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2018 June

July 4th, 2018


Mountain Juniper, Yosemite National Park                                                                                                           (Mike Painter)
 

July 2, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

There are no new Action Items this month, so this Update consists of links to articles and other items of interest. Some of the subjects are developments in stories we’ve mentioned before, and some are new. However, if you haven’t contacted your representatives or senators in regard to the bad San Rafael Swell/Emery County, Utah bill discussed in last month’s Update (ITEM 1), please do so!

Thanks to those who responded to our announcement last month of the generous offer by Patrick Dengate to contribute half of the proceeds from the sale of his paintings. You can still have the chance to own some nice art and support CalUWild. Click here to see a catalog of paintings or go to Patrick’s website for more. And don’t forget that Margie Lopez Read sells her art solely in support of nonprofit organizations, including CalUWild. Check out her website and contact Margie for more information.
 

Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH

The biggest news this month was that a Canadian company made several mining claims in an area of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, near Capitol Reef National Park, that was taken out by the administration. It’s not clear yet how big a threat this poses. The BLM has said the area will continue to be managed under the original monument management plan until a new plan is in place. We’ll keep you posted as things develop. Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune’s report: A Canadian firm wants to start mining on Utah lands that used to be part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The local politics in San Juan County, where the Bears Ears National Monument is located, are shifting as the result of redrawn districts for local commissioners, following a voting rights lawsuit. Two out of the three districts now have Navajo majorities. An article in Indian Country Today: One election winner this week: Bears Ears

The New York Times published an article today about Arches National Park, containing significant discussion of Edward Abbey and his book Desert Solitaire, which was published 50 years ago: The Balancing Act of Arches

IN CALIFORNIA

Friends of the Inyo has their Summer Events Calendar online. Check it out for hikes, service projects, and other happenings.

An article appeared in the New York Times about the restoration and reopening of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park: A Renewed View of Some of the World’s Oldest Trees.

Forbes has an article, The Most Beautiful Sunsets In The World, about the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Some promising news in the Los Angeles Times: Born in a zoo, released into the San Gabriels, a rare Los Angeles frog bounces back

Tech arrives at the national parks, as the Los Angeles Times reports: Yosemite now accepts electronic entrance passes that can be scanned from your cellphone

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

The Department of the Interior and Secretary Ryan Zinke continue to be the focus of scrutiny by the press and Congress.

Politico reported in a series of articles on a possible conflict of interest with a proposed commercial development in Whitefish, Montana and foundation run by his wife:

Politico also reported further on the controversy surrounding Secty. Zinke’s purported threats of retaliation against Alaska, attempting to pressure Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R) into voting to repeal Obamacare. Watchdog closes Zinke threat probe, citing lack of cooperation from Interior

In Outside Magazine, an article on the Land & Water Conservation Fund: Ryan Zinke Is Sabotaging Our Best Public Lands Program

Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities detailed misstatements that Secty. Zinke made to the press on a recent trip to his home state of Montana: The biggest whoppers from Ryan Zinke’s softball media tour of Montana

FactCheck.org posted about Secty. Zinke’s claim that the Navajo living near the Bears Ears National Monument “were all in support” of the Administration’s decision to reduce the monument’s size: Navajo Didn’t Support Shrinking Bears Ears

Many in the Interior Department failed to properly fill out conflict of interest forms: These Trump Staffers — Including an ex-NRA Lobbyist — Left Their Financial Disclosure Forms Blank

Secty. Zinke is trying to reassign Yellowstone’s superintendent on the eve of his retirement. Many suspect retaliation in the move. National Parks Traveler reports: Dan Wenk Being Forced Out Of Yellowstone National Park. Read one Park Service employee’s letter to Secty. Zinke, reacting to the news here.

Lastly, some good news, and unexpected, too, since Secty Zinke had included the program in a list if things contributing to budget problems in the department. National Parks Traveler reports: Secretary Zinke Reauthorizes Every Kid In A Park.

IN GENERAL

Headwaters Economics has developed an extremely useful website, with data on visitation, spending, jobs, and income for each unit of the National Park Service: Economic Impact of National Parks

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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

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2017 June

July 3rd, 2017


Sunrise over Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah                                         (Mike Painter)
 

June 29, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters—

Our last couple of Monthly Updates have focused heavily on the national monument review that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was ordered to undertake. The situation has become extremely complex, so please bear with us as we try to untangle the mess a bit. It will be the only topic addressed in this Update.

The review and recommendations already resulting from it are the broadest and most serious attacks on public lands we’ve seen in many years—an attack on one monument is an attack on them all. So if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

It being the season for summertime reading, we’ve included many links, in both Items 1 & 2.
 

Thanks for your interest and involvement,
Mike
 

IN UTAH & ELSEWHERE
1.   Interior Secretary Zinke Issues Preliminary Bears Ears Report;
          Recommends Shrinking the Monument and
          Extends Comment Period.
          Comments Needed on All Monuments
          DEADLINE: July 10
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Interior Secretary Zinke Issues Preliminary Bears Ears Report;
          Recommends Shrinking the Monument and
          Extends Comment Period.
          Comments Needed on All Monuments
          DEADLINE: July 10
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we reported in our last two Updates (April, May), the administration issued an executive order instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to undertake a review of more than 25 national monuments designated since 1996. He was given 45 days to issue recommendations regarding the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and 120 days for the others. The Interior Department then opened a public comment period for all of them. The Department, however, is not undertaking the review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which has procedural guidelines for how comments are to be tabulated and analyzed. As you’ll see below, it is becoming more and more difficult to believe that the public comment period is anything other than just for show.

Two weeks ago Mr. Zinke issued a preliminary report on Bears Ears, and other information has come out from the Interior Department that is causing us to have to change our approach to the review. Yet it is important to keep the pressure up, by submitting comments to the department, as the public is able to read them online. This will provide support for the litigation that is sure to follow any formal attempt at revocation or boundary change. (Although presidents have the authority to designate monuments, the Antiquities Act does not give them the power to modify or de-designate them. This has not been tested in court, though … yet. If you are interested in a readable paper by four law professors from the U of Colorado, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, discussing the applicable law, click here.)

Some of the larger conservation groups have analyzed the comments submitted online, finding that over 90% support leaving all the monuments alone.

Secty. Zinke’s report recommends shrinking the monument, though he stopped short of outright de-designating it.

The report made four major points, listed below, along with responses to each, in italics. (The report can be read and/or downloaded here, free registration or sign-in required.)

1.) The boundaries of Bears Ears should be adjusted to be consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act (i.e., the smallest area necessary to protect the objects of interest);

The interim report seems to imply that only some archaeological sites are worthy of protection and that these can be easily identified and given isolated protection. The truth is that there are many thousands of archaeological sites, large and small, as well as numerous historic sites, geological features, paleontological resources, as well as plants and animals worthy of protection. The original proclamation spells out these many values in detail. It is the landscape itself—viewed as sacred by numerous Native American tribes as their homeland—that is being protected, not just separate sites.

2.) Congress should authorize tribal co-management of designated cultural areas;

The tribes view this as an insult, given the recommendation that the monument be shrunk. Furthermore, Mr. Zinke said that the tribes were happy with his recommendations. They responded that this was a slap in the face. Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) questioned Secty. Zinke about this comment in a hearing. For a short video clip of their exchange, click here. Again, it is the landscape as a whole that they proposed to have protected and which Pres. Obama designated as a monument.

3.) Congress should designate selected areas within the current monument as national conservation or recreation areas;

That will never happen. Rep. Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative was widely recognized as being proposed solely to forestall a monument designation. The Utah congressional delegation has little, if any, interest in actually protecting the land. Congress is too busy with other things right now, anyway.

4.) Congress should clarify the intent of management practices of wilderness or wilderness study areas (WSAs) within a monument.

This one is a mind-boggler: There has never been any question that wilderness and WSAs are to be managed according to one standard: to preserve their wilderness character, as defined by the Wilderness Act. It makes no difference whether the area is in a national park, national monument, national forest, national wildlife refuge, national conservation area, or under BLM management. The secretary displays a total lack of understanding of the law with this “recommendation.”

Mr. Zinke announced he would wait before issuing final recommendations on Bears Ears until after the comment period for the other monuments on the list closes on July 10. Further comments on Bears Ears will now be accepted until that date.

As mentioned above, other aspects of the commenting process have also come to light, calling into question the administration’s interest in broad public participation or accountability. For example:

— Last month, we passed along the recommendation from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Sierra Club, and other organizations that people submit comments directly to them to be printed out, tabulated, and delivered to the Interior Department. They did so and were told that the comments would be counted as one single comment, rather than the number actually received, and regardless of how many unique comments there might be from each organization. (SUWA estimated handing in over 4,000 printed comments alone.)

The Interior Department says that 396,000 comments have been submitted as of June 26. Conservation organizations estimate that over 1,000,000 have been submitted.

— Department officials also said that in order to count, each monument under consideration must actually be named in a comment. Therefore, saying you think that all the monument designations should be left as they are, is useless. Also, comments that name more than one monument will likely be lumped together and not necessarily counted with comments pertaining to a particular monument.

 

SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

If you previously submitted a comment specific to Bears Ears on the regulations.gov website …

… there is no need to resubmit it.

It would be a good idea, however, to submit an additional comment in response to one or more of the four recommendations above, following the instructions on the page. Then, click on the button requesting that they send you a confirmation email. You will also receive a confirmation number, which you may use to check on the status of your comment. Please forward the entire email you receive to SUWA at issues-action@suwa.org, so they can keep an accurate count.

The first point to make in any comment is that the administration has no authority under the law to make any modification to a monument designated by a president. Only Congress may do that.

If you submit multiple comments from the same email address, please be sure you receive a separate confirmation number for each comment. (There were reports that the site was not accepting such multiple comments, but when I tried, things functioned properly.)
 

If you previously submitted a comment via another organization’s website (SUWA, Sierra Club, Bears Ears Coalition, Monuments for All, etc.) …

… please resubmit it via the regulations.gov website.

Again, click on the button requesting a confirmation email, and forward that entire email to SUWA at issues-action@suwa.org.
 

If you have NOT previously submitted any comment on Bears Ears …

… please submit one via the regulations.gov website. Use the four talking points above as well as those discussed in Item 1 of the May Update.

Please note: There is a 5,000-character limit for comments pasted into the text window on the webpage. You may upload attachments, so maybe send a picture (or a document with more characters?).
 

