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2007 July

July 31st, 2007

July 31, 2007

Dear CalUWild friends –

The Summer is racing by, and July is at an end already. There hasn’t been too much substantive information coming across my desk, but there are a few job announcements, which are included at the end.

In Congress, the House is looking at energy legislation this week, which has an impact on our public lands. Many of the proposals that would restore some balance after the excesses of the last 6 years, however, are facing opposition by many Republicans and by Democrats from oil-producing states. And the proposal to increase auto fuel economy is opposed by the powerful John Dingell (D-MI). There are signs this afternoon that there will be compromises, but it is still unlikely that the oil industry will support the overall package. Let your representatives know what you think.

After you’ve done that, take some time to go out and explore more of out wild areas around the West!

Thanks for your help and support,
Mike

IN UTAH
1. Judge Dismisses Suit over Escalante Roads Claims
Counties Say They Will Appeal
2. Utah Backcountry Volunteers Trips

IN CALIFORNIA
3. El Dorado National Forest
Off Road Vehicle Planning
Open Houses
(ACTION ITEM)

JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS
4a. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
b. The Wilderness Society BLM Action Center
c. Friends of the River
d. Western Environmental Law Center

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IN UTAH
1. Judge Dismisses Suit over Escalante Roads Claims
Counties Say They Will Appeal

Late last month, the Federal Court in Salt Lake City dismissed a lawsuit brought by Kane and Garfield Counties regarding their claims to roads in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. The judge ruled that the counties would have to prove each and every right of way in court through a “quiet title” action, under Utah law. The judge also ruled that the Bureau of Land Management does not have the power to make the road determination for the counties.

The counties filed the suit last year against the BLM, claiming that routes through the Monument were “highways” under R.S. 2477, the law from 1866 granting rights of way to build highways on public lands. That law was repealed in 1976, but existing rights of way were “grandfathered in.”

Conservation organizations—the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation—intervened as defendants. Earthjustice represented them.

The counties claim that litigating each claim will cost $100,000 apiece, and that there are 1,000 roads in Kane County alone. Thus they find the cost prohibitive and are trying to find another way to get ownership of their claims. Conservationists see these claims, which are sprouting all over the West, as thinly-disguised attempts to defeat wilderness proposals and resist federal management of public lands.

In mid-July, the Kane and Garfield County Commissions voted to appeal the federal court ruling.

2. Utah Backcountry Volunteers
Service Trips

Yesterday CalUWild received the following from Utah Backcountry Volunteers in Salt Lake City. The organization leads service trips to wild areas around the state, which are a wonderful way to get to know an area in a bit more depth, as well as doing on-the-ground work to preserve its wild character. Please consider signing up for one of their trips!

Dear Friend of Utah Backcountry Volunteers,

Our Fall service trips are fast approaching and we’re still looking for more volunteers…that is if you’re the type who enjoys an exciting, inspiring, and fun-filled week camping and hiking in redrock country!

In our first year in the field, volunteer participants have been thrilled with the opportunity to visit beautiful areas, explore, and give back in muscle to places they love. One volunteer on our Escalante River Russian olive removal trip put it this way “Thanks for a superb trip! I loved returning to the Escalante after 30 years and being awed by the grandeur of the huge vistas, the massive formations, and the adaptations of plants and animals that live in this desert.”

Join us while spaces remain. Cost is just $175 which covers food for the week, a free Charter membership, and is all tax deductible. To reserve your space, just send a check to the below address and you’ll receive prompt confirmation. If you can’t make a trip this year but want to support our work, PLEASE become a member at just $30 or be as generous as you can. Your donations allow us to run our program of meaningful on-the-ground volunteerism in Utah’s public lands.

Hope to see you there! Here are the remaining trips:

September 9-15, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Paria River ORV damage control work (5 spaces open)
You’ll conduct ORV damage control in the upper Paria River tributaries. The worksite is south of the town of Cannonville where you’ll rehabilitate intrusions, place natural barricades and bollards, and install signage. We’ll backpack into the worksite a short distance and set up camp nearby. Area hike options are numerous: Paria River and side canyons, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Bull Valley Gorge.

September 23-29, Grand Gulch Primitive Area, Archaeological site protection, trail maintenance (6 spaces open)
You’ll join BLM archaeologists & rangers from the Kane Gulch Ranger Station in their continuing efforts to protect the invaluable resources of the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch complex in southeastern Utah. Work consists of erecting fencing to protect middens, defining foot paths around ruins, general trail work, and eradication of ORV damage. We’ll car camp at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and drive to or hike to worksites daily. Area hike options: Cedar Mesa top and Grand Gulch canyon system.

October 14-20, Capitol Reef NP, Trail and non-native vegetation removal work (8 spaces open
You’ll conduct a variety of work projects around the park backcountry ranging from maintenance and marking of foot trails to removal of non-native plants, shrubs & trees mostly along waterways. Car and tent camp at a group camp site with running water and toilets in the central zone of the park with daily ventures to our worksites in the north and south. Capitol Reef is loaded with area hike options, mostly along the slickrock domes and sinuous canyons of its namesake.

Make check payable and mail to:

Utah Backcountry Volunteers
P.O. Box 526197
Salt Lake City, UT 84152

info@utahbackcountry.org
(435) 785-8955
http://www.utahbackcountry.org

IN CALIFORNIA
3. El Dorado National Forest
Off Road Vehicle Planning
Open Houses
(ACTION ITEM)

It’s short notice, for which I apologize, but Eldorado National Forest is updating its travel management plan, and is holding Open Houses this week (tonight in Sacramento and Thursday in Concord). If you’re able to attend one of them, it would show the Forest Service that there are people who are concerned about the issue of OHV management and motorized access to wild places. We don’t have any specific comments to suggest at this point, so this item is for information purposes only.

Protect the Eldorado National Forest from Off-Road Vehicle Damage
Unmanaged motorized vehicle recreation has recently been named the #1 threat to America’s spectacular public lands. The Eldorado National Forest has released their Travel Management Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to establish a designated off-highway vehicle (OHV) route system to confine vehicle use to existing roads and trails.

Act Now: Attend a meeting with the Eldorado National Forest.

Conservationists are presented with an unprecedented opportunity to keep motorized vehicles out of sensitive habitat, watersheds and unprotected wilderness. The Eldorado will host a series of public meetings to discuss the alternatives and to explain to the public how to most effectively offer comments on the DEIS. The meetings are scheduled as follows: (All meetings are from 7 to 9 p.m.)

July 31 (TONIGHT) in Folsom, Lake Natomas Inn, 702 Gold Lake Drive.

August 2 in Concord, Pleasant Hill Recreation Center, 320 Civic Drive.

Please try to attend one of these meetings and let the Forest Service know you care about restricting OHVs to only those routes that are environmentally sustainable and which do not conflict with other recreation activities. The Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation and other conservation organizations will be making detailed comments on the DEIS and preferred alternative. If you have information about any of the trails on the Eldorado that would be helpful in making our comments, please contact us at csnc@hughes.net.

To access the Travel Management DEIS and for instructions on how to submit comments, go to:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/projects/route/deis/index.shtml

JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS
4a. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Title: National Grassroots Organizer
Location: Washington, DC Office
Reports to: Legislative Director
Status: Full-time
Salary: $28,500
To Apply: submit resume, cover letter, writing sample, and three references to justin@suwa.org
Deadline: August 10th, 2007

Description
The National Grassroots Organizer works to advance the goal of building and maintaining cohesive national support for SUWA’s congressional and administrative efforts to protect Utah’s wilderness lands. Working closely with the Legislative Director and Legislative Assistant, this person will plan and implement direct organizing activities in targeted congressional districts in the eastern United States, while coordinating similar organizing activities by staff and volunteers in other parts of the country. This person will also oversee the regular distribution of electronic alerts and updates in order to keep SUWA’s active national membership engaged. They will also develop educational outreach materials, coordinate with grassroots and legislative staff with other wilderness advocacy organizations, and contribute occasionally to congressional advocacy activities depending upon schedule.

This position requires a willingness to travel regularly, at least once a month for no more than a week at a time. A competitive benefits package includes health care coverage, a retirement plan, and paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for additional training are available.

Qualifications
To effectively perform this role, this person must possess strong communication and writing skills, the ability to build and maintain relationships, and should be self-motivated and committed to the preservation of wilderness. Experience in and enthusiasm for grassroots and netroots organizing strongly preferred. Experience in environmental/wilderness issues or with Congress is preferred, but not required.

Responsibilities
– Coordinate closely with Legislative Director and Legislative Assistant in creation of national grassroots strategy for remainder of the 110th Congress and for the 111th Congress.
– Plan and implement Utah wilderness slideshows and tabling events in targeted congressional districts in the eastern United States in order to cultivate new Utah activists, engaging established “super-volunteers” in the process.
– Help organize activist recruitment, activist trainings, and logistics for wild Utah lobby days in Washington, DC, one or two times per year.
– Direct and monitor outreach plan for full-time and contract grassroots outreach employees at the national level.
– Coordinate with Northern Utah Organizer on regular national and targeted email alerts and updates on legislative and administrative issues in order to create an engaged national membership.
– Cultivate super volunteers in strategic congressional districts through regular phone and web communication on legislative matters affecting public lands in Utah.
– Travel on a monthly basis for grassroots events throughout the country.
– Coordinate regularly with grassroots directors at member organizations of the Utah Wilderness Coalition on legislative action, in order to optimize grassroots resources.
– Prepare and disseminate grassroots educational materials on congressional/administrative action on wild Utah.
– Assist occasionally with delivering of materials to or direct advocacy of congressional offices.

b. The Wilderness Society BLM Action Center

[This announcement was too long to include in its entirety. If you would like the full version, send an email to info@caluwild.org.]

POSITION: BLM Action Center Outreach Coordinator
LOCATION: Denver, CO
POSITION CLASSIFICATION: Exempt/Grade 7
REPORTING RELATIONSHIP: Deputy Vice President, BLM Action Center
START DATE: Immediately

The BLM Action Center Coordinator is responsible for working with local organizations, activists, and diverse allies to build enduring constituencies in the West that support protective management of BLM lands. This involves bringing together campaigns of local constituencies with the legal, economic, and communications expertise in the BLM Action Center, as well as developing other resources and products from which local campaigns can draw. Further, the BLM Action Center Coordinator meets with BLM agency staff at all levels to articulate and advocate for The Wilderness Society’s policy positions. Success requires collaborative work with organizations, individuals, and agency personnel across the west.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:
* Work with local campaigns in the West aimed at influencing BLM land use management plans and implementation level plans, giving particular attention to outreach to non-traditional allies and the cultivation of alternative messengers/spokespeople.

* Help identify emerging opportunities and threats on BLM lands and raise awareness of these issues within The Wilderness Society and with partner groups and activists.

* Establish and maintain regular communications with partners and activists by hosting and facilitating regular conference calls and providing materials for monthly email newsletter. Provide regular updates on BLM Action Center priorities and current actions, as well as BLM policy and Congressional actions impacting BLM lands.

* Establish and maintain contact with key BLM staff members in priority areas to stay abreast of BLM decisions regarding oil and gas development, off-road vehicles, protection of wilderness quality lands, and other land use planning developments.

Qualifications:
The ideal candidate should possess the following skills and experience:

* Bachelor’s degree, or its demonstrated equivalent, required.

* Experience in environmental advocacy, public policy, grassroots organizing and/or public lands issues. A familiarity with public land laws (such as Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)) and legislative and executive processes is vital to success.

* Comfort with computers and experience with developing and maintaining databases is required. A willingness to learn new software including ArcGIS, GoogleEarth, NASA WorldWind, etc. highly desirable. Training provided on-the-job.

The position is available immediately and is located in our Denver office. We offer a competitive salary and benefits package, including health and dental insurance and a pension plan. The Wilderness Society is an equal opportunity employer; diversity is a core value for TWS.

To apply, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications for this position, resume, writing sample, and names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references to:

The Wilderness Society
1660 Wynkoop, Suite 850
Denver, CO 80202
Attn: BLM Action Center

OR

CO@tws.org
Subject: BLM Action Center

No calls please.

c. Friends of the River

JOB TITLE: Field Organizer – Northern Los Angeles County
DATE: July 16, 2007
JOB CATEGORY: Exempt, At Will Employee
DEPARTMENT: Conservation
REPORTS TO: Conservation Director

POSITION SUMMARY:
Friends of the River, California’s statewide river and watershed conservation organization, is seeking a field organizer to implement public outreach and education efforts in support of wilderness and wild rivers protection. The position focus is in northern Los Angeles County, primarily in the politically significant Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys. This position plays a critical role in a coalition campaign to permanently protect the most diverse wild lands and wild rivers in California’s magnificent eastern Sierra, Mojave Desert, and San Gabriel Mountains.

