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2018 February

March 3rd, 2018


In the Needles, Canyonlands National Park, Utah                                                                       (Mike Painter)
 

February 28, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

The administration continues its thinly-disguised reviews of monuments, plans, and regulations in the hopes of overturning many of the decisions enacted over the last few years. (See ITEMS 1 & 3.) Almost all of these had been made with substantial public input, and there is no rational reason for them to be revisited. The only explanation is that opponents of public land protection (and many other environmental issues) have the ears of the current administration and Congress.

We’re confident that they won’t be successful in all their attempts to roll back the clock, but it will require many people to be vigilant and active.

CalUWild remains committed to providing the information people need to speak out effectively in defense of our public lands, whether to Congress, the administration, or the press.

Thank you for your interest and efforts!
 

Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1. National Monuments Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 19
          (ACTION ITEM)
2. Central Wasatch National Conservation
          & Recreation Area Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Desert Renewable Energy Plan Under Attack
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 22
          (ACTION ITEM)
4. 4 Wheel Bob — Film Showing in:
          San Rafael (March 18)
          Albany (March 21)

IN GENERAL
5. Job Listings
          a. Friends of Nevada Wilderness
          b. Mono Lake Committee

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

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

IN UTAH
1. National Monuments Update
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 19
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we mentioned in last month’s Update, the BLM is currently undertaking planning processes for the replacement national monuments in Utah. We have some more detailed talking points below. The deadline for comments is currently March 19, though if additional public meetings are scheduled, the deadline will be extended at least 15 days after the last meeting. But it’s better not to take any chances.

According to High Country News, the BLM offices have been instructed to ignore comments demanding that they put off planning until litigation is finished. You should include that point, regardless. It lets BLM know that people are paying attention, and it gets the illegality and waste of planning resources into the public record, which may be useful publicity in the likely case that the administration loses in court.

Please use your own words, and if you have been to any of the areas under discussion, please say so and explain why they are important to you.

For both Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

— The proclamations issued to shrink the original monuments are illegal. The president has no authority under law to reduce monuments once they have been designated. Only Congress has that authority. Most legal commentators agree with that position.

— These rollbacks have been challenged in federal court. It is not appropriate to be undertaking large-scale planning because of this ongoing litigation. Should the plaintiffs win their cases, there will be a large waste of time and money. In times of reduced budgets, that is doubly inexcusable.

— Citizens do not support these rollbacks. See the overwhelming support for all our monuments shown by the 2.7 million comments submitted during last summer’s review. 97% recommended that all monuments remain intact.

Bears Ears National Monument

— Any interim actions planned within the original and legitimate Bears Ears National Monument boundary should only be done for the purpose of protecting Monument resources as set out in President Obama’s proclamation, Proclamation 9558 (December 28, 2016). This includes vegetation removal projects for supposed grazing range enhancements.

— In developing a management plan for the Shash Jáa and Indian Creek management units—and in order to ensure protection of cultural and natural resources—BLM must consider alternatives that permanently close Arch Canyon, Lavender Canyon, and Davis Canyon to motorized vehicle use.

— In order to ensure adequate public review and comment, the public comment period should be extended to 90 days after the last BLM or Forest Service public hearing.

— In addition to Bears Ears National Monument gateway communities, public hearings should also be held in Salt Lake City, Utah; Flagstaff, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; and Washington, D.C.

The planning homepage is here and the direct link to the online comment form is here.

By Email: blm_ut_monticello_monuments@blm.gov

Comments may also be submitted by U.S. Mail to:

Attn: Field Office Manager
Monticello Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 7
Monticello, UT 84535

An ironically-timed article appeared in the Washington Post: Spectacular fossils found at Bears Ears — right where Trump removed protections

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

— Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated in 1996, with its primary purpose to protect the incredible scientific, ecological, and paleontological resources within its 1.9 million acres. Any interim actions within the original and legitimate Monument boundary should only be done for the purpose of protecting Monument resources as set out in the original proclamation.

— BLM’s 1999 Monument management plan was the result of a deliberate and collaborative process that involved scientific scrutiny and intense public participation. Any interim actions within the original and legitimate Monument boundary must comply with the 1999 management plan.

— All motorized travel routes within the original Monument boundary that were closed or limited under the 1999 Monument management must continue to be managed pursuant to the management plan. For example, the Paria River—a fragile riparian corridor within a Wilderness Study Area that was purposely excluded from President Trump’s monument boundaries in order to facilitate ATV use—must remain closed to all motorized vehicles.

— Contrary to what some have said, the designation of GSENM has been important for local communities, which have grown economically more than other rural counties in this region. The monument as is, is a critical factor in the local community. There are proposals to allow coal mining in original GSENM. However, coal is dead in this region, as demonstrated by the upcoming closing of the nearest coal-fired power plant and the fact that other states, such as California, are not interested in providing a market for it, or even providing shipping facilities for export, as is the case in Oakland, California. No coal mining in the area should be considered. The future is in taking care of these remarkable lands and bringing renewable energy to local communities.

— Do not allow current and future vegetation removal projects, in particular “chaining,” within the original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This practice negates BLM’s obligation to protect natural resources and wilderness values from irreversible human-caused harm.

The homepage for the project is here, and comments may be submitted here.

By Email: BLM_UT_CCD_monuments@blm.gov

Comments may also be submitted by U.S. Mail:

Attn: Monument Manager
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Bureau of Land Management
669 S Hwy. 89A
Kanab, UT 84741

 
In ITEM 2 of last month’s Update we mentioned The ANTIQUITIES Act of 2108, S. 2354. Unnoticed in the information provided by Sen. Tom Udall and omitted from our discussion is a provision in the bill that would congressionally designate all 1.9 million acres of the original Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition proposal, rather than the 1.3 million that was designated by Pres. Obama. That’s even more reason to support it!
 

2. Central Wasatch National Conservation
          & Recreation Area Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

Much of CalUWild’s work in Utah has focused on areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management. But Utah has significant national forest lands, as well, and some of it is even wilderness! One important area is the Wasatch Front, the mountains behind Salt Lake City and stretching south from there.

A Utah organization, Save Our Canyons, has put forward a proposal that would, in their words

protect 80,000 acres of public land through the designation of the “Central Wasatch National Conservation & Recreation Area.” Once passed, this legislation will connect fragmented land with areas currently under federal protection, designate additional wilderness areas, and limit future development in the Wasatch, all while protecting our shared values of natural places.

More information on the proposal may be found here, and a series of maps detailing various aspects of the proposal may be found here.

Finally, there is an online petition in support of the proposal. Please sign it here.

We’ll keep you posted as the proposal develops further, including any legislation.
 

3. Desert Renewable Energy Plan Under Attack
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: March 22
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Bureau of Land Management last month announced plans to review the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), put into place after years of discussion and compromise among many interested parties. The administration said it would like to allow more renewable energy installations, off-road vehicle use, and mining and grazing. The DRECP covers almost 11 million acres of BLM lands in seven California counties: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. See below for more background on the DRECP.

BLM is holding scoping meetings at the following locations over the next week.

Friday, March 2, 2018
3pm – 5pm
Fairfield Inn & Suites
503 E Danenberg Dr., El Centro, CA 92243

Monday, March 5, 2018
1pm – 3pm
DoubleTree Hotel
2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA 95815

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
5pm – 7pm
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
5pm – 7pm
UC Riverside, Palm Desert Center, Auditorium
75080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Palm Desert, CA 92211

Please attend if you can!

The following comes from our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition:

ACTION ALERT: 4.2 million acres of protected desert lands under attack

Defending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is a visionary blueprint for balancing conservation, energy development, and recreation on our priceless desert public lands. While protecting desert lands for recreation and wildlife, the DRECP dedicates an area larger than the city of Los Angeles for renewable energy projects – which California energy regulators say is ample for meeting the state’s renewable energy goals. Despite this, the Trump administration claims that even more land may be required for development.

Re-opening the DRECP puts at risk over four million acres of protected conservation lands, including Silurian Valley, Chuckwalla Bench, Conglomerate Mesa, and Panamint Valley, and will undoubtedly harm the scenic vistas, dark skies, wildflower displays, and the myriad recreational opportunities these lands provide. Revising the DRECP could also greatly harm many iconic species such as desert bighorn sheep and desert tortoise.

During the more than eight-year planning process, federal, state and local governments, conservationists, energy producers, recreationists, and desert residents participated in about a dozen public meetings to help create the DRECP. In addition, BLM took into consideration more than 16,000 public comments when it finalized the plan. The fact that the DRECP was never challenged in court is a testament to the buy-in that was achieved as a result of this careful listening process. Please join our coalition members in declaring this process unnecessary, counter-productive, and ultimately detrimental to California’s precious desert lands and state efforts to grow renewable energy.

Talking points adapted from CWC:

— Oppose any attempt to re-open the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The DRECP should be implemented as is.

— There is no justification for re-opening this Plan that was only finalized about 17 months ago. Re-opening the DRECP to years of arguing, uncertainty, and litigation is a waste of taxpayer dollars and valuable government resources. I strongly urge the Department of the Interior to leave it alone.

— There was broad public support for the plan and more than eight years of collaboration between federal, local, and state government, energy producers, conservationists, and recreationists helped produce it.

— The Department of Interior must maintain protections for the special lands that were designated as California Desert National Conservation Lands and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. These wild lands encompass many spectacular and outstanding values such as colorful wildflower displays, endangered wildlife habitat, and opportunities for recreation and solitude that should be preserved for future generations. The DRECP’s conservation and recreation aspects not only protect special places but also bring significant tourism dollars into California, which drives local economies.

Submit comments on issues and planning criteria

via Email to BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov

or by U.S. Mail to:

Mr. Jerry Perez
BLM-California State Director
2800 Cottage Way, Rm W–1623
Sacramento, CA 95825

 
In related news, the administration is also opening up 1.3 million acres of desert lands to mining, reversing a withdrawal that the Obama administration put in place in 2016. You may read details in this San Bernardino Desert Sun article: Trump administration opens millions of acres of California desert to mining
 

4. 4 Wheel Bob — Film Showing in:
          San Rafael (March 18)
          Albany (March 21)

One frequently hears from opponents of wilderness that its designation shuts out people who can’t hike. However, people are able to explore in various other ways, whether on horseback, canoes, rafts, or kayaks, or even wheelchairs (which are allowed, despite a general prohibition on mechanical transport). Here’s a film about one man’s adventure:

At the Smith Rafael Film Center:

Bay Area filmmaker Tal Skloot will present his film portrait of Bob Coomber, who will join him for discussion. 4 Wheel Bob follows Coomber, an intrepid adventurer who sets out to be the first wheelchair hiker to cross the 11,845-foot Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada. Bob had grown up in Piedmont in a family of avid backpackers and, while hiking in his early 20s, shattered his leg in a struggle related to juvenile diabetes and subsequent osteoporosis. After a period of depression, Bob adopted a philosophy of “no excuses” and, confined to his wheelchair, took increasingly strenuous hikes, using only his arms to get around. And as you will see, the Kearsarge Pass can be a dangerous climb. (2017) 72 min. plus discussion.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Sunday, March 18
1118 Fourth St, San Rafael, CA 94901
4:15 p.m.

The film will also be shown at the Albany Film Fest on

Wednesday March 21
Albany Twin Theatre
1115 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706
7:30 p.m.

Go to the film’s website to view a trailer. There are no other screening listed, but there is a mailing list you can join.
 

IN GENERAL
5. Job Listings

          a. Friends of Nevada Wilderness

From our friends to the east:

Friends of Nevada Wilderness is hiring for the 2018 summer field season! We are happy to announce that we currently have 13 seasonal positions available. If you or someone you know would be interested in spending the summer in living and working in some of Nevada’s most wild areas, please consider applying for one of the positions listed here.

          b. Mono Lake Committee

From our friends at the Mono Lake Committee:

Mono Lake Committee seasonal jobs available

If you’ve always wanted to spend a summer at Mono Lake, now is your chance—we still have open seasonal staff positions for summer 2018, including Mono Lake Intern, Canoe Program Coordinator, Outdoor Education Instructor, and Information Center & Bookstore Assistant. Summer at Mono Lake is… the busiest and most activity-filled season, and seasonal staff jobs include leading interpretive tours, helping visitors in the bookstore, and canoeing on Mono Lake, among many other varied tasks. We accept applications from people of all ages, whether you’re looking for an internship between college semesters, or you’re interested in a post-retirement summer of work.

