawsuit over the matter.

If the pipeline goes through, according to the Center for Biological Diversity “14 desert fishes such as the Moapa dace and least chubs and 25 species of rare Great Basin springsnails would most likely go extinct. The imperiled greater sage grouse, southwestern willow-flycatcher, Columbia spotted frog, northern leopard frog and Bonneville cutthroat trout — along with iconic species such as mule deer, pronghorn and elk — would also face widespread harm.”

Though Las Vegas promises all sorts of monitoring programs, the problem is that by the time any adverse effects are noted, it may be too late to do anything about them.

We’ll keep you posted as developments occur.

6.   Bill Introduced in Congress to Bypass Ruling
          Ordering Removal of Fire Lookout in Wilderness Area
          (ACTION ITEM)

We also wrote in the March Update about a federal court in Washington State ordering the removal of the Green Mountain fire lookout reconstructed in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, near Darrington, Washington. Wilderness Watch, a national group with the goal of preserving and protecting existing wilderness, brought the successful suit and has just sent out information regarding a bill that would circumvent the ruling, allowing the lookout to remain in place. The following information, somewhat edited, comes from them:

In late June, responding to pressure from a small, vocal group, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, who represents the Darrington area in Congress, introduced H.R. 6039 to amend the 1984 Washington State Wilderness Act to authorize the Green Mountain Lookout and effectively overturn the court’s ruling. So far, the bill has not received a hearing and we are actively working to forestall any companion bill in the Senate.

Rep. Larsen generally supports Wilderness, yet this bill would be a damaging blow to the Glacier Peak Wilderness and the entire National Wilderness Preservation System. If enacted into law it would allow the illegally constructed building to remain in designated Wilderness, where buildings and structures are banned. The bill would reward Forest Service officials who deliberately violated laws intended to protect Wilderness and allow for public participation in public lands’ management. And Rep. Larsen’s bill would set a damaging national precedent for exempting unlawful uses in existing Wilderness. Today, with the most anti-wilderness U.S. House since 1964, wilderness opponents would love to set this precedent by passing Larsen’s bill. For more information, see the excellent commentary that appeared recently in the Everett Herald.

WHAT YOU CAN DO Please contact Representative Larsen, even if you don’t live in his Congressional District, urging him to withdraw his bill. If you do not live in Rep. Larsen’s district you’ll need to send your letter via U.S. Mail [rather than using an online webform]. Write in your own words, but consider including the following points:

1.   H.R. 6039 would set a terrible national precedent that could open the door for other bad bills authorizing illegal uses or structures elsewhere in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

2.   H.R. 6039 would degrade the wilderness character of the Glacier Peak Wilderness with this building highly visible atop a wilderness peak.

3.   H.R. 6039 would overturn a well-reasoned ruling from U.S. District Court and reward officials who knowingly broke the law.

4.   The delegation should support a plan to move the new lookout to a location in nearby Darrington or to a non-wilderness summit where it can be accessible to many more citizens. This has been done at the popular Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center near Entiat, WA .

5.   Glacier Peak Wilderness is a national treasure belonging to all citizens across the country. It deserves the strongest possible protection for current and future generations.

Representative Rick Larsen
2930 Wetmore Avenue, Suite 9F
Everett, WA  98201

Washington, DC phone:    202-225-2605
Washington State phone:    425-252-3188

You can read more about the issue on the Wilderness Watch website.

7.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

New York Times‘ Nicholas Kristof on wilderness: Blissfully Lost in the Woods

Salt Lake Tribune cartoon on Utah state land policies.

On the role of the outdoor industry in public lands advocacy, originally appearing in High Country News

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and David Suzuki in conversation, on YouTube

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2011 August

November 8th, 2011

Photographing Long Lake, John Muir Wilderness, California                                                Mike Painter

August 31, 2011

Dear CalUWild members, supporters & friends —

Things have remained relatively quiet this Summer in terms of controversy and opportunities for public involvement (at least in the wilderness and public lands arena), so it’s another short Update this month.

Summer, though, is drawing to a close, many children are back in school, and the days will soon be getting cooler (and are already shorter). So it’s a perfect time to take off, if you can, for your favorite spot. Or go and explore somewhere new in our public lands. One thing is for certain: There is no shortage of wonderful places to choose from.

A note on articles and other links in the Update: Every effort is made to ensure that links are accurate and active at the time the Update is sent out. But mistakes have been known to occur and links do sometimes expire. If you come across a link that doesn’t work, please let me know and I will correct it (if possible) or send you a PDF or text of the article in question.

As always, thanks for your interest and efforts!

Best wishes,

1.   County and State Say They’ll Appeal Ruling
          On Salt Creek “Road” in Canyonlands NP

2.   Mono County Supervisors Once More
          Take No Action on Bodie Hills WSA Release
3.   National Park Service Releases Scoping Summary
          For the Southern California
          Rim of the Valley Special Resource Study

4.   Links to Articles of Interest


1.   County and State Say They’ll Appeal Ruling
          On Salt Creek “Road” in Canyonlands NP

In May we reported that a federal court in Utah had issued a ruling in favor of the National Park Service and its decision to close Salt Creek in Canyonlands National Park to vehicle traffic. The case grew out of claims by San Juan County and the state of Utah that the canyon and its creek bed were a “highway” under the meaning of R.S. 2477, the Civil War-era  statute that gave rights-of-way for the construction of highways on public lands.

The court had found that the county and state had failed to show that there had been 10 years of continuous use by vehicles, the standard required under Utah law to establish a road.  Now the two parties have filed a notice that they intend to appeal that decision.

We’ll keep you posted as the saga continues.

2.   Mono County Supervisors Once More
          Take No Action on Bodie Hills WSA Release

The Mono County Board of Supervisor held a hearing August 2, once again on a resolution to support release of the Bodie Wilderness Study Area in the Bodie Hills in order to facilitate a proposed gold mine. The resolution also supported the nationwide WSA release bill (H.R. 1581) introduced in Congress by California Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-22). This time the Bridgeport Regional Planning Advisory Committee that brought the resolution. The Board expressed frustration that it was being asked to deal with issue yet again, and so a motion to discuss and support the resolution failed for lack of a “second.”

More than 3,000 letters were submitted to the Supervisors, most of them opposing mining and release of the study areas. This is the fourth time the Board has been unable or unwilling to take action in support of resolutions in favor of releasing the Bodie WSA. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write. It’s clear that our efforts are paying off.

The Mammoth Times ran a good article containing background information and more details of the meeting.

Michael Kowalski, the chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co., wrote an excellent op-ed piece opposing the gold mine and release of WSAs in the Bodie Hills. It appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 2, the day of the hearing.

3.   National Park Service Releases Scoping Summary
          For the Southern California
          Rim of the Valley Special Resource Study

The National Park Service has just sent out a newsletter containing its summary of the comments received during the scoping portion of its special resource study on the mountains surrounding Los Angeles. Since it just came out two days ago, there has been no time for review or analysis, but it looks straightforward, so click here to read the summary or to download it.

For more information on the Park Service study, including a link to getting on the mailing list, click here.

4.   Links to Articles of Interest

There have been several articles and columns written in response to the recent spate of deaths in Yosemite and the other national parks.

          Timothy Egan in the New York Times

          Los Angeles Times

          Fresno Bee and other McClatchy newspapers

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2010 August

October 15th, 2010

Hope Valley                                                                                                                                       Joan Hoffmann

August 31, 2010

Dear CalUWild Friends —

Summer is just about over, at least as far as school vacation goes. The days are getting shorter, but Fall can be the best time to explore our wilderness areas and other public lands. Many of the crowds are gone, the weather is cooler, and the light is not as harsh. So get out if you can! (Besides, it’s National Wilderness Month—
see ITEM 8.)

The end of Summer also means that Congress is back in session. Though public lands (and the environment in general) are not very high on the legislative agenda right now, there is still the possibility of a public lands omnibus bill being introduced and passed before the end of the 111th Congress. There’s also an election in November. Every House seat and one third of the Senate is open. You can raise the profile of public lands by asking candidates about their views, either at campaign events or by writing to the editors of your local and regional newspapers.

The painting at the top of this month’s Update is by CalUWild member Joan Hoffman. There will be an exhibition of her work at the Red Barn, Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters in Olema, October through December. An Opening Reception will be held October 16, 11 am – 5 p.m. For more information, contact Joan through her website.