This position builds on work already accomplished in the region and will focus on opportunities to move the campaign forward using new and innovative organizing tools to build bipartisan support and provide lasting protection for some of the most important natural areas in the country. The field organizer will help develop and implement strategy, conduct outreach and public education, develop and utilize media contacts, and work closely with affiliated groups in the coalition towards achieving common goals.

SPECIFIC DUTIES:
1. Build support among elected officials, non-traditional allies, businesses, NGOs, and grassroots volunteers to further the protection of wild places in the eastern Sierra, northern Mojave Desert, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

2. Develop and implement a strategic communications plan, serve as the primary local contact for media, develop spokespersons, and help develop key media messages.

3. Serve as the primary northern Los Angeles County contact for communications with local and federal elected officials, federal agencies, and coalition partners.

4. Recruit and facilitate an active group of local volunteers to support protection efforts, identify and map local wild places proposed for protection, and generate significant grassroots support through petitions and letters.

5. Work closely with coalition members to assist in strategic planning and implementation, including the creation of quarterly and annual strategic plans.

REQUIREMENTS: The qualified candidate is an ambitious and motivated self-starter, able to work well alone and with a team, with at least 2-3 years experience in a political and/or community organizing and campaigning, public outreach and education, strategy development and implementation, and media outreach. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and familiarity with basic computer word processing and communication programs are required. Commitment to environmental protection is required and knowledge and experience in public lands protection is desirable.

TERMS: This is an exempt, at will, full time position with Friends of the River. The candidate will report directly to the Friends of the River Conservation Director.

COMPENSATION: $30,000-35,000, plus health benefits (HMO), generous sick and vacation time, and an opportunity to participate in an employee retirement program.

LOCATION: Santa Clarita, CA or vicinity.

TO APPLY: Send a cover letter and resume to Steven L. Evans, Conservation Director,

Email: sevans@friendsoftheriver.org
Fax: (916) 442-3396

915 20th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Immediate: All applications reviewed for possible interviews weekly until August 17, 2007.

d. Western Environmental Law Center
Southwest Office Staff Attorney Position

The Western Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm that works to protect and restore western wildlands and advocates for a healthy environment on behalf of communities throughout the West, is seeking an attorney with two or more years experience for its Southwest office in Taos, New Mexico. (WELC is headquartered in Eugene, Oregon and has a Rocky Mountains office in Durango, Colorado.)

The attorney filling this position will carry a diverse caseload utilizing federal, state and local environmental laws. Requirements for the position include excellent research, writing, and oral presentation skills, an ability to work well in a team setting and coordinate with the staff in our other offices, and a genuine interest in protecting the environment and communities of the West.

The Western Environmental Law Center’s programs and employment are open to all. We value diversity and do not permit any discrimination against applicants, employees, or volunteers on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, or disability in any of our policies or programs. We are committed to applying affirmative action principles among comparably qualified candidates for available positions and strongly encourage people of color, women, and members of other minorities to apply. We offer a friendly, team-based environment, highly competitive salaries, and an excellent benefits package.

We plan to fill this position during the fall of 2007 and will accept applications until the position is filled. Please send cover letter, resume, references, and writing sample to:

Western Environmental Law Center
Attention: Attorney Position
P.O. Box 1507
Taos, NM 87571

Or email, taos(AT)westernlaw(DOT)org

No phone calls please.

For more information visit our webpage http://www.westernlaw.org/about/job-opportunities.

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2006 July

July 21st, 2006

July 21, 2006

Dear CalUWild friends –

There’s good news and bad news on the Western wilderness front this month, so please read on and write letters or make phone calls as needed. Please note: A couple of the items are URGENT. We try hard not to include last minute pleas, but sometimes they are unavoidable.

Item 2 discusses the passage of the North Coast Wilderness Bill by the House Resources Committee this week. At the same hearing, the committee also passed two other bills. One would designate some 77,000 acres of wilderness in the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon.

The second bill is more controversial: the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA), sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson (R) of Idaho. CIEDRA would designate 315,000 acres of wilderness in the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains. However, it also transfers lands to local counties and cities to be sold off for development. In other words, land belonging to all of us is being given to finance purely local projects. The bill has caused a split within the conservation community, with The Wilderness Society and Idaho Conservation League supporting the legislation, while the Sierra Club, Wilderness Watch, and the Idaho Wildlife Federation oppose it.

Although the bill was reportedly crafted by a locally-driven consensus process, the result is one that sets a bad precedent for future wilderness bills. CalUWild is very concerned with the accelerating trend toward privatization of publicly-owned resources, as well as weak or even harmful management language for newly designated wilderness areas. Both of these are serious concerns with CIEDRA, and for those reasons we have decided to oppose this legislation in its current form. We’ll keep you posted as the bill makes its way through Congress.

It’s a shaping up to be a hot summer here in California, so I hope you are able to get away to the mountains or the coast for some cooler weather and enjoy the outdoors.

Thanks for writing your letters in support of wilderness!

Mike

IN UTAH
1. Flawed Public Lands Bill
Introduced for Washington County
Contact Sen. Feinstein
(ACTION ITEM—URGENT)

IN CALIFORNIA
2. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes Resources Committee
(ACTION ITEM)
3. Eagle Lake BLM Planning
DEADLINE: JULY 27
(ACTION ITEM)
4. Court Rules Against Dams in Emigrant Wilderness

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IN UTAH
1. Flawed Public Lands Bill
Introduced for Washington County
Contact Sen. Feinstein
(ACTION ITEM—URGENT)

Capping off the last few months of speculation, Sen. Bob Bennett (R) of Utah last week introduced the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act (S.3606). Despite public misgivings and outcry over the original proposal, Sen. Bennett made few changes in the legislation between the time it was unveiled and its introduction. The House version (H.R.5769) was introduced by Rep. Jim Matheson (D).

The bill would:

• Sell off or exchange at least 24,300 acres of public land.

• Use the revenue from the sale of federal public lands to pay out millions (perhaps much more) to local governmental entities for activities like road building and water developments rather than using the funds to buy inholdings or restore habitat.

• Deny protection for the most at-risk wild lands in the Zion-Mojave proposed wilderness. Over 200,000 acres of Zion-Mojave wilderness quality lands—proposed as wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R. 1774/S. 882)—are left unprotected.

• Strip protection from over 15 square miles of congressionally protected wilderness study areas.

• Fragment public lands with a network of corridors and routes for pipelines, roads, and utilities.

• Authorize the creation of an off-road vehicle trail system across the county at the expense of other recreational interests.

• Undermine important environmental laws that ensure public participation and environmental review.

The bill is being referred to the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee, of which California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a member. There may be a hearing on the bill as early as next week. It is important that Sen. Feinstein have the backing of her constituents if she is to stand up for the protection of public lands. Therefore, she needs to hear from Californians regarding their concerns about the bill. Sen. Feinstein was the champion of the California Desert Protection Act in 1994. Unfortunately, Sen. Bennett’s bill does not afford the same protections to Utah’s corner of the Mojave Desert that Sen. Feinstein’s did to California. She should work to rectify that in the Committee.

At this point, it is probably best to fax Sen. Feinstein at her Washington, DC office:

202-228-3954

You can also write to one of her California offices:

One Post St., Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104

or

11111 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Finally, you can phone her at:

202-224-3841
415-393-0707
or
310-914-7300

Thank you for helping to protect Wild Utah!

IN CALIFORNIA
2. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes Resources Committee
(ACTION ITEM)

On Tuesday of this week, the House Resources Committee approved Rep. Mike Thompson’s (D-1) Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (H.R.233). It now goes to the full House for a vote. The bill already passed the Senate (S.128) last year.

The committee changed a few of the wilderness boundaries due to some local concerns, but overall the bill enjoys support from a broad spectrum of the public and government officials, both local and state.

Now is the time to contact your congressional representative and tell him or her that the bill will be coming up for a House vote and urge a vote in favor of it. A full listing of contact information for California congressional offices may be found on CalUWild’s website.

URGENT NOTE: Just as this Update was being sent out, word came in that the bill will probably be voted on in the House on Tuesday, along with the other bills mentioned above. Please call your representative first thing Monday morning.

3. Eagle Lake BLM Planning
DEADLINE: JULY 27
(ACTION ITEM)

All across the West, the Bureau of Land Management is updating its “Resource Management Plans” (RMPs) These plans are critically important because they will guide the agency’s decision-making for the next 15 -20 years. It is therefore important that the public be involved in the development of the plans.

Among the least visited areas of California is its northeast corner, which still contains many wild and remote areas. The three BLM field offices in the area are updating their RMPs, providing an excellent opportunity for citizens to provide input. Sorry for the short deadline—unfortunately information has been slow in reaching us, so we are able to share comment suggestions regarding only one of them: Eagle Lake.

We are hoping to have more information for the Surprise and Alturas Field Offices in the immediate future, so if you are interested in commenting on those, please send an e-mail to info@caluwild.org, and we’ll send it to you right away!

The following information comes from the California Wilderness Coalition and Vicky Hoover at the Sierra Club.

Please help protect northeastern California’s and northwestern Nevada’s remote high desert region!

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for three field offices in Northeast California and northwest Nevada. This alert deals only with one of these, the Eagle Lake Field Office.

The Eagle Lake Field Office in northeastern California’s Lassen, Sierra and Plumas Counties and northwestern Nevada’s Washoe County. The BLM has stewardship responsibility over 1,022,767 acres (1,598 square-miles) of grasslands, sagebrush flats, deep canyons, steep mountains, innumerable caves, and spires of volcanic rock in this region. Herds of pronghorn antelope, Rocky Mountain elk, and mule deer graze this rugged landscape, while golden eagles ply the winds above and sage grouse flit quietly from shrub to shrub. When the Draft RMP is finalized, it will serve as the BLM’s blueprint for managing the region over the next decade or more.

Sadly, over the years this region has been slowly filled with roads for mining, to support livestock grazing, for utility development, and for recreation. Despite this, the lands comprising the Eagle Lake Field Office still contain tens of thousands of acres of wilderness-quality lands from the rugged Skedaddle Mountains to the petroglyph-etched rocks of Tunnison Mountain. It is essential that the BLM begin managing the area as one of our nation’s most unique natural treasures and not as a region fit only for mines, livestock, powerlines, and roads.

What you can do

Your comments on the Eagle Lake Draft RMP can help influence the development of the final plan for the area. To help with this effort, please mail, fax, or e-mail a letter by July 27, 2006 to:

Eagle Lake RMP Comments
Attention: Planning Coordinator
Bureau of Land Management
Eagle Lake Field Office
2950 Riverside Drive
Susanville, CA 96130

Fax: 530-257-4831

E-mail: necarmp@ca.blm.gov

If you have visited BLM lands in Northeast California or Northwest Nevada, such as the “Buffalo /Smoke” Hills or the Skedaddle Mts., let BLM know of your personal experience.

In your letter, please thank the BLM for proposing to:

• Close roads in several wilderness study areas.

• Allow fires to play an important role in maintaining the high desert’s ecological health.

• Confine vehicles to designated routes.

• Manage most of the areas between open vehicle routes for non-motorized or primitive recreation.

• Designate seven areas of critical environmental concern.

• Acquire public rights of way along abandoned railroad grades so they can become non-motorized trails.

• Build new non-motorized trails.

• Manage Smoke Creek as a wild and scenic river.

These actions deserve our appreciative support! BLM may get criticisms on these proposals from people intent on maximizing motorized recreation.

Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs)

BLM proposes establishing seven new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) for the Eagle Lake field office area. Thank the BLM for proposing these special protective areas.

Specific ACEC issues to comment on:

1) Rights of way (for travel routes):
Thank BLM especially for excluding the proposed Pine Dunes, Susan River, Eagle Lake, North Dry Valley and Buffalo Creek ACECs from establishment of rights of way (for travel routes). Urge that the Willow Creek ACEC be excluded from any rights of way for water diversions or dam construction. The Lower Smoke Creek ACEC would be excluded from rights of way UNLESS WSA status were removed. Urge that BLM eliminate consideration of removing WSA status for this area. Also ask that the Aspen Way proposed ACEC also be closed to development of rights-of-way.

2) Recreational management (ROS Spectrum):
One proposed ACEC, Buffalo Creek, would be partly in a “primitive” and partly in a “backcountry” designation under the prescriptions for managing recreation (in agency jargon known as the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, or ROS). “Backcountry” designation allows for motorized vehicle use, whereas “primitive” does not. So ask for the proposed Buffalo Creek ACEC to be managed entirely under the ROS category of “primitive”.