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The other monument squarely in the crosshairs of Mr. Zinke and his Utah delegation allies is the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). Utah politicians have considered it a thorn in their side since the day it was designated by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1996. CalUWild has a special connection to GSENM, as we founded the organization in response to the development of the monument’s general management plan in 1997, 20 years ago.

Please submit a separate comment regarding GSENM to the regulations.gov website with a follow-up copy to SUWA, using the procedure outlined above.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has sent out the following message, with some suggested talking points:

The Trump administration appears serious about eviscerating Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. The Utah delegation is pressing the president to carve out a huge chunk of the 1.7 million acre monument for potential coal mining. And Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke seems to be listening! His visit to the monument in May focused on a driving tour to a coal seam!

It is important that your comments be in your own words. The Department of Interior will count them individually that way. What is most useful is your own statement about why Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is special to you and why ALL OF IT deserves to be protected. It’s fine if you keep it simple and from the heart.

To help you gather your thoughts, here are a few points of information (you can also click here to view our story map):

•    Grand Staircase-Escalante was designated in 1996. Since then, it has come to be known as the “Science Monument”—yielding several new species of dinosaur and other paleontological finds and providing habitat for 650 bee species, many that are endemic to the area.

•    Grand Staircase-Escalante has incredible camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities. Places like Calf Creek, Peekaboo and Spooky Canyon, Coyote Gulch, and the Hole in the Rock Road are known the world over. If you have your own favorites, be sure to mention them!

•    Polling shows more than half of Utahns want Grand Staircase-Escalante left alone. That’s added to the more than 80 percent of Westerners that the Colorado College Conservation in the West poll showed want existing national monuments left intact.

•    Reviewing any monument is a political act, but especially when it involves one that is more than two decades old and flourishing. No president has ever taken this needless step, and neither should President Trump.

Secty. Zinke commented, regarding Upper Missouri Breaks in Montana, another of the monuments under review, that he’d rather not “open up a wound” there (see next section). This same logic applies just as forcefully to GSENM. Although there was widespread opposition to GSENM initially, much of that has disappeared as the local economies in Kane and Garfield counties have by all measures improved greatly. Most people there, and in Utah as a whole, now favor the monument, despite what some of their politicians are saying. There is no need to open a wound that is healed (or healing).

The Deseret News reported that the Interior Department requested Kane and Garfield counties to draw maps with revised boundaries for Secty. Zinke’s recommendation. There was no mention made of public input to that process.
 

Other Monuments

The Billings (Montana) Gazette reports: Upper Missouri Breaks will keep its national monument status, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says. Mr. Zinke commented after speaking at the Western Governors’ Association meeting: “’My likely recommendation will be to leave the Missouri Breaks as is,’ Zinke said. ‘I think it’s settled to a degree that I would rather not open up a wound that has been healed.’”

Mr. Zinke has also indicated that Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado is likely not to be subject to changes, as is Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, despite some political opposition there. See, for example, this article: ‘Spiteful and petty’: Maine governor bans signs to Obama-designated monument.

If you have a specific interest in any of these three monuments, by all means, submit a comment in support anyway.

In California, we are especially concerned with the Mojave Trails, Giant Sequoia, and Berryessa Snow Mountain monuments, so please consider submitting separate comments on those.

Mr. Zinke has also just announced that he will visit Gold Butte and Basin & Range national monuments in Nevada in July. Gold Butte is of special concern because it is adjacent to the Cliven Bundy ranch, site of the armed standoff in 2014, and there has been vocal opposition from people to whom Secty. Zinke might be sympathetic.

Space limitations here prevent providing detailed information regarding all the monuments on the “hit list.” However, most of them have “Friends Groups” that support them in various ways. Look for information on their websites regarding comments specific to their monument. Our friends at The Wilderness Society’s BLM Action Center provided us with a list of the monuments and links to their associated Friends Groups.

   Basin and Range, Nevada: Friends of Basin and Range National Monument
   Bears Ears, Utah: Friends of Cedar Mesa
   Berryessa Snow Mountain, California: Tuleyome
   Canyons of the Ancients, Colorado: San Juan Citizens Alliance
   Carrizo Plain, California: Los Padres ForestWatch
   Cascade Siskiyou, Oregon: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
   Craters of the Moon, Idaho: Idaho Conservation League
   Giant Sequoia, California: Sequoia Forest Keeper
   Gold Butte, Nevada: Friends of Gold Butte
   Grand Canyon-Parashant, Arizona: ???
   Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah: Grand Staircase Escalante Partners
   Hanford Reach, Washington: ???
   Ironwood Forest, Arizona: Friends of Ironwood Forest
   Mojave Trails, California: Mojave Desert Land Trust
   Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, New Mexico: Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
   Rio Grande del Norte, New Mexico: Rio Grande del Norte Coalition
   Sand to Snow, California: Mojave Desert Land Trust
   San Gabriel Mountains, California: San Gabriel Mountains Forever
   Sonoran Desert, Arizona: Friends of the Sonoran Desert National Monument
   Upper Missouri River Breaks, Montana: Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument
   Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona: Friends of the Cliffs

You can also find more information at monumentsforall.org.
 

What else?

Encourage your family and friends to submit comments.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Post your thoughts and relevant articles on Facebook or Twitter—these are increasingly important means of communication.

Contact your senators and congressmen/women, letting them know your concerns about the monuments review. Encourage them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act if they haven’t, and thank them if they have. (Cosponsorship creates a pool of people who are willing to publicly defend areas in the bill against threats that might arise, such as bad legislation, threatened oil leases by the BLM, bad land exchanges, etc.)

House cosponsors from California in addition to chief sponsor Rep. Alan Lowenthal are:

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2)
John Garamendi (D-3)
Doris O. Matsui (D-6)
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-11)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-14)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Ro Khanna (D-17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Julia Brownley (D-26)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Grace Napolitano (D-32)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40)
Nanette Barragán (D-44)

Since our last Update, John Garamendi (D-3) has signed on. If you live in his district, please contact his office to say Thank You!

Congress will be on recess for the week of the 4th of July, as well as the month of August. These are not vacations, but times to be working in-district, directly with constituents. Get office meetings set up or attend townhall meetings (with those reps brave enough to still hold them).
 

Press Coverage

There has been an incredible amount written about the monument review. Here is just a sampling.

Utah Monuments

The New York Times: Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Borders of Bears Ears Monument

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Utah writer and photographer Stephen Trimble. Steve has joined CalUWild’s Advisory Board. Shrinking Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument would be one more broken promise to Native Americans

An article in the Pacific Standard: The Unprecedented Dismantling of a National Monument: After recommending that Bears Ears National Monument be reduced in size, one thing is clear: Ryan Zinke is nothing like Teddy Roosevelt.

An article in Astronomy about a site in the Bears Ears: Is The Moon House an American Stonehenge?

An article in Inside Science: Contested National Monuments in Utah House Treasure Troves of Fossils

An op-ed in the Deseret News: The fossils from Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument have made Utah world-renowned

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune on vandalism in the Bears Ears NM: BLM guard station burns in Bears Ears

In General

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stated his support for the existing national monuments in California and other states. He sent Secty. Zinke this letter.

SUWA took out a full-page ad in the NY Times and Washington Post.

An op-ed in the New York Times: Keep America Wild

 

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

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

Public Lands & Politicians

An article in Outside about Utah Rep. Rob Bishop: Environmentalists’ Public-Lands Enemy Number One

Just as the previous Update came out, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) announced he would retire at the end of June. The Washington Post published this article at the time. The Post published this piece in response to Fox News’s announcement yesterday that Mr. Chaffetz would be a contributor for the network: Jason Chaffetz won’t need a housing stipend after new Fox News gig.

The Center for Western Priorities takes a look at a potential nominee for Director of the BLM: Three reasons Karen Budd-Falen is unfit to lead the Bureau of Land Management.

In the last couple of years, The Guardian, one of Britain’s major newspapers, has ramped up its coverage in the United States. They now publish an online US edition. They recently announced they are devoting an entire section to coverage of public lands issues in this country: This Land is Your Land, prominently displayed on the homepage.

High Country News is always good reading: Why the next generation needs public lands and Archaeologists are the last line of defense against destruction

Another Loss for the Land-Grab Campaign

Other News

Our friends at WildEarth Guardians write about a BLM report on increased protections for the Chaco Canyon region. The Final Scoping Report my be downloaded here.

A Salt Lake Tribune article: FBI agent charged with lying about LaVoy Finicum’s death in Oregon public-lands standoff

Two articles on the Colorado River: Calls to Rethink the Colorado River’s Iconic Dams Grow Louder and from The Conversation: Climate change is shrinking the Colorado River

Video Links

Episodes 22 & 23 in the US Forest Service’s Restore series:

Another in Resource Renewal Institute’s Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak series: Jacques Leslie: Hell or High Water. We frequently include Jacques’s writings in the Monthly Update.

 
 
 
 
 

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

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

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2016 June

July 1st, 2016

DSC_1362b3a
Parker Lake, Inyo National Forest, California                                                                             (Mike Painter)
 

June 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

Schools are out for summer, so many people can take the opportunity to go with their families to visit public lands across the West and the country. The national parks have been experiencing record visitation, partly because of increased publicity-particularly the Find Your Park campaign-surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Park Service and because gasoline prices are the lowest in several years.

But there is more to explore than the parks. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) look after a far larger area, and much of it is relatively unknown and, therefore, uncrowded. Opportunities to get even further away from civilization abound.

Take advantage of the opportunity if you can.
 

There was good news this week when the Oakland, California City Council unanimously voted to ban the handling of coal in the city, effectively killing plans to build a new port facility to ship coal to Asia. Much of it would have come from Utah, where legislators had approved funding to support the port project in a last-minute session. Oakland’s vote will help protect the landscape in Utah and send a signal that the city won’t support coal because of the pollution and greenhouse gas it produces.
 

The year is half over, and although we don’t send out constant appeals for donations, the need for funding continues throughout the year. CalUWild receives some foundation funding, but relies on member support as well. Expenses are kept to a minimum, and every dollar is carefully spent. So if you haven’t made a contribution in a while or can give something extra, please consider a mid-year gift. Click here for details and a form.

As always, dues are optional but appreciated. Most of all we appreciate your active support for wilderness and public lands.
 

Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1. Update on 2 Bills:
          Public Lands Initiative
          and Utah Test & Training Range
2. Bears Ears Monument Campaign

IN CALIFORNIA
3. National Forest Planning: More Wilderness Needed
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: August 25
          (ACTION ITEM)
4. Rim of the Valley Bills Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)
5. Changes to Southern California
          National Forest Recreation Fees

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

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

1. Update on 2 Bills:
          Public Lands Initiative
          and Utah Test & Training Range

Utah Reps. Rob Bishop (R) and Jason Chaffetz (R) have still not introduced the Public Lands Initiative in Congress, the bill to “solve” the wilderness issue in the state. County officials have reportedly seen a version, but it is telling that conservation groups have been left in the dark, despite the fact that they are supposed to be full partners in the undertaking. Mr. Bishop continues to say he’ll introduce a bill in this Congress, so if it is to have any chance of passage, he will need to do so in July.

If the final proposal is unacceptable, we will immediately let people know what they can do to oppose it, so if it comes out in July, the next issue of the Update may be in your INBOX before the end of the month. Stay tuned!
 

We reported last year, in September and December, on Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R) bill to expand the Utah Test & Training Range (UTTR) in the West Desert of Utah. Though the expansion has not been requested by the military, Sen. Hatch has taken it upon himself to champion it in Congress. There are several major on-the-ground objections to the legislation. The House version would grant rights of way to several counties for roads, which would then disqualify areas that are included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act from future designation. Both bills would close large areas of BLM land to public access, and the BLM and the Defense Department would also be exempted from analyzing any proposed projects under NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) and Rep. Rob Bishop have attached the Senate and House versions of the bill to the National Defense Authorization Act, which has passed both houses. Now a conference committee must reconcile the two versions, and it is probable that the Senate version without the roads giveaways will prevail. Also noteworthy is the fact that although this is a “must-pass” piece of budget legislation, Pres. Obama has issued a veto threat if it contains anti-environmental riders, and he mentioned the UTTR by name. It’s nice to see Utah lands issues so visible on the White House radar screen!
 

2. Bears Ears Monument Campaign

The Bears Ears continue to be in the news, both in Utah and nationally. Here’s a brief run-down on a few developments.

As we reported last month, a campaign of deception sprang up in San Juan County, where the Bears Ears area is located, with forged letters and flyers containing false and inflammatory information about a potential monument designation. This led the Salt Lake Tribune to publish an editorial: Lies only make a stronger case for Bears Ears Monument. This is a huge sign of support, showing that there is substantial support for a monument within the state, despite the claims of opponents.

Unfortunately, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) made comments in which he astoundingly raised the specter of violence should Pres. Obama designate a monument, as if making excuses for potential perpetrators. Despite this being an isolated occurrence, it’s what the Washington Post picked up on this in its headline A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed confrontation to save it? for a major story on the monument campaign.

The New York Times mentioned the Bears Ears in a column by writer Timothy Egan: Monuments for Future Generations. He writes frequently on the need for conservation and protection of public lands.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has yet to announce dates for a promised visit to Utah this summer.

We’ll keep you posed as things develop.
 

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Inyo National Forest Planning: More Wilderness Needed
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: August 25
          (ACTION ITEM)

Every 10-15 years national forests update their general plans. One component of these plans is often recommendations for news wilderness areas and additions to existing ones. As with all plans done under NEPA, they are open for public comment at various stages. The Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra national forests have just released draft plans, open for comment until August 25.

Our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition have provided the following summary for the Inyo National Forest. We will pass along their analyses of the other two forests when they are available. Information for submitting comments follows CWC’s alert.
 

Details on the Inyo National Forest Plan Revisions

The Forest Service is currently seeking public comment on three draft forest plans encompassing more than four million acres of public land in the eastern and southern Sierra Nevada. This first alert focuses on the Inyo National Forest. Subsequent alerts will cover the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.

The Inyo National Forest encompasses the iconic landscape of the eastern Sierra Nevada. The draft plan addresses many different land and resource management issues, including the identification of and potential agency recommendations to protect additional wilderness and wild & scenic rivers. Protection of these wild places not only ensures that present and future generations may enjoy them, but they also provide refuge for fish, wildlife, and plants; preserve important sources of clean water and air; and help boost the local tourism-based economy.

Unfortunately, the Forest Service’s “preferred” Alternative B for the Inyo Forest recommends a paltry 37,000 acres of new wilderness protection. But the more conservation-oriented Alternative C recommends more than 315,500 acres of wilderness.

Some of the outstanding wild places that would be protected under Alternative C on the Inyo Forest include:

Horse Meadow – this northeast addition to the existing Ansel Adams Wilderness near Mono Lake includes three popular trails into the existing wilderness and provides critical habitat for Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and sage grouse.

Glass Mountains – a small volcanic mountain range that was a prehistoric source of obsidian used for tool-making by Native Americans over much of the West, with diverse ecosystems and wildlife, as well as outstanding views of the eastern Sierra escarpment.

Dexter Canyon – a rugged Jeffrey pine dotted canyon with streams flowing through wet meadows and rich riparian habitat in a near-desert setting, providing habitat for sage grouse, black-backed woodpecker, willow flycatcher, golden eagle, badger, and mule deer.

Excelsior – this remote area of rolling pinyon and sage-covered hills on the Nevada border possesses high ecological integrity and outstanding opportunities for solitude.

Important additions to the existing White Mountains, Inyo Mountains, Piper Mountain, and South Sierra Wilderness areas.

Nearly 160 miles of free flowing rivers and streams with outstanding natural and cultural values were identified as eligible for wild & scenic river protection, including such iconic eastern Sierra streams as Lee Vining Creek, Hot Creek, Rock Creek, and Lone Pine Creek. But at least one stream deserving of protection – Dexter Canyon – was not found eligible for protection.

Please send an email to the Forest Service TODAY urging the agency to adopt an improved Alternative C for the Inyo Forest that protects significant amounts of wilderness and all streams identified as eligible for wild & scenic river protection.

The deadline for public comments is August 25, 2016. For more information, please contact Steve Evans, CalWild’s Wild Rivers Consultant at sevans [at] calwild [dot] org or call (916) 708-3155. To review the Forest Service’s draft Forest Plans and EIS, as well as for the full schedule of upcoming public meetings, visit the Forest Service’s website.
 

You may submit your comments using one of the following methods:

Project web-site comment form

E-mail

US Mail:

Planning Team Leader
Forest Plan Revision
1839 South Newcomb Street
Porterville, CA 93257

 
4. Rim of the Valley Bills Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

We’ve reported over the last several years about plans and studies to enlarge the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by extending it northward and eastward around the San Fernando Valley. (See the April 2015 Update and August 2011 Update.)

This month, California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-28) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) announced that they were introducing companion bills to put much of the National Park Service study, released this last February 2016 into effect. The legislation would add about 193,000 acres to the current 153,000 acres of the Santa Monica NRA. No Forest Service lands are included, and the expansion excludes all oil and gas development.

A map of the proposed expansion is here.

This is good news for Southern California (and all of us). Rep. Schiff has worked since 2008 to shepherd this proposal along, and he deserves our thanks. Please send him a quick message:

2411 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

DC phone: 202-225-4176
Burbank phone: 818-450-2900
Hollywood phone: 323-315-5555

Sen. Boxer also deserves thanks for her support of this and many other land protection efforts.

DC phone: 202-224-3553
Online here

 
5. Changes to Southern California
          National Forest Recreation Fees

Over the years we’ve reported many times on the controversy surrounding the use by federal land management agencies of recreational fees for simply hiking or driving on roads through national forests or BLM lands. Courts have ruled against the agencies for not complying with the law, which requires that certain amenities (toilets, trash cans, interpretive signs, designated parking, picnic tables, and security services) be available for users in order to require payment of a user fee. Despite these rulings, the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino national forests refused to comply and insisted that citizens buy an annual “Adventure Pass” for the forests.

As we reported in April 2014, a federal judge ruled in favor of four Southern California hikers who had sued the Forest Service to enforce a Ninth Circuit ruling disallowing the fees. The Forest Service decided to appeal the ruling, but last week it reached a settlement agreement with the four hikers, in which it agreed to drop the Adventure Pass altogether and only charge fees at those sites that qualify. In addition there must be free parking provided within 1/2 mile of those sites for hikers who do not wish to use any of the amenities.
 

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

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

New York Times Articles

A personal essay in the Travel section on an extended road trip: 10 Months, 45 National Parks, 11 Rules

An op-ed discussing many conservatives’ drift away from conservation: Dear Conservatives, You Can Go Green Again

The essay referred to in that piece: The Secret to Making Conservatives Care About Climate Change

The Bundy Case

From The Oregonian: “A federal judge has dismissed the charge of using and carrying firearms in the course of a crime of violence against Ammon Bundy and seven co-defendants, finding the underlying conspiracy charge doesn’t meet the legal definition of a ‘crime of violence.”’ Read the rest of the story here.

A BLM press release regarding the area near the Bundy Ranch in Nevada: BLM Returns to Work in Gold Butte

A Washington Post article on an informal hearing by congressional Democrats, prompted by the refusal of Republicans to investigate the Oregon standoff: House Dems examine right-wing domestic terrorism; hit GOP for not combating ‘growing threat’

Public Lands in General

BLM’s online guide to the National Conservation Lands it manages

In praise of a wild West, the text of a speech by Bill Hedden, executive director of the Grand Canyon Trust,

An op-ed in High Country News: The land transfer movement’s great public-lands hoax

An op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal: Real Westerners recognize public land grab for what it is

At least one governor seems to understand: Protecting public access, protecting Montana jobs, an op-ed by Gov. Steve Bullock in the Helena Independent Record

An article in the St. George News: Enforcing the law, protecting resources: A day in the life of a BLM ranger

The National Parks

An op-ed in High Country News: The Park Service doesn’t need corporate sponsorship. It needs proper funding. Our thoughts exactly!

A Washington Post follow-up to the article we linked to last month: I saw the baby bison that tourists tried to rescue. Here’s what you don’t know about the story.

John Muir, writing in The Atlantic: Yosemite, Through John Muir’s Words

The Public Trust Doctrine

Outside Magazine looks at a new application of the law that was successfully used to protect Mono Lake: The Newest Legal Tool to Fight Climate Change Is as Old as Ancient Rome

Book Reviews

Terry Tempest Williams is on CalUWild’s Advisory Board. Her latest book is The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, is a collection of essays about twelve national parks, written to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Park Service, which we are currently celebrating. Earlier this month, the New York Times published a review.