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to Office Director Jessica Horn, either by email or by mail to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541.
 

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
6. 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.

To see how deep the anti-public lands sentiment runs among Utah’s politicians, read this Salt Lake Tribune article: Bill seeks to limit how Utah city and local officials speak up in favor of public-lands protections

In response to one argument made by the federal pubic lands opponents, John Leshy, Professor Emeritus at UC Hastings and former Interior Department Solicitor has written this comprehensive law review article: Are U.S. Public Lands Unconstitutional. Follow the link on the page to see the full article. It’s long but the pages are short with lots of footnotes. It’s very readable.

An op-ed in the NY Times: Protecting America’s Last Great Animal Migrations

New national parks in Chile: Protecting Wilderness as an Act of Democracy

 
 
 
 
 

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

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

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2017 February

March 11th, 2017

The Bears Ears, from White Canyon, Utah                                                                                 (Mike Painter)

 
March 1, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends-

The new administration has come in with a bang, and every day seems to bring something new to be alert to. People are speaking out on a broad spectrum of topics that they feel strongly about, exhibiting a level of civic interest and involvement we haven’t seen for a while. We hope this level of energy can be sustained over the long haul.

Next month, we hope to have information about the planned reintroduction in Congress of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

Please get your family and friends involved at whatever level is possible. We can never have too many friends of public lands. And if they join CalUWild, so much the better. Membership information may be found on our website here.

Thank you, as always, for your interest and support!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Bears Ears and General Update
          CALLS NEEDED
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
2.   Rep. Ryan Zinke Confirmed as new Secretary of the Interior

IN IDAHO
3.   Court Rules against Forest Service in Wilderness Case

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Bears Ears and General Update
          CALLS NEEDED
          (ACTION ITEM)

The Utah legislature passed a resolution calling for the Bears Ears National Monument to be rescinded and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to be shrunk (in order that coal reserves on the Kaiparowits Plateau be made available for mining). Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), leaving a meeting at the White House, said that he thought the president would comply.

Today, Ryan Zinke was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Interior (see ITEM 2). Mr. Zinke said one of the first things he would do if confirmed would be to go to Utah to talk to the various stakeholders. It is important to remember that the Interior Department also oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that Native Tribes were the originators of the Bear Ears monument proposal.

It is, therefore, critical that people let him know from the start that they oppose these unacceptable proposals. Please call his office right away to let him know that. Be sure to mention where you’re calling from, so Mr. Zinke knows that it’s not just Utahns who support the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments. Urge him to work to protect ALL our public lands, as well.

          Phone:   202-208-7351 and if you get a recording, press 0 to leave a message.

The lack of support for public lands shown by Utah’s elected officials-congressional representatives, senators, the legislature, and the governor-has led the Outdoor Retailers to cancel their twice-yearly show in Salt Lake City when the current contract runs out in 2018. Several companies had already said they would boycott the show if it continued to be held there, which added to the pressure. The Outdoor Industry Association finally made good on the threat that had been proposed for years; Utah officials cannot say it came as a surprise to them.

 
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) introduced two bills in the House impacting federal public lands. The first, H.R. 621, would pave the way to disposing of more than 3 million acres of federal lands that out-of-date Bureau of Land Management studies had categorized as suitable for disposal. The outcry in opposition from many quarters, especially hunters and anglers was immediate and loud. It was so fierce that Rep. Chaffetz almost immediately said he would pull the bill.

This shows the power of citizen involvement when properly and forcefully targeted.

The second bill, H.R. 622, would strip the BLM and Forest Service of law enforcement authority on federal lands. It also is the target of opposition from conservationists, hunters and anglers, and some local law enforcement agencies. We hope it will meet the same fate, and we’ll keep you posted.

 
Rep. Chaffetz held a town hall meeting on February 9 at a high school in his district. More than 1,000 people attended and 1,500 more stood outside, as the auditorium was filled to capacity. The meeting drew national attention because attendees regularly interrupted him with shouts of “Do your job!” and “Explain yourself!” Attendees were angry that Mr. Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has refused to investigate the President’s potential conflicts of interest with Russia, among other things, after being such a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. Mr. Chaffetz claimed that paid, out-of-state agitators were to blame, calling it an “attempt to bully and intimidate.” Press sources were unable to find a single paid person there.

Some attendees sent his office mock invoices for “paid protest hours.”

There is a complete video of town hall meeting here.

The Atlantic published an article about the meeting: A Utah Congressman Faces the ‘Resistance’ in his Home State.

 
IN GENERAL
2.   Rep. Ryan Zinke Confirmed as new Secretary of the Interior

As mentioned above, the Senate as Secretary of the Interior confirmed Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) today. The vote was 68-31. Both of California’s senators, Dianne Feinstein (D) and Kamala Harris (D), voted to oppose the nomination. CalUWild joined 167 other conservation organizations in also opposing his nomination.

Though Mr. Zinke has publicly stated that he opposes the transfer of federal lands to the states, and he supports the Land & Water Conservation Fund, his attitudes toward management of those lands is suspect. The League of Conservation Voters gave him a score of 4 (out of 100) for the two years he has served in Congress, meaning he voted against the environment 96% of the time. These include votes to limit the authority of the President to designate national monuments, to block Bureau of Land Management regulation of hydraulic fracking, at least 21 votes against various Endangered Species Act protections, stricter regulation of the ivory trade, and more. Mr. Zinke would be in charge of all federal leasing of lands for oil, gas, and coal, but he introduced legislation to overturn Pres. Obama’s moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. He also stopped a review of the impacts of leasing on climate change and local communities. The New York Times published a substantial article on Mr. Zinke today.

The White House announced it would seek a 10% budget cut for the Interior Department, though Congress still needs to approve any budget. Challenging times are ahead, so, as always, we’ll need to follow the Interior Secretary’s actions closely.

Again, please call him to voice your support for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah (see ITEM 1).

 
The nominee for Agriculture Secretary, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, is the former governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue. Not much has been written about him. He was a farmer and veterinarian before being governor from 2003 – 2011. He is a climate change denier and made headlines when, as governor, he led a prayer service for rain during a drought.

 
IN IDAHO
3.   Court Rules against Forest Service in Wilderness Case

Our friends at Wilderness Watch won a major case against the Forest Service involving helicopters and wildlife collaring. In an unusually strong ruling, the judge ordered the Idaho Department of Fish & Game to destroy the data that was collected. Here is Wilderness Watch’s announcement:

In a major victory for Wilderness and wildlife, federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill has just ruled that the Forest Service’s approval of Idaho Fish and Game’s helicopter-assisted elk-collaring project in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness (FC-RONRW) was unlawful, that Idaho Fish and Game illegally collared four wolves, and that Idaho Fish and Game must destroy data gathered from the illegally placed elk and wolf collars. Rejecting the State of Idaho’s argument that it does not need Federal approval to conduct these activities in Wilderness, Judge Winmill was clear-“[t]he ‘overarching purpose’ of Congress in passing the Wilderness Act was to preserve the ‘wilderness character’ of that land[,]” and the State of Idaho “must obtain approval from the Forest Service before undertaking a project in the Wilderness Area.”

On January 7, 2016, Earthjustice, on behalf of Wilderness Watch, Friends of the Clearwater, and Western Watersheds Project, filed a complaint in federal court to stop the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game from conducting a major helicopter-supported elk capturing and collaring project (of up to 120 helicopter landings) as part of Idaho’s egregious plans to eventually kill more than half of the wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho. The FC-RONRW is the largest contiguous Wilderness in the lower 48 states.

Just days after we filed the lawsuit, Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game admitted they captured and collared wolves in the Wilderness “by mistake,” a clear violation of the law and their Forest Service permit. Then in February 2016, Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game also admitted the radio collars would “assist with control actions.”

Fortunately, Judge Winmill’s ruling will force both the State of Idaho and the Forest Service to comply with the Wilderness Act in the future.

You may read the ruling here.

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

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

Public Lands in General

Release from the offices of Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA47, and House author of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act) and Rep. Dave Reichert (D-WA8): Congressmen Lowenthal and Reichert Resolution Affirms America’s Federal Lands Are National Treasures Belonging To All Americans

This land is our land: The bitter debate over America’s public spaces

Helena (MT) Independent Record: More than 1,000 rally against transferring or selling federal lands

Wyoming Senate president kills public lands transfer bill

Bundy Trials in Oregon & Nevada

Oregon Public Broadcasting: misdemeanors added to original charges: 4 Of 7 Refuge Occupiers Set To Appear In Second Trial Will Plead Guilty

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Ammon Bundy Contradicts Previous Testimony On Refuge Takeover

An article in The Guardian: FBI posed as journalists to get evidence on Bundys. Now it could hurt their case

An article in High Country News: Why a scientist cut down ‘the oldest living tree:’ The Prometheus Tree in Nevada was nearly 5,000 years old when it was cut down. It could have lived a lot longer.

 
We’ll continue with video links 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” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.

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2016 February

March 3rd, 2016

DSC_0905a3a
Near the Dolores River, Utah                                                                                                       (Mike Painter)

 
February 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

This month, we’re happy to report on new national monuments in California and a peaceful end to the armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. There are several Action Items on Utah and Arizona issues, as well. Public lands have been in the news! The job for all of us now is to use this visibility to increase support for the protection and proper management of special places across the West and the country.

 
An administrative note: Thanks for all the very positive responses to both the photography and artwork included in the Update every month. I’m happy to include other people’s work occasionally, so if you have a photo or other depiction (painting, woodcut, etc.) of some special wilderness area or other public land in the West, please send it to me by email attachment. Our standard width for emails and website is 625 pixels. Please include the name of the place at whatever level of specificity you like; however, specific locations of rock art will not be included in the caption. You will, of course, be credited.

 
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Utah Test & Training Range Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Public Lands Initiative
          Comments Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Pres. Obama Designates 3 Mojave Desert National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Celebration
          Saturday, March 19

IN ARIZONA
5.   Grand Canyon Tramway Proposal Still Alive
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN OREGON
6.   Malheur NWR Standoff Ends—
          Cliven Bundy Arrested

IN GENERAL
7.   Job Listing: WildEarth Guardians, Communications Director
          DEADLINE: March 21

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

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IN UTAH
1.   Utah Test & Training Range Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

A hearing was held last week in the House Federal Lands Subcommittee on H.R. 4579, the “Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention & Temporary Closure Act.” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced the bill as a companion to Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) bill, S. 2383.

The legislation would place potential restrictions on public access to and use of some 635,000 acres of BLM land in Utah’s West Desert, in order to allow military training overflights and other exercises at the adjacent Utah Test & Training Range.

Tucked into the bill, despite having no connection to the military or national security, is a provision to grant rights-of-way to over 6,000 miles of routes in three counties: Box Elder, Juab, and Tooele. As is the case across Utah and the West, many of these so-called routes are often nothing more than streambeds, cow paths, or two-tracks-not constructed highways with 10 years of continuous public use, as R.S. 2477, the law from 1876, has been interpreted to require. Many of these routes cross areas of land proposed for wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, and so counties claim these as rights-of-way in order to defeat that designation, since roads aren’t permitted in wilderness areas. These routes are the subject of ongoing litigation, and the bill would circumvent those cases by granting a blanket set of easements to the counties, whether the routes are legitimate or not.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial opposing the granting of rights-of-way, saying “The bill to expand Utah’s test range for the new stealth fighter has a little stealthiness itself.”

Please contact your Congressional Representative and Senators, and ask them to oppose H.R. 4579 and S. 2383, the “Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention & Temporary Closure Act.”

Contact information for Representatives may be found on their pages on the House website.

Contact information California’s two Senators is here:

Sen. Barbara Boxer:   202-224-3553
Online here

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:   202-224-3841
Online here

The general page for Senate contact information is here.

 
2.    Public Lands Initiative
          Comments Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month we described the draft Public Lands Initiative (PLI) released by Utah’s Reps. Rob Bishop (R) and Jason Chaffetz (R). If you haven’t submitted comments yet, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has a page set up to collect comments for delivery to appropriate members of Congress.

Here are the talking points from last month, but please use your own words.

– Designate more real wilderness using the 1964 Wilderness Act as a guide, not wilderness that has all sorts of exceptions built into it.

– Protect the Bears Ears, following the Indian tribes’ proposal.