3) Visual Resources (Viewsheds):
The Susan River area is currently managed in the Visual Resource (VRM) category #II, (#I is the most strictly regulated to guard views from human development), and the RMP proposes to lower it to VRM II/III, which is undesirable. Urge BLM not to lower the VRM category in any WSA or proposed ACEC.

4) Grazing:
Pine Dunes and Susan River are closed to grazing; Eagle Lake Basin is open to limited grazing. Urge closure of Eagle Lake Basin to grazing, to protect sensitive vegetation and to put its management on the same course as Pine Dunes and Susan River.

5) OHV Management:
The Eagle Lake office proposes that all its ACECS be closed to Off-road vehicle use, or at the least that such use be kept to routes that are presently designated. This is a good plan; thank them for this foresight in managing ORV/OHV use.

Wild & Scenic Rivers
The Draft plan finds portions of the Susan River, Willow Creek, upper Smoke Creek, and lower Smoke Creek to be eligible for W&SR status, but recommends designation only for upper Smoke Creek. Ask them to recommend eligible portions of Susan River, Willow Creek, and lower Smoke Creek as well.

Sage Grouse Protection
The document includes some helpful conditions and restrictions on activity in order to protect sensitive sage grouse, but provisions are not sufficient to protect the populations in the area. The Preferred Alternative prescribes “no surface occupancy” (NSO) stipulations for oil and gas activities within .25 to .6 miles of sage grouse “leks” (courtship areas). Alternative 2, the Ecosystem Restoration Alternative, contains conflicting and unclear restrictions for oil and gas management. Please ask BLM to strengthen and clarify the protection for sage grouse.

Finally, please ask the BLM to choose Alternative 2 as its Proposed Management Plan, in the final version of the RMP rather than the present Preferred Alternative, because Alternative 2 is significantly better for the environment. However, they should modify Alternative 2 in two ways to strengthen protection for key roadless areas:

• Manage all wilderness study areas as primitive zones.

• Manage the core portions of the Observation Peak, Shaffer Mountain, Shinn Mountain, Skedaddle Flats, Skedaddle West and Snowstorm Mountain Roadless Areas as primitive zones.

If you would like more information, please contact Gordon Johnson of the California Wilderness Legacy Project at (530) 242-1912 or at gjohnson@ridgeline.net

4. Court Rules Against Dams in Emigrant Wilderness

Last month, the Federal District Court in Fresno, California ruled that the Forest Service must allow small dams in the Emigrant Wilderness to deteriorate naturally.

These dams were the subject of an Action Item in a previous CalUWild Update in which we asked our members to urge the Stanislaus National Forest to do just that. Unfortunately, they decided to maintain 11 of the 18 dams, and allow six to deteriorate naturally. The dams were built in the 1920s and 30s to augment stream flows for fishery enhancement.

Wilderness Watch and the High Sierra Hikers Association filed suit, and although HSHA was removed on debatable grounds and the case moved to Fresno, the judge upheld contention that the Forest Service’s decision went against the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Forest Service has not announced whether it will appeal the decision.

Wilderness Watch made available some excerpts from the court’s opinion, which are worth sharing:

On the Forest Service argument that the Wilderness Act is ambiguous and allows agencies discretion to interpret what Congress meant by “no structures” in Wilderness:

… the text of the Wilderness Act provides no indication that Congress intended to exempt existing dams in wilderness areas from the general prohibition against “structures” or “installations.” The court must conclude the plain and unambiguous text of the Wilderness Act speaks directly to the activity at issue in this case—repairing, maintaining and operating dam “structures”—and prohibits that activity… .Based on the foregoing, the court concludes the proposed actions in this case—the repair, maintenance and operation of the dam structures—are clearly and unambiguously contrary to the provisions of the Wilderness Act.

On the Forest Service claim that it struck a balance—and that fishery enhancement legitimizes the project:

While Forest Service casts the changes brought about by the dams as achieving a balance of sorts between amphibians and fish; the fact remains that the balance is being struck between the historically established amphibious species, whose habitat is diminished in the balance, and the historically absent fish species, whose presence is the result of relatively recent human endeavor.

On the Forest Service argument that the dams meet the “recreational” purpose of Wilderness:

While fishing is an activity that is common among visitors to wilderness areas, neither fishing nor any other particular activity is endorsed by the Wilderness Act, nor is the enhancement of any particular recreational potential a necessary duty of wilderness area management … .

The wilderness that the Act seeks to preserve is not defined by reference to any particular recreational opportunity or potential utility, but rather by reference to the land’s status or condition as being “Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation [. . . .]” § 1131(c).

Because it is not possible to infer from this language that establishment (much less enhancement) of opportunities for a particular form of human recreation is the purpose of the Wilderness Act, it is not possible to conclude that enhancement of fisheries is an activity that is “necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this chapter.”

On the Forest Service argument that the dams meet the “historical” purpose of Wilderness:

Absent a declaration by Congress of the need to restore and preserve the dam structures in recognition of their historical significance, there is nothing the court can point to that would authorize such an action where the maintenance of the dams would otherwise come into conflict with the Wilderness Act.

The area manifested its wilderness characteristics before the dams were in place and would lose nothing in the way of wilderness values were the dams not present. What would be lost is some enhancement of a particular use of the area (fishing), but that use, while perhaps popular, is not an integral part of the wilderness nature of that area.

On the Forest Service argument that the dams are allowed because they are substantially unnoticeable in the Wilderness:

Defendants draw a distinction between the settlement structures in Mainella, and the dams in the instant case which, Defendants contend, are small, low, and visually integrated into the natural surroundings… . Distinctions such as unobtrusive and harmonious with the natural environment involve subjective judgments that may vary depending on the interests of the observer. The Wilderness Act’s prohibition against structures is categorical so far as the court can determine, allowing only those exceptions that are specifically set forth in the Act or in Congress’s designation of a particular wilderness area, neither of which apply here.

Finally, on Intervenor’s (California Trout) claim that the Wilderness Act isn’t a “purist manifesto”:

Interveners’ first contention is summarized completely by the heading given to the argument – “The Wilderness Act Is Not A Purist Manifesto.” [S]ubjective characterizations aside, the Wilderness Act is as close to an outcome-oriented piece of environmental legislation as exists. Unlike NEPA, or the Clean Air or Clean Water Acts, the Wilderness Act emphasizes outcome (wilderness preservation) over procedure. As such, it is as close to a “purist manifesto” as may be found in the area of environmental law.

Tags: ,
Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2006 July

2004 July

July 14th, 2004

July 14, 2004

Dear members and friends of CalUWild —

In the 2 weeks since the last UPDATE, a couple of items of interest have come in requiring action. See Items 1 and 2, below.

In the June UPDATE we mentioned that the Forest Service was preparing to eliminate the Roadless Rule that was developed under the Clinton administration, with widespread public support. The announcement has yet to appear in the Federal Register, but it should show up this week. We’ll send out suggestions on how to respond as information becomes available.

In the meantime, if you live in the Bay Area (or can listen to KQED FM radio over the Internet — ) The Wilderness Society’s Jay Watson, Undersecretary of Agriculture (and former timber industry lobbyist) Mark D. Rey, and Dave Bischel, California Forestry Association President will be debating the Roadless Rule tomorrow morning (Thursday, 7/15).

9-10 a.m., PDT
KQED, 88.5 FM

They will be taking questions and comments. The call-in number is: 415-863-2476.

This Summer, the August Congressional recess begins July 26, running until September 5, 2004. Recesses are not vacation time. Members and senators will be back in their districts and states working. This is the perfect time to meet with them and let them know about your concerns. One good way is to get several people who share your concerns and make an appointment to meet with the representative at his or her local office.

During recesses, representatives also hold “town hall” meetings and other events. This is also a perfect opportunity to voice your views publicly.

CalUWild administrative stuff: As you know, running CalUWild takes money in addition to our members’ letters. We will soon be sending out our general Annual Appeal to many of you. You can save us postage by sending in your contribution before the letters go out. Dues to CalUWild are not tax-deductible. (However, you may make a tax-deductible contribution to Resource Renewal Institute.) Either way, send your check to:

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

Also: If you change your e-mail address or move, please let us know. We don’t want to lose any of our members, so we’ll send you a postcard asking for your new address. But that in turn costs us time and money that could be used for other things. So please — send an e-mail to info@caluwild.org with any database changes. Thanks!

Best wishes,
Mike

======================================

IN CALIFORNIA

1. Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger To Support the North Coast Wild Heritage Act
(ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL

2. Forest Service Is Revising Off-Road Vehicle Regulations
DEADLINE: September 13
(ACTION ITEM)

======================================

IN CALIFORNIA

1. Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger To Support the North Coast Wild Heritage Act
(ACTION ITEM)

Take Action to Protect Northern California’s Coast!

From magnificent coasts and cathedral forests to beautiful rivers and stunning deserts, California’s wild places provide clean drinking water, homes for plants and animals and tourism dollars for our economy. But today, many of these same places we depend on and treasure are threatened. In the last 20 years, nearly 700,000 acres of National Forest lands in California – the size of Yosemite National Park – have been lost to logging, road building, and other destructive activities. Less than one percent of California’s rivers are protected in their free flowing state. Now is the time to protect what is left!

To preserve the remaining wild lands and rivers in Northwest California Senators Boxer & Feinstein (D), along with Representative Mike Thompson (D-01) are working to pass the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act in Congress (S. 738/H.R. 1501). The bill would designate nearly 300,000 acres of federal land as wilderness and 21 miles of river as wild and scenic along the North Coast of California.

The protection of these lands and rivers will safeguard the homes of salmon, bald eagles, black bears, and other imperiled species, and protect a significant source of clean drinking water. Further, these areas will continue to be available for hiking, fishing, camping, birding, horseback riding and many other activities for future generations to enjoy. The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act will preserve an important part of our American Heritage for future generations.

We hope you will join the broad base of support, from local elected officials and businesses to hunters and take action to protect and important part of our heritage.

Take Action! Please make a quick phone call to Governor Schwarzenegger and let him know how important it is to YOU that we protect the remaining wild lands and rivers in Northern California.

It is critical that we secure the support of Governor Schwarzenegger today. As the state’s highest elected official, his backing would help ensure the protection of the North Coast’s wild lands and rivers by showing leaders in congress how important this bill is to all Californians. Become a part of California’s public land legacy today! Please take time right now to make a phone call to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to support S. 738. You can call the Governor’s office at:

(916)445-1456
or
(916)445-2841

It’s easy to do.

Press 7 to speak to a constituent services representative. After identifying yourself, explain that you are calling to urge the Governor to support the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, S. 738.

PHONE CALL TIPS:

* Give your name and address to the person registering your comments
* Let them know that you are calling to ask for the Governor’s support of Congressman Mike Thompson’s Wilderness Bill, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (H.R. 1501/S. 738).
* Be sure to mention why his support is so important: As Governor of California, HIS backing for this legislation will show the broad support throughout the state for protecting these great areas.

POINTS TO RAISE:

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

After you have called, please email emily@friendsoftheriver.org so that we know how many calls have been placed.

Thank you for taking a step to protect Northwest California’s wild lands and rivers for future generations!!

IN GENERAL

2. Forest Service Is Revising Off-Road Vehicle Regulations
DEADLINE: September 13
(ACTION ITEM)

The National Forest Service has issued a draft rule to deal with the thorny issue of off-road vehicles. There will be a 60-day comment period for the proposed rule, beginning the day it is published in the Federal Register, which is expected this week. Therefore, the September 13 deadline is only approximate at this point.

The following is a slightly edited version of an alert put out by the Sierra Club.

On July 7th the U.S. Forest Service announced plans to specify which roads and trails are open to off-highway vehicles. Last year, U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified unmanaged recreation, particularly off-road vehicle use, as one of the greatest threats to America’s National Forests. He described a litany of adverse impacts to the land, wildlife and other visitors and highlighted the proliferation of unplanned – or renegade – dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) routes that criss-cross many National Forests.

Conservationists welcomed the agency’s efforts to strengthen and standardize off-road vehicle management, but expressed disappointment at the lack of vigorous protections with strict timelines in the draft document. “The Forest Service has taken a small step by acknowledging the serious threat that unmanaged off-road vehicle use poses to America’s National Forests, wildlife habitat and the millions of people who recreate in these special places,” said Karl Forsgaard, Chair of the Sierra Club’s national Recreation Issues Committee. “However, the proposed rule falls short and must be strengthened if it is to truly succeed.”