By nice coincidence, the author of that review is Andrea Wulf, whose recent book, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, was reviewed last year in the New Yorker, which we linked to in our October 2015 Update. Other reviews of Ms. Wulf’s book have appeared appeared in the New York Times and the New York Review of Books.

Von Humboldt was just about the most famous person in the world around the turn of 19th Century, other than maybe Napoleon. More places around the world are named after him than any other single person, yet he is largely forgotten today. He was a scientist and explorer and was the first person to see Nature in a holistic, interconnected way. Humboldt contributed insights to many fields of study and heavily influenced people such as Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Muir, and many others. It’s fascinating reading (and very readable, too).

Video Links

President Obama Speaks at the Sentinel Bridge in Yosemite

A short (23 minutes) film about conservationist Martin Litton: Martin’s Boat. Martin was on CalUWild’s Advisory Board.

Grand Canyon in Depth #7: North Rim

 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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2015 June

July 2nd, 2015

DSC_1064a3aPictograph: “Cleopatra and her Dog,” Utah                                                                                (Mike Painter)

June 29, 2015

Dear CalUWild friends-

There are only two ACTION ITEMS this month, asking people to call their representatives in Washington with the requests that they cosponsor legislation regarding two of our longstanding issues: America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and reauthorization of the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which expires in September. These are both important for the conservation future of the country. So if you haven’t made a call or sent a note, please do so right away.

The other big environmental news item this month was the publication of Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home, analyzing the various environmental and economic issues the world is facing. Despite climate change being the media’s major focus, that’s not what the encyclical is really about. Other sections deal with pollution, water, loss of biodiversity, an overall decline in human life, global inequality, the role of technology, and more. Throughout, the encyclical discusses the impact of these problems on the poor and marginalized, who can least afford to deal with them.

Besides linking himself strongly with the scientific consensus around climate change, Francis also says strongly that equating humans’ “dominion” over creation with total domination is a false reading of Genesis: “Clearly, the Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures.” [¶68]

There have been strong positive reactions from many in the environmental community and from some politicians. However, business interests and conservative politicians and commentators have spoken out quite strongly against it, calling it religious meddling in politics. The fact that Francis criticizes the current economic system surely has a lot to do with that.

The New York Times today had a good analysis of the encyclical. The British environmental writer George Monbiot wrote an excellent op-ed piece about it in The Guardian: Why we fight for the living world: it’s about love, and it’s time we said so.

I’ve posted a PDF of the text of Laudato Si’, with slightly reduced font-size to reduce the number of pages, on CalUWild’s website for anyone who would like to read it or download it. The original, larger print version may be found on the Vatican’s website.

It’s well worth adding to your summer reading list.

Links to more reading are in Items 2 & 3, below.

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
2.   Land & Water Conservation Fund
          Expires in 100 Days
          Reauthorization Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

The list of cosponsors for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, H.R. 2430 & S. 1375, is growing slowly. Unfortunately, there have been no more California representatives added to the list since our May Update.

To save space, rather than repeat all the information from last month, I’ll simply say: If you haven’t contacted your representative about cosponsorship, please check the lists here.

If your representative is on the first list, please contact them to say “thanks.” If they’re on the second, please contact them to request that they become a cosponsor, which they can do by contacting lead sponsor Rep. Alan Lowenthal’s office. A simple phone call will do, or send a note via an online comment form. Complete contact information may be found by following the links here.

A full list of cosponsors across the country may be found here.

IN GENERAL
2.   Land & Water Conservation Fund
          Expires in 100 Days
          Reauthorization Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

Some of our California delegation is still missing from the cosponsor list for legislation reauthorizing the Land & Water Conservation Fund, one of the major funding sources for public land for additions and inholdings to existing areas, as well as for local parks. It comes from the royalties paid to the federal government from offshore oil & gas development, not from taxes paid by citizens.

As we wrote in our April Update:

But unless specifically reauthorized by Congress, this crucial fund expires in September of this year. Two Senate bills have already been introduced to reauthorize LWCF, (S. 890 for permanent reauthorization PLUS full, dedicated appropriation of the authorized annual $900 million [which in many past years has been partially diverted to other uses] and S. 338 for permanent reauthorization only.)

The new House bill introduced April 15 by Reps. Raul Grijalva of AZ and Michael Fitzpatrick of PA, with 18 original cosponsors-9 Democrats and 9 Republicans-is H.R. 1814; it is equivalent to the Senate S. 338.

The California representatives who have not yet signed onto H.R. 1814 are: Aguilar, Bass, Bera, Costa, Davis, Hahn, Matsui, Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Takano, Torres, Vargas, and Waters.

PLEASE contact their offices and ask them to cosponsor this critical piece of public lands legislation. Again, complete contact information for California offices may be found by following the links here.

There was an op-ed last week in The Hill supporting reauthorization of the LWCF.

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

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. Inclusion of an article here does not imply agreement with the author’s viewpoint.

In the New York Times

An op-ed piece by Lydia Millet, Selling Off Apache Holy Land

A letter to the editor following up on the op-ed on “glamping,” which we linked to last month

Utah articles

An op-ed piece in the Salt Lake Tribune looking at the efforts by a Utah politician to support San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, convicted of conspiracy and trespass in the Recapture Canyon road protest, which we’ve written about several times previously

A lengthy article in Rolling Stone examining the controversy surrounding a possible link between fracking and neonatal mortality in Vernal, Utah

KQED takes a look at the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposal

Video links

Episode 13 in the US Forest Service’s Restore series: Fire Behavior and Ecological Restoration

Another in the National Park Service series, America’s Wilderness. This time: North Cascades Wilderness: Experience the Awesome, in Washington State.

A man and his father take a raft trip down Grand Canyon: The Important Places

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

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2014 June

July 1st, 2014

DSC_0269a3aYosemite Valley, California                                                                                                           (Mike Painter)

June 30, 2014

Dear CalUWild friends-

150 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, giving the State of California jurisdiction over Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias for protection. The action is credited with giving birth to the idea of the national parks (even though Yellowstone was the first, officially). See Item 5 for more information on events commemorating the Grant, which eventually led to the Wilderness Act 100 years later.

That makes 2014 the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act (as we’ve been reporting for a long time). CalUWild co-founder Vicky Hoover recently compiled a list of facts regarding California and wilderness:

• More areas in the original 1964 Act than any other state (13 out of 54)
• More wilderness areas now than any other state (149 out of 758)
• The greatest percentage of our lands designated as federal wilderness in the Lower 48 States (15%), almost as high a percentage as Alaska (16%)
• One of very few states with its own state wilderness system (12 areas)
• This month, the California State Legislature passed a resolution honoring the event, which you can read online here.
• Five California counties have passed resolutions or proclamations: Lake, Sonoma, Kern, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco City and County
• California cities have done so, too: Vallejo, Berkeley, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles

Impressive, no?

The first shipment of Tom Killion’s 50th Anniversary posters, specially commissioned for California, has arrived, and they look wonderful. Thanks to everyone who ordered them. There are still some available. The posters measure 18″ x 24″ and make great gifts. The price is $10 each, plus postage and shipping ($5 for 1 or 2, $5.50 for 3). So if you’re interested, send a check for the proper amount, along with your name and address, to

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

Questions? Click here to send an email. All proceeds benefit CalUWild.

Thanks for your interest and support!
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   BLM Declines to Press Charges
In Illegal Recapture Canyon ORV Ride
2.   Pictures for the Greater Canyonlands Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Rep. Judy Chu Introduces
          San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks
          Release Draft Wilderness Stewardship Plan
          Public Meetings Scheduled
          Comment Deadline: August 25
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant
          a.   U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Honoring the 1864 Grant
          b.   California Historical Society Exhibition
                    Yosemite: A Storied Landscape
                    Through January 25, 2015
          c.   Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University
                    Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums
                    Through August 17
6.   U.S. Supreme Court Issues Procedural
          Ruling Against Drakes Bay Oyster Farm

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Utah BLM Declines to Press Charges
          In Illegal Recapture Canyon ORV Ride

The Utah BLM announced that it will not press charges against participants in the May 10 illegal ORV ride up Recapture Canyon, outside of Blanding, Utah. Instead, it has been gathering and evaluating evidence to give to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Salt Lake City, leaving the decision on any legal action up to them.

This comes as a disappointment to many, because they see the BLM as backing down again, in much the same way it was perceived in the Cliven Bundy ranching standoff in Nevada the month before. In previous ORV trespass cases, the U.S. Attorney has declined to press charges.

In the meantime, the Salt Lake Tribune published an op-ed piece supporting the punishment of the illegal riders. You can read it here.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

2.   Pictures for the Greater Canyonlands Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

We’ve reported over the last couple of years about the campaign to protect Greater Canyonlands, the area around Canyonlands National Park. If you haven’t taken a picture of yourself or your friends holding up a yellow sign asking Pres. Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands, now’s the time!

Be part of an effort to demonstrate to the administration that there is widespread support across the country for a national monument in the basin where the Green and Colorado rivers come together. It’s an area rich in scenery, wildlife, and archaeological sites.

With the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of Canyonlands National Park this September, it’s a great opportunity to make your voice heard.

And it’s simple: Download a sign and print it on yellow paper or on white paper. Sign it with your name (if you like), city, and state. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign and email it to Rachel [at] suwa [dot] org.

Thanks !!

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Rep. Judy Chu Introduces
          San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

We reported last July that Rep. Judy Chu (D-27), a member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, was planning to introduce a bill establishing a San Gabriel National Recreation Area. Earlier this month she did just that with H.R. 4858 in the House. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-28) and Tony Cárdenas (D-29) signed on as original cosponsors.

The California Wilderness Coalition said this about the bill:

The Angeles National Forest is not only an important destination for millions of Southern Californians, but it also accounts for 70% of the open space in Los Angeles County, provides 35% our drinking water, and contributes clean air to a polluted region. This bill is an important step in protecting our water and outdoor recreational opportunities. The spectacular San Gabriel Mountains are the site of snow-capped alpine peaks, chaparral hills, waterfalls and beautiful flowing rivers. It provides a refuge for many animals, including the Nelson’s Bighorn sheep, California condor, Santa Ana sucker, California spotted owl, mountain yellow-legged frog, and San Gabriel Mountain salamander. The diverse ecosystems and flora in the mountain range also defends against climate change by retaining carbon gases within its forests, instead of emitting them into the atmosphere. This area also attracts more than 3.5 million visitors annually and generates more than $60 million a year in local visitor spending.