If you’re wondering why the August Update is arriving on September 1, ITEMS 3 & 8 arrived after most of newsletter was finished, but I decided to include them.

Thanks for your interest and support!


1.   San Juan County Wilderness Process Update

2.   Zion National Park Soundscape Planning
          Comments Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
          DEADLINE: September 3 (FRIDAY!)

3.   Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Hearings
          (ACTION ITEM)

4.   National Park Service Study
          To Lead to a Los Angeles Rim Park?
          Meetings in September & October
          (ACTION ITEM)

5.   Pinnacles National Park Bill Introduced in the Senate

6.   California Wilderness Coalition Fundraiser
          November 12
          (SAVE THE DATE)

7.   America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
          DEADLINE Approaching
          (ACTION ITEM)

8.   September is National Wilderness Month
          By Presidential Proclamation

9.   Links to Online Articles of Interest


1.   San Juan County Wilderness Process Update

As we reported last month, the collaborative process in San Juan County came to a halt after the Utah Republican Party failed to re-nominate Sen. Bob Bennett, who had been coordinating the meetings. The county commissioners have not put forth their proposal yet.

The local press in the county, though, has reported on a few interesting proposals, not related to wilderness per se on BLM lands. The word is that expansions of Canyonlands National Park and Hovenweep National Monument are being discussed, though there is no guarantee that either will make it into the county’s final proposal.

Canyonlands National Park has a long and tortured history. As far back as 1936, then-Interior Secretary Harold Ickes proposed the creation of an Escalante National Monument that would have covered most of the Colorado Plateau, down to the Grand Canyon. Opposition from commercial interests in Utah and World War II stopped the idea, although Pres. Roosevelt did designate Arches and Capitol Reef National Monuments—now National Parks. (If the original monument had come about, we wouldn’t be having the protracted arguments over so much of the BLM wildlands now!) The idea for a national park was resurrected in the late 1950s, though the proposal was much smaller, centered on the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Various compromises were made, and Pres. Johnson signed the park into law in 1964. The hope of enlarging the park has never gone away, though.

If you’re interested in reading more, a thorough history of the Canyonlands controversy can be found here, and an interesting interview with then-Superintendent of Arches National Monument Bates Wilson can be found here.

Hovenweep National Monument is a small cluster of parcels containing interesting ruins, some of them towers, and covering only 785 acres. The area is particularly rich in archaeological sites, so any expansion would be a boon to protection of resources. Reports from county commissioners are that there is no opposition to the idea.

We’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

2.   Zion National Park Soundscape Planning
           Comments Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
          DEADLINE: September 3 (FRIDAY!)

When thinking about wilderness and public lands, the focus for many people is most often on the landscape. But sounds can be just as important, especially if they detract from the wilderness experience, depriving visitors of a sense of solitude. Much of the Zion National Park backcountry was designated wilderness in the Washington County bill of a few years ago, and the Park has implemented some innovative management ideas, including banning most private automobiles in heavily-visited months and running a convenient shuttle in the main canyon. The Park Service is currently preparing a “soundscape” management plan, and our friends at Wilderness Watch recently sent out the following alert asking for comments. If you’ve been to Zion or plan to go, please mention that in your comments. Make them as personal as possible.

Sorry for the short notice. Thanks!

Help Protect the Natural Soundscape of Zion Wilderness and National Park

Background: Zion National Park needs your help in crafting an appropriate Soundscape Management Plan for its Wilderness Zone, which comprises 90% of the Park (84% is designated Wilderness and 6% is proposed Wilderness). Its preferred wilderness noise standards are too weak and fail to protect Wilderness values such as solitude, quiet, etc.

This is not just a fight over excessive and mounting aircraft noise. It is a fight to ensure that the National Park Service (NPS) takes and retains a leadership role in preserving our parks. We need an outpouring of public comments urging the Park Service to assert its legal responsibilities under its Organic Act and the Wilderness Act and to follow its own management policies. This Management Plan has the potential to be precedent-setting, so please make your voice heard.

Comments are due to NPS September 3rd and may be submitted on-line at, or mailed to:

Zion National Park
Attn: SMP/EA
Springdale, UT  84767

Key Point to Make:

• Natural sounds are an important part of the experience in the Zion Wilderness and National Park, and should be protected and restored as much as possible.

• The Wilderness Act requires that Wilderness remain untrammeled and its wilderness character be preserved. Motorized noise harms both these wilderness values.

• NPS policy requires, when evaluating environmental impacts, to take into account the “preservation of natural conditions (including the lack of man-made noise).”

• The proposed NPS “Desired Conditions” Standard for human noise (including aircraft) in Wilderness in Zion National Park—at generally audible <25% of the time and periodically audible 50% of the time—is too weak to protect Wilderness.

• The Wilderness Zone “Desired Conditions” Standard should allow for zero motor noise.

• The NPS should, to the extent legally allowed, prohibit air tours over Wilderness and direct such activities to areas where they won’t degrade the experience of those on the ground.

• NPS should continue to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on addressing noise from high-level aircraft and seek to minimize impacts to the Park.

3.   Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Hearings
          (ACTION ITEM)

Pres. Bill Clinton established Sequoia National Monument in 2000, and its management by the Forest Service has been controversial ever since. They prepared an initial management plan that allowed logging in the Monument, at levels far above what many felt the forest could tolerate. A court threw the plan out, ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club, Sequoia ForestKeeper, Sierra Forest Legacy, and other conservation organizations. In response, the Forest Service prepared a new plan, and as part of the process is holding a series of open houses to present the plan and gather comments:

Wednesday, September 15, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Elks Lodge in Porterville.

Saturday, September 18, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield.

Tuesday, September 21, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn in Clovis.

Wednesday, September 22, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

Wednesday, October 6, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia.

Thursday, October 7, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Hilton in Pasadena.

A meeting of the Science Review Panel has also been scheduled on Tuesday, October 12, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Visalia Convention Center.

We don’t have suggestions for comments on the plan yet, though some of the groups involved say that the new plan is as bad as, or even worse than, the original. So please attend a meeting or review the plan online. Links to all sorts of relevant information may be found on the Forest Service’s website.

The comment period ends Nov. 3, so we will try to get more information to you in a timely fashion.

For more information, please contact Marc Heileson at the Sierra Club,

4.   National Park Service Study
          To Lead to a Los Angeles Rim Park?
          Meetings in September & October
          (ACTION ITEM)

The National Park Service is beginning a study of the “Rim of the Valley Corridor,” the mountains around the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Simi, La Crescenta, and Conejo Valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The study, which also includes much of the Santa Monica Mountains NRA, may lead to a proposal to create some sort of National Park Service unit. The purpose of the study is to gather information and explain the process.

The Park Service has announced the following Public Meeting Schedule, to take place during September and October 2010. Meetings marked with *** will have a Spanish translator available. You are invited to join and share your ideas:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Ave.
Chatsworth, CA  91311

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 ***
2-4 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles River Center and Gardens
570 W. Avenue 26
Los Angeles, CA  90065

Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports Complex-Activities Center Building
20880 Centre Pointe Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA  91350

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Conejo Recreation and Parks District
Community Room
403 W. Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA  91360

Monday, October 4, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
King Gillette Ranch
26800 West Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA  91302

Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 7-9 p.m. ***
Northeast Valley City Hall
7747 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, CA  91042

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Charles S. Farnsworth Park
Davies Building
568 East Mount Curve Ave.
Altadena, CA  91001

The Park Service website for the project is here. It contains more information and you can sign up to be on their mailing list. Or you may contact the Park Service as follows:

U.S. Mail:

National Park Service
Rim of the Valley Corridor Study
570 W. Avenue 26, #175
Los Angeles, CA  90065


Phone:   Anne Dove, Project Manager, 323-441-9307
Margie Steigerwald, Outdoor Recreation Planner, 805-370-2373

5.   Pinnacles National Park Bill Introduced in the Senate

On August 5. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) introduced a bill in the Senate that would make Pinnacles National Monument a National Park. The bill is a companion to that introduced last year by Rep. Sam Farr (D-17), in whose district Pinnacles lies.

The Monument was established in 1908 by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt and has been enlarged over the years. Much of the Monument is designated wilderness and it has also been part of the California Condor Restoration Program.

The bill numbers are: H.R.3444 and S.3744. Rep. Farr’s bill has had a committee hearing, and Sen. Boxer’s has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which has not held a hearing yet.