– The proposal is really a land grab, with its road giveaways, land transfers to the counties, and support for state ownership of federal lands.

– Remove the provisions for fossil fuel zones. We need to move away from dependence on those sources, especially given climate change.

Feel free to add to those. If you want more detailed information, please refer to Item 1 of last month’s Update.

The good news is that opposition to the draft PLI is mounting within Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial regarding the land transfer provisions in the proposal: The Utah Public Lands Fairies and Unicorns Act. And the Moab Sun News had an article regarding the Grand County Council’s reaction to having its recommendations ignored or even contravened, despite the PLI supposedly being a locally-driven process: Council baffled by elements of Bishop’s PLI draft.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Pres. Obama Designates 3 Mojave Desert National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

On Friday, February 12, Pres. Obama designated three new national monuments in California: Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains. The designations are the result of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) long-time efforts to protect the Mojave Desert in the southeastern part of the state. As we’ve written before, Sen. Feinstein had introduced legislation to protect these areas, but when Congress refused to act on her bill, she approached the White House and asked the President to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the monuments.

Mojave Trails National Monument runs along a 105-mile stretch of old Route 66, between Ludlow and Needles. It’s about 1.6 million acres in size and contains important wildlife corridors between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.

Sand to Snow National Monument, about 154,000 acres east of Riverside, lies between the San Bernardino National Forest and Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Castle Mountains National Monument, about 21,000 acres, lies on the California-Nevada border, surrounded on three sides by the Mojave National Preserve. It was left out of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act due to an active gold mine that ceased operations in 2001. The area also includes the historic mining town of Hart.

On February 23, Sen. Feinstein introduced S. 2568, the California Desert Conservation, Off-Road Recreation, and Renewable Energy Act, which has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The bill contains the provisions from her original legislation that Pres. Obama couldn’t put into effect administratively. These include:

• Establishing five wilderness areas on BLM land, enlarging the Death Valley National Park Wilderness, and adding to the San Gorgonio Wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest, now part of the Sand to Snow National Monument

• Adding about 40,000 acres of BLM land to Death Valley National Park and enlarges Joshua Tree National Park by about 4,500 acres.

• Establishing the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area of about 18,600 acres, in Inyo County.

• Designating several Wild & Scenic Rivers

• Establishing five off-highway vehicle recreation areas.

• Establishing a Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund to distribute royalties, rents, or other fees from development of wind or solar energy on BLM land, with a set structure of distribution to the federal, state, and local governments.

You may read Sen. Feinstein’s statement on the designation here.

The Presidential Proclamations for the three monuments may be read by clicking on the corresponding links below:

Mojave Trails

Sand to Snow

Castle Mountains

Please send messages to Pres. Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell thanking them for these designations and encouraging them to continue their efforts at preserving significant examples of the American landscape. Particularly mention the Bears Ears in Utah!

Pres. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Comment line:   202-456-1111
Online comments here

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

Comment line:   202-208-3100
Email address:    feedback [at] ios [dot] doi [dot] gov

And don’t forget to thank Sen. Feinstein for her efforts over the years to protect the California desert. She has made it one of her main priorities, from the time she was first elected, carrying on the work of former Sen. Alan Cranston.

Sen. Feinstein’s DC office:   202-224-3841
Online here

 
4.   Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Celebration
          Saturday, March 19

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, designated last July, will have its formal dedication on Saturday, March 19th.

A Spring Festival is planned, including booths, food, and music. It will take place at Cowboy Camp, 20 minutes west of Williams off Hwy 20 & Hwy 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information, please call Elizabeth Sousa (530-934-1137), Rich Burns (707-468-4070), or send an email to bsmnm15@gmail.com

 
IN ARIZONA
5.   Grand Canyon Tramway Proposal Still Alive
          (ACTION ITEM)

Our friends at River Runners for Wilderness sent out the following update and action alert.
A proposal to develop a huge luxury resort and tramway at the confluence of the Little Colorado and main Colorado Rivers in the Grand Canyon, first proposed in February of 2012, continues to be championed by Phoenix, AZ, developers. Known as Confluence Partners LLC, the Phoenix group has no prior company experience in any type of construction.

The developers continue to lobby Navajo Nation Tribal Delegates and are seeking to introduce legislation in the April Navajo Nation Tribal Council legislative session.

Earlier legislation drafted by the developers required the Navajo Nation to expend at least $65 million for a 20 mile all-weather road to the development location, as well as supplying power, water, and telecommunications. Sources indicate the new legislation will not require the Navajo Nation to put up the $65 Million, but this money would be paid to the developers from any profits the Navajo Nation would collect.

In January, 2016, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye again reaffirmed his opposition to the development. Navajo Nation Presidents serve a four year term. Under his direction, the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department is working on a two year endeavor to craft a General Management Plan for Marble Canyon Tribal Park and the adjacent Little Colorado River Tribal Park. This plan would exclude the tramway development.

Legislation passed in 1975 by the United States Congress recognized that the entire Grand Canyon has many managers, including the National Park Service, the Navajo Nation, other tribes and agencies. The law requires the Secretary of Interior to work with all the Grand Canyon’s many managers in providing “protection and interpretation of the Grand Canyon in its entirety.” The legislation, known as the Grand Canyon Enlargement Act, required the Secretary of Interior to work with all the managers of Grand Canyon, including the Navajo Nation, to protect the resource.

River Runners for Wilderness still encourages its members to write Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. Tell Secretary Jewell:

– You support a tramway-free Grand Canyon.

– Mention to Secretary Jewell there are two Navajo Tribal Parks, Marble Canyon and Little Colorado, in the eastern Grand Canyon. Ask her to help the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department, with designated funds, to make these Parks known and available to the public in an appropriate way that does not desecrate the area with a tramways or luxury resort while at the same time supports the local Navajo residents.

– Remind the Secretary of her duty to work with the Navajo to protect and preserve the Grand Canyon as the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement Act required.

You can contact the Secretary here:

Secretary of the Interior
The Honorable Sally Jewell
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

[Also: Comment line:   202-208-3100
Email address:   feedback [at] ios [dot] doi [dot] gov – CalUWild addition]

Meanwhile, River Runners for Wilderness has distributed 4,000 No Gondola In The Grand Canyon decals free of charge to river runners across the country. To get yours, please send a stamped self-addressed standard sized envelope to River Runners for Wilderness, PO Box 30821, Flagstaff, AZ, 86003-0821 You can see the decal design on the RRFW home page here: www.rrfw.org.

 
IN OREGON
6.   Malheur NWR Standoff Ends-
          Cliven Bundy Arrested

The armed standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ended on February 11, when the last four occupiers walked out and were arrested without incident by the FBI. The other occupiers had surrendered the day before. A total of 25 people have been charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers from performing their duties.

The day before the standoff ended, Cliven Bundy-the Nevada rancher whose Nevada ranch was the site of an armed standoff in 2014 and father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, leaders of the Malheur standoff-flew to Portland to speak to the remaining occupiers and was arrested without incident at the airport when he disembarked the plane. A federal grand jury in Nevada returned an indictment against him two days later, which you may read here.

The Bundy sons and two of the other defendants face further charges in Nevada for their parts in the standoff at the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville.

All of the Bundys and some of the other defendants are being held without bail, and all have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. The Oregonian published an article about the February 23 hearing in the case. The federal judge says she wants it proceed quickly, without delays on either the government’s or the defendants’ parts.

On February 23, the Refuge staff returned: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Regains Control Of Malheur Refuge.

As we stated last month, the story touches on many different aspect of Western public lands management, so we’ll continue to follow it, providing news and links to interesting analysis as it proceeds.

 
IN GENERAL
7.   Job Listing: WildEarth Guardians, Communications Director
          DEADLINE: March 21

Our friends at WildEarth Guardians are in the market for a Communications Director. Here’s the link to their job announcement and other background info about the position:

http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_jobs#.VsSG5nQrJ1M

Applications are due March 21st.

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

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

 
David Jenkins, the president of Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, wrote an op-ed piece in the Salt Lake Tribune: Bishop is fanning the flames of radicalism in the West.

A new Center for Western Priorities online report, The Wrong Side of History reveals 100 years of fear mongering over national parks and monuments.

An article in High Country News: How an East Coast think tank is fueling the land transfer movement.

An article in Energy & Environment News about relations on the House Natural Resources Committee: Committee leaders get along but don’t go along.

An Indian Country Today op-ed, Preservation Is a Civil Rights Issue. The essay begins from a provocative perspective:

When ISIS ravages the antiquities in the Middle East, it is a deplorable show of terrorism, when your neighbors, politicians, decision-makers, and even individuals you consider as friends and family are vandalizing, developing, and otherwise destroying the antiquities and heritage of Native American peoples, it is declared as progress.

An op-ed in The Hill, Salmon benefit as road scars heal by CalUWild friend Erik Molvar. CalUWild has supported the Legacy Roads & Trails restoration program over the years.

More good news in an article in the Orange County Register, California condors reach key survival milestone in the wild.

Finally, from the New York Times: Death Valley Is Experiencing a Colorful ‘Superbloom’.

 
Video Links

Episode 18 in the US Forest Service’s Restore series: Firefighters and Ecological Restoration.

Grand Canyon in Depth #5: Desert View Watchtower.

Another in the National Park Service series, America’s Wilderness. This time: Wilderness Visions: Point Reyes.

 
 
 
 
 
As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to change your e-mail address or unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email. For information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here. “Like” and “Follow” CalUWild on Facebook.

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2015 February

March 3rd, 2015

DSC_0978a3a
Finger Lake, Hoover Wilderness, California                                                                               (Mike Painter)

February 18, 2015

Dear CalUWild Friends & Supporters-

There are a few items this month, and most of them are relatively short. But for being a short month as well, it’s a good one for national monuments in California (see Items 2-4, below) and elsewhere.

Last week, Pres. Obama announced the designation of the Pullman District in Chicago, and will dedicate it tomorrow. You may read about the area’s interesting background in this New York Times article. Just as I was getting ready to send this Update out, the news came in that at the dedication ceremony the President will announce the designation of Browns Canyon in Colorado as a national monument. (We wrote about the campaign to protect it in our June 2013 Update, and we’ll probably have more details next month.) In addition Mr. Obama is expected to announce the designation of the Honouliuli World War II internment camp in Hawaii, according to an article in today’s Los Angeles Times.

With the 114th Congress having started, we expect America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the statewide Utah wilderness bill, to be re-introduced in the next few months. We are gearing up to kick off the cosponsor drive, so stay tuned!

Again, thank you to everyone who made a contribution over the last couple of months. Contributions are continuing to come in, but if you haven’t contributed yet please consider doing so. Although we run a tight ship, we have expenses every month that need to be covered. Please print out this form and send it in with your gift. Thanks.

Most of all, though, thanks for your interest in our wilderness and public lands here in the West.

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Confirmed: Wolf Killed in Utah Had Been at the Grand Canyon

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Sen. Feinstein Re-Introduces Mojave Desert Bill
3.   Rep. Mike Thompson, Sens. Boxer & Feinstein Re-Introduce
          Berryessa Snow Mountain Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Rep. Anna Eshoo Introduces Coastal Monument Expansion Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA
5.   Wilderness Designation Recommended
          For the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN NEVADA
6.   BLM Las Vegas Planning
          Comment Period Extended
          DEADLINE: March 9, 2015
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
7.   Job Announcement: Los Padres ForestWatch

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

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=–=

IN UTAH
1.   Confirmed: Wolf Killed in Utah Had Been at the Grand Canyon

Last week, officials with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that genetic tests showed that the wolf killed in the Tushar Mountains in Utah in December was the same female wolf seen at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the months before, the first seen there in about 70 years. The wolf had been collared in January 2014 near Yellowstone National Park.

Wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, but Utah state officials have consistently spoken out against tolerating any wolves in the state. It is not clear whether this attitude played any part in the killing. The hunter claims he thought he was shooting a coyote. Coyotes have no protection in Utah, which offers a $50 bounty for each documented coyote kill.

The New York Times published an op-ed piece, High Noon for the Gray Wolf, last month.

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Sen. Feinstein Re-Introduces Mojave Desert Bill

We reported in our November 2014 Update that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) would be reintroducing her California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act in this Congress. Last week she did just that, cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).

According to Sen. Feinstein’s press release, the bill would:

Create two new national monuments-

The Mojave Trails National Monument, which would encompass 965,000 acres of land, including former Catellus-owned lands that were donated to the U.S. government with the intention of preservation.