Background and Talking Points:

The new policy, now open to public comment, requires all national forests to identify specific roads, trails and areas where off-road driving will be allowed considering environmental sensitivity, potential conflicts with hikers and other factors. Areas not specifically opened to such traffic would be considered closed. That would reverse the current situation where many forest lands are assumed to be open, allowing drivers to roam at will. Nationwide, the number of off-highway vehicle users increased sevenfold from 5 million in 1972 to 36 million in 2000.

* The Forest Service left the process open-ended, so it could be years before individual forest units actually designate motorized routes. The proposal should be strengthened by including a two-year timetable for implementation and by limiting off-road use to the extent that it can be fully monitored and enforced.
* The Forest Service doesn’t have adequate funds to maintain the more than 380,000 miles of official existing roads in National Forests. Funds need to be created to properly implement and enforce the new policy.

The proposed rule is available on the Forest Service’s website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/index.shtml

PLEASE ACT!

Please write the Forest Service to improve its proposed off-road vehicle rule, to better protect public land and wildlife. Publication of the proposal in the Federal Register, expected by mid-July, will begin a 60-day public comment period.

Message to include:

As a citizen who cares about our public lands, I strongly urge the Forest Service to include additional measures in the final rule to ensure basic protections for public land, wildlife and other types of recreation. These include:

* Create and enforce a timetable for the designation of roads and routes appropriate for off-road vehicle use;
* Designate roads and routes based on a full and public analysis of the site-specific environmental impacts and user-conflicts;
* Bar immediately the use of all unauthorized, renegade routes
* Authorize off-road vehicle use only to the extent that effective monitoring and enforcement are annually funded and implemented.

Submit your comments to the Forest Service by U.S. mail, e-mail, or fax.

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

Email: trvman@fs.fed.us

Fax: 801-517-1014

===========================================

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

Tags: ,
Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2004 July

2004 July

July 14th, 2004

July 14, 2004

Dear members and friends of CalUWild —

In the 2 weeks since the last UPDATE, a couple of items of interest have come in requiring action. See Items 1 and 2, below.

In the June UPDATE we mentioned that the Forest Service was preparing to eliminate the Roadless Rule that was developed under the Clinton administration, with widespread public support. The announcement has yet to appear in the Federal Register, but it should show up this week. We’ll send out suggestions on how to respond as information becomes available.

In the meantime, if you live in the Bay Area (or can listen to KQED FM radio over the Internet — ) The Wilderness Society’s Jay Watson, Undersecretary of Agriculture (and former timber industry lobbyist) Mark D. Rey, and Dave Bischel, California Forestry Association President will be debating the Roadless Rule tomorrow morning (Thursday, 7/15).

9-10 a.m., PDT
KQED, 88.5 FM

They will be taking questions and comments. The call-in number is: 415-863-2476.

This Summer, the August Congressional recess begins July 26, running until September 5, 2004. Recesses are not vacation time. Members and senators will be back in their districts and states working. This is the perfect time to meet with them and let them know about your concerns. One good way is to get several people who share your concerns and make an appointment to meet with the representative at his or her local office.

During recesses, representatives also hold “town hall” meetings and other events. This is also a perfect opportunity to voice your views publicly.

CalUWild administrative stuff: As you know, running CalUWild takes money in addition to our members’ letters. We will soon be sending out our general Annual Appeal to many of you. You can save us postage by sending in your contribution before the letters go out. Dues to CalUWild are not tax-deductible. (However, you may make a tax-deductible contribution to Resource Renewal Institute.) Either way, send your check to:

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

Also: If you change your e-mail address or move, please let us know. We don’t want to lose any of our members, so we’ll send you a postcard asking for your new address. But that in turn costs us time and money that could be used for other things. So please — send an e-mail to info@caluwild.org with any database changes. Thanks!

Best wishes,
Mike

======================================

IN CALIFORNIA

1. Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger To Support the North Coast Wild Heritage Act
(ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL

2. Forest Service Is Revising Off-Road Vehicle Regulations
DEADLINE: September 13
(ACTION ITEM)

======================================

IN CALIFORNIA

1. Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger To Support the North Coast Wild Heritage Act
(ACTION ITEM)

Take Action to Protect Northern California’s Coast!

From magnificent coasts and cathedral forests to beautiful rivers and stunning deserts, California’s wild places provide clean drinking water, homes for plants and animals and tourism dollars for our economy. But today, many of these same places we depend on and treasure are threatened. In the last 20 years, nearly 700,000 acres of National Forest lands in California – the size of Yosemite National Park – have been lost to logging, road building, and other destructive activities. Less than one percent of California’s rivers are protected in their free flowing state. Now is the time to protect what is left!

To preserve the remaining wild lands and rivers in Northwest California Senators Boxer & Feinstein (D), along with Representative Mike Thompson (D-01) are working to pass the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act in Congress (S. 738/H.R. 1501). The bill would designate nearly 300,000 acres of federal land as wilderness and 21 miles of river as wild and scenic along the North Coast of California.

The protection of these lands and rivers will safeguard the homes of salmon, bald eagles, black bears, and other imperiled species, and protect a significant source of clean drinking water. Further, these areas will continue to be available for hiking, fishing, camping, birding, horseback riding and many other activities for future generations to enjoy. The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act will preserve an important part of our American Heritage for future generations.

We hope you will join the broad base of support, from local elected officials and businesses to hunters and take action to protect and important part of our heritage.

Take Action! Please make a quick phone call to Governor Schwarzenegger and let him know how important it is to YOU that we protect the remaining wild lands and rivers in Northern California.

It is critical that we secure the support of Governor Schwarzenegger today. As the state’s highest elected official, his backing would help ensure the protection of the North Coast’s wild lands and rivers by showing leaders in congress how important this bill is to all Californians. Become a part of California’s public land legacy today! Please take time right now to make a phone call to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to support S. 738. You can call the Governor’s office at:

(916)445-1456
or
(916)445-2841

It’s easy to do.

Press 7 to speak to a constituent services representative. After identifying yourself, explain that you are calling to urge the Governor to support the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, S. 738.

PHONE CALL TIPS:

* Give your name and address to the person registering your comments
* Let them know that you are calling to ask for the Governor’s support of Congressman Mike Thompson’s Wilderness Bill, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (H.R. 1501/S. 738).
* Be sure to mention why his support is so important: As Governor of California, HIS backing for this legislation will show the broad support throughout the state for protecting these great areas.

POINTS TO RAISE:

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

After you have called, please email emily@friendsoftheriver.org so that we know how many calls have been placed.

Thank you for taking a step to protect Northwest California’s wild lands and rivers for future generations!!

IN GENERAL

2. Forest Service Is Revising Off-Road Vehicle Regulations
DEADLINE: September 13
(ACTION ITEM)

The National Forest Service has issued a draft rule to deal with the thorny issue of off-road vehicles. There will be a 60-day comment period for the proposed rule, beginning the day it is published in the Federal Register, which is expected this week. Therefore, the September 13 deadline is only approximate at this point.

The following is a slightly edited version of an alert put out by the Sierra Club.

On July 7th the U.S. Forest Service announced plans to specify which roads and trails are open to off-highway vehicles. Last year, U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified unmanaged recreation, particularly off-road vehicle use, as one of the greatest threats to America’s National Forests. He described a litany of adverse impacts to the land, wildlife and other visitors and highlighted the proliferation of unplanned – or renegade – dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) routes that criss-cross many National Forests.

Conservationists welcomed the agency’s efforts to strengthen and standardize off-road vehicle management, but expressed disappointment at the lack of vigorous protections with strict timelines in the draft document. “The Forest Service has taken a small step by acknowledging the serious threat that unmanaged off-road vehicle use poses to America’s National Forests, wildlife habitat and the millions of people who recreate in these special places,” said Karl Forsgaard, Chair of the Sierra Club’s national Recreation Issues Committee. “However, the proposed rule falls short and must be strengthened if it is to truly succeed.”

Background and Talking Points:

The new policy, now open to public comment, requires all national forests to identify specific roads, trails and areas where off-road driving will be allowed considering environmental sensitivity, potential conflicts with hikers and other factors. Areas not specifically opened to such traffic would be considered closed. That would reverse the current situation where many forest lands are assumed to be open, allowing drivers to roam at will. Nationwide, the number of off-highway vehicle users increased sevenfold from 5 million in 1972 to 36 million in 2000.

* The Forest Service left the process open-ended, so it could be years before individual forest units actually designate motorized routes. The proposal should be strengthened by including a two-year timetable for implementation and by limiting off-road use to the extent that it can be fully monitored and enforced.
* The Forest Service doesn’t have adequate funds to maintain the more than 380,000 miles of official existing roads in National Forests. Funds need to be created to properly implement and enforce the new policy.

The proposed rule is available on the Forest Service’s website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/index.shtml

PLEASE ACT!

Please write the Forest Service to improve its proposed off-road vehicle rule, to better protect public land and wildlife. Publication of the proposal in the Federal Register, expected by mid-July, will begin a 60-day public comment period.

Message to include:

As a citizen who cares about our public lands, I strongly urge the Forest Service to include additional measures in the final rule to ensure basic protections for public land, wildlife and other types of recreation. These include:

* Create and enforce a timetable for the designation of roads and routes appropriate for off-road vehicle use;
* Designate roads and routes based on a full and public analysis of the site-specific environmental impacts and user-conflicts;
* Bar immediately the use of all unauthorized, renegade routes
* Authorize off-road vehicle use only to the extent that effective monitoring and enforcement are annually funded and implemented.

Submit your comments to the Forest Service by U.S. mail, e-mail, or fax.

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

Email: trvman@fs.fed.us

Fax: 801-517-1014

===========================================

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

Tags: ,
Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2004 July

2003 July – Interim

July 29th, 2003

July 29, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends —

Summer continues to move quickly, and even thought it’s only a couple of weeks since the last UPDATE , I wanted to report on the House Appropriations vote on RS 2477 so that timely “Thank Yous” can be sent (Item 1). There are also a few things to be aware of and to do, besides.

Congress will be on recess through August, until after Labor Day. The House has left Washington, but the Senate continues to work on the Energy Bill, which is full of bad environmental provisions. Recess is not a vacation time for Congress, however. Representatives and senators will be back in their home districts and states, available for meetings with constituents, and holding town-hall meetings. This is a perfect time to meet with them and voice your concerns. Contact the local office to find out their schedule. Complete contact information for the California delegation is in CalUWild’s Effective Advocacy Guide.

A few wilderness proposals around the West have been in the news lately. The Wild Sky Wilderness Act of 2003, for areas in Washington state’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, has been re-introduced in House as HR 822 and in the Senate as S 391. It passed its first hurdle when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved it unanimously on July 23. The bill had passed the Senate last year, but never came up for a vote in the House.

Wilderness advocates in Nevada are beginning a campaign to designate areas in Eastern Nevada, particularly in White Pine County. Their proposal includes some 50 areas and covers more than 3 million acres of already public Forest Service, BLM, and Fish & Wildlife Service lands.

We’ll keep you informed of these and other initiatives as they come along.

A couple batches of membership renewals went out in July. If you received a notice, please consider making a voluntary contribution. We need your support!

I will be heading to Utah for the first week of August to meet with the leaders of other Utah state activist groups from around the country. There are now 24 other such groups, based largely on the model that CalUWild initiated almost 6 years ago. We can all be proud of the work we’ve accomplished. It’s our membership that makes us effective. Thank you for playing such an important role!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN GENERAL

1. RS 2477: House Appropriations Vote

(ACTION ITEM)

2. E-mail to the White House

IN UTAH

3. Cedar Mountains Wilderness Bill

IN CALIFORNIA

4. Los Padres NF needs your help

(ACTION ITEM)

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

IN GENERAL

1. RS 2477: House Appropriations Vote

(ACTION ITEM)

Late in the evening of Thursday, July 17, the House of Representatives voted to place restrictions on the Department of the Interior’s use of it new Disclaimer Rule to process RS 2477 right-of-way claims across public lands.

As discussed in the {{July UPDATE }} Colorado Congressman Mark Udall offered an amendment to the 2004 Interior Appropriations bill which would have cut off funding for implementing the new rule. Rather than face a total cutoff, Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC) offered a secondary amendment limiting the cutoff to National Park units, National Monuments, wildlife refuges, and wilderness and wilderness study areas. Taylor’s amendment protected 200 million acres of land, but left another 400 million open to possible claims.

The vote on the Taylor amendment was 226 in favor to 194 opposed. The amended Udall measure then passed by voice vote.