6.   California Wilderness Coalition Fundraiser
          November 12
          (SAVE THE DATE)

We work closely with CWC and are always happy to announce the annual event. Here’s the information:

Please join the California Wilderness Coalition for our annual fundraiser at the David Brower Center. We will celebrate and honor the donors, volunteers, and activists who are crucial to keeping California wild. In addition to the usual fun and festivities, this year’s event features live and silent auctions of art, travel getaways, and outdoor gear.

Hosted by the California Wilderness Coalition at the David Brower Center,

2150 Allston Way, Berkeley CA
November 12, 2010
The event begins at 6:00 pm.

For more information please check out or call (510) 451-1450.

7.   America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
          DEADLINE Approaching
          (ACTION ITEM)

We’ve been reporting the last few months on the Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Listening sessions are continuing throughout the Summer, though no more are planned for California. That doesn’t mean it’s too late to share your thoughts via the Initiative website.

The Initiative staff has said it will present its report to the President on November 15, and it’s rumored that there’s a September 30 deadline for comments. So if you haven’t already, please go to the website, register (it’s simple and free), and submit your comments and suggestions in the four categories there. Also, please review previously submitted comments and FOR those you approve of and AGAINST those you don’t.

8.   September is National Wilderness Month
          By Presidential Proclamation

President Obama today signed a proclamation designating September as National Wilderness Month. (The anniversary of Pres. Johnson’s signing of the Wilderness Act of 1964 is September 3.) The proclamation reads in part:

For centuries, the American spirit of exploration and discovery has led us to experience the majesty of our Nation’s wilderness. … We must continue to preserve and protect these scenic places and the life that inhabits them so they may be rediscovered and appreciated by generations to come. [¶] … It was over 100 years ago that President Theodore Roosevelt marveled at the stark grandeur of the Grand Canyon and declared, “the ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” [¶] …

This month, we renew our pledge to build upon the legacy of our forebears.  Together, we must ensure that future generations can experience the tranquility and grandeur of America’s natural places.  As we resolve to meet this responsibility, let us also reflect on the ways in which our lives have been enriched by the gift of the American wilderness.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2010 as National Wilderness Month.  I invite all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, to learn about their vast history, and to aid in the protection of our precious national treasures.
Read the entire proclamation here.

9.   Links to Online Articles of Interest

If you have time for extra reading, there have been a few articles on relevant topics in the past month that you might find interesting. (WARNING: Not all reflect CalUWild’s viewpoint.)  ALSO, some links may expire after a while. If you can’t access something, please send me an email, and I’ll provide you with the text.)

Wilderness and the Brain, New York Times

Aw, Wilderness!
, New York Times (op-ed piece in favor of mountain bikes in wilderness areas)


National Parks Traveler

the adventure life

National monuments? Maybe they will be
, Los Angeles Times

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist


Ecocentrism: A Response to Paul Kingsnorth

Edward Abbey and the “Shock of the Real”
, Forbes blog (on reading Desert Solitaire)

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2007 August

August 31st, 2007

August 31, 2007

Dear CalUWild members and supporters:

I kept waiting all month for more items to cross my computer screen, but everyone must have been on vacation, so here’s a very brief for August.

Enjoy the Labor Weekend, and we’ll see what’s in the news in September!

Thanks for your interest and support,


1. BLM Ridgecrest Office
Volunteer Service Opportunities

2. Tumacacori Highlands
Wilderness Bill Introduced


1. BLM Ridgecrest Office
Volunteer Service Opportunities

Marty Dickes, BLM Wilderness Resource Specialist in the Ridgecrest Field Office, sent the following request for help on various projects her office would like to accomplish over the next months. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, learn about issues facing wild areas, and do something good for Nature, all at the same time. Contact Marty at 760-384-5444 for more information.

Hi Folks!

Many of you have helped with and/or organized group service projects in Ridgecrest BLM Wilderness the past. Several of you have asked me for ideas for service projects for groups to do in the future. Here is a list of projects that I would like to see completed over the next fiscal year (September 2007-May 2008). Some projects will only require 2-3 volunteers and can be organized very informally with people volunteering on an individual basis. Other projects will require a larger group of people, preferably one or two organized groups, and may need to be scheduled months in advance to garner participants. Some of the larger group projects have already been scheduled with specific volunteers and/or groups. I’ve included them here for scheduling purposes or in case you would like to join forces. If any of these projects sound interesting, please get in touch with me so we can set something up. If you know of other individuals and/or groups that may be interested in helping, please pass this memo on. Ridgecrest Wilderness could really use some additional helping hands!

Sept. 15-21, 2007. Friends of the Inyo. Upper Pat Keyes Tamarisk Inventory & Removal, Inyo Mountains Wilderness. Leader Todd Vogel.

Sept. 28-30, 2007. Need Groups and Individual Volunteers! Marijuana Farm Cleanup, Sacatar Trail Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

Oct. 6-7, 2007. Antelope Valley Sierra Club Chapter. Tortoise Ramp Installation on 2 Bird Guzzlers, El Paso Mountains Wilderness. Leader Kate Allen.

NOTE: We will be preparing a programmatic EA to decide the final disposition of all 21existing bird guzzlers in Ridgecrest BLM Wilderness. The tortoise ramps are an interim measure that must be completed asap in the El Paso Mountains and Golden Valley Wildernesses to comply with WEMO. The Wilderness program has volunteered to accomplish this task with the minimum tool, i.e., walking in and using hand tools. We have access to pack stock (two burros from our Wild Horse & Burro facility) to help carry heavy loads. I think we can get ramps installed on 2 guzzlers over a given weekend; one involving a longer hike, the other a shorter. I am looking for more individuals and/or groups of 2-6 volunteers (Tom Budlong and I could split larger groups into 2 teams…) to help with this project from October 2007 – February, 2008.

Oct. 15-21, 2007. Student Conservation Association Wild Corp. & Individual Volunteers. Pat Keyes Ridge to McEvoy Canyon, Cache Removal & Light Trail Maintenance, Inyo Mtns. Wilderness. Leaders: Marty Dickes & Calder Reid (Inyo National Forest).

Oct. 27-28, 2007. Need Groups and/ Individual Volunteers! Chris Wicht Camp After-the-Fire Cleanup & Restoration, Surprise Canyon Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes

Nov. 14-18, 2007. Friends of the Inyo/Desert Survivors. “Cougar” Canyon Tamarisk Removal, Inyo Mountains Wilderness. Leaders: Todd Vogel & Bob Lyons.

Nov. 21-24, 2007. Friends of the Inyo/UC Riverside. Pat Keyes & Beveridge Cyns. Tamarisk Removal, Inyo Mountains Wilderness. Leader: Todd Vogel.

Nov. 29-30, 2007. Need Groups and/ Individual Volunteers! Marijuana Farm Cleanup, Owens Peak Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

Feb., 2008. 2-Day Exploratory Backpack, El Paso Mountains Wilderness. Leaders: Kate Allen & Marty Dickes.

March, 2008. 2-Day Exploratory Backpack, Grass Valley Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

March, 2008. Need Groups and/Individual Volunteers! Hunter Canyon Cache Removal & Light Trail Maintenance, Inyo Mountains Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

March 28-30, 2008. Need Groups and/ Individual Volunteers! Removal Small Tamarisk Infestations, Argus Range Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

April 4-8, 2008. Need Groups and/ Individual Volunteers! Paiute Cyn. Tamarisk Removal (5-Day Backpack), Inyo Mountains Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

April 26-28, 2008. Need Groups and/ Individual Volunteers! Marijuana Farm Restoration, Owens Peak Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.

May, 2008. Student Conservation Association Wild Corp. & Individual Volunteers. Beveridge Ridge Historic Cabin Stabilization, Inyo Mtns. Wilderness. Contact: Marty Dickes.


If you are interested or have any questions, please call me at 760-384-5444.

Hope you can help!

Marty Dickes
Wilderness Coordinator
BLM, Ridgecrest Field Office

2. Tumacacori Highlands
Wilderness Bill Introduced

Our friends at the Arizona Wilderness Coalition have been working for years to protect the Tumacacori Highlands in southern Arizona. Rep. Raúl Grijalva introduced legislation in Congress this month to do just that (H.R. 3287). The following is a slightly edited version of the announcement that AWC sent out.

Rep. Raul Grijalva Introduces Bill to Protect Tumacacori Highlands as Federal Wilderness!!