The Sand to Snow National Monument, which would encompass 135,000 acres of land from the desert floor in Coachella Valley to the peak of Mount San Gorgonio.

Designate six new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wilderness areas covering 250,000 acres.

Designate 18,610 acres of BLM land in Inyo County as the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area, preserving it for continued recreational use.

Designate 77 miles of waterways as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Add acreage to Death Valley National Park (39,000 acres), Joshua Tree National Park (4,500 acres) and the Mojave National Preserve (22,000 acres).

Designate five existing BLM Off-Highway Vehicle areas (covering approximately 142,000 acres of California desert) as permanent Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation areas, providing off-highway enthusiasts certainty that these uses of the desert will be protected in a manner similar to conservation areas.

Provide a balanced approach to renewable energy development through several provisions. For example, the bill:

encourages the development of new renewable energy in solar zones established by the federal government, avoiding conflicts over lands long intended for conservation;

requires the exchange of hundreds of thousands of acres of isolated state parcels currently surrounded by national parks and wilderness, providing the state with lands that could be used for renewable energy, recreation or conservation; and

allows for upgrades to transmission lines necessary to bring clean energy from new desert solar and wind farms to urban areas, while still protecting pristine landscapes.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.
A general, overview map can be found here.
More detailed maps on specific provisions can be found here.

We’re happy to see BLM’s National Conservation Lands expand with creation of the two national monuments. And of course, we’re thrilled with the wilderness designations and national park and preserve expansions. We’re not happy with the inclusion of the five OHV recreation areas in the bill, because OHVs damage the landscape and affect wildlife, riders frequently trespass into restricted areas, and we’re big believers in “quiet” recreation. However, these areas already exist; the bill isn’t creating new ones. The bill also releases a two Wilderness Study Areas included within the monument boundaries, which would leave them open to vehicular access. Finally the details of the energy provisions and land exchanges remain to be seen.

As we reported last November, though, Sen. Feinstein said that if Congress didn’t act on the legislation she would introduce, she would ask Pres. Obama to designate the monuments himself using the Antiquities Act. Given the makeup of the Congress, it’s a possibility that the bill won’t move. So we’ll have to see how the situation develops.

3.   Rep. Mike Thompson, Sens. Boxer & Feinstein Re-Introduce
          Berryessa Snow Mountain Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

Early in the month, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-5) introduced legislation (H.R. 761) to create the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S.393). Similar legislation has been introduced in the last two Congresses.

The bill would designate a national monument stretching about 100 miles north from Lake Berryessa in the Inner Coast Range, just northeast of the Bay Area. Covering parts of Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Yolo counties, it’s an area rich in biodiversity, geology, and recreational opportunities. It totals over 350,000 acres.

You may read more details here on Rep. Thompson’s website and here on Tuleyome’s.

At the same time as the legislation is in Congress, Rep. Thompson and Sens. Boxer and Feinstein have been encouraging Pres. Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate the national monument. As we reported last month Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited the area to get a first-hand look at the proposal. Participants at the public meeting afterward expressed overwhelming support for a designation. Many local governments, businesses, and conservation and recreation organization (including the Blue Ribbon Coalition) have publicly supported the proposal. You can, too, by sending Pres. Obama and Secty. Jewell an email, a postcard, or a letter. Their contact information is:

Pres. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Comment line:   202-456-1111
Online comment here

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

Comment line:   202-208-3100
Email address:   feedback [at] ios [dot] doi [dot]gov

And don’t forget to thank Rep. Thompson, Sen. Boxer, and Sen. Feinstein for their efforts to protect the area, as well. Click on the links below for:

Rep. Thompson
Sen. Boxer
Sen. Feinstein

And this just in: Yesterday, the California State Assembly passed a joint resolution calling on the President to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The resolution now goes to the State Senate for a vote.

4.   Rep. Anna Eshoo Introduces Coastal Monument Expansion Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last week, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-18) introduced a bill to add the Santa Cruz Redwoods Public Lands to the California Coastal National Monument. The 5,800-acre parcel is along the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz County near the town of Davenport and was historically used as dairy and farmland. A series of transactions involving the Save the Redwoods League and the Trust for Public Land brought it to the US BLM and a small part to the California State Park System. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt helped launch the introduction of the campaign at a meeting in Santa Cruz.

This would be the second onshore addition to the monument, which stretches the entire 1,100-mile coastline of California, covering the offshore rocks and islands. Last March, Pres. Obama added the Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County to the monument, as we reported. Again it appears that supporters are pursuing a two-track approach, both congressional and presidential.

Please send Rep. Eshoo and Pres. Obama message of thanks and/or support.

Full contact information for Rep. Eshoo may be found here.

Contact info for Pres. Obama is in Item 3, above.

IN ALASKA
5.   Wilderness Designation Recommended
          For the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
          (ACTION ITEM)

The US Fish & Wildlife Service, over the last several years, has been revising the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which makes up the northeast portion of Alaska. Toward the end of January, FWS released its final plan, and the preferred alternative recommends that 12 million acres of the Refuge be designated as wilderness, including the Coastal Plain.

The Coastal Plain has long been the focus of conservation efforts, as it is the calving grounds for large caribou herds and home to many other wildlife species. The Plain is sacred to the indigenous Gwich’in people. However, the oil industry has also long wanted to drill there. We reported last month that California Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2) had introduced a wilderness bill for the Plain. The FWS plan recommendation includes that protection and more for the Refuge. About 7 million acres are already Wilderness under the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

The plan also recommends adding four rivers to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System.

President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell endorsed the plan, which will guide management of the Refuge for the next 15 years. Once the plan becomes final, the wilderness recommendation will be forwarded to Congress.

The announcement was immediately controversial. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, attached an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline bill to remove protections from almost 12 million acres of wilderness study areas if Congress doesn’t act within a year to formally designate them as wilderness. Given the gridlock in Congress lately and its anti-environment stance, it doesn’t take much to see that these areas would disappear very quickly just through delaying tactics. The Amendment did not receive the 60 votes needed to close debate and was defeated.

Please let Pres. Obama and Secty. Jewell know you appreciate their actions, using the contact information in Item 3, above.

IN NEVADA
6.   BLM Las Vegas Planning
          Comment Period Extended
          DEADLINE: March 9, 2015
          (ACTION ITEM)

In last month’s Update we wrote about Resource Management Plan revisions in the Las Vegas and Pahrump Field Offices in Nevada. The comment deadline has been extended to March 9. So if you haven’t sent anything in, it’s not too late!

In addition to our brief talking points last month, more detailed information about some of the areas mentioned for protection may be found here.

Next month we’ll have suggestions for comments on the Douglas County, Nevada BLM planning process.

IN GENERAL
7.   Job Announcement: Los Padres ForestWatch

Our friends at Los Padres ForestWatch are looking for a Director of Membership & Giving, to oversee all aspects of its membership, fundraising, and event planning activities. Details here.

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

If a link is broken or you can’t access an article for some reason, please send me an email.

Articles in High Country News

An experiment in privatizing public land fails after 14 years

Wilderness as therapist

An article on opposition by Fish & Wildlife Service biologists to the proposal to raise Shasta Dam, which is also opposed by Native American tribes and many conservation groups.

Video links

Episode 9 in the Forest Service Restore series: Chips the Baby Bobcat

Yosemite Park video on the 2013 Rim Fire

Grand Canyon in Depth #2: Hidden Waters

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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2014 February

March 3rd, 2014

DSC_0678a3aCanyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado                                                                       (Mike Painter)

February 28, 2014

Dear CalUWild friends-

With 2014 being the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, it is fitting to remember that February 25th was the birthday of Howard Zahniser, the Act’s principal author, born in 1906. Working for The Wilderness Society, he wrote the Wilderness Act and saw it through numerous revisions and hearings in Congress. Zahniser died in 1964, several months before Pres. Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation into law. The Wilderness Act’s introduction remains one of our most poetic pieces of legislation, and the Act has served as inspiration for conservation laws around the world.

This month saw the announcement of more congressional retirements, including Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ). This is of particular note to us because Rep. Holt has been the lead House sponsor in this Congress of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the comprehensive Utah wilderness bill first introduced in 1989 by Rep. Wayne Owens of Utah. Rep. Holt took on the sponsorship from Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) when he retired in 2012.

Also retiring is California Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-35), who felt she could accomplish more locally. She said she would run for a supervisor’s seat in San Bernardino County, where she has lived for many years. Former Rep. Joe Baca (D), whom Rep. Negrete McLeod defeated in 2012, was said to be considering a run for the seat again. He was not a strong conservation vote during his prior terms in Congress.

There has been some rain and snow the last week in California. Let’s hope for more!

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Canyonlands National Park
          Celebrating 50th Birthday in 2014
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   White House Petition to Stop Solar Site
          Adjacent to Mojave National Preserve
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Exhibition of Photos by Philip Hyde
          Wilderness Hobnob in San Anselmo
          Thursday, March 6
4.   Don’t Frack California Rally in Sacramento
          Saturday, March 15

IN NEVADA
5.   Monument Legislation Pulled in the House
          After Amendment Introduced

IN GENERAL
6.   Plans to Increase Wireless and Cell Phone Access
          In National Parks Stall
7.   Job Listings

IN THE PRESS
8.   Links to Articles of Interest

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

IN UTAH
1.   Canyonlands National Park
          Celebrating 50th Birthday in 2014
          (ACTION ITEM)

2014 is a big year for 50th Anniversary celebrations: the Wilderness Act, the Civil Rights Act, and Canyonlands National Park. (It’s also the 30th Anniversary of the California Wilderness Act and the 20th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act!)

Canyonlands NP sits in the middle of a basin surrounding the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. The park boundaries are the result of political compromises made at the time of its establishment and are arbitrary from an ecological perspective. It has long been the dream of conservationists to permanently protect the entire area, which was first proposed as “Escalante National Monument” in the 1930s by then-Interior Secretary Harold Ickes. (You can read some of the history of the proposals here and here.)

There has been a campaign underway over the last couple of years to raise awareness about the Greater Canyonlands region and to encourage its permanent protection. With the Administration giving indications that it wants to move forward on land protection, it’s an opportune time for citizens to show their support before the Park’s actual anniversary in September.

One aspect of the campaign is “50 States for Greater Canyonlands”-events or activities in each of the states, which can be kept track of and used to show national support for protection of the region. In the upcoming months, we’ll continue to highlight actions you can take and events surrounding Canyonland’s Anniversary.

In the meantime, if you haven’t contacted the White House in response to the President’s State of the Union Address last month, we’ll repeat the call in the January Update for people to contact the White House to thank the President for mentioning land protection in his speech, and to encourage him to follow through on his words.

You may comment at:

          phone:   202-456-1111;   or on the
          White House Online Comment Form

Or you might consider sending a wilderness postcard to him at:

          The White House
          1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
          Washington, DC 20500

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance posted an online petition to the President, asking for protection for Greater Canyonlands, which I encourage you to sign in addition.

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Please Sign White House Petition to Stop Solar Project
          Adjacent to Mojave National Preserve
          (ACTION ITEM)

Bechtel Corporation has proposed building solar power installations covering more than 4,000 acres along Interstate 15, less than a mile from Mojave National Preserve, the third largest National Park Service unit in the Lower 48.

Besides destroying views in and around the Preserve, the gigantic installations will destroy desert tortoise habitat, interfere with wildlife corridors between the Preserve and Death Valley National Park, change the hydrology of the area, and affect populations of bighorn sheep and the endangered Mohave tui chub.

You can read more about the project by clicking on these links:

•   Sierra Club California/Nevada Desert Committee
•   Basin & Range Watch
•   National Parks Conservation Association

There is a petition at the White House site “We the People” asking that the administration reject the application. Please click here to sign it.

You will need to set up a username if you haven’t already.

Thanks!

3.   Exhibition of Photos by Philip Hyde
          Wilderness Hobnob in San Anselmo
          March 6

To kick off the Wilderness Act’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in the Bay Area, the first Wilderness Hobnob-a gathering for wilderness supporters and professionals to meet each other socially-will be held next Thursday, March 6.

The occasion will be a special gallery viewing of This Land Is Our Land: Philip Hyde and the American Wilderness.