This was the one amendment to the appropriations bill that the Republicans “whipped” — meaning that prior to the vote, the party’s leadership made it clear they wanted members to vote the “the party line.” In spite of that, 14 Republicans voted against Taylor’s amendment. However, 20 Democrats voted in favor, and this was enough to secure its passage. No California Democrats voted for the Taylor amendment, and no California Republicans voted against it. (Reps. Millender-McDonald and Berman did not vote.)

Representatives voting against the Taylor amendment deserve our thanks. Those in favor need to hear about the importance of not having countless roads criss-crossing our potential wilderness areas and other public lands.

If you don’t live in California, a complete list of votes on the amendment is at:

http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2003&rollnumber=388

While we didn’t get all we hoped for, we did force Congressional Republicans to acknowledge for the first time that RS 2477 was a serious issue — particularly the new disclaimer regulations.

The RS 2477/Appropriations issue now moves over to the Senate. California’s two senators, Boxer and Feinstein wrote to Interior Secretary Gale Norton earlier in the year raising objections to the new regulations, and we hope their opposition will continue.

Please call their offices and ask them to remain strong supporters of road-free land.

In other RS 2477 news, Mark Udall’s stand-alone RS 2477 bill, HR 1639, has 19 cosponsors, of which 6 are from California:

Anna Eshoo (D-14)
Barbara Lee (D-9)
George Miller (D-7)
Adam Schiff (D-29)
Ellen Tauscher (D-10)
Lynn Woolsey (D-6)

We would like to see more cosponsors. If your representative is on this list, when you call regarding the Taylor amendment, please say thanks for this as well. If not, ask them to become a cosponsor.

Complete contact information for California congressional offices can be found in the Effective Advocacy Guide.

2. E-mail to the White House

It used to be if you wanted to send George W. Bush an e-mail, you just sent it to:

president@whitehouse.gov

That has changed in recent weeks. Now the White House recommends going through its web site and filling out a multi-page form at http://whitehouse.gov/webmail.

Jimmy Orr, the White House Internet news director, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that you can still send an e-mail the original way, but there’s no guarantee anyone will read it or respond. That’s not encouraging, to say the least.

The new process is a bit time-consuming, although regular Web users will probably not have any problem with it.

The first step is dealing with encryption. Then it goes to an introductory page explaining new webmail system.

NEXT PAGE: You get a drop menu with the following choices:

Write a supporting comment

Write a differing opinion

Write a general comment

NEXT PAGE: Choose a subject, with a drop menu. “Environment” is one choice.

NEXT PAGE: Choosing Environment, you get a drop menu with the following topics:

Atmospheric issues
Clean Air/ New Source Review
Clean Water
Energy
Healthy Forest Initiative
Yucca Mountain

(Note: There is no option for “Wilderness” or “Public lands” or even “Other”)

NEXT PAGE: Please provide your full name/address/e-mail address.

NEXT PAGE: Write your comment.

NEXT PAGE: Confirm your comment and contact info.

NEXT PAGE: Additional comments on another matter?

Then this appears: “An e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address, which you must confirm within 72 hours.”

When I tried the system out, the confirmation message showed up within 15 minutes. It only listed the subject/topic, and did not include the message itself. So if you want to keep a copy of the message when writing it, you’ll need to copy and paste the text into another document.

The main problem, apart from the time it takes to fill out the forms, is that the categories are so limited, and the user is forced to make unrealistic choices. In fact, the message I sent was commenting on the new system, but it did not fit into any of the listed categories. Since I was checking out Environment anyway, I sent it under “Healthy Forest Initiative.” The following day, I received an e-mail from the White House. It contained an attached PDF file of a letter with the president’s signature on it, thanking me for my letter on the Healthy Forest Initiative. It then went on to describe the 2002 wildfire season and the aims of the Healthy Forest Initiative ” to reduce the risk that wildfires pose to communities, watersheds and our environment.”

White House spokesman Orr said about the new system: “It provides an additional means for individuals to inquire about policy issues at the White House and get a personalized response in 24 to 48 hours.” The message I received did not respond at all to my concern about the webmail system, and it’s clear that no one ever read my comment . The response was only personalized to the extent that my name and address appeared at the top of the letter.

Cynics say this new system is just another way to insulate the administration from public participation.

At this point, I would NOT recommend using the new system, and suggest you either call the White House:

202-456-1111 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time)

or send a fax:

202-456-2461

IN UTAH

3. Cedar Mountains Wilderness Bill

On July 25, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop (who replaced retired Rep. Jim Hansen) introduced a wilderness bill for a portion of the West Desert area, including portions of the military’s Utah Test & Training Range.

The bill is being used to block the development of a nuclear waste dump on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation in Utah. The Indian tribe would like to have the dump on its land to generate income, but the state of Utah is adamantly opposed. Wilderness designation of the Cedar Mountain area would prevent its use as a transportation corridor, making it would difficult to ship the nuclear waste to the proposed site.

The bill does not specify a precise acreage, but approximately 100,000 acres have been identified as qualifying by the Utah Wilderness Coalition and are included in America’s Redrock Wilderness Act.

Larry Young, executive director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said: “There are some important unresolved issues with the bill. It’s not the bill we would write, of course, but we would like to help protect the training range and stop nuclear waste storage and provide genuine protection for wilderness quality lands.”

We’ll keep you posted on the bill’s progress.

IN CALIFORNIA

4. Los Padres NF needs your help

(ACTION ITEM)

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

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

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

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

Tags: ,
Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2003 July – Interim

2003 July

July 8th, 2003

July 8, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

Summer has arrived, and there hasn’t been a lot of grassroots action needed in the last few weeks, so theUpdate decided to take June off.

That doesn’t mean, however, that things haven’t been busy here. Opposition to the Bush/Norton anti-wilderness agenda continues to build, and groups around the country are working closely together to reverse, or at least blunt the effects of, the latest actions from Washington.

In June, CalUWild helped draft a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton objecting to a request by 10 Utah and Arizona congressmen asking her to remove the Colorado River corridor from a Park Service wilderness recommendation to the president. This would have done an end-run around the current public planning process on river management. We rounded up 23 groups from around the West to sign on to the letter before sending it off to Ms. Norton. See Item 4 for further action on Grand Canyon.

Now with appropriations bills beginning their way in Congress, it’s time again to jump into action. See Item 1 for information on opposing the giveaway of rights-of-way across our wilderness areas and national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, and forests. Item 2 has the latest on the Fee Demonstration Program.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Act has not been re-introduced, but we are expecting that to happen sometime soon. For more information on the Wild Heritage Campaign, including hikes to proposed wilderness areas, check out their web site.

There are a couple of administrative items:

CalUWild’s “Guide to Effective Advocacy” has been attracting some welcome attention. Several organizations have approached us about distributing it to their members or using it in classrooms. It contains useful information for getting your message across to decision makers through letters, phone calls and meetings. It’s on-line at:

If you change your email address, please let us know your new one. We can’t afford to lose any of our members and will send you a postcard asking for your new address. That takes time and postage which could be spent on other things. So please try to remember to let us know by sending us an e-mail.

Please pass this Update along to people you know who might be interested in getting involved. Remember, the only formal membership requirement is to write one letter a month to a newspaper, an elected official, or to an agency. Dues are voluntary, but appreciated!

Thanks for your interest and support. And do get out into the wilds this Summer!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN GENERAL

1.R.S. 2477 Budget Amendment
URGENT
(ACTION ITEM)
DEADLINE: July 15

2.Fee Demonstration Program
(ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA

3. Job Announcement:
National Hispanic Environmental Council

IN ARIZONA

4. Grand Canyon Wilderness
(ACTION ITEM)

IN COLORADO

5. Colorado Wilderness Act Introduced

IN GENERAL

1.R.S. 2477 Budget Amendment
URGENT
(ACTION ITEM)
DEADLINE: July 15

As we’ve discussed before, R.S. 2477 is a part of the Mining Act of 1866 that granted rights-of-way for the construction of “highways” over public land. R.S. 2477 was repealed in 1976, but existing rights were recognized. Counties and states around the West have claimed routes, many of them bogus, to defeat wilderness proposals and make their case for local control of federal public resources. In February, the Department of the Interior finalized new regulations making it easier for states and counties to make claims. In April, the department signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Utah setting out guidelines for processing claims using these new regulations.

Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO), one of the best friends of wilderness in Congress, has stepped up to take the lead in fighting against these new regulations. Rep. Udall has two pieces of legislation tight now dealing with R.S. 2477.

The most time sensitive is an amendment to the current House Interior Appropriations bill to simply ban the use of any funds for implementing the new regulations, plain and simple. We anticipate a vote on the R.S. 2477 amendment next Wednesday or Thursday.

Secondly, Mr. Udall has introduced legislation which sets appropriate standards for processing claims. The proposal sets deadlines for filing claims and defines what is meant by “construction” and “highway,” among other things. The bill number is H.R. 1639, and it has not been scheduled for hearings or a vote. It needs co-sponsors, though. So far, Lynn Woolsey (D-06) and George Miller (D-07) are the only California cosponsors among 9 on the bill, which was introduced in April.

Please make a phone call to your representative’s office before next Wednesday asking him or her to:

1.Vote in favor of Rep. Mark Udall’s R.S. 2477 amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill; and

2.Become a cosponsor of H.R. 1639.

Complete contact information for California congressional offices can be found in the Effective Advocacy Guide.

2.Fee Demonstration Program
(ACTION ITEM)

The following information on the Fee Demonstration Program is adapted from an alert sent by Keep Sespe Wild.

WE MUST WRITE OR CALL NOW TO STOP FEE DEMO FROM BEING MADE PERMANENT BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – AND FROM BEING SUPPORTED BY THE WHITE HOUSE!

Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA11), Chair of the House Resources Committee, has just indicated his intention to soon reauthorize (i.e., make permanent) the Recreation Fee Demo Program – for ALL the four agencies involved (Park Service, Forest Service, BLM and Fish & Wildlife Service).

As new Chair of the Resources Committee, which oversees all public lands, Rep. Pombo hasn’t until now revealed his position on the Recreation Fee Demo Program. Now thatwe know he’s supportive of making Fee Demo permanent, we must immediately demonstrate how contentious a move this will be, by an outpouring of protest mail and calls to Rep. Pombo’s offices.

We also know that the White House is pushing strongly for permanent public lands fees. It’s been a while since we’ve asked you to contact the White House about Fee Demo. Now is the perfect time to send them the message, again, that Fee Demo must go (except for National Parks).

Remember, the outpouring of protest you helped generate in opposition to Fee Demo kept permanent fee proposals from moving forward in 2002. We can do it again!

WHAT TO DO

Please fax or mail a letter to Rep. Pombo, or call the House Resources Committee. There’s no deadline, but early July is best. Remember, letters to DC are still delayed by screening. Send a copy to President Bush at the White House, or call and leave a message.

Below are talking points, where to fax or mail it, the resources committee phone number, and contact info for the white house, followed by a brief update on other recent developments with fee demo in DC.

Fax numbers for Rep. Pombo:

Try any of these fax numbers that isn’t busy! Remember, faxes from western states may go through to DC more easily AFTER 5 p.m. EST.

(1) Rep. Pombo’s Resources Committee – (202) 225-5929

(2) Rep. Pombo’s District Office in DC – (202) 226-0861

(3) Rep. Pombo’s Stockton, CA office – (209) 951-1910

Mailing address for Rep. Pombo:

Rep. Richard Pombo
Chair, House Resources Committee,
1324 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC20515
House Resources Committee phone number: (202) 225-2761.

Please be brief and to the point and ask whoever picks up the phone that Fee Demo be canceled for the Forest Service, BLM and Fish & Wildlife Service. If you vote Republican, please say so. Call Fee Demo a new tax.

White House contact info:

President G. W. Bush,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
Washington,DC20500
FAX to (202) 456-2461

Leave phone messages at the White House comment line:
(202) 456-1111, (9 am to 5 p.m., EST, Mon – Fri)

TALKING POINTS TO FAX OR MAIL

*
Use your own words. Letters that look a lot alike carry less weight.
*
Please do not support extending the Recreation Fee Demo Program for the US Forest Service, the BLM or the US Fish & Wildlife Service. These fees must be canceled as soon as possible. They are a new tax on rural Americans.
*
The Forest Service has been spending $15 million to raise $15 million from forest fees, according to the April 2003 GAO Report. The BLM and USFWS fees are bringing in only a few million dollars nationwide.
*
The money raised by Fee Demo for these three agencies is not worth the controversy caused by fees to go for a walk or a drive on lands we already own.
*
Please write your name and address very clearly!