Call or email your senators and representatives in Congress and ask that they support Rep. Grijalva’s legislation to protect the Tumacacori Highlands as wilderness!

In southern Arizona there exists a place of color, beauty, and wonderful opportunities for exploration and adventure. As you read this missive, deer race across rolling hills, oak trees rustle in the breeze, children’s laughter rises from Pena Blanca Lake, and the songs of hundreds of songbirds punctuate the silence of the Tumacacori Highlands.

On August 2, Representative Raúl Grijalva introduced legislation to protect the Tumacacori Highlands as federal wilderness.

The Tumacacori Highlands are located in the Coronado National Forest. The area, which was recently featured in an 11-page color spread in Arizona Highways magazine, is part of Arizona’s Sky Island Region, an area famed for its diversity of plant and animal species, including more than 400 types of birds. Wilderness designation for the 84,000-acre Tumacacori Highlands will ensure future generations will always have the chance to experience this area in all of its natural splendor, just I did recently with my wife and two girls. I hope you get the chance to visit the Highlands sometime soon!

Our state’s population has increased exponentially, but it’s been close to 20 years since the last wilderness designation in Arizona to safeguard our fragile landscape. By protecting places like the Tumacacori Highlands as wilderness, we can preserve a part of our unique southwestern heritage. Please join me in thanking Representative Grijalva for standing up for Arizona’s wild beauty.

You can read our joint press release with Sky Island Alliance and Friends of Tumacacori Highlands here.

Thank you,
Kevin Gaither-Banchoff
Executive Director
Arizona Wilderness Coalition

Please write your representative in support of Rep. Grijalva’s bill.Use the following as talking points.

I am writing/calling to ask you to support the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act of 2007 (H.R. 3287). The Tumacacori Highlands, which is part of a region famed for its diversity of plant and animal species, is an Arizona treasure and worthy of wilderness protection.

I was surprised to learn it has been 17 years since wilderness was last designated in Arizona. In the meantime, Arizona has become the fastest growing state in the nation, and its expanding population is putting pressure on the last wild places there. This proposal to protect the Tumacacori Highlands as wilderness ensures that a piece of our southwestern heritage will remain in its natural, beautiful state, for future generations.

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2005 August

August 19th, 2005

August 19, 2005

Dear friends and supporters of CalUWild —

Summer is drawing to a close, but there is still time for some us to get away before school starts for an extended visit to a wild place. Take advantage of it if you can!

There has been some good news on the public lands front, in addition to some of the items below. In Utah, the BLM has removed from leasing consideration some lands outside Canyonlands National Park, after the Park Service objected. In response to a petition by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Kanab Office of the BLM has instituted an emergency closure of Trail Canyon to all ORVs, and has limited ORV travel in the Hog Canyon area. These victories show that despite a generally unfavorable climate for wildlands preservation it is still possible to achieve results. There’s no point in giving up!

As mentioned in our June Update, CalUWild received a grant for new computer equipment from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation. With our new “modern” equipment and software, we’re able to do new things like including hyperlinks and other formatting in our Monthly Updates. I hope this works for all of you!

If you have Mac software that you’re not using, we could sure use it. In particular we can use recent versions of Adobe Photoshop, PageMaker, and Acrobat (to allow PDF publishing). Contact me at if you’re able to help us out.




1. Judge Has Doubts About the No More Wilderness Settlement


2. North Coast Wilderness Bill (And Others) Passes U.S. Senate

3. Los Padres National Forest Oil & Gas Plan Released


4. Court Throws Out Tongass National Forest Logging Plan


5. Yellowstone Snowmobile Planning Again

Comments Needed

DEADLINE: September 14, 2005



6. Job Announcements

A. California Wilderness Outreach Coordinator

B. Arizona National Monuments Organizer



1. Judge Has Doubts About the No More Wilderness Settlement

On August 8, Utah Federal District Judge Dee Benson stepped back somewhat from his 2003 ruling that approved the controversial settlement between the State of Utah and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Those two parties had agreed that all wilderness inventories undertaken after 1995 were illegal, removing many areas from the status of wilderness study area (WSA) and its accompanying protections.

Stating that he was uncomfortable that the settlement would limit the policy discretion of future administrations, Benson said, “My present inclination is to get the court out of an area where it shouldn’t be.” However, he said that the settlement would remain in place.

Conservation groups had appealed the settlement to the 10th Circuit in Denver, which sent it back to Benson’s court to review the challenges to the settlement.

It is possible now that uncertainty over the ultimate status of lands with wilderness character may make energy firms hesitant to bid on leases in the future when they become available.


2. North Coast Wilderness Bill (And Others)

Passes U.S. Senate

On July 26th, new wilderness for California came a step closer, when the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the North Coast Wild Heritage Act. The bill was part of a package of 38 natural resource and public lands bills that gained approval. Included were three other wilderness bills for New Mexico (Ojito), Washington State (Wild Sky), and Puerto Rico. (The Wild Sky and Ojito bills have been discussed in the Update previously.)

The North Coast bill designates 120,000 acres of BLM land as wilderness, including almost 43,000 acres in the King Range along the Lost Coast in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties.

This is the third time that the Wild Sky bill has passed the Senate, but the House has so far refused to take it up. It would protect over 100,000 in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The Ojito Wilderness Bill covers an area of 11,000 acres north of Albuquerque.

House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-11) from California has steadfastly refused to hear full committee hearings on the North Coast and Wild Sky bills. The Ojito and Puerto Rico bills passed the Committee earlier in the year.

3. Los Padres National Forest Oil & Gas Plan Released

On July 28 Los Padres National Forest released its much-delayed environmental impact statement on new oil and gas development. The plan was probably the best that conservationists could have hoped for, given the political situation in Washington, DC these days. However, there are objectionable parts to the plan, and the possibility exists that some groups will file appeals.

The plan opens up some 52,000 acres of the southern part of the forest to leasing, north and east of Ventura and Santa Barbara. More than half of this area lies within roadless areas. However, the plan prohibits surface development on 47,798 of these acres, and any exploration would have to be done by directional (slant) drilling. The Forest Service claims that all of the allowed development is near already existing oil and gas activities. The plan also states that as few as 21 acres may be required for additional roads and drilling pads.

One of the main concerns is how increased operations will affect the endangered California condor. Condors are known to range far and wide in their search for food, and there is nothing to keep them from coming in contact with oil that has leaked or been spilled around wells.

The amount of oil expected to be found is about 17 million barrels, not even enough to meet U.S. demand for six days. The question is whether this amount is worth exploring for. The Forest Service’s project manager, Al Hess is quoted as saying “Even with the price of oil, we haven’t had people clamoring at the door.”

As we reported in last month’s UPDATE, local Congresswoman Lois Capps has introduced legislation in Congress to ban any new oil and gas development in the Forest.

For more information, visit Los Padres ForestWatch.

We’ll keep you posted on further developments.


4. Court Throws Out Tongass National Forest Logging Plan

The Ninth Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco ruled earlier this month that the Forest Service used inaccurate information when it prepared a management plan for the Tongass National Forest, the largest in the U.S, and largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The forest covers 17 million acres and over half of those are roadless.

Specifically, the court found that the Forest Service overstated the demand for lumber from the forest, did not consider alternatives that would have required logging in fewer roadless areas, and did not consider the impact of the plan on wildlife.

The original plan was prepared by the Forest Service under Pres. Clinton. The Bush administration exempted the Tongass from the Roadless Area Rule, two years before tossing the Rule out altogether.

The Forest Service will now need to prepare a new plan, and again the public will again have an opportunity to comment. We’ll keep you posted.


5. Yellowstone Snowmobile Planning Again

Comments Needed

DEADLINE: September 1, 2005


The ongoing saga of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks continues. Here is the latest from our friends at the Snowlands Network.


Three recent studies have conclusively proved what Yellowstone visitors want in their Park experience. It is not unregulated snowmobile use. Now, disbelieving the hard facts, the Bush Administration intends a fourth study! They want to spend $3 million and take two more years to re-visit the Yellowstone snowmobile issue. Yellowstone, our first National Park, needs your help today. Grand Teton is also affected by this action. Precedents and rules are being set. Read on.


One of the most hopeful recreational trends in our country right now is taking place at Yellowstone!

Snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park is declining dramatically, despite unprecedented political manipulation that benefits the snowmobile industry. As a result of this decline, the Park is becoming healthier. It is more enjoyable. Yellowstone is attracting a broader range of visitors. Yet the Bush Administration wants to spend even more tax dollars to justify continued snowmobile use in Yellowstone.