Philip Hyde was one of America’s premier wilderness photographers. His photographs appeared in many of the Sierra Club’s “Exhibit Format” books, lending pictorial support to campaigns to protect places like the Grand Canyon, Pt. Reyes, Redwoods National Park, the North Cascades, Alaska, and Utah’s Slickrock Country.

Come see some wonderful photography and at the same time meet other wilderness supporters and people from organizations and agencies working to protect our wild lands!

          Thursday, March 6, 2014
          Smith Anderson North Gallery
          20 Greenfield Avenue
          San Anselmo, CA 94960
          6:00-8:00 p.m.
          415-455-9733
          www.smithandersennorth.com

RSVP early because space is limited-once we reach the gallery’s capacity, we won’t be able to accept any more. Send me an email or call me at 415-752-3911.

4.   Don’t Frack California Rally in Sacramento
          March 15

CalUWild has been working with conservation organizations, ranchers, and others around the West since 2001 to protect vulnerable landscapes and public lands from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is now commonly known. Fracking involves injecting large amounts of water, sand, and organic solvents deep into underground rock formations, under high pressure, to crack the rocks and release natural gas or oil. Many people are concerned about potential contamination of groundwater supplies, the huge amounts of water used (especially in the increasingly drought-stricken West), and the disposal of the wastewater from the process. Fracking has also been linked to increased earthquake activity in some places. Finally, it does nothing to move us away from fossil fuels and toward more sustainable energy sources.

At first, fracking was pretty much confined to the Rocky Mountain States and New Mexico. Then it spread to New York and Pennsylvania, and now it’s come to California. A coalition of groups, Californians Against Fracking (CAF), has formed, and CalUWild is a supporting member. CAF will be participating in a rally in Sacramento on Saturday March 15 at 1 pm urging Gov. Jerry Brown to stop fracking in California. He has not taken a stand against it, and in fact last year he signed legislation mandating very weak regulation of fracking.

If you’re interested in attending the rally, buses will be going from around the state. More information about fracking and full details about the rally may be found on the Don’t Frack California website.

IN NEVADA
5.   Monument Legislation Withdrawn in the House
          After Amendments Introduced

In a repeat of the actions that we reported last month, Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop (R), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands & Environmental Regulation, this week introduced objectionable amendments to yet another Nevada public lands bill.

The bill in question, H.R. 2015, by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), would have designated Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, north of Las Vegas. The monument would have been under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, rather than being managed by the BLM as the land is presently. The BLM would also have been authorized to sell over a thousand acres of lands for economic development, as provided for in the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA). That law, passed in 1998, allows the BLM to sell land around Las Vegas, the proceeds from which are to be used for other conservation activities in Nevada.

The Bishop amendments would have kept the monument in BLM hands and required a Park Service resource study on the significance of the lands, eliminating the bill’s language that “since 1933, the Upper Las Vegas Wash has been valued by scientists because of the significant paleontological resources.” As stated in the bill originally, a prior BLM study “identified sensitive biological, cultural, and paleontological resources,” in an area known to contain “thousands of paleontological resources from the Pleistocene Epoch that are preserved in a unique geological context that are of national importance, including Columbian mammoth, ground sloth, American lion, camels, and horse fossils.” The amendment, if passed, would have meant that additional legislation would be required in the future to bring the monument under the jurisdiction of the Park Service.

Rep. Bishop’s amendment would have prohibited the federal government from buying private inholdings within the monument. Furthermore, it would have dictated that proceeds from land sales to go toward reducing the federal deficit rather than for Nevada conservation purposes.

Nevada senator Harry Reid (D), author of a companion bill in the Senate with his Republican colleague Dean Heller, objected strongly to Bishop’s amendment, as did various conservation organizations around the country. This time the bill was withdrawn before Thursday’s markup hearing rather than being approved and passed out of the Natural Resources Committee.

Once again, Rep. Bishop has shown disregard for the locally-developed proposals of other states, while insisting that any that affect his own constituents have strong local support and input.

IN GENERAL
6.   Plans to Increase Wireless and Cell Phone Access
          In National Parks Stall

In our January 2013 Update we wrote about plans proposed by national park concessionaires to increase Internet access in national parks, both for cell phone use and for interpretive purposes, such as at trailheads and viewpoints along roads. the concessionaires were proposing that they be allowed to charge the public extra for the interpretive information.

National Parks Traveler reported last week that the plans “appear to have been scrapped due, apparently, to a lack of interest.” When Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility inquired about the proposal recently, it was told that when the director of the Intermountain Office left the NPS last year, no one took the project over.

That’s good news for anyone who values quiet and non-commercialization of our national parks.

7.   Job Listings

Friends of Nevada Wilderness is hiring! Whether you live in Northern or Southern Nevada, they have a wide range of job opportunities for you to explore-seasonally and year-round.

Click here for full details on the positions listed below.

   Southern Nevada
          Stewardship Technician
          Seasonal Trail Crew Leader and Members

   Northern Nevada
          Seasonal Stewardship Technician
          Outreach Support Technician
          Seasonal Wilderness Monitoring Crew
          Seasonal Wilderness Stewardship Challenge Monitoring Crew
          Wilderness Inventory Crew Member

IN THE PRESS
8.   Links of Interest

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible to you, please send me an email.

An essay in National Parks Traveler on wilderness philosophy, by environmental historian Alfred Runte, prompted by the publication of the 5th edition of Wilderness and the American Mind by Roderick Nash
A thoughtful op-ed piece in High Country News on wilderness and change, especially as it affects historic structures in designated wilderness areas
Our land, our legacy, our responsibility, an op-ed piece by Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Jared Huffman (D-CA)
This Land Was Your Land: In Utah and other Western states, the country’s most pristine wilderness faces new threats from Big Energy and its powerful allies
Veterans: a New Cadre of Monument Men (and Women) for America’s Treasures?, an op-ed piece in Roll Call looking at the increasing role veterans groups are taking on in land conservation efforts
An article in National Parks Traveler about the Healthy Parks, Healthy People program

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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2012 February

February 28th, 2012

Dry Sevier Lakebed, West Desert, UtahDry Sevier Lakebed, West Desert, Utah                                                                                          (Mike Painter)

February 28, 2012

Dear CalUWild friends—

The New Yorker recently had a cartoon showing a couple walking down the street, and the woman says to the man: “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.” That’s how I feel sometimes when I read about attitudes toward our public lands. National Parks Traveler published an opinion/analysis piece yesterday, initiated by several comments made by candidates this primary season:

I don’t know why the government owns so much of this land. — Mitt Romney

I want as much federal land to be turned over to the state(s) as possible. — Rep. Ron Paul

We need to get [federal lands] back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector. — Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum

The quote from Romney was widely circulated in the press when he made it, but the others were new to me. We are hearing similar thoughts expressed with increasing frequency, and not just in the context of a partisan campaign. Fortunately, I don’t think that these statements reflect the views of the majority of Americans. Regardless, they show that the need for advocacy and education never goes away. Thanks for all your efforts!

Thank you for all the positive feedback and suggestions regarding our new website. They are greatly appreciated.

We also appreciate the generous support we’ve received from many members. If you haven’t sent in your 2012 contribution, please consider doing so. CalUWild needs your support! Dues information may be found here.

Best wishes,
Mike

P.S.   No Action Item this month.

IN UTAH
1.   Bills Introduced to Force Federal Government
          To Hand Over Land to the State

IN GENERAL
2.   9th Circuit Court of Appeals
          Strikes Down Fees in Arizona National Forest

JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS
3 a.   Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Executive Director
3 b.   Wyoming Outdoor Council, Land Conservation Coordinator

IN THE PRESS
4.   Links to Articles of Interest

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

IN UTAH
1.   Bills Introduced to Force Federal Government
          To Hand Over Land to the State

Lawmakers in Utah are proposing several bills that would require the federal government turn over about 33 million acres of the land that it manages to the state. The stated purpose of the bills is to provide a tax base for supporting education in Utah. The bills set a deadline of 2014 for the transfer and were approved by the Utah House of Representatives by a vote of 57-14. They now move to the Utah Senate for a vote there.

Despite the fact that Utah legislative attorneys have said that there is a “high probability” that the law is unconstitutional, Gov. Gary Herbert voiced support for the bills and for a potential lawsuit against the federal government to force compliance should it refuse to cooperate.

The Salt Lake Tribune today quoted BLM Director Bob Abbey: “It’s sad that they’re spending so much time debating something that has absolutely no chance of ever happening in the real world … There are a lot of things that we have in common, and we ought to be focusing our attention on those common goals, because we have an opportunity to do some pretty fantastic things in the state of Utah working together.”

Given that the Utah Constitution states “"The people inhabiting this State do affirm and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries hereof…" (Art. 3, Sec. 2), it remains to be seen how far this attempt will go. Courts have struck down similar laws before.

The Salt Lake Tribune has run several articles on the subject. Click here for one of them.

This is another striking example of the antipathy that some quarters in Utah have to the idea of federal public lands. But as pointed out in the introduction, unfortunately they aren’t the only ones.

IN GENERAL
2.   9th Circuit Court of Appeals
          Strikes Down Fees in Arizona National Forest

Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned an Arizona District Court ruling in favor of a Forest Service fee program that charges hikers to park or hike in areas with no “amenities.” Those amenities are spelled out in the fee law: toilets, trash cans, interpretive signs, designated parking, picnic tables, and security services. Additionally, the Forest Service may not charge fees:

“[s]olely for parking, undesignated parking, or picnicking along roads or trailsides;

“[f]or persons who are driving through, walking through, boating through, horseback riding through, or hiking through Federal recreational lands and waters without using the facilities and services; and

“[f]or camping at undeveloped sites that do not provide a minimum number of facilities and services as described.”

The Forest Service circumvented these requirements by establishing what it called High Impact Recreation Areas (HIRAs), which might contain all the amenities, but not necessarily in the same spot. It then charged any users for entering the HIRA, regardless of what activities they undertook and what facilities they used.

Four people sued, and the District Court dismissed the suit, saying that the Forest Service was entitled to its interpretation of the statue. On appeal, however, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the law was not ambiguous and that the plain meaning of the language did not agree with the Forest Service’s interpretation. It sent the case back to the trial court for disposition.

The decision covers only the Ninth Circuit, but that is much of the West. The same reasoning should apply to the BLM and its fee programs.

We’ll keep you posted as the situation continues to evolve.

You may read or download the decision here.

JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS
3 a. Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Executive Director

Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Wyoming’s oldest and largest statewide sportsmen conservation organization, is seeking a dynamic Executive Director. WWF strives to maintain the state’s wildlife health, recreation opportunities, and common sense management approaches. Compensation commensurate with qualifications. Deadline for submission of resume and cover letter is March 23, 2012.

Contact Joy Bannon at 307.335.8633 or joybannon@wyomingwildlife.org. For more information visit our website at www.wyomingwildlife.org.

3 b. Wyoming Outdoor Council, Land Conservation Coordinator

Reports to: Program director
Start Date: April 1, 2011
Location: Lander, WY
Application Review Begins: March 15, 2012

See full job description here.

IN THE PRESS
4.   Links to Articles of Interest

Lots of reading this month!

Verlyn Klinkenborg in the New York Times on the spiritual side of Wilderness

National Geographic looks at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, with the article by Verlyn Klinkenborg again

Article

Slideshow

The Durango Herald looks at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

A New York Times op-ed on the Hetch Hetchy controversy, which we covered in last month’s Update

The Los Angeles Times on problems encountered building a desert solar plant

The New York Times, Where the Colorado Runs Dry

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2012 January – February

February 9th, 2012

DSC_815b1d Pictographs, San Rafael Swell, Utah                                                                                            Mike Painter

February 8, 2012

Dear CalUWild Friends—

The Update is a bit late because we’ve been finishing work on CalUWild’s revamped website. The new site has the same emphasis on making useful information easily accessible , but also contains photography and a new section on the homepage for current events and issues. There is also a complete archive of Monthly Updates, though the formatting on older ones isn’t always consistent and internal links referring to individual Updates may still need to be corrected. But we are happy enough with it that we’ve decided to “go live” with it. Please check it out at caluwild.org and let us know what you think. If you have corrections, let us know those, too. There’s a page for submitting your thoughts here.

Many thanks to Michael Kane for his design and technical work on the new site. And many thanks also to Phillip Loughlin, our previous webmaster, for his years of dedication developing and keeping the old site running.