Rep. Chu’s San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act will protect 615,000 acres in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forest, some foothill areas, the west Puente Hills, and lower stretches of the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers that dip down into local communities. The effort follows more than a decade of federal studies, public meetings and comments, and outreach to local communities, and has immense support from a diverse group of stakeholders.

The protection this legislation will provide will be instrumental in ensuring that these scenic wild spaces, rivers, and parks are preserved for future generations.

Please contact Rep. Chu’s office and thank her for introducing the bill.

1520 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

DC phone:   202-225-5464
Pasadena phone:   626-304-0110
Claremont phone:   909-625-5394

Online comment form here

4.   Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks
          Release Draft Wilderness Stewardship Plan
          Public Meetings Scheduled
          Comment Deadline: August 25
          (ACTION ITEM)

On Friday, Sequoia-King Canyon National Parks (2 parks, administered as one unit) announced the release of their Draft Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

We haven’t had time to review it at all, but want to let you know that the Park Service will be hosting three public meetings in July to receive comments and answer questions about the plan. They are:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
6-9 p.m.
Richard Trudeau Training Center
11500 Skyline Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94605

Thursday, July 24, 2014
6-9 p.m.
Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds
Tallman Pavilion
Bishop, CA 93514

Monday, July 28, 2014
6-9 p.m.
Visalia Marriott Hotel
300 South Court Street
Visalia, CA 93291

The Park Service Planning website for the project is here, from where you can download and view the voluminous plan. You can also submit comments by clicking on the button on this page.

Email comments will not be accepted. Comments may also be submitted by U/S/ Mail or fax:

Superintendent
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Attn: WSP/DEIS
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271

Fax:   559-565-4202

DEADLINE for comments: August 25, 2014

5.   150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant

As mentioned in the introduction, Pres. Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, transferring Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to California for establishment of a protected park 150 years ago. Historian Alfred Runte published an essay yesterday in National Parks Traveler describing the events following the Grant. The controversy resulted in a Supreme Court case that established the principle that the federal government could set aside land for preservation, legitimizing the creation of Yellowstone National Park and setting the parks movement on its way.

The sesquicentennial of the Yosemite Grant is being marked in various ways, three of which are mentioned here.

5a.   U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Honoring the 1864 Grant

The National Park Service sent out this press release last week:

Yosemite Grant Act Gave Birth to the National Park Idea and Inspired the Creation of Hundreds of National Parks in the United States and Worldwide

Washington, D.C.-U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-CA) today praised the passage of their resolution honoring the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act, legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 that permanently protected the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove.

“In 1864, in the middle of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln had the foresight to set aside land in the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove that would become one of America’s most iconic national parks,” Senators Boxer and Feinstein said. “This resolution honors that simple act 150 years ago, which protected Yosemite’s natural treasures for future generations to enjoy and helped launch the National Parks movement.”

On June 30, 1864, President Lincoln signed legislation enacted by Congress that established Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land for all time. A half century later, in 1890, the land around these two tracts was designated as Yosemite National Park. In 1906, at the urging of conservationist John Muir, President Roosevelt and state authorities combined Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove with Yosemite National Park.

As the first land grant to protect wild lands, the Yosemite Grant inspired the creation of more than 400 National Park units in the United States and hundreds more worldwide, including sister park relationships in foreign countries.

Yosemite National Park is home to spectacular waterfalls, deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient sequoias and vast swaths of wilderness. Yosemite receives more than 4 million visitors each year and has 1,504 campsites, two federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers and more than 800 miles of trails. The national park has a landmass of 1,169 square miles, which is comparable to the size of Rhode Island, and has designated wilderness that covers more than 94 percent of the park.

In 2013, Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Congressman Jim Costa introduced the Yosemite National Park Boundary Expansion Act to modify and expand the park’s boundaries by 1,600 acres to help protect these vital areas from potential development.

5b.   California Historical Society Exhibition
          Yosemite: A Storied Landscape
          Through January 25, 2015

The California Historical Society is hosting an exhibition, which it describes as follows:

In Yosemite, a cultural landscape of profound natural beauty, we find stories that are utterly surprising, funny, poignant, revealing, and sometimes tragic. On the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant-in which President Lincoln dedicated the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove “for public use, resort, and recreation… inalienable for all time”-the California Historical Society presents Yosemite: A Storied Landscape. This exhibition, enhanced eBook, and public event program brings these tales to people of all ages, uncovering a human history of Yosemite that is as complex and diverse as our state itself. Through artifacts, imagery, words, and multimedia features, these stories restore freshness, energy, and intimacy to an American icon bathed in myth.

The California Historical Society is located at 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. For more information, visit their website or call 415-357-1848.

5c.   Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University
          Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums
          Through August 17

Stanford’s Cantor Center is hosting an exhibition of photos by Carleton Watkins, one of the earliest photographers of the West, which it describes as follows:

This exhibition of 83 breathtaking photographic prints by Carleton Watkins-America’s most influential 19th-century landscape photographer-celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant of 1864. The prints, never before part of an exhibition, capture the beauty of the Northern Pacific Coast’s majestic wilderness sites as well as the dramatic transformation of isolated territories due to exploration, settlement, logging, and mining.

Read more: events, tours, publication.

6.   U.S. Supreme Court Issues Procedural
          Ruling Against Drakes Bay Oyster Farm

This just in: The U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined to hear the Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s appeal regarding its request to remain open while its lawsuit against the Interior Department proceeds. The District Court had refused the company’s request for an injunction against it being forced to close, saying the business was unlikely to prevail in its case. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, and the company appealed to the Supreme Court, which turned it down without comment.

The ruling allows Drakes Bay Oysters to proceed with its lower court case, but doesn’t offer any guarantee that the company will be allowed to remain open. It’s not yet clear how either party will proceed.

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

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

A few national parks-related articles:

Outside Magazine: National Parks Are About to Get Way More Fun

and an excellent response from National Parks Traveler

An essay in National Parks Traveler on the responsibilities of a wildlife photographer

Video clips:

Another in the Park Service’s video series on wilderness: Wilderness Sand: Death Valley. Edward Abbey’s writing guides us from the desert metropolis to the desert wilderness.

Episode 3 in the Forest Service’s Restore series, looking at the Veterans Green Corps

The last word this month goes to The Onion.

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

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2013 June

June 24th, 2013

Pictos 10a1a
Pictographs, San Rafael Reef, Utah                                                                                                            (Mike Painter)

June 20, 2013

Dear friends and supporters of CalUWild—

Our computer is up and running again, without any loss of data, though there have been a few glitches to iron out. So here is the Update for June. Sorry for the delay.

In organizational news, CalUWild would like to welcome three new members to its Advisory Board:

— California Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-27) is in her third term representing the San Gabriel Valley, and she is a strong supporter of public land protection, especially the San Gabriel Mountains. She has also always been an early cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Utah. Rep. Chu’s House website is here.

Dave Pacheco, is the Executive Director of Wilderness Volunteers. Before joining Wilderness Volunteers four years ago, Dave ran Utah Backcountry Volunteers and also worked with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in both Utah and Washington, DC. (See Item 7 for information on a Wilderness Volunteers San Gabriel Mountains service trip in the Fall.)

— Photographer Sam Roberts has also joined the Board. A longtime outdoorsman and writer, Sam has also served on the Boards of Directors of the California Wilderness Coalition and Friends of Joshua Tree. You can see some of Sam’s work on his website.

We thank all three for agreeing to join the Advisory Board, and we look forward to working with them!

In the brief May Update, we announced the creation of a CalUWild Facebook page. As mentioned, it won’t be a substitute for our Monthly Update. It will, however, give us the added flexibility of sending out information that might be more time-critical or of more temporary interest, such as news stories. It’s a constant struggle to maintain a balance between the wide variety of important topics needing to be addressed and the knowledge that people are inundated by too much information all the time. So if you’re on FB, please LIKE CalUWild and help us expand our presence!

Thanks, as always,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act Re-Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Support the Greater Canyonlands Proposal
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Utah Governor Rejects Water Deal with Nevada

IN CALIFORNIA
4.   Forest Service Initiates Planning Process
          For 3 Sierra Nevada Forests: Sierra, Sequoia & Inyo
          DEADLINE: September 1
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands Legislation Reintroduced
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   Bill Introduced for Clear Creek National Recreation Area
          And Joaquin Rocks Wilderness Area
          (ACTION ITEM)
7.   Wilderness Volunteers
          San Gabriel Mountains Service Trip
          September 29-October 5

IN COLORADO
8.   Bills Announced for New National Monument & Wilderness Area

IN NEVADA
9.   Legislation Introduced for Gold Butte & Elsewhere
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
10.   50th Anniversary “Wilderness Forever”
          Photography Contest & More
          DEADLINE: September 3, 2013
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN THE PRESS
11.   Links of Interest

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

IN UTAH
1.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act Re-Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) have reintroduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARRWA) in the 113th Congress. There were 60 original cosponsors in the House and 11 and Senate, and the numbers have continued to grow since: there are now 84 in the House and 16 in the Senate, where the bill numbers are H.R.1630 and S.769, respectively.

Many thanks to the cosponsors and to everyone who has contacted Congress asking for sign-ons.

The legislation would designate about 9.1 million acres of land as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, created by the Wilderness Act of 1964. ARRWA was first introduced in Congress by Utah Rep. Wayne Owens in 1989, and has been re-introduced in every Congress since, enlarging as the results of further citizen inventories in Utah were completed and incorporated into it.

California’s delegation has a long history of strong support for the Red Rocks bill. In years past, Republican representatives were cosponsors, but in recent years GOP support for protection of federal public land has virtually evaporated. So unfortunately, a previously non-partisan issue has degenerated into a highly partisan one.

Current cosponsors from California are:

Representatives

Jared Huffman (D-02)
Mike Thompson (D-05)
Doris Matsui (D-06)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
George Miller (D-11)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Mike Honda (D-17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Lois Capps (D-24)
Judy Chu (D-27)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Tony Cárdenas (D-29)
Grace Napolitano (D-32)
Henry Waxman (D-33)
Linda Sánchez (D-38)

Senator

Barbara Boxer (D)

A list of cosponsors from around the country may be found here.