The Administration’s efforts to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone have run headlong into a visiting public that is demanding stronger park protection. Over the past two winters, fewer visitors have chosen to ride snowmobiles while more have opted to tour or access the park by snowcoach. Snowmobile numbers have plummeted to a fraction of what the Bush Administration supported, resulting in some key benefits to the Park’s environment. Just as the National Park Service and the EPA predicted, the shroud of snowmobile pollution is beginning to lift from Yellowstone, snowmobile engine noise is reduced, and the park is becoming healthier and less chaotic for people and animals alike.

If you want these healthy trends to continue, please take a few minutes to participate in the public process described below. Insist that our national parks belong to citizens, not industries, and must be managed by sound science, not political favors.


Rather than embracing this visitor-led recovery of Yellowstone National Park, the Bush Administration has snubbed the NPS mission, scientific findings, the tide of public opinion – and now even visitor preferences. This has the appearance of delivering what the snowmobile industry wants – wearing the public out with a fourth study. You and I can’t allow this to happen. As a Yellowstone superintendent once remarked, our first national park will be at great risk “only if the American public ceases to care.”

Please write to the NPS to support a full phase out of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and the nearby Grand Teton National Parks. The NPS says in this “scoping” process it wants your thoughts on issues, potential environmental impacts, and management alternatives that it should analyze in determining a final winter use plan for these parks. It will accept comments through September 1, 2005.


Please consider incorporating some or all of the following points in your letter.

Remember, the deadline for comments is September 1, 2005.

* Be sure to give your name and address, and state that you are commenting on the Scoping for the Yellowstone Winter Use Plan.

* Add a personal touch to your letter. Give background on yourself (and family) and any relevant experiences you have had.


* The National Park Service has already spent well over $7 million conducting three separate studies of winter use in Yellowstone. Each study concluded that fully replacing snowmobiles with snowcoach access, “…best preserves the unique historic, cultural, and natural resources associated with Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks…” and would “…attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation and risk of health and safety.” This alternative should be implemented without further delay. It is redundant, wasteful, and wrong to conduct a fourth study when three previous studies have agreed on what is best for public health and safety and the resources of Yellowstone National Park.


* If the Park Service goes forward with a fourth study, it should not merely analyze “an alternative allowing only mass-transit snowcoaches,” as the agency’s June 2005 Notice of Intent advertised, but also the benefit of expediting implementation of this alternative. The snowcoach alternative has already been identified three times as the best option for protecting park resources and assuring visitor enjoyment, yet its implementation has been delayed for five years. Some business owners in the gateway communities have reported that even in the uncertain climate that has prevailed, visitor response to snowcoach tours has been highly enthusiastic, surpassing their own optimistic business forecasts. Visitor use of snowcoaches has climbed 42 percent during the past two winters. Not studying swift implementation of the best protection for Yellowstone cheats the public. Increasingly, it is also shortchanges local tour operators who are making investments in a more protective means of serving Yellowstone’s visitors.

* Snowcoaches are equalizing in that they give all individuals the same opportunity to see Yellowstone in winter. This includes children, the elderly and the disabled. The use of snowmobiles benefits one group of park visitors at the detriment of other park visitors who must live with the noise and odor of the machines, or just not visit the park.


* If the NPS insists upon studying continued snowmobile use, it should NOT consider any option that it already knows exceeds newly-established thresholds put in place to protect park resources and visitor health and enjoyment. On average fewer than 300 snowmobiles per day entered Yellowstone the past two winters. Yet even with this much reduced number, and even with all the snowmobiles being “best available technology,” snowmobile engine noise has frequently exceeded Yellowstone’s new protective thresholds.


* If the NPS insists upon studying continued snowmobile use, it should NOT study unguided or non-commercially guided snowmobile use. The Park Service has already analyzed alternatives that included no guiding, partial guiding, and full guiding. Moreover, the NPS directly experienced the benefits of requiring all snowmobilers to be accompanied by a commercial guide. Based on that analysis and direct experience, the NPS already has concluded that full commercial guiding is a critical component of resource protection. In its August 2004 Environmental Assessment, the NPS called for all future snowmobile use to be commercially guided adding that this requirement, “applies the lessons learned in the winter of 2003-2004 relative to commercial guiding, which demonstrated, among other things, that 100 percent commercial guiding was very successful and offers the best opportunity for achieving goals of protecting park resources and allowing balanced use of the parks.”

* In addition, NPS Director Fran Mainella published a letter stating, “…the essentially unregulated snowmobile use of the past, and its attendant effects, must not be allowed to continue…We required trained guides to escort groups of snowmobilers into and through the park to ensure that they would avoid disrupting wildlife.” Yellowstone’s Chief of Planning and Compliance, John Sacklin, has stated that the guiding requirement is “fundamental to controlling the issue of inappropriate behavior.” In sum, the benefit of 100 percent commercial guiding has already been studied and NPS has concluded emphatically why it is a necessary component of any continued snowmobile use. Revisiting this issue is a waste of time and tax dollars.

Online comments are strongly preferred. Submit them at:


Winter Use Scoping

Yellowstone National Park

P.O. Box 168

Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190


6. Job Announcements

A. California Wilderness Outreach Coordinator

Position Title: Wilderness Outreach Coordinator

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Classification: Exempt/Grade

Reports To: Dan Smuts, Deputy Regional Director

California/Nevada office of The Wilderness Society

Deadline: Open until filled

Start Date: Immediately

General Description:

The Wilderness Society and the California Wild Heritage Campaign seek an experienced Outreach Coordinator to develop and implement a strategy for building grassroots support for the protection of wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers in California.

The Wilderness Society (TWS), a national non-profit organization with over 250,000 members, is devoted to the conservation of wilderness and public lands and was a founder of the California Wild Heritage Campaign. The California Wild Heritage Campaign (Campaign) seeks to permanently protect California’s remaining public wild lands and rivers through an outreach, education, and community activism campaign. The Campaign is a coalition of more than 500 local, regional, state, and national conservation organizations, businesses, faith groups, and civic leaders committed to this goal. A nine member Governing Board (which includes TWS’ Deputy Regional Director) and a Campaign Director guide the work of the Campaign.

The Outreach Coordinator will be responsible for designing the Campaign’s local and statewide plans to build support for wilderness and wild and scenic rivers protection. The Outreach Coordinator will oversee a team of field organizers and contractors in implementing the outreach plans. The Outreach Coordinator will also coordinate the Campaign’s outreach efforts with those of partner organizations and activists around the state. The Coordinator will be a key member of the Campaign’s larger team, serving as a liaison between the Campaign’s outreach efforts and its related political and media efforts.

The ideal candidate has experience managing a multi-faceted grassroots campaign, including developing and implementing grassroots outreach strategies. Experience working in a coalition setting is highly desirable because the Coordinator must be able to collaborate with, and lead, a diverse group of interests. This individual must also be willing to work on many projects, juggle competing priorities, and be responsible for the implementation of both local and statewide campaign efforts with minimal supervision. The Campaign is complex and, as a result, the Outreach Coordinator needs to be able to show leadership in their efforts while also working well with the larger campaign team. Strong communication skills, flexibility, and a “can-do” attitude are essential.


* Develop and implement outreach strategies to secure wilderness protection in targeted areas of the state.

* Coordinate outreach activities of Campaign field organizers, contractors, and partner organizations. Work with individuals on local campaigns to win support for the protection of wild places.

* Build and maintain coalitions with statewide constituency groups including conservation groups, unions, businesses, and scientists.

* Organize advocacy trips to Washington D.C. and Sacramento.

* Communicate with local decision makers, federal agencies, and members of Congress.

* Design and implement grassroots organizing trainings for Campaign staff, contractors, and activists across the state.

* Work with the Campaign’s Communications Director to design outreach and educational materials for the press, general public, community leaders and decision makers.

* Coordinate and communicate to volunteer activists throughout the state, using the internet, e-newsletters, and mailings. Assist in establishing a system of updates and alerts to member groups, activists, and targeted supporters.


* 3-5 years experience managing a grassroots campaign and working with media and elected officials.

* Demonstrated ability to develop grassroots outreach strategies.

* Ability to coordinate the activities of many diverse partners.

* A strong sense of initiative and the ability to work with minimal supervision.

* Excellent written and oral communications skills.