We would also like to thank everyone who made contributions to CalUWild during our membership appeal over the holidays. Your support is much appreciated. If you haven’t contributed yet, it’s never too late. Dues information may be found here. We’re not set up for electronic contributions yet, so please print out the information there and include it with your check.

We can’t continue our work without the strong support of our members. Thanks!

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Champion Rep. Maurice Hinchey to Retire
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Help Protect the Greater Canyonlands Region
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Support the Designation of
          Fort Ord as a National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN ARIZONA
4.   Interior Department Closes Grand Canyon Area
          To Further Uranium Mining
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN OREGON
5.   Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
          University of Oregon School of Law
          Eugene, March 1-4

IN GENERAL
6.   Coming Up:
          The 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act
          (ACTION ITEM)
7.   Job Posting: The Wilderness Society
          California Wilderness Campaign Coordinator

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
8.   Links of Interest

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

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Champion Rep. Maurice Hinchey to Retire
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who took over the sponsorship of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act from Utah’s Rep. Wayne Owens, announced that he would be retiring at the end of this term, his tenth. Rep. Hinchey has been an ardent champion of protection for Utah’s wildlands, and he’s been an outspoken supporter of other conservation issues across America, as well. We will miss his leadership in Congress and wish him well as he steps away from Capitol Hill.

Please take a moment to send Rep. Hinchey a letter or postcard of appreciation.

Hon. Maurice Hinchey
2431 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515

Phone:   202-225-6335
Fax:   202-226-0774

Correspondence to Congress sent in envelopes is still irradiated and delayed, so it’s better to fax a letter than to mail it. An alternative is to send it to a district office rather than to DC. You can find addresses for Rep. Hinchey’s district offices here. His website only accepts email from constituents.

2.   Help Protect the Greater Canyonlands Region
          (ACTION ITEM)

CalUWild and other organizations have been developing a campaign to protect the Greater Canyonlands region in southeastern Utah. Originally, the focused was on a petition by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to the Department of the Interior to close ORV routes and otherwise work to protect the area. The Department turned down the petition and continues to defend the Bush-era resource management plans developed by the Bureau of Land Management.

So now we’re working on a different strategy: Going directly to the White House to ask Pres. Obama to use his executive power to protect the area, whether by designating a national monument or through other means. He has shown that he will use the Antiquities Act to designate a site of historical importance (Ft. Monroe in Virginia), so maybe he will now designate an area that is ecologically (as well as culturally and scenically) significant, while providing additional protections to Canyonlands National Park, which lies at its center.

The Coalition has set up a website, greatercanyonlands.org, hosted on SUWA’s server, with various actions you can take to make your opinions known to the White House. Some use traditional means of advocacy, such as phoning the White House or collecting postcards. Or you can send an automated email. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular, so they are part of the equation now, too. Check the website out!

A final option is to fax your own letter to Pres. Obama, explaining the importance of the Canyonlands landscape to you and asking that he act to protect it.

Pres. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC  20500

Phone:   202-456-1111
Fax:   202-456-2461
Webform

It’s not just the politicians in Washington who need to hear from you, though. The governor of Utah is constantly making comments that show his lack of concern, and even disdain, for the federal public lands of Utah. So while you’re at it, remind Gov. Gary Herbert of the importance of tourism to Utah (and why you spend your dollars there) and why you go there.

Gov. Gary R. Herbert
Utah State Capitol Complex
PO Box 142220
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220

Though not as effective as a letter, you can send a message to the governor via his webpage or call him at
800-705-2464.

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Support the Designation of
Fort Ord as a National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

A campaign is gathering steam to have Ft. Ord in Monterey designated a national monument. As mentioned above, Pres. Obama designated Ft. Monroe in Virgina a national monument late last year, his first use of the 1906 Antiquities Act. Ft. Ord in Monterey has a different history and is much larger. It also has natural values that are worth preserving. Because large military bases are often not fully developed, original populations of plants and animals often survive, even when they have been extirpated in the surrounding areas. Ft. Ord is one excellent example.

The fort was founded in 1917 and when the Army left in 1996, it transferred management of about half of Fort Ord to the BLM. About 7,000 acres are still under military jurisdiction while the Army cleans up unexploded ordnance, and the BLM is expected take over management of that portion in 2019.

Last month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited Ft. Ord, along with BLM Director Bob Abbey. They were shown around by Rep. Sam Farr (D-17) and other local officials. Secty. Salazar was impressed with the local community support he found for monument designation and commented that such support is critical in making a decision to designate a new monument. Given the anti-monument sentiment among many in Washington, its military history might soften some of the opposition to a presidential designation. Secty. Salazar recommended letters to Sens. Boxer and Feinstein expressing support.

It would also be a good idea to write Secty. Salazar and thank him for his advocacy on behalf of Ft. Ord.

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

Phone:   202-208-3100
Email:   feedback [at] ios [dot] doi [dot] gov
Webform

DC contact information for Sens. Boxer and Feinstein:

Hon. Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510

Phone:   202-224-3553
Webform

Other contact information for Sen. Boxer may be found here.

Hon. Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510

Phone:   202-224-3841
Webform

Other contact information for Sen. Feinstein may be found here.

For more information about Ft. Ord, visit the BLM’s website.

IN ARIZONA
4.   Interior Department Closes Grand Canyon Area
          To Further Uranium Mining
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month, in a move opposed by the mining industry and Republicans in Congress, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar instituted a 20-year ban on new mining claims for uranium on about 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon. Existing claims will be honored.

President George Bush had opened the area to claims, but in 2009, Secty. Salazar instituted a two-year withdrawal that he then extended by six months. In making his decision, Mr. Salazar cited the importance of the landscape to visitors from around America and the world, its sacredness to many Indian tribes, and the fact that the Colorado River provides drinking water for 26 million residents of the Southwest.

Reaction from Congress was predictable. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying: “When families travel to see the Grand Canyon, they have a right to expect that the only glow they will see will come from the sun setting over the rim of this natural wonder, and not from the radioactive contamination that comes from uranium mining.” On the other hand, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said the ban was a “devastating blow to job creation in northern Arizona.”

It’s estimated that the ban might cost 465 jobs and maybe $16.6 million in annual tax revenue. The economy of northern Arizona is becoming increasingly tourist-based (estimated at $687 million annually), so pollution or other problems from uranium mining would likely have a major impact on that industry in addition to the environment.

Please send Secty. Salazar thanks for his protection of the Grand Canyon.

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

Phone:   202-208-3100
Email:   feedback [at] ios [dot] doi [dot] gov
Webform

IN OREGON
5.   Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
          University of Oregon School of Law
          Eugene, March 1-4

The 30th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference will be held early next month at the law school of the University of Oregon in Eugene. The conference this year is titled “New Frontier: The Political Crossroads of Our Environmental Future.”

PIELC is one of the largest gatherings of environmental activists, academics, and citizens anywhere, with panels and speeches on almost any topic imaginable. It’s also organized by the environmental law students (volunteering their time), and they do a fantastic job! Click here for the conference homepage and here for a tentative schedule (scroll down the page).

IN GENERAL
6.   Coming Up:
          The 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

On September 3, 1964, Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law. It was and continues to be a landmark piece of legislation, emulated in states and in countries around the world. In two years, we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of this historic event. CalUWild is part of a national committee comprised of representatives from the federal land agencies and other nonprofit groups.

One of our most important goals is to get wilderness enthusiasts and supporters involved in planning events at the local level, to both celebrate wilderness and to spread the message about it. Among the ideas that have come forward already are hikes, photo and other art exhibitions, slideshows, and outreach to other types of groups, particularly in underserved communities.

If you would like to be part of the celebration by organizing an activity or if you have an idea that you think the committee should consider, send me an email.

Thanks!

7.   Job Posting: The Wilderness Society
          California Wilderness Campaign

The Wilderness Society in San Francisco is looking for someone to coordinate the California Wilderness Campaign, of which TWS, Sierra Club, California Wilderness Coalition, and CalUWild (among others) are members.  Here’s a link to the job listing. The position is open until filled.

Submit resume, cover letter, writing samples and references to cawilderness [at] tws [dot] org with “California Wilderness Coordinator” in the subject line.

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
8.   Links of Interest

There is a lot to read this month … If a link is expired, please check the archives for the publication or send me an email, and I’ll see what I can do to get you the article.

Followup in the press on the Alton coal mine proposal in Utah, discussed in CalUWild’s December 2011 Update.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Park Service, wildlife biologists against Alton mine expansion

The Los Angeles Times: Proposed Utah mine expansion reflects politics of coal

 
=-=-=

California Rep. Dan Lungren (R-3), someone not known for his pro-conservation views, ignited a controversy when he called for an investigation into how San Francisco is using its water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park and how much it’s paying for that right.

2 news articles from the Bay Citizen:

Congressman: San Francisco’s Water Practices Are Illegal

Congressman Wants to Raise Hetch Hetchy Rent a Thousandfold

The San Francisco Chronicle ran pro & con op-ed pieces on the topic in its Sunday Insight section
on January 22:

Dan Lungren: Hetch Hetchy should be restored to natural state

Jim Wunderman: Hetch Hetchy an invaluable source of water, power

 
=-=-=

The Los Angeles Times looks at conflicts over solar energy development in the desert:

Sacrificing the desert to save the Earth

 
=-=-=

The New York Times on the continuing travels of California’s lone wolf

 
=-=-=

From National Parks Traveler:

Sale of Plastic Water Bottles Banned At Grand Canyon National Park

 
=-=-=

High Country News looks at the conflict over rebuilding a fire lookout in a designated wilderness area

 
=-=-=

The National Archives has digitized a portion of the Documerica Project, undertaken by the newly-created Environmental Protection Agency in 1971 – 1977, where photographers took pictures of environmental problems around the country. Click here for the homepage. It’s an interesting record of the state of our environment around the time of the first Earth Day. The Archives website is discussed in this New York Times Green Blog post.

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2010 February

September 8th, 2010

February 22, 2010

Dear CalUWild friends —

There is only one ACTION ITEM this month, so I’ll call your attention to a few articles of interest that have appeared in the last couple of weeks.

One of our favorite organizations, and one we mention frequently, is Great Old Broads for Wilderness. The Christian Science Monitor recently printed an article on the Broads and its executive director Ronni Egan, which you can read here.

National Parks Traveler is a website that follows all sorts of topics related to the National Park System. It recently published an article looking at wilderness in the parks and at proposals for completing the system. A second article there deals with the history of Canyonlands National Park in Utah and the prospects for enlarging it, so its boundaries better conform to the landscape. They’re both interesting and worth reading.

Don’t forget to check out the website for the 2010 Western Wilderness Conference at UC Berkeley, April 8-11. And plan to attend if you’re able. California Wilderness Coalition, Sierra Club, Wilderness Watch, The Wilderness Society, Great Old Broads, and CalUWild have put a lot of time and effort into planning it — it promises to be a great event!

Finally, sincere thanks to everyone who sent in their annual membership contributions to CalUWild. If you haven’t gotten around to it, it’s not too late! We appreciate contributions of any size and promise to put them to good use. A membership form may be found here — please print and mail it in with your gift. Thanks!

But more importantly, thanks for your interest in protecting the public lands of the West!

Mike


IN GENERAL
1. INTERIOR DEPARTMENT CONSIDERING
NEW NATIONAL MONUMENTS
ON BLM LANDS

IN CALIFORNIA
2. MENDOCINO COUNTY COAST
ADDITIONS TO NLCS

3. SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FOR
STATE PARK FUNDING INITIATIVE
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
(ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
4. JOB ANNOUNCEMENT
LOS PADRES FORESTWATCH
CONSERVATION COORDINATOR

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

IN GENERAL
1. INTERIOR DEPARTMENT CONSIDERING

NEW NATIONAL MONUMENTS
ON BLM LANDS

The big news of the last week was that the BLM and Secretary of the Interior are looking at possible expansion of the National Landscape Conservation System, with a list of 14 areas that might be considered for designation as national monuments and three more as conservation areas.

Already, the possibility is causing controversy. In fact, the proposal came to light when two western Republican congressmen, Rob Bishop (R-UT, and Ranking Minority Member of the House Natural Resources Committee) and Doc Hastings (R-WA), leaked and posted a supposedly “secret” Interior Department internal memo hoping to pre-emptively head off the possibility. The Interior Department responded, saying these are very preliminary possibilities and that the list is merely of areas that could be looked at for possible eventual inclusion in the NLCS.