It’s a good idea for cosponsors to receive messages of thanks. Sen. Durbin and Rep. Holt would probably appreciate hearing from people across the country, too. If your representative is missing, they should get a message asking for cosponsorship. You can make a phone call, send an email, or use a comment form on their websites. Complete contact information for House members can be found on their sites at http://www.house.gov/. Information for Sen. Boxer is here. Other senators may be found at http://www.senate.gov.

2.   Support the Greater Canyonlands Proposal
          (ACTION ITEM)

The campaign to protect the area around Canyonlands National Park continues to gather steam and move forward. One means of communication that is proving effective is a postcard campaign to the White House, urging the President to use his executive authority to protect the area.

We don’t have a cost-effective way of getting the campaign’s pre-printed postcards out to our members, but if you’d like to send a postcard to the White House, feel free to download the picture from our May Update and print it on a card (not larger than 4-1/4″ x 6″ for the standard postcard rate of $0.33).

You can use or adapt the text on the back of the pre-printed cards:

Dear Mr. President,

The Greater Canyonlands region of Utah is one of the largest and most magnificent wild landscapes in the lower 48 states. It is also a library of human history and scientific information, containing spectacular geologic formations and ancient archeological sites. Although Canyonlands National Park is at its heart, the region is seriously threatened by off-road vehicles use, drilling and mining, as well as management conflicts between administrative agencies. Please protect this national treasure by proclaiming Greater Canyonlands a national monument.

Then sign it with your name and address and mail it to:

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

Or, if you prefer, call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111.

Thanks for helping out!

3.   Utah Governor Rejects Water Deal with Nevada

We wrote last year (click here and here) about the conflict between Utah and Nevada over water pumping in Snake Valley, a Great Basin valley straddling the Utah/Nevada border. It lies just east of Great Basin National Park. For several years Nevada has sought to send groundwater south via pipes to Las Vegas in an attempt to help quench that city’s ever-growing thirst. Utah is concerned that pumping will lower the water table in the valley, making it more difficult to get the water that ranchers and others need, and conservationists are afraid that a lower water table will dry up springs that are important for wildlife and also contribute to vegetation loss.

The proposal has been the source of intense controversy between the two states and negotiations have been ongoing. In April, Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert announced he would reject an agreement that had been proposed between the two states. In May, Utah’s Water Development Commission voted to send Gov. Herbert a letter asking him to reconsider his decision.

We’ll keep you posted as the story continues to unfold.

IN CALIFORNIA
4.   Forest Service Initiates Planning Process
          For 3 Sierra Nevada Forests: Sierra, Sequoia & Inyo
          DEADLINES: July 1, August 1, September 1
          (ACTION ITEM)

The US Forest Service has just revised its rules and procedures for planning for national forests. The intent of the new rules, as announced by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, is to shift the major emphasis from timber extraction to restoration and watershed protection. Secty. Vilsack also mandated that opportunities for public participation be improved and increased.

Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia national forests are among the first to undertake revisions of their management plans, the guiding documents for the forests for 10 – 15 years following their adoption. These forests make up much of the southern end of the Sierra and are the heart of what John Muir called “The Range of Light.” Large areas of the three forests are designated wilderness.

In the hope of engaging the public earlier in the planning process, these forests are creating “Living Assessments” before the formal initial Scoping processes begin. These documents will describe the current conditions in the forests. To do that, they are hoping that interested members of the public, as well as researchers and others, who have visited the forests will contribute from their own knowledge and experience, and thereby improve the starting point for planning.

To accomplish this, the Forest Service has set up a series of “wiki” pages, which allow the interested public to actually write and edit online documents. (Wikipedia is probably the most famous example of this type of system.) There are 15 chapters covering various topics, and you’re not obligated to contribute to every one. Full details and further links can be found here.

A full bioregional assessment for the entire Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range in California was just published online here.

The three forests have different deadlines for comments on the Living Assessments:

Sierra: July 1
Sequoia: August 1
Inyo:
September 1

Please contribute whatever knowledge you might have in order to help make the process a success. Thanks! We’ll keep you posted as further opportunities for public involvement arise.

5.   Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands Legislation Reintroduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2) has reintroduced a bill to incorporate the Stornetta Public Lands at Pt. Arena on the Mendocino Coast into the California Coastal National Monument. Prior to re-districting, this area was in Rep. Mike Thompson’s (D-5) district, and he had authored similar legislation that did not move. Rep. Thompson is a co-sponsor of the legislation. Sen. Boxer (D) has introduced in companion bill in the Senate, and Sen. Feinstein (D) has signed onto it, as well. The House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill last week, so now it moves to the floor of the House.

The California Coastal NM is part of the National Landscape Lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to protect large significant landscapes for their ecological and scenic values. The Coastal Monument stretches from Mexico to Oregon and protects the offshore rocks and sea stacks along the coast. The Stornetta addition would be the first on-shore lands in the monument.

The BLM website for the Stornetta Lands is here.

Please contact Rep. Huffman’s and Sen. Boxer’s offices and let them know your appreciation.

Contact info for Rep. Huffman:

202-225-5161 (DC)
Webform (for constituents only)

Contact info for Sen. Boxer:

202-224-3553 (DC)
Webform

6.   Bill Introduced for Clear Creek National Recreation Area
          And Joaquin Rocks Wilderness Area
          (ACTION ITEM)

Longtime wilderness friend Rep. Sam Farr (D-20) and first-term Rep. David Valadao (R-21) have jointly introduced a bill to create the Clear Creek National Recreation Area on lands managed by the BLM in San Benito and Fresno counties. The bill, H.R. 1776, would also create the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness, an area long proposed for wilderness designation, encompassing 21,000 acres. The bill would also designate portions of five creeks and rivers in the NRA and in Monterey County as Wild & Scenic.

The bill directs BLM to re-open the Clear Creek Management Area, which had been used by off-road vehicles and others until 2008, when it was closed because of concerns by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about naturally-occurring asbestos. The legislation directs BLM to take steps to minimize the risk from that asbestos and to reduce the impacts on the environment from off-road vehicle use. We’ll have to see what kind of a plan the BLM is able to come up with.

Please thank Reps. Farr and Valadao for including the Joaquin Rocks in their bill.

Rep. Farr: 202-225-2861 (DC)
          Webform

Rep. Valadao: 202-225-4695 (DC)
          661-864-7736 (Bakersfield)
           (No Webform found on website)

7.   Wilderness Volunteers
          San Gabriel Mountains Service Trip
          September 29-October 5

As mentioned in the Introduction, above, Wilderness Volunteers has planned a service trip for a citizen-proposed wilderness in the San Gabriel Mountains. There are still spots open for the project, a cooperative effort among Angeles National Forest, Wilderness Volunteers, and The Wilderness Society. The area is in the backyard of Los Angeles and the trip should help people can recognize its wilderness value.

Full information about the service trip may be found here.

A full listing of Wilderness Volunteers service trips may be found here.

IN COLORADO
8.   Bills Announced for New National Monument & Wilderness Areas

There are a couple of proposals for new wilderness in Colorado.

Sen. Mark Udall (D) recently announced his intention to introduce legislation to create Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Area, between Buena Vista and Salida, along the Arkansas River in central Colorado. The monument would be 22,000 acres in size and include 10,500 acres of designated wilderness. The BLM, US Forest Service, and Colorado Parks & Wildlife would jointly manage the monument. The Arkansas River is very popular for whitewater rafting, and the area has opportunities for fishing and hunting. Ranching would be allowed to continue in the monument.

For a map of the proposal, click here.

Rep. Jared Polis (D) has introduced a wilderness bill, the Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act, which would designate areas in the White River National Forest, also in central Colorado. The bill would create almost 82,000 acres of new wilderness and additions to existing areas. Another 84,000 acres of land would receive other types of protection. The bill is the result of the longstanding Hidden Gems proposal by the Wilderness Workshop and other citizens groups.

More information about the bill, including maps, can be found on Rep. Polis’s website.

Earlier this week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also approved the San Juan Wilderness Act, which has been introduced in the last two Congresses.

IN NEVADA
9.   Legislation Introduced for Gold Butte & Elsewhere
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month, Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid (D), the Senate Majority Leader, introduced a bill to establish the Gold Butte National Conservation Area. Gold Butte is a wild natural area northeast of Las Vegas, between Lake Mead and the Arizona border. Protection for the area, which is rich in archaeology, interesting geology, and opportunities for quiet recreation, has long been a goal of conservationists in Nevada and around the West. It has been the subject of legislation since at least 2008, but so far, the bills have made little progress.

You can send Sen. Reid an online message thanking him for introducing the bill though his website, though he may not respond if you’re not from Nevada. If you’ve been to the area, make sure to mention it.

A bill including the NCA among its other provisions was introduced in the House this month by Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford (D), H.R.2276.

Other current Nevada bills include the Pine Forest Range Wilderness bill (S.342/H.R.433) to designate areas in Humboldt County, recently passed out of committee in the Senate. The Lyon County Economic Development & Conservation Act (S.159/H.R.696) contains designation of the Wovoka Wilderness but also turns over 12,500 acres of BLM land to the town of Yerington to develop a copper mine.

IN GENERAL
10.   50th Anniversary “Wilderness Forever”
          Photography Contest & More
          ENTRY DEADLINE: September 3, 2013
          (ACTION ITEM)

As part of next year’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the national Wilderness50 Committee, of which CalUWild is a part, is organizing a photography contest under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution and Nature’s Best Photography. The judges will select between 40 and 50 winners, with separate amateur, student, and professional winners in 4 different categories: Scenic Landscape; Wildlife; People in Wilderness; and Most Inspirational Moment.

Winning images will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, beginning next Spring. Possibilities for a traveling exhibition are also being explored.

Full contest details can be found here.

This is a great opportunity to contribute to the celebration!

Separate photo exhibitions are being planned for venues around the country. If you would like to organize one or have photographs you’d like to contribute for a local exhibition, please send me an email.

In a less formal vein, there’s a Western Wilderness Flickr Group. Please join!

IN THE PRESS
11.   Links of Interest

If it weren’t for the fact that this Update is long enough already, we might have included more in-depth items on the first two of these issues, which we’ve covered in the past. Instead, we’ll just provide links to articles bringing you up to date.

If you find an inactive link or are unable to access an article for some reason, please send me an email.