* Demonstrated ability to multi-task and achieve deadlines.

* Demonstrated ability to work positively with all kinds of people.

* Demonstrated expertise in email, word processing, spreadsheet and fax programs.

* Dedication to the preservation of California’s public lands.

We offer a very competitive salary and benefits package, including health and dental insurance and a pension plan. The Wilderness Society is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees and constituents regardless of differences based on culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or sexual orientation.

Submit résumé, cover letter, writing samples and references to:

Dan Smuts

The Wilderness Society
P.O. Box 29241

San Francisco, CA 94129-0241


No phone inquiries please.

B. Arizona National Monuments Organizer

The Sierra Club is looking for a skilled organizer to continue our campaign to protect Arizona’s five newest national monuments.

We’re looking for someone who wants to protect public lands, is effective at recruiting others to get involved, can work well in diverse coalitions, can present the issues to the media and the public, and can be effective with government agencies.

Full-time, $30,000/year, health benefits. Office in Phoenix.

Apply to: AZ Monuments Organizer at: (email preferred)


c/o Sierra Club Southwest Office

202 E. McDowell, #277

Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Include cover letter, resume and references. Please apply by September 20, 2005.

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2004 August

August 29th, 2004

August 29, 2004

Dear Friends of CalUWild:

Next Friday, September 3, is the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. The Act is one of the major American contributions to environmental thinking and law. “Wilderness,” however, is not a recreational classification, even though the Act says that lands should provide opportunities for “primitive” recreation. It is a philosophical designation: some land deserves to remain just as it is, set aside, with no significant human interference.

The writer Edward Abbey said: “The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.” It may have been true when he said it, but it is no longer. The very concept is under attack by people who think that every acre of land must be exploited for maximum economic gain. Others think that motor access should be encouraged everywhere and that designating wilderness “locks up the land,” keeping people out.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 was passed with significant support from members of both parties in Congress-it was a non-partisan issue. The landscape has changed much in the last 40 years. Unfortunately, few Republican champions of wilderness are to be found. It is now more difficult to pass “stand-alone” wilderness bills. Instead, large public lands packages, which often contain measures that are not good for the environment are being introduced more and more frequently. There is a major discussion going on in the wilderness community how to react to these types of bills. One thing is for sure: There are no easy answers.

But what will make a difference is the active participation of as many concerned citizens as possible. That’s why CalUWild exists-to encourage and facilitate widespread participation by citizens in wilderness decision-making: advocacy for legislation and for proper management of existing and potential wilderness lands. After all, these lands belong to all of us as Americans. It’s our right and duty to protect them as we see fit.

The best way to celebrate the 40th Anniversary is to get out and enjoy the wilderness and then to come home refreshed and ready to work again to protect it.

On TV tonight, NOW with Bill Moyers (PBS) will have a segment on the 40th Anniversary and the threats facing public land. Check your local listings for exact time, or go to:

This edition of the Monthly UPDATE deals with the issues that won’t go away: the status of snowmobiles in Yellowstone, the National Forest Roadless Rule, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. These are all very important issues, and even though we ask our members to write one letter a month, we’d like to ask that you submit comments on all the topics this month, if you have the time. The issues are that important. Your comments need not be long or involved, but please make them as personal as you can. All the information you’ll need to write is contained in the items below.

Next month we’ll look at the Draft Price Resource Management Plan in Utah. Since it has a comment deadline of October 15, we didn’t want to overwhelm you by discussing it now. If you want to get a head start on the issue, visit

Finally, over the course of the last week, CalUWild sent out its major membership mailing of the year, which asked for your financial support. Running the organization requires a lot of time, and while we work to keep expenses to a minimum, they are nonetheless considerable. We do not send out direct mail, and our members only receive one renewal notice per year. If you received your reminder, whether by U.S. Mail or e-mail, please help CalUWild continue its work by sending in a contribution. Many thanks to those whose generous responses have already shown up in our mailbox!


IN California
1. Fax Gov. Schwarzenegger in Support of the North Coast Wild Heritage Act

IN Wyoming
2. Comments Needed on Snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Teton National Parks
DEADLINE: September 20, 2004
IN General
3. Forest Service Roadless Rule Comments Needed
DEADLINE: September 14, 2004
4. Forest Service Off Highway Vehicle Comments Needed
DEADLINE: September 13, 2004


1. Fax Gov. Schwarzenegger in Support of the North Coast Wild Heritage Act
DEADLINE: October 10I

Last month we asked our members to call Gov. Schwarzenegger, asking him to publicly support the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, S. 738/H.R. 1501. So far he has not, and therefore, the California Wild Heritage Campaign is going to the next level and asking people to fax the Governor.

From last month, the points to raise are:

* This bill will protect some of California’s most spectacular areas such as the King Range, the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the lower 48.
* It would also protect critical areas for California’s threatened Steelhead trout and salmon populations.
* It would also protect Cache Creek, home to California’s second largest wintering bald eagle population.
* Throughout California there is broad support for the bill.
* Tell about your personal experience, such as: I have been hiking, fishing, camping on the Lost Coast and want this area protected for future generations.
* You hope the Governor will consider formally supporting S. 738/H.R. 1501.

The Governor’s fax number is: 916-445-4633

2. Forest Service Roadless Rule Comments Needed
DEADLINE: September 14, 2004

Despite numerous studies by the Park Service and others showing that snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks has serious impacts on natural resources and human health (particularly rangers stationed at entrance kiosks), the Bush administration continues to push for snowmobile use in the Wyoming parks. In response to overwhelming public comment, the Park Service devised a phase out of private snowmobile use, but a court ordered a new plan.

So for at least the third time, the Park Service is taking comments on winter use in the parks. The draft’s preferred alternative would allow up to 720 machines to enter the park every day. However, Alternative 1 would allow only snow coaches (mass transit) to carry visitors into and through the park. We urge you to write in support of this alternative.

Points to include:

* You support Alternative 1, which emphasized snow coaches and prohibits recreational snowmobiling.
* Numerous studies, including those by the park itself, document negative impacts on wildlife and other resources. Bison, elk, and other wildlife should not be harassed by the noise these machines produce.
* Snowmobiles cause the health of park rangers to be compromised and the peaceful atmosphere of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks to be disrupted.
* Americans want Yellowstone and Grand Teton to remain calm, peaceful and beautiful areas, which was made obvious by the overwhelming support for the original plan.
* For these reasons, the Park Service’s preferred alternative does not comply with the Park Services legal mandate to protect park resources, unimpaired for future generations.

For more background information, visit:

Mail comments to:

Management Assistant’s Office
Temporary Winter Use Plans EA
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

Comments may be submitted through the Park Service’s web site at:

Comments are due by midnight September 20, 2004.

3. Forest Service Roadless Rule Comments Needed
DEADLINE: September 14, 2004

The Bush administration has had its sights set on the Clinton administration’s Forest Service Roadless Rules since Inauguration day, 2001. However, it gave lip service to enforcing the Rule but never defended it vigorously in court challenges. This, despite the fact that the original rulemaking was the most extensive ever: 1.6 million Americans submitted comments and attended over 600 meetings. The majority of them supported keeping roadless areas wild.

In July, the administration announced its alternative: to let the state governors petition the Forest Service for the level of protection the wanted for the national forests in their states. So it’s time for concerned citizens to send in letters once again.

Points to include:

* Our national forests belong to ALL Americans, and their management should not depend on state lines or gubernatorial whim.
* Federal taxpayers, not governors or state dollars, pay for the management (including road construction) of national forests. Thus, it is a bad policy to give governors control over something for which they have no responsibility.
* The proposed plan suggests a willingness by the Forest Service to abdicate its responsibility for managing these lands in the interest of ALL Americans and should, therefore, be rejected.
* Instead, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule should be left intact in the Lower 48 states and Alaska’s Chugach National Forest and reinstated in the Tongass National Forest.

Comments are due September 14, 2004. Send them by mail, fax, or via e-mail.

Mail comments to:

Content Analysis Team
Attn: Roadless State Petitions
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 221090
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

Fax: 801-517-1014


4. Forest Service Off Highway Vehicle Comments Needed
DEADLINE: September 13, 2004

The following alert is taken from information provided by the Natural Trails and Waters Coalition, of which CalUWild is a member.

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a new rule concerning use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles on America’s National Forests. Although it represents a step forward, it falls far short of what is needed to address one of the greatest threats to National Forests. Please urge the Forest Service to strengthen the draft rule by sending a comment today. Comments must be received by September 13, 2004.