The monument areas mentioned in the memo are:

San Rafael Swell, Utah
Northern Prairie, Montana
Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve, New Mexico
Berryessa Snow Mountains, California
Heart of the Great Basin, Nevada
Otero Mesa, New Mexico
Northwest Sonoran Desert, Arizona
Owyhee Desert, Oregon/Nevada
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (expansion), California
Vermillion Basin, Colorado
Bodie Hills, California
Modoc Plateau, California
Cedar Mesa, Utah
San Juan Islands, Washington

For a New York Times map of the West showing these areas, click here. The Times also ran an article on the history of controversy over monument designations in the West. (Free registration may be required on the NY Times site.)

Many in the interior West have not forgotten (or forgiven) Bill Clinton and his establishment of the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument in Utah in 1996. They want to be certain that a “land grab,” as they term it, doesn’t happen again. (Of course, these designations are not lands grabs, because the land is already federal land, meaning that it’s owned by all Americans and managed by the federal government. But that is not stopping some Utah legislators. Two state legislators recently proposed a bill that would authorize the state to institute eminent proceedings against federal lands in Utah.)

The Times article states:

The fury is nothing new. In 1969, for example, the town of Boulder, Utah, passed a resolution changing its name to Johnson’s Folly, and predicted the town’s demise after President Lyndon B. Johnson added thousands of acres to Arches and Capitol Reef National Monuments, which were both later designated national parks by Congress.

The town later reverted to its original name, and on its Web site the Boulder Business Group now proudly calls the town the “gateway to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.”

Secretary Salazar met with Utah’s governor Gary Herbert yesterday in Washington and assured him that no decisions would be made regarding designations without consultation with local officials.

There are four possibilities mentioned for California, as well as in other states, where Sagebrush Rebellion attitudes are not as entrenched, so opposition to more monument designations is not necessarily West-wide.

The three additional conservation areas mentioned are: Bristol Bay and Teshekpuk Lake, both in Alaska, and the Red Desert in Wyoming.

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt instituted the NLCS in 2000. It is made up of some of the BLM lands in the West with exceptional scientific, cultural, and/or ecological characteristics. The System was formally codified in the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Bill and covers some 27 million acres and over 8,000 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers and Scenic or Historic Trails.


IN CALIFORNIA
2. MENDOCINO COUNTY COAST
ADDITIONS TO NLCS

Speaking of additions to the NLCS, on Wednesday the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup hearing on H.R. 4192, The Stornetta Public Lands Outstanding Natural Area Act. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1) introduced the legislation late last year, which would include the Stornetta Public Lands in the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System.

These are 1,132 acres adjacent to Pt. Arena and Manchester State Beach in Mendocino County, which were bought by The Nature Conservancy and donated to BLM for conservation purposes. The Stornetta family owned and continues to use some of the land for dairy and agriculture via a grazing lease until 2014. BLM has a conservation easement on an additional 580 acres.

If the area is protected, perhaps it will facilitate the designation of Wild & Scenic River status on the nearby Garcia River.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-6) has signed onto the bill as a cosponsor.


3. SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FOR
STATE PARK FUNDING INITIATIVE
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
(ACTION ITEM)

Although we mostly cover federal public lands issues, we’ve written several items over the last year or so about the funding crisis facing California’s state park system. There is a signature drive starting up to place an initiative on the November ballot that would add $18 to California auto registration fees, which would fund the parks and allow Californians free entrance to our parks.

Many organizations such as CalUWild, the Sierra Club, and the California Wilderness Coalition are supporting this effort. The following alert from CWC gives more information on how you can become involved in the campaign to collect signatures:

Dear Wilderness Supporter,

It’s no secret our State Park System is in big trouble. Lack of funding threatens our State Parks with inadequate maintenance, periodic or even permanent closures, damage by invasive plant species, trespass by inappropriate users and marijuana growers, and even illegal development.

Your help is needed now to qualify an initiative to provide adequate funding for the State Park System, which includes wilderness, such as at Anza Borrego and Henry Coe. We need you to help gather signatures to place a measure on the ballot which would provide a permanent funding source for our State Parks. 700,000 signatures must be turned in by April so we need your help now.

This statewide ballot initiative would raise vehicle registration fees by $18 per year. The proceeds would go to a special fund for State Parks and Wildlife Refuges. By removing the need to provide General Funds to State Parks, the General Fund would be freed up for other uses like education.

In exchange for this small $18 fee, California vehicles would be allowed free day use in State Parks and Wildlife Refuges. Since day use entry often costs $10 or more and many Californians visit a State Park or Beach more than once a year, this is a very fair exchange.

Please respond to scstpks@gmail.com to volunteer to gather signatures one or more times between now and April. Please provide the following:

Name:____________________
Address:__________________
Phone Number:_____________

We will contact you.

With your help we can get this measure on the ballot, and pass it in November. Our State Parks need your help! Thank you.


IN GENERAL
4. JOB ANNOUNCEMENT
LOS PADRES FORESTWATCH
CONSERVATION COORDINATOR

Our friends at Los Padres ForestWatch recently sent out the following job announcement.

LOS PADRES FORESTWATCH
CONSERVATION COORDINATOR

Click here for a pdf version of this job announcement.

Position Summary
Los Padres ForestWatch, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Santa Barbara, California, is seeking a Conservation Coordinator to join our expanding team. Now in our sixth year, ForestWatch is the only organization focused on protecting wildlife and wild places in the Los Padres National Forest, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and other public lands along California’s central coast. The Conservation Coordinator will help us build on our successful track record of land conservation in our region.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
The Conservation Coordinator is a new position that involves a combination of conservation advocacy, field work, community outreach, and volunteer coordination. Specific responsibilities include:

1. Advocate for protection of wild places along California’s Central Coast.
· Write concise and accurate fact sheets, opinion pieces, internet and newsletter articles, and email action alerts, and communicate effectively with the media.
· Review development proposals and environmental documents and prepare written and/or oral comments on land use activities that may impact natural resources.
· Maintain positive working relationships with agency officials and decision-makers.
· Analyze information from land management agencies and present it to the public in an understandable and usable format.

2. Cultivate and engage conservation allies to build broad public support for protecting key wild places in the Los Padres National Forest.
· Build and maintain relationships with diverse forest user groups – including mountain bikers, rock climbers, hunters, anglers, and horseback riders – who may share our interest in protecting wild places.
· Foster relationships with private landowners in and around the National Forest.
· Encourage stakeholders to write letters and participate in land use decisions.

3. Collect field data, monitor land uses, coordinate volunteers, organize environmental restoration projects, and communicate with the public.
· Monitor land use activities (i.e. oil drilling, mining, logging, livestock grazing, vegetation clearing), collect field data, and communicate findings and conclusions to land managers and decision-makers.
· Develop and implement environmental restoration projects using volunteers.
· Attend public events and staff informational booths to enlist new supporters.

Other Requirements
We’re seeking someone who’s highly motivated, a quick learner, able to work independently and juggle multiple priorities and tasks, has excellent communication skills, and exceptional writing and research skills. Applicants should have a demonstrated passion for protecting wild places, along with a robust sense of humor. A bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, science, communications, public relations, political science, or related field is desired, but applicants with equivalent work experience will also be considered.

This position requires occasional work on evenings and weekends, traveling in remote areas (sometimes on dirt roads requiring four-wheel drive), and work in the field (including hiking several miles, removing barbed wire fencing, and other moderate physical labor). In addition, experience with GPS units and knowledge of ArcGIS and Google Earth is a plus.

Compensation
ForestWatch offers a competitive nonprofit salary in a stimulating, rewarding work environment, as well as health benefits and a generous paid vacation policy.

To Apply
This position is available immediately. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through February 28 or until the position is filled.

Please submit via email a cover letter describing your qualifications for this position, resume, writing sample, and the names and contact information of three references to info@LPFW.org

Los Padres ForestWatch is an equal opportunity employer. For more information about our conservation programs, visit our website at www.LPFW.org

LOS PADRES FORESTWATCH
POST OFFICE BOX 831
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93102

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2008 February

February 28th, 2008

February 28, 2008

Dear CalUWild Friends –

February is a short month, even with its extra day this year, so we’ll keep the Update short as well.

With 11 months yet to go, the administration is continuing its push to lease as much land in the West for energy exploration as possible. (See Item 1.) The Fish & Wildlife Service delayed plans to list Polar Bears as endangered, and many think this was so as not to interfere with leasing plans in Alaska. FWS has announced that it will remove Gray Wolves from the Endangered Species List, despite well-publicized plans by Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming to institute hunting, which would again reduce populations. Even though wildlife is not a wilderness issue per se, wilderness without wildlife can hardly be considered wilderness.

Yet even with the presidential campaign well underway, there is little mention of the environment by any of the candidates. This is unfortunate. Please consider writing a letter to the editor of your newspaper pointing this out. Contact information for many major California newspapers can be found on CalUWild’s website, at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for all of your interest, support, and efforts on behalf of our Western wildlands!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN UTAH
1. Nine Mile Canyon Continues to be Threatened
By Trucks and Energy Exploration

IN CALIFORNIA
2. State to Sue US Forest Service
Over Southern California Forest Planning
Letters Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
3. Job Listing: The Wilderness Society in San Francisco

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

IN UTAH
1. Nine Mile Canyon Continues to be Threatened
By Trucks and Energy Exploration

The January 25 issue of Science magazine reported that the famed rock art panels of Nine Mile Canyon, near Price, Utah, may be under attack by more than just BLM’s constant approval of oil and gas exploration in the canyon and its surroundings.

Truck traffic on the dirt road through the canyon has increased significantly in the past few years, kicking up dust which coats the rock art on the walls of the canyon. To help control the dust, the Bill Barrett Corporation, the major energy leaseholder in the area, and other companies have been applying magnesium chloride to the dirt road. So now the panels are being coated with the chemical as well.

Constance Silver, a rock art conservator, says that the salt will corrode the rock into which the petroglyphs are carved. According to Science, the BLM is hesitant to accept her findings, despite the fact that studies have shown magnesium chloride to be corrosive. Silver is quoted as saying:”They’re really going to have to do something about the road and clean up those sites.”

BLM has just released a Draft EIS on the latest leasing proposal. We haven’t had time to review it yet, but it has a 90-day comment period, with a deadline of May 1. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, you may review the Draft EIS online and comment as well.

Comments may submitted by email to:

UT_Rr_Comments@blm.gov.

The address for submitting comments by U.S. Mail is:

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

IN CALIFORNIA
2. State to Sue US Forest Service
Over Southern California Forest Planning
Letters Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

California Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman and Attorney General Edmund G.”Jerry” Brown today filed suit in Federal Court over the Forest Service’s management plans for the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. The dispute arises out of the complicated saga of the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which the Bush Administration has tried mightily, although so far unsuccessfully, to overturn.

While the Forest Service was preparing management plans for the four forests, it assured the state that it would not allow roads to be built in inventoried roadless areas. Yet when the plans were released, over 500,000 acres (out of 1 million) were subject to road building. The state appealed the plans, but the Forest Service rejected those appeals, despite the prior written assurances.

Gov. Schwarzenegger wrote then-Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns asking him to take steps to see that the Roadless Areas were protected. Johanns asked Schwarzenegger to file a state petition under the new Bush rules (since invalidated), stating in his letter:”Please accept my personal assurance that, if the State submits a petition, the Department and the Forest Service will work diligently, cooperatively, and expeditiously with the State to find lasting protection for these inventoried roadless areas that is acceptable to the State of California.” Despite misgivings as to the petition process’s legality, California filed a petition, asking for protection for inventoried roadless areas. The Forest Service has not satisfactorily addressed the state’s appeals, so at this point the Resources Agency feels it has no further recourse other than going to court.

The complaint filed by the Attorney General as well as relevant letters between the various officials involved may be read on the Resources Agency’s website.

Please write Gov. Schwarzenegger a short letter thanking him for his efforts to protect California’s National Forest Roadless Areas.