Additional points to mention in your letter

*
Please add your own comments (brief is OK) on Fee Demo.
*
If you vote Republican – please state so in your letter. The opinions of conservatives certainly weigh more with both the President and Rep. Pombo.

FEE DEMO DC UPDATE

The House Appropriations Committee voted on 6/26/03 to extend Fee Demo for two years for all four agencies, as part of the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill. We had been assured this WOULD NOT happen, so it is somewhat of a disappointment. However, this Committee created Fee Demo and all its extensions to date.

We know the Administration has been pushing hard for this. The Senate is more supportive of our opposition to permanent fees for the Forest Service, the BLM and the USFWS, so this extension may well not be included in the Senate’s version of the Appropriations Bill, due up quite soon. We’ll ask you to contact the Senate later in July.

The long and the short of it is that we’ll need you to be faxing, writing and/or calling to DC several times this summer – so keep those forest fee protest letters on your computer, ready to adapt each time as appropriate…

Who else do you know, who you can ask to write or call? This is the summer to pull out all the stops on generating Fee Demo protest mail and calls to DC! Can you set up a table in an appropriate public place and get 10, 20 more letters written?

As ever, we thank you for your help. Your response to these grassroots alerts will be vital to ending forest fees at the earliest opportunity.

Alasdair Coyne
Conservation Director
Keep Sespe Wild

IN CALIFORNIA

3.Job Announcement: National Hispanic

Environmental Council

Below is a brief summary of a position that the NHEC and California Wild Heritage Campaign are looking to fill. For a full job description, please contact Pamela Flick at CWHC:

JOB TITLE:Hispanic Outreach Coordinator,

California Wild Heritage Campaign

ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND:The National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC) is a national, non-profit, membership based organization, founded in 1995, and headquartered in Alexandria, VA (just outside Washington, D.C.). NHEC seeks to educate, unite, and engage Latinos on environmental, natural resource, and sustainable development issues; provide a national voice for Latinos before federal, state, and non-profit environmental decision-makers; and actively assist Latinos and other minorities to pursue the many career, business, educational, and policy opportunities in the environmental field. We operate various programs that accomplish this mission, and further our guiding credo: “because it’s our environment too.”

POSITION OVERVIEW:Publicly owned land in California belongs to all state residents. Yet, not all Californians participate equally, or receive equal benefits, from involvement in our wondrous public lands. For example, Latinos, despite having strong affinities for and a love of the outdoors, still do not recreate in wilderness areas in the numbers one might expect. While recent polls in California clearly demonstrate that Latinos overwhelmingly support efforts to protect wilderness areas, Latinos remain under-involved and under-represented. Together with NHEC, the CWHC seeks to reach out to Latinos to enlist their support for preserving and protecting California’s remaining wild places.

REQUIRED SKILLS/KNOWLEDGE:

*
Thorough understanding of both English and Spanish, including strong ability to effectively translate CWHC materials, both orally and in writing.
*
Excellent written and oral communications skills.
*
Some demonstrated understanding of and familiarity with environmental issues.
*
Demonstrated ability to work cheerfully and constructively with all kinds of people.
*
Demonstrated ability to be a self-starter — to be someone who does not require constant supervision — and to show great initiative in the performance of the position.
*
Proficiency with email, word processing, and database management.
*
Commitment to the preservation of the earth, especially California’s public lands and rivers.

DESIRED SKILLS/KNOWLEDGE:

*
Experience in Campaign and/or political organizing.
*
Experience with national forest or river related issues, and/or with public lands, natural resource, or conservation issues.

JOB LOCATION:Fresno, with work in surrounding Central Valley and Sierra communities. The position will require a fair amount of regional travel in the respective areas. Thus, the candidates must live within a reasonable distance to his/her respective areas (i.e., those applying must live in reasonable proximity to Fresno). Job related travel expenses will be paid.

IN ARIZONA

4.Grand Canyon Wilderness
(ACTION ITEM)

As mentioned in the introduction above, Interior Secretary Norton received a request to remove the Colorado River corridor from the Park Service’s wilderness recommendation for Grand Canyon National Park. Should she comply, it would pave the way for motorized rafts being allowed permanently on the river, since motorized equipment is generally prohibited in wilderness areas.

Motorized rafts were supposed to have been phased out years ago, but that has never happened. Now the Park Service is undertaking a comprehensive River Management Plan review, and it is our hope that the Park will finally implement the phaseout.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) circulated a counter-letter to Secty. Norton in Congress, requesting that the planning process be allowed to continue unimpeded. It received 28 representatives’ signatures, including 11 Californians:

Lois Capps (D-23)

Mike Honda (D-15)

Tom Lantos (D-12)

Barbara Lee (D-09)

George Miller (D-07)

Grace Napolitano (D-38)

Linda Sanchez (D-39)

Adam Schiff (D-29)

Ellen Tauscher (D-12)

Henry Waxman (D-30)

Lynne Woolsey (D-06)

If your representative is on the list, please call to say thank you.

IN COLORADO

5.Colorado Wilderness Act Introduced

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) has re-introduced H.R. 2305, the Colorado Wilderness Act. It is based on a citizens wilderness inventory, just as America’s Redrock Wilderness Act in Utah and the California Wild Heritage Act are. The bill would designate 1.6 million acres of BLM lands and 300,000 acres of National Forest, on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

“This plan will protect 59 areas comprising 1.6 million of acres of wilderness public land across our beautiful State. It is a broad and ambitious piece of legislation that will keep some of the few remaining wild places we have left in Colorado for future generations,” DeGette said.

She continued, “Unfortunately, the lands in this bill need protection now more then ever. A few weeks ago, late on a Friday evening, in the midst of the war in Iraq, the Bush Administration signed a deal, behind closed doors with no public notification or input, that fundamentally changed the way our public lands are managed for wilderness protection….The decision from Washington, DC was made without any input or consideration from Coloradoans. This is particularly troubling given that, over the course of the last decade, Colorado citizens spent countless hours on the trails inventorying the lands of our state to ensure that they did, indeed, warrant wilderness status. Their efforts, which led to the development of the Citizens’ Wilderness Proposal, form the basis for my Colorado Wilderness Act. It is a plan developed by Coloradoans to protect Colorado land.”

We’ll keep you posted on the bill’s progress.

Tags: ,
Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2003 July

2003 July

July 8th, 2003

July 8, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

Summer has arrived, and there hasn’t been a lot of grassroots action needed in the last few weeks, so the UPDATE decided to take June off.

There are a few other general announcements this month.

1. The California Wild Heritage Campaign has a full schedule of hikes and other trips throughout California. It’s a great way to see firsthand some of the wild areas proposed for wilderness protection and learn about what makes them such special places. Check out the full calendar at:

http://www.californiawild.org/Calendar.html

2. Just a friendly reminder: Although we run CalUWild on a tight budget, projects still do require funding. An appeal for support will be going out in the next few weeks to our members who haven’t contributed in the last year. The easiest way to avoid receiving this is to send in a contribution. Dues are voluntary, and we have different level of contributions:

Student ($15) Regular ($25) Supporting ($50) Outstanding ($100) Other

Checks payable to CalUWild may support lobbying efforts and are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible contributions should be made payable to Resource Renewal Institute . Either way, mail it to:

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

3. Finally, given the administration’s unrelenting assaults on our wildlands—that’s not hyperbole given what has happened in the last month—we need to encourage other people to become actively involved in efforts to protect wild areas. Please forward this Update (which is going out to more than 577 people) to three friends who might be interested—particularly if they live in Southern California. If you send us their name and e-mail address, we’ll send them the information they need to join up. Tell them we don’t send out numerous alerts (generally once a month), dues are voluntary (but appreciated), and we do NOT share personal information with ANYone for ANY reason, so they won’t be receiving unsolicited e-mail. It shouldn’t be hard to double or triple our membership. Please spread the word!

As always, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us at

info@caluwild.org

Thank you for all your support and hard work.

Best wishes,

Mike

IN GENERAL

1. R.S. 2477 / Wilderness Rollbacks
(Action Item)

2. Energy Bill in the Senate
(Action Item)

IN UTAH

3. Redrock Cosponsor Update

IN NEVADA

4. Black Rock Desert/High Rock Canyon NCA
Draft Management Plan
DEADLINE: June 16
(Action Item)

IN CALIFORNIA

5. SWAT Teams in Wilderness Denied
(Action Item)

6. North Coast Wilderness Bill Introduced

7. Condors at Pinnacles
(Action Item)

8. Alaska Wilderness League Position in California

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

IN GENERAL

1. R.S. 2477 / Wilderness Rollbacks

(Action Item)

In April the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) launched a three-part attack on wilderness. Two parts involved settlements with the State of Utah, effectively removing them from public or congressional review. The third was a directive from Secretary Gale Norton to the Alaska BLM office.

Part 1: R.S. 2477 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State of Utah

Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Secretary Norton announced an agreement on April 9 allowing the State of Utah and its counties to claim R.S. 2477 rights-of-way to routes under the recently established Disclaimer of Interest Rule (see CalUWild Update: January 2003 https://www.caluwild.org/docs/January_UPDATE_web.htm#1). At the time the new disclaimer regulations were being developed, the Department of Interior vehemently denied that the rule had anything to do with R.S. 2477.

This MOU is the product of secret negotiations between Mr. Leavitt and the Interior Department.

The agreement:

* allows the state and counties to assert claims to “roads” across pristine public landscapes where no road actually exists
* provides no real protection for National Parks, Wildlife Refuges or Wilderness areas, since the state of Utah, counties, and all-terrain vehicle groups are free to pursue these claims in federal court
* provides for no public involvement until after BLM has made a decision to turn routes on public lands over to states
* does not require any review of the potential environmental impacts of the wholesale give-away of routes
* apparently will use loosen standards that could permit states to allege that cow paths and foot trails are “constructed highways” and thus subject to giveaways
* invites other states and counties to apply for similar agreements
* leaves vulnerable much of Utah’s most precious land, including much of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, roadless areas identified by the BLM as having potential wilderness characteristics in its 1997 state-wide inventory, and other areas proposed for Wilderness designation in America’s Redrock Wilderness Act

For more information on R.S. 2477, see:

http://www.highway-robbery.com/

Part 2: Wilderness Study Area and Inventory Settlement with Utah

On April 11, the Interior Department and Utah announced a settlement to a lawsuit brought by Utah challenging BLM’s authority to undertake wilderness inventories. Seven out of the eight original counts in the suit had previously been rejected by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Two weeks before the settlement was announced, BLM apparently encouraged Utah to revise the remaining count and then agreed to settle.

In the settlement, the federal government agreed to abandon its wilderness inventories in all states and dis-establish any Wilderness Study Areas that had been administratively set up. The agreement also revoked the “Wilderness Inventory Handbook,” which former Secretary Bruce Babbitt had developed, governing the inventory process and the management of lands found to have wilderness character. These lands had strong protection until such time as Congress might act on making their protection permanent or releasing them.

The Interior Department “admitted” that it had no authority under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to undertake such inventories, because sec. 603 required BLM to have undertaken wilderness inventories before 1991. Many of the inventories that BLM did before 1991, particularly in Utah, were deeply flawed, often excluding illegally areas that had any mineral or oil & gas potential.

The BLM continued its inventories or began reinventories under secs. 201 and 202 of FLPMA. Sec. 201 specifically states:

“The Secretary shall prepare and maintain on a continuing basis an inventory of all public lands and their resource and other values (including, but not limited to, outdoor recreation and scenic values), giving priority to areas of critical environmental concern. This inventory shall be kept current so as to reflect changes in conditions and to identify new and emerging resource and other values.”

Wilderness is one such resource to be inventoried. Sec. 202 requires BLM to use the results of its inventories in developing land use plans.

A coalition of wilderness organizations is attempting to intervene in the lawsuit.

Part 3. Wilderness Agreement with Alaska

Also on April 11, Secty. Norton ordered the BLM to stop any wilderness reviews in its land use planning, in spite of the fact that the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) allows them. Additionally she said that BLM could only consider wilderness in areas where it had significant support from local elected officials. Of course, this ignores the fact the BLM lands belong to all Americans, and all Americans have just as much say in their management as the citizens of the state in which it is located.