The future of our National Forests and the values they represent are threatened by growing and uncontrolled use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles.

In many National Forests today, off-road vehicles can go drive almost anywhere. The Forest Service reports that more than 273,000 miles of roads and other routes are open to various off-road vehicles. On some forests, ATVs and dirt bikes can travel virtually without limit across hundreds of thousands — even millions — of acres.

And this one use dominates the landscape at the expense of almost any other activity. According to the Forest Service, millions more people visit our National Forests to hike, view nature, hunt or fish than visit to ride off road vehicles. As off-road vehicle use has exploded and vehicles become capable of traversing almost any terrain, the Forest Service has failed to effectively manage this use or consistently enforce even its most basic rules on off-road use.

Forest Service Acknowledges the Problem:

In April 2003, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified unmanaged off-road vehicle use as one of the four greatest threats to America’s National Forests, along with fire, the spread of invasive species and habitat fragmentation. The Chief catalogued the damage and the other negative impacts caused by uncontrolled off-road vehicle use: “We’re seeing more and more erosion, water degradation and habitat destruction. We’re seeing more and more conflicts between users. We’re seeing more damage to cultural sites and more violation of sites sacred to American Indians. And those are just some of the impacts.”

Chief Bosworth also called attention to the spreading spider web of unplanned — or renegade — ATV and dirt bike tracks that crisscross so many of our forests. In 2001, the Forest Service estimated that forests nationwide were scarred with at least 60,000 miles of unauthorized roads, many blazed by off-road vehicles. This figure has only grown over the past few years.

Early this year, Chief Bosworth appropriately issued an urgent call to action: “This is not an easy issue to tackle, but if we wait a day, a week, or even a year, the impact on the land and the issues surrounding the problem will be come even harder to deal with. We need to address the issue now.”

Draft Rule Small Step Forward, But Falls Far Short of the Mark:

The draft rule falls far short of what is needed to respond to the growing threat. The proposal does include some policy changes that would be beneficial if effectively implemented on the ground, including:

* Prohibiting cross-country motorized travel across entire forests
* Authorizing ATV and dirt bike use only on roads and off-road vehicle routes specifically designated as open for such use
* Concluding that forests do not have to inventory and/or map unauthorized renegade routes prior to commencing the designation process

Overall, however, the draft rule is extremely tentative, does not address critical problems, and fails to reflect the urgency highlighted by Chief Bosworth only a few months ago.

* Chief Bosworth has appropriately cited the need to act “now,” but the proposed rule does not include a timeframe for starting or completing the process of studying and designating roads and routes appropriate for ATVs and dirt bikes.
* Chief Bosworth has highlighted the problem with unauthorized renegade routes, but the proposal is almost completely silent about how to address this pernicious threat.
* Uncontrolled off-road vehicle use is damaging the land, polluting water, shredding wildlife habitat, and driving many forest visitors away, but the proposal does not clearly require the Forest Service to study the negative impacts of specific roads or routes that could be opened to ATVs, dirt bikes and other vehicles.
* Having enough people and other resources to monitor impacts and enforce basic rules is essential to successful management, but the proposal does nothing to boost on-the-ground management and enforcement capability.

When commenting, please tell the Forest Service to ensure that any final rule requires each National Forest to:

* Complete off-road vehicle route designations within 2 years of the effective date of that rule
* Include snowmobiles in the rulemaking so that other users and wildlife are protected
* Designate roads and routes, including any unauthorized renegade route, for off-road use only after public participation and site-specific analysis of environmental impacts and user-conflicts
* Immediately end use of all unauthorized renegade ATV and dirt bike routes pending site-specific study and official designation
* Ensure that it can afford, maintain and manage any system of roads and routes designated for off-roads vehicle use.

In addition, please urge the Forest Service to retain the following in any final rule:

* The general prohibition on motorized cross-country recreation, provided that any area designated as available for off-road vehicle use be limited and discrete
* The requirement that off-road vehicle use be authorized only on those roads and routes specifically designated as open on use maps
* The conclusion that forests are not required to inventory and/or map unauthorized renegade routes prior to commencing the official route designation process.

Please also share personal experiences and observations in your comments.

Send comments via:

U.S. Mail

Proposed Rule for Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use
c/o Content Analysis Team
P.O. Box 221150
Salt Lake City, UT 84122-1150

Fax: 801-517-1014


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2003 August

August 29th, 2003

August 29, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends:

Congress has been on recess for the month of August, so things have been pretty quiet on the legislative front. However, when the House and Senate come back in September, two important wilderness and environmental issues will need your attention: RS 2477 (the roads over public lands issue (Item 2) and the nomination of Utah governor Mike Leavitt to head the US Environmental Protection Agency (Item 3).

There are a couple of other issues to write letters on as well, as you’ll see below.

On the CalUWild administrative front, have a request: We are in need of a laptop computer. With travel increasing over the last year, there’s a growing need to have access to files away from the office. (Besides, the computer here, although functional, is getting old “a 1997 model” and its system and software are in serious need of upgrading.) So if you are looking to replace your laptop, particularly if it’s a Mac PowerBook of relatively recent vintage, a gift of it to CalUWild would be most welcome. Please contact me at and let’s discuss!

Many thanks to those of you who have sent in dues and contributions in response to our recent appeal. We couldn’t run the organization with your support. A high level of support from our members is important to foundations considering giving us grants, so if you received a notice and haven’t sent a contribution in, please consider doing so.

Finally, please pass this Update along to a few people you know who might be interested in joining the campaign to protect our wild places. The best way to increase our effectiveness is to have more citizens involved, enlarging the circle of folks willing to make their opinions heard. It is the only way to balance out the voices of those who see our public lands as a resource to be used for private gain.

As always, we hope to give you the most usable information for advocacy on wilderness and public lands issues. If you ever have questions, suggestions, or comments, don’t hesitate to send them our way, by e-mail or phone: 415-752-3911.

Thanks for your interest in protecting our wildlands, and have a good Labor Day weekend!


1. Salt Creek in Canyonlands NP (Again)
2. R.S. 2477 Moves to the Senate
3. Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt Nominated To Head EPA In Washington
4. Senator Boxer Announces Opposition To National Forest Recreation Fees

5. Los Padres National Forest Oil & Gas Drilling
6. Bison Event in Marin
Wednesday, September 3, 7 P.M.


1. Salt Creek in Canyonlands NP (Again)
DEADLINE: October 10

Last Fall, Canyonlands National Park finished an environmental assessment on vehicle travel in Salt Creek Canyon. It decided to exclude vehicles above the Peekaboo campsite. The park now wishes to finalizes this decision by changing its regulations and has put a notice in the Federal Register asking for comments. Letters supporting this decision should be sent by October 10.

Complicating the issue has been the fact that San Juan County claims Salt Creek as a route under R.S. 2477, the 1866 law granting rights of away across public lands. In April of this year, Utah governor Mike Leavitt signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Department of the Interior, in which he agreed that the state would not pursue R.S. 2477 claims in national parks and other protected areas. The Park Service has said that it believes the Salt Creek claim is unfounded, however, Gov. Leavitt has so far not disavowed the claim, despite requests to do so publicly.

The following issues are important in the Park Service’s decision to close the canyon to vehicles and should be mentioned in your letter:

* Salt Creek’s intrinsic value as the only perennial stream in Canyonlands NP.
* The importance of Salt Creek as a water source for wildlife and possibly for hikers.
* Streambank erosion and other impairment of the riparian habitat.
* Direct and indirect effects of vehicles on wildlife.
* The presence of any threatened or endangered plants or animals.
* Pollution of the creek by motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, and other chemicals.
* Turbidity of water caused by vehicles driving through the creekbed.
* Damage to archeological resources directly by vehicles and as a result of the easier access to sites that vehicles provide.
* Effect on hikers in the canyon.

Written comments will be accepted by mail, fax or e-mail through October 10, 2003. Send comments to:

Canyonlands National Park
Attn: Salt Creek Rule
2282 S.W. Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532

Fax: 435-719-2300


For more information, check out the following web sites.

Canyonlands National Park

Downloaded a PDF file of the recent Federal Register notice.