Hon. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please send copies to Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman and Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Hon. Mike Chrisman
Secretary
The Resources Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814

Hon. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Attorney General
State of California
P.O. Box 70550
Oakland, CA 94612

IN GENERAL
3. Job Listing: The Wilderness Society in San Francisco

Position Title: Development and Office Administrator
Location: San Francisco, CA
Reports To: Regional Director and Regional Development Director
Application Deadline: Open until filled, posted February 5, 2008
Start Date: Immediately

General Description:

The Development and Office Administrator is responsible for managing a fast-paced, multi-faceted office and providing administrative support to the 12 person California/Nevada Regional Office of The Wilderness Society. The position provides light support to all regional staff and substantial assistance to the Regional Director and Regional Development Director (with an emphasis on event planning). The Wilderness Society (TWS) is a national non-profit membership organization devoted to the conservation of America’s most pristine wild lands.

The ideal candidate has significant experience in office administration, budget development and oversight, and event planning. Attention to detail, a polished and professional approach, and the ability to work well with a diverse array of people are essential. The Administrator must be able to juggle a wide range of projects, prioritize effectively, anticipate problems, and operate independently with limited oversight. Flexibility, reliability, initiative, a pleasant”can-do” attitude and a commitment to land conservation are musts. Experience with editing and layout is desirable.

Responsibilities:

• Office Management and Technical Support- Ensure daily operations of office run smoothly; manage vendor contracts; maintain office machinery and supplies; serve as a liaison with technical support staff and building management firm

• Administrative Assistance- Answer the phone; prepare, edit, and format written materials, including donor letters; manage large mailings; help with travel arrangements and meeting schedules; maintain files; support administrative needs of regional director and regional development director

• Event Planning and Logistics – Help plan and implement donor and programmatic events

• Financial and Administrative Management- Assist in preparation and oversight of annual budgets; pay monthly bills; and serve as a liaison with TWS headquarters

• Fundraising and Grant Management- Maintain calendar of grant deadlines; help research potential funding sources; assist in preparation of grant materials and donor mailings; maintain donor database and related files

• Information Requests- Be informed generally about TWS program work to provide information to members, donors, partners, and others

• Other Duties – As assigned

Qualifications:

Position requires a professional, friendly, well-organized, highly motivated self-starter who can work quickly and reliably with close attention to detail and minimum supervision.

• Bachelor’s Degree
• Two years experience in office management
• Experience with budget development and bookkeeping
• Experience with event planning
• Proficiency in Excel, Outlook, MS Word, PowerPoint, and desktop publishing programs
• Knowledge of database management helpful
• Excellent communication, research, and writing skills
• Outstanding time management skills
• Initiative and willingness to perform a variety of assignments
• Ability to work effectively and diplomatically under pressure on a wide variety of tasks
• Commitment to land conservation

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:

The Wilderness Society
Attn: Development and Office Administrator
655 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

Fax: 415-398-1632

Email to OfficeAdministrator@tws.org

No phone calls please.

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2007 February

February 27th, 2007

February 27, 2007

Dear friends of Wilderness in the West—

There are just a few items of interest this month, so we’ll get right to them. But first I want to thank you for the efforts you make to support the protection of our wild lands and also for helping to make CalUWild an effective organization. Working together we will continue making progress on the many issues that face us.

Thanks,
Mike

IN UTAH
1. Cosponsors Needed for
America’s Redrock Wilderness Act
(ACTION ITEM)
2. BLM Withdraws Oil & Gas Leases

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Wilderness Bills Re-Introduced
More Expected
4. Wilderness Conference at San Francisco State University
April 5-7

IN ARIZONA & NEVADA
5. Cameras and Helicopter Training in Wilderness Areas

(2 ACTION ITEMS)

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

IN UTAH
1. Cosponsors Needed for
America’s Redrock Wilderness Act
(ACTION ITEM)

America’s Redrock Wilderness Act is set to be re-introduced in March in both the House and Senate. With the political shift in Washington after the last election, we are hoping to dramatically increase the profile of the Utah wilderness bill (and others as well). There’s a chance that it will pass the House in this Congress, which would then make its passage in the Senate more likely (although not guaranteed).

One important way of generating enthusiasm for the legislation is to have as many cosponsors on the bill as possible when it is introduced. California has traditionally been a state with many cosponsors. In the last Congress we had 29 cosponsors in the House, over half of the state’s delegation.

Xavier Becerra
Howard L. Berman
Lois Capps
Susan A. Davis
Anna G. Eshoo
Bob Filner
Sam Farr
Jane Harman
Michael M. Honda
Tom Lantos
Barbara Lee
Zoe Lofgren
Doris Okada Matsui
Juanita Millender-McDonald
George Miller
Grace F. Napolitano
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Linda T. Sanchez
Loretta Sanchez
Adam B. Schiff
Brad Sherman
Hilda L. Solis
Fortney Pete Stark
Ellen O. Tauscher
Mike Thompson
Maxine Waters
Diane E. Watson
Henry A. Waxman
Lynn C. Woolsey

Sen. Barbara Boxer

With the departure of Rep. Richard Pombo and the more favorable climate in Washington we could pick up a few more this time around.

So please call your representatives in the next few weeks. If their names are on the list above, thank them for their past support for Utah. If their names are not on the list, now is the time for them to become cosponsors. In either event, tell them why Utah is important to you and ask them to become an original cosponsor (meaning that they are listed at the time the bill is introduced).

Utah Wilderness enthusiasts will be visiting Capitol Hill offices in March, but is it critical that representatives hear from their own constituents as well.

If you don’t know who your representative is, you can look up names at www.congress.org. Complete contact information is on that website. (CalUWild’s is still being updated.) You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

2. BLM Withdraws Oil & Gas Leases

Decisions about leasing on BLM lands are made by the state BLM offices and local field offices. However, in Washington, DC, the Interior Department has Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), set up to review decisions made at those levels.

Last month, the IBLA ruled against the BLM for leasing areas near Nine Mile Canyon, near Price, Utah. Nine Mile Canyon contains a rich collection of rock art. The Board said that BLM had not adequately consulted with Native American tribes before offering the leases. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance had protested the leases to the Utah BLM before they were offered, but the protest was denied.

This ruling is the latest in a series of setbacks to the Utah BLM office on leasing for oil & gas. The IBLA has ruled against it on other leases issued since 2003 and the federal district court in Salt Lake City overturned other leases last year as well.

One of the arguments frequently used by the extractive industries is that environmentalists’ appeals are holding back energy production. The fact of the matter is that only a very small percentage of leases are appealed. In addition there are many leases that have been issued but are sitting undeveloped. It seems that the rush to lease has been a purposeful effort by the administration to permanently remove lands from consideration for protection.

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Wilderness Bills Re-Introduced
More Expected

Earlier this month, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Hilda Solis (D-32) reintroduced their California Wild Heritage Act, the comprehensive statewide bill designating wilderness in may areas of the Golden State. The legislation covers more than 2.4 million acres of federal land. If passed, it would also give several rivers “Wild & Scenic” status, protecting them from development.

Sen. Boxer has indicated that she will work with other California representatives to craft regional wilderness bills, similar to last year’s North Coast bill that passed. Strong possibilities are another bill by Rep. Buck McKeon’s (R-25) district in the Eastern Sierra and a bill by Rep. Mary Bono (R-45) around Palm Springs.

We’ll keep you posted on the bills’ progress.

4. Wilderness Conference at San Francisco State University
April 5-7

A reminder: CalUWild is helping organize a conference on wilderness at San Francisco State University, April 5-7. The purpose is to get people together from varied backgrounds and with different perspectives, in order to see how the wilderness movement might include a broader spectrum of the population. We hope you’ll be able to attend for one or more days.

Registration and other information can be found on the conference website.

IN ARIZONA & NEVADA
5. Cameras and Helicopter Training in Wilderness Areas
(2 ACTION ITEMS)

Some of our federal land management agencies and personnel seem to lack a basic understanding of what wilderness designation means and how the Wilderness Act is written and to be interpreted as law. One of the most effective things to steer them in the right direction is for citizens to write when necessary to defend the wilderness values and character defined by the 1964 Wilderness Act and that offending behavior be stopped. The other resort is litigation.

There are two examples currently. The first is in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. The Fish & Wildlife Service recently proudly announced that it will soon be installing streaming live video cameras in the refuge to view wildlife. What the announcement doesn’t mention is that the sites proposed are in designated wilderness. As fun and interesting as it might be to view wildlife over the Internet, technology of that sort has no place in wilderness.

Section 4(c) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1133 (c)) states that except as “required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area[], there shall be … no structure or installation within any such area.” That is extremely plain language, and one would be hard pressed to find that video cameras set up to view wildlife fall within the exception.

Setting up video cameras may have practical effects on wildlife as well. The Refuge is open to hunters, and by having streaming video of animals, it will announce to anyone interested the presence of bighorn sheep or mule deer at the photo spot, giving them or their hunting companions an unfair advantage over the animals, beyond what might be considered fair chase. Cameras also increase the possibility of poaching during the off-season for the same reasons.

Please send a letter to the Refuge objecting to the plans to install cameras in designated wilderness. Address it to:

J. Paul Cornes, Manager
356 W. 1st Street
Yuma, Arizona 85364

Phone: 928-783-7861
Fax: 928-783-8611

The second example is the plan by the Las Vegas Office of the BLM to allow helicopter emergency training in wilderness areas around that city.

The comment deadline has just passed, but the issue is serious enough that we encourage you to submit comments to the BLM anyway. The agency is still required to take comments received past the deadline into consideration if it can; it is just not legally required to respond to the concerns you raise.

The following alert comes from the Sierra Club’s CA/NV Desert and Wilderness Committees.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Las Vegas is proposing to allow extensive Search and Rescue crew training using helicopters in the Rainbow Mountain and La Madre Mountain Wilderness areas just west of Las Vegas This daytime training would take place on 10 Saturdays every year from January to September, with a maximum of 60 helicopter landings each session-or 600 each year! In addition, pilot training would call for another 72 helicopter landings.

The Wilderness Act does not allow use of motorized vehicles in Wilderness. It has specific exceptions for landing of aircraft “in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area.” It also has an exception for agency use “the minimum necessary for the administration of the area AS wilderness.” Training activities are not included in any exceptions. We believe that this proposal by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. (MPD) is totally out of line with the letter and intent of the Wilderness Act and should be prohibited.

Please contact the BLM immediately (comment deadline is FEB. 26) and ask them to:

• Prohibit search and rescue crew training in Wilderness areas

• Consider alternate sites in the area for crew trainings to take place outside of Wilderness. (There are some alternative sites with similar (though of course not identical) cliffs to those in the Rainbow Mountain and La Madre Mountain Wildernesses.

• Carefully document all actual rescues of the last few years to ascertain which could have been conducted with helicopter assist. (MPD says there are 15 to 20 rescues per year, and that ALL have had the use of helicopters. It seems reasonable to assume that helicopters were called in often just because they were readily available, and that many rescues, especially non-life threatening ones, could be achieved with ground crews only.

• Conduct more vigorous public education about wilderness for visitors to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Visitors need to know that Wilderness is a place apart from the trappings of modern civilization, including medical life support. They should go to the Wilderness portion of Red Rocks only if they understand this fundamental wilderness characteristic and are willing to assume some personal risk. (Note: when I visited Red Rocks last year, volunteers running the Visitor Center did not even know that part of the NCA is now wilderness!)

Send comment to:

Mr. Juan Palma – BLM Manager
4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89130-2301

Or by email to:

LVWilderness@nv.blm.gov

Extra talking points (pick one or two if you wish, but PLEASE put such thoughts IN YOUR OWN WORDS):

*** The Wilderness Act of 1964 and later acts for many more wilderness areas made a strong statement about our national social and environmental values. We count on BLM, the responsible agency, to maintain our wilderness values and assure that any activity proposals like this one from Las Vegas MPD must be modified or prohibited to be in compliance with the law.

*** BLM should make sure that trails are signed so people know when they are entering the wilderness.

*** Urge BLM to follow their responsibilities in maintaining “opportunities for solitude” (a principal characteristic of wilderness) in these areas that are already severely impacted by excessive tourism helicopter flight noises. More helicopter noises should be strenuously avoided.

*** The fact that these wildernesses are so near to a major metropolitan area (which is rapidly growing on its west side, near Red Rocks) means that many more residents as well as visitors will be impacted by the excessive helicopter noise such trainings would bring. Noise from helicopters operating in the canyons is amplified by echoing off the walls and is especially disturbing, to both humans and wildlife.

*** You can mention any relevant personal thought about what wilderness means to YOU.

Thanks for writing the BLM in defense of Wilderness! They need to hear many voices tell them, very simply, that wilderness is important and they need to follow the law.

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