Tim DeChristopher Finishes his Sentence for Disrupting Oil Lease Sale

Article in the Salt Lake Tribune


Point Reyes Oyster Farm in the news

A hearing was held in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last month on whether there should be an injunction allowing the oyster farm to remain open while its lawsuit proceeds against the Department of the Interior. A ruling is anticipated shortly.

PBS’s NewsHour ran a segment examining the links between the company and Cause of Action, the conservative property rights advocacy organization.

The oyster company decided to sever its connection with Cause of Action. The San Jose Mercury News reported on that development.


New York Times
articles

Wolves at Isle Royale, a designated wilderness

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout recovery


Los Angeles Times
article on the Dept. of Defense and wildlife habitat


Ken Burns in USA Today on the national parks

As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email.

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2012 June

June 5th, 2012

Chimney Rock, Colorado                                                                                                         (Mike Painter)
Legislation just passed the House of Representatives
establishing the area as a National Monument. See Item 4.

June 2, 2012

Dear CalUWild friends—

Summer is just about here, so I hope you have a chance to get away to explore some of the West’s magnificent wilderness areas and other public lands.

Today is National Trails Day, and to mark the occasion, the Department of the Interior announced that it was designating 54 new National Recreation Trails across the country. For a listing of the new trails click here. American Trails sponsors the official website for the system.

Earlier in the month, as part of the administration’s “Joining Forces” program, Pres. Obama announced that all members of the military on active duty would be given free admission to national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and to lands managed by the BLM and Bureau of Reclamation that charge entrance fees. For more information on the military pass and other park passes, click here.

For those wishing to visit Yosemite National Park, the Park and surrounding communities announced plans to increase the public transportation options available to visitors. For more information go to the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System website.

On the CalUWild administrative front, I’m happy to announce that Jim Catlin has agreed to join our Advisory Board. Jim is the Executive Director of the Wild Utah Project, the initiator of Utah citizens wilderness inventory, and a former member of the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors. We’ve known Jim and worked with him for many years on many issues, so we’re glad to formalize the relationship.

Finally, many thanks to everyone for the positive comments on our website and the photos in the Monthly Update. It’s always nice to hear from you. We also want to hear suggestions, critiques, and corrections, which help us to provide the best information for our members and the public.

As always, thanks for your interest and support,
Mike


IN UTAH
1. Counties and State File Suits over R.S. 2477 Routes

IN CALIFORNIA
2. Two Bills Introduced in the House for Northern California
(ACTION ITEM)
a. Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area
b. Coastal Monument Additions
3. Kathleen Dean Moore and Craig Childs
To Speak on Water at the LA County Library
Wednesday, June 6, 7 p.m.

IN COLORADO
4. Chimney Rock National Monument Bill Passes House
(ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
5. Sportsman’s Bill of Rights Continues to Raise Fears
(ACTION ITEM)
6. Friends of the Inyo Seeks an Executive Director
7. Wilderness Volunteers Seeks a Development Coordinator
& Sponsors Service Trips

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
8. Links of Interest

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


IN UTAH
1. Counties and State File Suits over R.S. 2477 Routes

Last month, 21 counties in Utah filed lawsuits claiming the rights-of-way to some 12,000 routes across the state that they argue qualify as “highways.” R.S. (Revised Statue) 2477 was enacted in the 19th century when the United States was expanding westward and was intended to facilitate that expansion. By 1976, the law had outlived its usefulness and was repealed. Valid existing rights-of-way were recognized, however, and the current disputes center on those claims.

Many roads have been obviously constructed and maintained over the years, and there is no dispute over them. Others, however, are much more contentious, consisting of tracks, streambeds and washes, and even slot canyons with steep pour-offs, over which a vehicle would be hard-pressed to travel. The state is crisscrossed with such routes, as this this map shows.

We’ll have to see how the cases progress in court. There is no shortage of coverage in the press, however.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an op-ed piece by John E. Swallow and Anthony L. Rampton from the Utah attorney general’s office, explaining the state’s viewpoint. A week later it published an opposing view by Heidi McIntosh of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. High Country News published a comprehensive look at the background of R.S. 2477 and the philosophical issues (e.g., sacred sites, solitude) surrounding it in the context of a visit to Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park.

We’ll keep following and reporting on the issue as it moves along.


IN CALIFORNIA
2. Two Bills Introduced in the House for Northern California
(ACTION ITEM)

April and May saw the introduction of two public lands bills for Northern California. Details of each are below. Please take a moment to thank the representatives who authored the bills. Here is their contact information:

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1)
DC phone: 202-225-3311
Local office phone numbers and other contact info here

Rep. Lynne Woolsey (D-6)
DC phone: 202-225-5161
Local office phone numbers and other contact info here

Rep. John Garamendi (D-10)
DC phone: 202-225-1880
Local office phone numbers and other contact info here


a. Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area

In May Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1), Lynne Woolsey (D-6), and John Garamendi (D-10) introduced the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Act (H.R. 5545). The bill would provide protection for a large portion of the land in the Inner Coast Range from Lake Berryessa north to Snow Mountain. The area is home to much wildlife, such at bald eagles, tule elk, and black bears. Recreational opportunities abound, such as white-water rafting on Cache Creek and fishing at Clear Lake. In addition, many rare plants grow there.

The California Wilderness Coalition provided the following information about the proposal:

– The NCA designation only applies to lands managed by the federal government. Current access to and uses of private land will not be changed.

– No legally-open roads or motorized vehicle trails will be closed as a result of the NCA designation. Federal agencies will retain their existing authority to open new roads and trails or to temporarily close them when necessary, such as during major storms or emergencies.

– Hunting and fishing will still be allowed in the NCA and the California Department of Fish and Game will retain its authority over these forms of recreation. The NCA designation would not impose any new regulations on hunting, fishing, or firearm use.

– Existing laws and policies regarding firefighting will not be changed by the establishment of the NCA. Federal agencies can continue to reduce fuels before fires start by thinning trees, establishing fuel breaks, and by using controlled-burns and other appropriate tools.

— Lake County, Napa County, the Winters City Council, the David City Council, the Clearlake City Council and the Calistoga City Council all passed unanimous resolutions of support in favor of designating the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a NCA.

– Also in support of the designation are:

• 52 elected officials including former Congressman Pete McCloskey,
       co-author of the Endangered Species Act.
• 148 businesses representing all four involved counties.
• 29 landowners and farmers.
• 28 conservation and recreation groups including the Blue Ribbon Coalition,
       California Waterfowl Association, and the Yolo Audubon Society.


b. Coastal Monument Additions

In April Rep. Thompson also introduced the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2012 (H.R. 4969), to which Rep. Woolsey has signed on as a cosponsor. This bill would add the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in southern Mendocino County to the California Coastal National Monument as part of the National Landscape Conservation System.

The bill is similar to legislation Rep. Thompson introduced in 2010, but which did not move in the House. At that time we wrote: “These are 1,132 acres adjacent to Pt. Arena and Manchester State Beach in Mendocino County, which were bought by The Nature Conservancy and donated to BLM for conservation purposes. The Stornetta family owned and continues to use some of the land for dairy and agriculture via a grazing lease until 2014. BLM has a conservation easement on an additional 580 acres.”

If passed, it would mark the first onshore expansion of the California Coastal National Monument, which at present is made up of all the offshore rocks and seastacks, stretching from Mexico in the south to Oregon in the north.


3. Kathleen Dean Moore and Craig Childs
To Speak on Water at the LA County Library
Wednesday, June 6, 7 p.m.

We received the following announcement from the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and are happy to include it.


The Elemental West: Reflections on Moving Water

Kathleen Dean Moore and Craig Childs
In conversation with William Deverell, director, Huntington-USC Institute on the West

Two celebrated writers deeply influenced by the riparian and other landscapes of the American West will read from their work and explore how storytelling – in the tradition of Thoreau and Emerson – can give voice to natural resources. Activist and award-winning author Kathleen Dean Moore discusses her newest book Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril and Craig Childs, the author of more than a dozen acclaimed books on nature and science, reflects on expedition adventures from Colorado to Tibet.

The Elemental West: Fire, Water, Air, Earth (Program two of four)
Co-sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

Kathleen Dean Moore is an essayist and activist who writes about cultural and spiritual connections to wet wild places. Her award-winning books include Riverwalking , Holdfast , The Pine Island Paradox , and Wild Comfort . Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, her newest book, gathers calls from the world’s moral leaders to honor our obligations to future generations. Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, publishes in both environmental ethics and popular journals such as Audubon, Discover, and Orion, where she serves on the Board of Directors.

Craig Childs is a writer who focuses on natural sciences, archaeology, and remarkable journeys into the wilderness. He has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books on nature, science, and adventure. He is a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition, and his work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times , Outside, and Orion. His subjects range from pre-Columbian archaeology to U.S. border issues to the last free-flowing rivers of Tibet and Patagonia. He has won several awards for his writing.

William Deverell is a professor of history at USC, where he specializes in the history of California and the American West and directs a scholarly institute that collaborates with the Huntington Library in Pasadena. He is the author of Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past and Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad, 1850-1910. With Greg Hise, he is co-author of Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region. William is a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for Humanities at USC.

Directions/Parking:

Los Angeles Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium
630 W. Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071


IN COLORADO
4. Chimney Rock National Monument Bill Passes House
(ACTION ITEM)

By unanimous consent on May 16, the House passed a bill by Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R) to designate Chimney Rock in the San Juan National Forest a national monument. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, but so far it has not moved.

Chimney Rock is a significant site because it is comprised of several hundred rooms and buildings built in Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) style, but rather than sitting in cliff alcoves or on canyon bottoms as in Chaco Canyon, they were built on the slopes and the top of a mountain. The large outcroppings on the top of the mountain, which give the place its name, are used to mark the northernmost rising of the moon in its 18-year cycle.

Click here for photos of the archaeology and other views from a visit I made to the site after the legislation was originally introduced in the 111th Congress.

House passage of the bill reflects the widespread public support for the monument, but the paralysis in the Senate shows no signs of abating. CalUWild has been working for several years with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to have Chimney Rock designated. The Trust has on online petition, asking Pres. Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate Chimney Rock as a national monument. This may turn out to be the only way Chimney Rock will be preserved. Please click here to sign the petition.