2. R.S. 2477 Moves to the Senate

In September, the U.S. Senate will begin work on its version of the Interior Appropriations Bill. We are hoping for an amendment which will completely cut off funding for the implementation of the Interior Department’s “disclaimer” regulations, which went into effect earlier this year. A similar amendment was introduced in the House by Colorado Rep. Mark Udall, but it was weakened to include only national parks, monuments, wilderness areas, and wilderness study areas. A stronger Senate amendment would give us leverage in negotiations in the House-Senate conference committee.

California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), a member of the Appropriations Committee, has been a strong opponent of the administration’s handling of the R.S. 2477 issue, and we need her to remain strong on the issue. Calls and letters to her office are important! Remember, mail to Washington, DC is still irradiated and delayed up to 3 weeks, so please call or fax letters to Washington, or mail them to the local offices below.

In Washington, DC:
202-224-3841 phone
202-228-3954 fax

1 Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
415-393-0707 phone

11111 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310-914-7300 phone

750 B Street, Suite 1030
San Diego, CA 92101
619-231-9712 phone

For more information on R.S. 2477 visit

3. Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt Nominated To Head EPA in Washington

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Pres. Bush has nominated Utah’s governor Mike Leavitt to replace retiring EPA administrator Christy Todd Whitman. This is not good news.

Gov. Leavitt is not a real friend of the environment and believes in letting states make their own regulations on many issues, rather than adopting a single national approach. He has consistently misstated wilderness advocates’ positions on issues, and uses the word “extremist” to refer to us at every possible opportunity. However, he claims to be a moderate himself, although he always adopts the positions of those who look to use the land for their own advantage: extractive industries, off-road vehicle users, ranchers, and others.

If he has the same attitudes toward his EPA duties as he does toward public lands issues in Utah, Mr. Leavitt will fit in perfectly with the Bush administration, probably better than Ms. Whitman ever did.

Some areas of concern:

1. Gov. Leavitt frequently touts collaboration in solving difficult issues as his goal. In practice, he has never collaborated with anyone in the environmental community on anything: wilderness designation, R.S. 2477, or his Legacy Highway plans.

One example is the settlement of his lawsuit against the Department of the Interior regarding BLM’s Utah wilderness inventories. This settlement overturned policies in place for decades, stretching back to Pres. Jimmy Carter’ days. A second is the negotiation of the memorandum of Understanding with the Interior Dept. over R.S. 2477 claims in Utah. Even Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado, another Republican, called those negotiations “secret, closed-door with no public process and no involvement of stakeholders,” and vowed that Colorado would undertake a more open process.

So far, Gov. Leavitt’s administration has failed to disavow the R.S. 2477 claim in Canyonlands National Park (Item 1).

2. His philosophy of “Enlibra” – a Latin word that he made up himself, supposedly meaning “toward balance”. is for people “who choose problem-solving instead of politics, litigation and obstructionism,” to quote his web site. However, he has never hesitated to threaten or instigate lawsuits when it suited his own purposes. The lawsuit against the Interior Department comes to mind. The state of Utah also filed suit against the Forest Service Roadless Rule.

3. One task of EPA is to protect wetlands. As governor, one of Mr. Leavitt’s pet projects has been the construction of the controversial Legacy Highway. The freeway itself would destroy over 114 acres of marshland on the edge of Great Salt Lake, and open many more acres to development. The freeway route is part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve System. In addition, the construction contract specified that the government would reimburse the contractors for delays brought about by litigation and appeals. The EPA had sent a letter warning Mr. Leavitt not to proceed because of pending litigation, but knowing full well that lawsuits would be filed against the project, he proceeded anyway. So far, the state of Utah has had to pay out $23 million in penalties to contractors: $17 million because of the delay and $6 million to get out of the contract. Should the project be permanently stopped, $100 million in construction cost would wind up being for nothing, plus the state will have to pay to restore the land where it has already built.

Confirmation hearings in the Senate will likely be held in September. Phone calls and letters to opposing Mr. Leavitt’s nomination are crucial. Contact information for Sen. Dianne Feinstein is in Item 2. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s information is:

In Washington, DC:
202-224-3553 phone

1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-956-6701 fax

312 N. Spring Street, Suite 1748
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-894-5042 fax

201 N. E Street, Suite 210
San Bernardino, CA 92401
909-888-8613 fax

4. Senator Boxer Announces Opposition To National Forest Recreation Fees

The following comes from the Keep Sespe Wild Committee:

Senator Barbara Boxer recently announced her opposition to extending the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program (Fee Demo) on National Forests, including Southern California’s “Adventure Pass” parking fee.

The Senator stated: “I believe this demonstration program has not worked, and I will oppose efforts to extend it.”

Previously, the Senator had not taken a position on this issue.

The Fee Demo program is being addressed by Congress this year in several ways – Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) sponsored a bill, S.1107, to make permanent the Fee Demo program only in National Parks, with hearings scheduled for September 9; on August 17 the House passed, by 241 – 184, an Interior Appropriations rider to extend the program in all four agencies (NPS, USFS, BLM and USFWS) by two more years; and Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), chair of the House Resources Committee, is preparing permanent legislation for all four Fee Demo agencies, for introduction this fall.

Please make a couple of quick calls to California’s two Senators.

Please thank Senator Barbara Boxer for opposing forest fees. You may also, if you wish, ask her to cosponsor S.1107 (see above). Call Senator Boxer in DC at 202-224-3553 or in CA at 213-894-5000 or 415-403-0100

Please call Senator Dianne Feinstein and ask her to oppose any extension to Fee Demo in the Senate. (She sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee which will soon be deciding whether to extend Fee Demo or not.) Ask her, if you wish, to cosponsor S.1107 (see above). Call Senator Feinstein in DC at 202-224-3841 or in CA at 310-914-7300 or 415-393-0707.

5. Los Padres National Forest Oil & Gas Drilling

We are repeating the following item from our July Interim Update:

The Forest Service has said it will release its environmental impact statement for oil and gas exploration in Los Padres National Forest in September. (Release of the plan has been delayed several times already, so there is no guarantee on this.) Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-24) is the only representative in the area who has not publicly opposed the proposal. Because his district includes the areas of the forest proposed for development, it is important that he oppose the plan. We would like still him to do just that.

The House of Representatives will be on recess through the month of August. If you (or anyone you know) live in Rep. Gallegly’s district (Ventura, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and much of Santa Barbara County), this is the perfect time to let him know you oppose oil & gas exploration in the national forest — immediately adjacent to the release areas for the California Condor.

There are several ways to do this. You can call his local office and find out whether he has any townhall meetings scheduled. You can write a letter to the editors of the newspapers in his district — particularly effective is to identify yourself as a Republican voter (if you are one).

Finally, a sign-on letter is being circulated among scientists, civic and religious leaders, and business owners of the state asking him to oppose the project. If you (or anyone you know) fall into one of these categories, please contact Erin Duffy of the California Wild Heritage Campaign, and she will send you the text of the letter and you can sign on.

6. Bison Event in Marin
Wednesday, September 3, 7 P.M.

Let the Buffalo Roam!

Meet Ernest Callenbach author of Bring Back the Buffalo!
and Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign

Wild Buffalo are a symbol of America’s national heritage, yet the United States government and the state of Montana, under the influence of the powerful livestock industry, in just ten years slaughtered over 3,000 native buffalo that roamed out of Yellowstone Park – forever altering the wild character and integrity of our public lands and wildlife.

The Foundation for Deep Ecology invites you to learn more about the plight of the buffalo. Join us for an informative discussion and video presented by Ernest Callenbach, author of the new book Bring Back the Buffalo! and Mike Mease, co-founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign.

Wednesday, September 3rd at 7:00 p.m.
Foundation for Deep Ecology
Building 1062 Ft. Cronkhite, Sausalito
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marin Headlands

The Buffalo Field Campaign is dedicated to protecting Yellowstone’s bison, America’s only wild herd, 365 days a year. Volunteers defend the bison and their habitat through grassroots campaigning, and are often seen roaming with the herds as they move from wintering to breeding grounds inside and outside of the park.

Author Ernest Callenbach’s books include Ecotopia, Ecotopia Emerging, and Ecology: A Pocket Guide. His new publication, Bring Back the Buffalo! offers constructive alternatives to the decline of cattle ranching, depletion of underground water, and dependency on outside energy sources. It shows how bringing back the hardy, majestic bison and using the region’s winds to generate power are keys to renewed economic and social health for Plains communities.

Refreshments will be served
Contact Tracee at 415-229-9339 to RSVP and for directions

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