Press reaction to these developments has been widespread and overwhelmingly negative. Here is just a sample:

“No limit on wilderness”(San Francisco Chronicle, 04/25/2003) Editorial.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/25/ED268919.DTL

“The end of wilderness” (New York Times, 05/04/2003) Editorial.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/04/opinion/04SUN1.html

“Bah, wilderness! Reopening a frontier to development” (New York Times, 05/04/2003) The Week in Review. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/04/weekinreview/04EGAN.html

“The Economic Benefits of Protecting Utah’s Wilderness” (Salt Lake City Tribune, 05/04/2003).
http://www.sltrib.com/2003/May/05042003/commenta/53497.asp

“Land deal fought” (Salt Lake City Tribune, 05/06/2003).
http://www.sltrib.com/2003/May/05062003/utah/54242.asp

ACTION:

It is critical that ALL wilderness advocates write to their elected representatives protesting these developments.

Specific items to mention to your House member:

• Please sign on to the Hinchey/Blumenauer/Udall letter to Secretary Norton protesting the R.S. 2477 decision and the wilderness rollbacks.

• If they are wilderness-friendly, please cosponsor H.R. 1639, Rep. Mark Udall’s (D-CO) bill on R.S. 2477.

Addresses for all California House and Senate members can be found in the CalUWild Guide to Effective Advocacy. https://www.caluwild.org/advocacy02.htm

You should also write to Secretary Norton:

Hon. Gale Norton
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
phone: 202-208-7351
fax: 202-208-6950
E-mail: Gale_Norton@ios.doi.gov

Finally, write a letter to the editor of your newspaper.

In any letter, remember to make it personal: say why the issue is important to you!

2. Energy Bill in the Senate

The U.S. Senate this week began debate on the Energy Bill, S. 14. The bill elevates oil and gas development to the dominant use of our public lands, above all other uses for which these lands are managed, including protection of water supplies, wildlife and its habitat, and recreation such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. S. 14 would further accelerate drilling on our public lands by expediting permitting, reducing public input, and limiting environmental reviews. The bill would also continue taxpayer subsidies for damaging fossil fuel development technologies rather than promoting renewable energy technologies.

Debate will probably continue for the next several weeks. Sen. Barbara Boxer is expected to be a strong advocate for Western wilderness and environmental issues, but she needs to hear from constituents to be able to make a credible showing on the floor of the Senate. Calls and faxes to her office in support of the following expected amendments are therefore very important:

• Maintain Multiple Uses on our Public Lands.
The law requires that federal public lands to be managed for a multitude of uses (wilderness, wildlife habitat, energy development, and livestock grazing). S. 14 moves away from multiple uses making energy development the highest priority
• Protect the Private Property Rights of Surface Landowners.
More than 30 million acres of privately owned lands in the West have federal minerals underneath. These are known as “split estates,” and these landowners have little say over the manner in which underlying minerals are developed. Nor do they have much recourse when energy development affects their interests: contaminating drinking water supplies, killing livestock, or degrading their property values and quality of life. Please support amendments to help protect ranchers and other landowners from these abuses.
• Preserve the Rocky Mountain Front.
Montana’s 100-mile long Rocky Mountain Front in is the spectacular home to large populations of elk, grizzly bears, and bighorn sheep. The Blackfoot Tribe also considers it sacred ground. The Forest Service in 1997 stopped issuing new energy leases in the area. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) will offer an amendment to continue this suspension for three years of in the area adjacent to Glacier National Park while studying whether to buy out the leases.
• Protect Indian Country.
S. 14 currently removes federal guarantees for environmental review and public involvement in energy decisions made on tribal lands. The bill also waives all federal government liability from energy development. thus tribes are vulnerable to potentially huge damage claims. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) plans to offer an amendment addressing these issues by reinstating federal oversight of oil and gas development on Indian lands. the amendment will also provide for continued grants and assistance to tribes to develop energy resources.
• Oppose Taxpayer Subsidies for Damaging Energy Development.
Since it was enacted in 1980, Section 29 of the Internal Revenue Code has provided tax credits worth billions of dollars for non-conventional energy sources. Most of these have gone to coalbed methane (CBM—natural gas from coal seams). CBM has significant impacts on wildlife habitat, water supplies, and western ranches and other private landowners. Over 100,000 new wells are already being planned, and this subsidy is not needed. Yet S. 14 would continue this unnecessary support, costing taxpayers nearly $2.5 billion over the next five years. Please support Sen. Don Nickle’s (R-OK) amendment to end this giveaway.

Sen. Boxer can be reached at:

202-224-3553
415-956-6701 (fax in San Francisco)

You can also e-mail Sen. Boxer through her web site.

http://www.senate.gov/~boxer

IN UTAH

3. Redrock Cosponsor Update

Since the April Update, the following California representatives became cosponsors of H.R. 1796, America’s Redrock Wilderness Act:

* Mike Thompson (D-01)
* Brad Sherman (D-27)
* Hilda Solis (D-32)
* Maxine Waters (D-35)

This brings the total number of California House cosponsors to 27. We are still waiting for Loretta Sanchez (D-47) and Diane Watson (D-33) to renew their cosponsorship, as well as Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Sen. Boxer was an original cosponsor.

Nationally, there are now 149 cosponsors in the House and 13 in the Senate.

IN NEVADA

4. Black Rock Desert/High Rock Canyon NCA

Draft Management Plan

DEADLINE: June 16

(Action Item)

The BLM has released its draft management plan for the Black Rock Desert/High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trail National Conservation Area and Wilderness in northwestern Nevada. It is seeking public comment until June 16.

The following information comes from CalUWild coordinator Vicky Hoover and Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

BLM urges you to provide as specific comments as possible. A vague comment without any details will not get as much attention (because it is not as helpful) as one that is specific to certain portions of the DEIS and offers real suggestions for management. The DEIS and other documents, press releases, and more information can be found at the BLM’s web site.

http://www.blackrockhighrock.org

Four alternatives are given in the DEIS:

* No Action
* Alternative A (emphasis on natural process)
* Alternative B (emphasis on response to change)
* Alternative C (emphasis on visitation and interpretation)

There is no one alternative that we should support overall. A combination of A and B seems to be the best approach. Some natural resource protection concerns are not addressed at all.

Your comments should emphasize the following general points (in your own words):

* It is important to keep the area as it is and not to allow development.
* Emphasis should be put on the conservation of the historical, cultural, and natural values of the area.
* Information should be offered to visitors at points outside the NCA with a detailed map showing roads, wilderness areas, and other features of interest and providing information as to possible hazards for the back-country visitor. New signs in the NCA should not be erected because they detract from the visual quality of the primitive experience. Alt. A is good in this respect.
* Adaptive management (fix only what needs fixing when indicated by triggers, using the Limits of Acceptable Change studies) should be applied when decisions are made. Changes should be based on resource damage rather than on convenience. The public should be involved with adaptive management decisions.
* Large events such as Burning Man should be confined to the areas where they are now conducted.
* Ranger presence is extremely important in this remote area, not only to monitor activities but to assist in an education program for the visitor.

Further detailed talking points:

Our preferred philosophy of management :

* Keep it like it is—wild , primitive, undeveloped—visitor experience to be self-guided;
* Protect and conserve the historic, cultural, scientific, and natural resources;
* Emphasize conservation more than recreation (note : the preferred alternative B does espouse this philosophy but doesn’t follow through in many of their proposed actions.)
* “Front Country” should remain where it is de facto now: limited to the far south playa & Steven’s Camp Rd. (All alternatives suggest too much NEW front country, where visitor developments can occur.)
* Grazing should continue under existing standards and guidelines, but no new areas should be opened, and no grazing in the fenced area of Soldier Meadows, as Alt. B proposes. Instead, the fenced area should be an exclusion in order to provide a scientific baseline.

This means that we do NOT want the following within the NCA, all of which would be allowed under the preferred Alt. B:

* New access roads or road upgrades, such as widening or paving;
* New on-site interpretation;
* New visitor services within the area;
* Developed campgrounds.

All of the above would have immediate, irreversible impact on the wild, primitive, undeveloped character of the place. They would hinder visitor opportunities for solitude, adventure, discovery, self-direction, self-challenge, and reliving the emigrant experience. Road upgrades would decrease safety, by increasing numbers and speed of vehicles, and increasing weeds and fire.

Actions to support:

* Designated OHV routes only—Alt. B represents good citizen input;
* Increased protection for the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout WSA. Alt. A would provide that by closing most vehicle routes, thus preventing silt in streams. Alt. B’s wild & scenic river designations would provide that, too, with benefits similar to the closures in Alt. A;
* Wildland fire as specified in Alt. B with these additions: prescribed fire MAY be used in Wilderness, but with extra guarantees that the Emigrant Trail segments be protected from bulldozers.

Concerns not appearing in any alternative:

* Road upgrades should be considered only through an Environmental Analysis (EA) process. All alternatives allow some upgrading without public input;
* Protection for the dune areas—no camping or OHV travel—unless/until such time that science proves that these do not impair their resource value;
* Increased protection for the hot spring habitat at Soldier Meadows and Black Rock Springs. This could include exclosures and a primitive campground;
* No alternative focuses on the need for additional BLM presence within the NCA in these forms: monitoring for limits of acceptable change, visitor contact, law enforcement, or inventorying of multitude of resources (historic, cultural, or scientific).

Send your comments to:

NCA Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Winnemucca Field Office
5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445

E-mail your comments to:

brhrcomment@bah.com

or comment on-line.

http://www.blackrockhighrock.org

IN CALIFORNIA

5. SWAT Teams in Wilderness Denied

(Action Item)

In the March Update https://www.caluwild.org/docs/mar03_UPDATE.htm#2 , we discussed a proposal by Tactical Firearms Training Team (TFTT) to conduct a course entitled “Combat Fieldcraft,” teaching survival skills and tactics in the Sacatar Trail Wilderness.

CalUWild received a letter dated April 21 from the BLM Bakersfield Office stating that it was turning down TFTT’s application for a Special Recreation Use Permit. BLM considered the application similar to that of an outfitter or trail guide and felt it didn’t impact wilderness values(!). However, BLM received sufficient comments from the public that it “felt the breadth of concern over this activity outweighed any public benefits.”

Thank you letters should be sent to:

Stephen Larson
Assistant Field Office Manager
U.S. BLM
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308
E-mail: slarson@ca.blm.gov

6. North Coast Wilderness Bill Introduced

On March 27, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-1) and Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act.

The House bill is H.R. 1501, and Sen. Boxer’s companion bill is S. 738.

The two bills cover 303,924 acres and 21 river miles in Rep. Thompson’s North Coast district—including some of the state’s most spectacular scenery and important fish and wildlife habitat.

The largest individual areas included in the bill are the Yuki proposed Wilderness—51,790 acres in Lake and Mendocino Counties, and the King

Range proposed wilderness—41,614 acres in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties—including the popular “Lost Coast” scenic hiking trail.

The Thompson/Boxer bills will preserve unique landscapes and diverse ecosystems of California’s coastal region by designating wilderness in 15 areas Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa counties and designating segments of the Black Butte River in Mendocino County as a Wild and Scenic River.

7. Condors in Pinnacles NM

(Action Item)

This came in from Wilderness Watch:

Another chance to support a good decision…

Pinnacles National Monument will be a new release site for re-establishing endangered California condors, an icon of the once-wild coastline. The release site will entail construction of a large holding pen, water tanks, and an observation station, which would remain in place approximately 15 years as the lifespan of the project.

Originally NPS was considering building the release site inside the Pinnacles Wilderness and use helicopters for access to fill the water tanks, but now the preferred alternative is to construct the release facility in Grassy Canyon outside the Wilderness. Access will be by ATV and water trucks along an old jeep track.

Seeing giant condors soaring on thermals over the region will enhance the area’s wilderness character, and finding a means of achieving this without placing structures and using helicopters inside the wilderness is to be commended.

Please send a quick note supporting the Preferred Alternative E and supporting NPS’ decision to protect wilderness throughout the process:

Rebecca Leonard
Pinnacles National Monument
5000 Hwy. 146
Paicines, CA 95043
email: rebecca_leonard@nps.gov
phone: 831-389-4485 x 273

8. Alaska Wilderness League Position in California

The Alaska Wilderness League (AWL) is looking for a California Organizer.

AWL is a Washington, DC-based education and advocacy group working to protect the wild lands of Alaska from development and to preserve them for future generations. AWL is an IRS registered 501-(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization.

Job Description:

AWL seeks a field consultant to help cultivate support for protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the state of California in key targeted Congressional districts. The consultant will help identify and recruit prominent CA citizens including politicians, labor, religious, and civic leaders to lend their support to the campaign. The consultant will help generate media, schedule presentations for a traveling slide show, and recruit citizens to travel to Washington, DC in September. Lastly, the consultant will build a coalition of local activists and leaders to remain active on the issue after the term of the contract.

This is a four-month contract position that could be extended based on mutual interest and needs. Salary from $2000 / month to be negotiated based on experience.

Eligible Candidates:

The successful candidate will have a demonstrated concern for the issue of oil development in our natural areas and a working background knowledge of the various aspects of the issue. Candidates with experience working with CA government officials, state level NGOs, or other local organizations will be given preference. Ability to speak Spanish a strong plus.

For information about applying, contact Erik DuMont, National Field Director, at:

erik@alaskawild.org

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2003 July

2002 July

July 24th, 2002

July 24, 2002

Dear CalUWild friends —

After a nice break, the CalUWild July UPDATE is here. Some of the time since the last UPDATE I spent rafting on the Colorado River for 18 days through Grand Canyon. By nice coincidence, Grand Canyon National Park announced the resumption of its Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP) process while I was on the river. See item 5 below.

In addition, many of the national monuments designated by Pres. Clinton have begun their general management planning processes now. They are all in or have just finished the scoping phase, where issues are identified before the production of a draft plan. Space doesn’t allow for details about all of them, but if you’re interested, please follow up on the web. You can find preliminary information and more links at:

http://www.blm.gov/nlcs/monuments/index.html

The monuments are:

— Arizona: Agua Fria, Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs, Ironwood Forest, Sonoran Desert

— California: California Coastal, Carrizo Plain

— Colorado: Canyons of the Ancients

— Idaho: Craters of the Moon

— Montana: Upper Missouri River Breaks

— Oregon: Cascade-Siskiyou

If significant wilderness issues are involved when the draft plans are released, we’ll let you know how to get involved more directly. CalUWild will submit some scoping comments on its own letterhead on our members’ behalf.

In the meantime, there are many other issues requiring attention. Five action items are included in this UPDATE. Please try to do at least two of them if possible.

On the technical front, we have transferred the caluwild.org domain to a new host, so if you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to send email to the general mailbox info@caluwild.org or me mike@caluwild.org. The web site is undergoing renovation and suggestions for it can be sent to Phillip Loughlin webmaster@caluwild.org. The caluwild@mindspring.com address will remain active, so no need to change your address books if you don’t want to.

Finally, with Summer vacation past its midpoint, get out and enjoy some of our wild public lands. You’ll be glad you did!

As always, thanks for your interest and help,

Mike

IN UTAH

1. Canyonlands NP Salt Creek Environmental Assessment

Deadline: August 12

(ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA

2. California Wild Heritage Campaign Activities

(ACTION ITEM)

IN NEVADA

3. Nevada Public Lands Bill to Have a Hearing

(ACTION ITEM)

IN ARIZONA

4. Colorado River Management Plan in Grand Canyon

Deadline: September 21

(ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA

5. Tongass National Forest Wilderness

Deadline: August 17

(ACTION ITEM)

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

IN UTAH

1. Canyonlands NP Salt Creek Environmental Assessment

Deadline: August 12

(ACTION ITEM)

One of the issues CalUWild has been following over the years has been the saga of Salt Creek, the only perennial stream in Canyonlands National Park. Four-wheel drive enthusiasts had insisted that they have a right to drive up the creekbed for miles. After a lawsuit was brought by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance alleging that traffic in the canyon was damaging park resources, the National Park Service closed the road. Vehicle groups sued, San Juan County asserted an R.S. 2477 right-of-way for the route, and the planning process was reopened. However, the Park instituted an emergency closure, which has remained in effect.

Now the Park has released its Environmental Assessment, and the preferred alternative is to keep Salt Creek closed permanently to motorized traffic above Camp. The Park Service also made a preliminary finding that the county’s R.S. 2477 claim was not supportable.

This is good news!

The public comment period on the environmental assessment runs until August 12. Please send a brief letter supporting the preferred alternative. The public overwhelmingly supported the closure of the route during the preparation of the EA.

A couple of points to stress in your comments:

— Salt Creek is the only perennial stream in the Park. Thus it provides important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.

— Salt Creek is an important archaeological area, and vehicle access make those resources more vulnerable.

— If you have ever hiked or visited Salt Creek, or would like to, please state that in your comments, too. Be sure to say what about your experience was important to you.

The document can be found on the Web at:

www.nps.gov/cany/saltea/index.htm

Comments should be sent BEFORE AUGUST 12 to:

Mr. Alford J. Banta

Superintendent

Canyonlands National Park

2282 S. West Resource Blvd.

Moab, UT 84532

email: canysaltck@nps.gov

IN CALIFORNIA

2. California Wild Heritage Campaign Activities

Here is a quick update on several aspects of the California Wild Heritage Campaign (CWHC).

The companion bills to Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Wild Heritage Act of 2002 have been introduced in the House of Representatives. Two bills cover the northern and southern halves of the state, and there are two additional bills covering specific congressional districts.

The bill’s authors and numbers are:

Northern California: Rep. Mike Thompson (D-01), H.R. 4948

Southern California: Rep. Hilda Solis (D-31), H.R. 4947

North Coast: Rep. Mike Thompson, H.R. 4949

Central Coast: Rep. Sam Farr (D-17), H.R. 4750

As an example of the interest surrounding the introduction of these bills, nearly 100 local officials and Wilderness supporters gathered to celebrate the introduction of Rep. Solis’s Southern California Wild Heritage Act. The event was hosted by the Mayor of Duarte, 40 miles east of Los Angeles, at the foot of the Angeles National Forest, with a view of the Silver Mountain Potential Wilderness in the background. Among those there to speak on behalf of this historic effort were Ed Navarro of the National Hispanic Environmental Council and several local elected officials from the area, while members of the Gabrieleno tribe opened the ceremony with a ritual blessing.

Information about the California Wild Heritage Act can be found on Sen. Boxer’s web site at:

http://boxer.senate.gov/newsroom/wilderness/index.html

or on the CWHC site at:

http://www.californiawild.org/

CWHC is currently coordinating 2 drives in support of the bills in Congress:

1) Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Sen. Feinstein is still studying her colleague’s bill before deciding whether to support it. CWHC has begun circulating a petition where people can express their support for protection of wilderness areas in California.

CWHC has the goal of collecting 100,000 signatures by the end of the year. But that won’t happen without the active help of wilderness supporters around the state. CalUWild would be happy to provide you with a copy — see below. Ask your family and friends to sign on. If you can, take copies to farmers markets, fairs, concerts, or set up a table at a shopping center.

2) Scientists

CWHC is also circulating a letter to scientists around the state, asking them to sign on as supporters of wilderness in California. If you are a scientist and would consider signing on, please let me know.

Please send an email to me at mike@caluwild.org, and I’ll send you either or both of the following:

1) a PDF version of the petition to Sen. Feinstein to print out and copy.

2) the text of the scientist sign-on letter.

A new organization, Mountain Bikers for Wilderness, is circulating a sign-on letter in support of the bills in Congress. Since mechanical transportation is not allowed under the 1964 Wilderness Act, biking is not allowed in wilderness areas. MB4W feels that others in their sport are not necessarily representative of the whole lot. If you’re a mountain biker who supports Wilderness and might be willing to sign on to the letter, please contact Don Massie at massiedon@hotmail.com for more information.

IN NEVADA

3. Nevada Public Lands Bill to Have a Hearing

(ACTION ITEM)

The Nevada Public Lands Bill, which calls for nearly half a million acres of new wilderness for Clark County in southern Nevada — among other provisions, not all of which conservationists are happy about — progresses in Congress.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is on the Senate Energy Committee. Please call her office at 202-224-3841 to urge her to strongly support the wilderness provisions of S. 2612, the Nevada Public Lands bill. That’s all you need to say!!

If you would like more information on the bill, please send an email to vicky.hoover@sierraclub.org or mike@caluwild.org.

IN ARIZONA

4. Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP) in Grand Canyon

Deadline: September 21

(ACTION ITEM)

The management history of the Colorado River is too complicated to go into much detail here. Suffice it to say that originally the river in Grand Canyon National Park seemed to be on track for inclusion in the Wilderness Preservation System. The Park Service had recommended it in the 1970s. The accepted policy was to phase out motorized boats on the river eventually. However, commercial interests, aided by allies in the Reagan-era Department of the Interior, and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (related to the owners of Hatch River Expeditions, one of the largest concessionaires) have succeeded in blocking wilderness designation.

(Then-Secretary of the Interior James Watt was widely quoted in 1981 as saying about his trip down the Colorado: The first day was spectacular. The second day started to get a little tedious, but the third day I wanted bigger motors to move that raft out. There is no way you could get me on an oar-powered raft on that river I’ll guarantee you that. On the fourth day we were praying for helicopters and they came.)

The last time a river planning process was instituted, it was abruptly canceled by the superintendent of the park when the situation got too contentious. A lawsuit forced the park to start its efforts again, when the judge ruled that it was the park’s responsibility to resolve issues, no matter how difficult they might be. So the Park has begun a renewed CRMP process.

The questions on the park’s Scoping Comments form are:

1. What are the conditions and qualities that make a Colorado River trip special to you? Imagine yourself visiting the Grand Canyon in 20 years. Describe what you would like to see and experience on a river trip.

2. List your top 3 priority issues for the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

3. Additional comments — also list anyone else you think should be placed on the mailing list for future updates.

These are rather generic questions. HOWEVER, the park’s planning web page states:

Issues to be addressed in the EIS will include, but are not limited to:

— Appropriate levels of visitor use consistent with natural and cultural resource protection and preservation mandates

— Allocation of use between commercial and non-commercial groups

— The non-commercial permitting system

— The level of motorized versus non-motorized raft use

— The range of services and opportunities provided to the public

— The continued use of helicopters to transport river passengers from the Colorado River near Whitmore Wash (in consultation with the Hualapai Indian Tribe and appropriate parties)

THEREFORE, if you have suggestions for how the CRMP ought to address any of these specific issues, be sure to include them in your comments as well.

Here are some thoughts:

— The current breakdown of users is: approximately 19,000 commercial passengers, 3,000 commercial crew, and 3,000 private boaters. Commercial users receive the vast majority of allocated spots. In fact, the commercial allotment was increased at one time in order to compensate for the fact that motorized boats would be phased out. That hasn’t happened, and the allotment has remained at its inflated level ever since.

— The current waiting list for private user permits is more than 12 years long. Yet, if you are willing to pay enough, you can get on a commercial trip almost immediately. Commercial trips cost nearly three times as much per person per day as private trips. This is unfair.

— Motorized use is incompatible with Wilderness designation. It may not be possible to eliminate it completely, but at minimum ought to be one option the park considers. Severe restrictions should be placed on motorized use in any event.

— Helicopters also have no place in Wilderness. The flight path goes right over a camp along the river. The noise is horrendous, destroying anyone else’s wilderness experience, and it likely affects wildlife in the area. Another way must be found to get motor boat passengers out of the Canyon at Whitmore Wash.

— If you have been on a river trip, or hope to go, please describe your experience or hopes. This is the best way to write effective comments.

More information on the planning process can be found on various places on the web:

The official Grand Canyon NP web site:

http://www.nps.gov/grca/crmp

The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association web site:

http://www.gcpba.org/

The River Runners for Wilderness web site:

http://www.rrfw.org/

The deadline for submitting comments is September 21, 2002.

Submit comments via an online form at:

http://www.nps.gov/grca/crmp/public/scoping-comment.htm

By mail to:

CRMP Team

Grand Canyon National Park

P.O. Box 129

Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

By email to:

grca_crmp@nps.gov

5. IN ALASKA

Tongass National Forest Wilderness Plan

Deadline: August 17

(ACTION ITEM)

The Tongass is the largest National Forest in the US and the largest untouched temperate rainforest in the world. Yet the US Forest Service has refused to recommend any wilderness designations for the Forest, in spite of a court order to consider wilderness in the preparation of an environmental impact statement for 9 million acres. This latest supplemental EIS was released in May. It recommends adopting the no action alternative, meaning that no wilderness is recommended. This recommendation flies in the face in of the nearly 2 million comments submitted by Americans on the Forest Service Roadless Initiative, most of which recommended protection for roadless areas. Many of those comments specifically mentioned protection for the Tongass NF.

Please write the Forest Service urging adoption of Alternative 6 in the SEIS, The Alaska Rainforest Conservation wilderness proposal.

The deadline for comments is August 17.

The EIS can be viewed online at:

http://www.tongass-seis.net/seis/index.html

Submit comments by mail to:

USDA FS Tongass NF

Content Analysis Team

P.O. Box 9079

Missoula, MT 59807

By fax: 406-329-3556

Online at: http://www.tongass-seis.net/comment.html

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