IN GENERAL
5. Sportsman’s Bill of Rights Continues to Raise Fears
(ACTION ITEM)

Last month we wrote about H.R. 4089, the Sportsman’s Bill of Rights, which passed the House. Concerns continue to mount over the language contained in the bill and its potential effect on designated wilderness areas and other protected public lands.

These concerns center on language stating that “the provision of opportunities for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting, and the conservation of fish and wildlife to provide sustainable use … shall constitute measures necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of the wilderness area.”

This is a major change in focus for wilderness management. The Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibits all sorts of things unless they are the minimum required for managing a designated area. Usually the agency needs to engage in some sort of analysis of the “minimum tool requirement” before engaging in certain activities. (This is why the use of helicopters to move reconstructed watchtowers or hiking shelters does not comply with the Wilderness Act-those things could be reconstructed in place, as they most likely originally were.)

H.R. 4089 now pre-defines hunting, fishing, and other activities as activities that require pro-active management in wilderness areas, exempting them from analysis. Even if not specifically stated, the bill at least creates a loophole for the use of mechanized equipment, motorized access, and other activities that would be prohibited under the Wilderness Act.

Similar fears have arisen in relation to national park lands as well. The language of the bill would seem to require that hunting and recreational shooting be allowed unless a national park specifically prohibited them. The bill also expands the definition of hunting to include trapping and the training of hunting dogs. “Collection” of wildlife is also allowed.

Significantly, the bill shifts the burden of planning. Generally, agencies engage in a planning process when they are asked to permit some activity or use. H.R. 4089 forces the agencies into a planning when they want to prohibit something. Given that these activities have up until now been prohibited, and given the increasingly severe budget constraints on our land management agencies, this makes no sense.

The sponsors of the bill say that it is not their intention to do any of this. Unfortunately, the language of a bill and the way a court interprets it trump the intent of its congressional supporters. Tellingly, an amendment specifically attempting to clarify some these ambiguities was defeated.

Two analyses of the bill are available online for anyone wishing more detail. They were prepared by Wilderness Watch, looking at the implications for wilderness management and by a DC law firm for the National Parks Conservation Association, looking at the impacts on the national parks.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced a similar bill (S. 2066). So far, neither bill has had a hearing there. But the Senate needs to know pre-emptively that the risks to the Wilderness Act and the National Park System posed by these bills are simply unacceptable. Please contact Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and ask them to oppose both bills.

Contact information:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D)
DC phone: 202-224-3553
Local office phone numbers and other contact info here

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)
DC phone: 202-224-3841
Local office phone numbers and other contact info here


6. Friends of the Inyo Seeks an Executive Director

Friends of the Inyo, working to protect the Eastern Sierra, is looking for an executive director. Below is a summary of the job announcement. Click here for the complete announcement.

Overview
Friends of the Inyo, a nonprofit public lands conservation organization, seeks a qualified and energetic candidate for the position of Executive Director. The ED oversees a dedicated staff and corps of volunteers, manages thriving programs and works with an engaged Board of Directors and three federal land management agencies while striving to grow the membership and provide long-term organizational vision. The Executive Director position is based at the Friends of the Inyo office in Bishop, and the organization’s working area includes public lands throughout Inyo and Mono Counties. Frequent travel across the Eastern Sierra is required, along with out-of-area travel. Salary is dependent on experience.

Organizational Background & Mission
On the eastern edge of California, there exists a vast and wild landscape where bighorn sheep roam across alpine ridges, golden trout brighten tumbling streams and the Milky Way outshines city lights. Millions of people each year enjoy this land where the desert meets the mountains, touching all who experience its quiet, beauty and power. Since nearly 95 percent of this land is owned by the American people, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to ensure the Eastern Sierra remains wild and free for future generations of people and wildlife. Friends of the Inyo cares for this unique national treasure by connecting people to the wonders of the Eastern Sierra’s public lands.

How to Apply
Please submit a cover letter, resume, professional writing sample (grant proposal or report, newsletter, website, etc.) and contact information for at least three professional references as .pdf documents to the Friends of the Inyo Executive Search Committee at jobs [at] friendsoftheinyo [dot] org. Applications will be accepted through June 29, 2012.


7. Wilderness Volunteers Seeks a Development Coordinator
& Sponsors Service Trips

Wilderness Volunteers, a nonprofit organization that sponsors service trips to wilderness areas around the country, is looking for a development director.

Development Coordinator
Wilderness Volunteers is hiring! We’re searching for a dynamic, enthusiastic and skilled individual to add to our growing program. The Development Coordinator is responsible for achieving the fundraising goals of Wilderness Volunteers. This is a full-time position, salary pursuant to experience. Location is flexible; must be able to work remotely. Occasional travel required. Outdoor leadership experience a plus. Applicants should have experience in nonprofit fundraising.

Interested applicants should submit a resume and a one page cover letter stating your interest in the position and why you should be selected. Please send both as .pdf files to info [at] wildernessvolunteers [dot] org. Deadline June 30, 2012. No calls please.

Primary Responsibilities:

— Manage membership/partner program
— Grow donor base, cultivate major gifts, manage annual endowment campaign
— Manage sponsorship program (corporate and retail)
— Coordinate online auction: solicit donations and sponsors
— Work with ED to develop Board fundraising capacity
— Work with ED to identify and write grant proposals
— Produce annual report

This list is not comprehensive, but reflects primary aspects of the position. Wilderness Volunteers is an at-will employer.


Six Great Summer Adventures

Along with many popular projects from previous years, there are some new offerings for 2012. There are trips for novice backpackers and trail workers, as well as more challenging backpacks for hardcore wilderness junkies. Below is just a sampling of the trips that are still open. But they are filling fast so don’t procrastinate if you want to “Give Something Back” in 2012.

Desolation Wilderness, Eldorado National Forest, California
A review in Backpacker Magazine states that the Desolation Wilderness “is like being in an Ansel Adams photograph.” If you love dramatic cliffs, bald granite peaks, glacially-formed valleys, and gnarly old-growth conifers, come spend the week of Aug 5, with WV in this area of diversity and beauty, just southwest of Lake Tahoe.

Our project will be site restoration including removing illegal campsites and fire rings. Our backpack in will be approximately 5 miles to a remote basecamp. The Forest Service will provide pack animal support for tools, group food, and kitchen supplies.

Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness, Wyoming
Located in western Wyoming, the Popo Agie is a portion of the Shoshone National Forest whose high jagged peaks and vast forests leave visitors breathless. More than 20 summits rise above 12,000 feet, including Wind River Peak at 13,255 feet.

On Aug. 12 we’ll backpack 3.5 miles to our base camp near a mountain stream, where we’ll spend the week doing trail maintenance-cutting back overgrown vegetation, improving erosion control, and trail tread. Day off options include fishing, swimming, hiking, or simply relaxing in this rugged setting where mountain men once roamed.

Goat Rocks Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington
Named for the bands of mountain goats that live there, the Goat Rocks Wilderness in southwest Washington State is a 105,600 -acre alpine wonderland, a portion of the volcanic Cascade Mountain Range between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams.

On Aug. 12 we’ll backpack 4.5 miles into the Jordan Basin and spend the week doing trail maintenance on the Goat Ridge Trail, with an emphasis on loose rock removal, installation of rock water bars, and tread work. Day hikes to area peaks are an option on the day off. Or you may choose to relax in the beautiful meadow. The forest service will provide pack support to help get our supplies into the wilderness.

Three Sister Wilderness, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon
The Three Sisters Wilderness in the Deschutes National Forest of Oregon is named for Three Sisters Mountains– all above 10,000 feet–that dominate the landscape. Here one can see volcanic cinder cones and craters, waterfalls, lava fields, glaciers, and alpine meadows. This is truly a four season vacationland to camp, hike, ski, fish, and other outdoor activities.

On Aug. 19 a WV crew will backpack 7 miles to a lakeside basecamp beneath soaring glaciers. Our project will be breaking down and removing illegal campsites, fire rings, and social trails. We’ll hike up to 6 miles daily, so start getting in shape now. Fortunately for us pack animal support will be provided for group food, kitchen gear and tools.

Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend National Park derives its name from the “big bend” in the Rio Grande River that defines the park’s southern boundary, separating the U.S. and Mexico. The park is the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology. In addition, the park is valuable as a paleontologic resource. Archeologists have discovered artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old!

On Sept. 23, we will camp in the Chisos Basin in the center of the park, adjacent to the Remuda Bunkhouse which has full amenities. We’ll hike 4-8 miles a day to do the trail work, which will include cleaning water bars, brushing of trail corridor, improving eroded trail base, and other tasks. Free day options include day hiking, biking, hot springs, and scenic drives.

Dolly Sods Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
Named for the Dalhe family who used open grassy fields or “sods” for grazing sheep, the Dolly Sods Wilderness, located high on the Allegheny Plateau in West Virginia is a region known for its sweeping vistas, upland bogs, and rocky plains.

On Sept. 30 a WV crew will backpack 4-6 miles and set up a base camp for the week near Red Creek Trail and make daily trips to our worksite. Our service project will be trail maintenance, erosion control, improving trail tread, and brushing back overgrown vegetation. There will be time to hike, swim and fish throughout the week. Or you may want to take the off day to simply relax and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

As of this writing, all of the above trips had space available. For a complete listing of Wilderness Volunteer trips, click here.


IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
8. Links of Interest

An op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune comparing Utah Rep. Rob Bishop’s comments on the new Ft. Ord National Monument with his support of projects in Utah in areas proposed for wilderness. Rep. Bishop (R) is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests & Public Lands.

Bishop’s Hypocrisy

A Salt Lake Tribune article on oil and gas bid disrupter Tim DeChristopher’s time in jail

Tim DeChristopher speaks from prison on his present, future

The Departments of the Interior and Commerce National Travel & Tourism Strategy including the role national parks and other public lands can play

Headwaters Economics report Montana’s Economy and the Role of Federal Protected Lands. The page has links to other reports prepared by Headwaters Economics dealing with other states as well as national parks and public lands in general.

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2011 June

October 26th, 2011

Utah Petroglyphs                                                                                                                     Mike Painter


June 30, 2011

Dear CalUWild friends —

The 4th of July weekend is upon us, and I hope you get a chance to visit some of our public lands (at least if the weather holds out). In any event, take a moment out to appreciate the natural world we Americans hold as our birthright.

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in a recent speech (see Item 5) quoted Teddy Roosevelt: “We have fallen heir to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”

Thank you for doing your part,
Mike

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

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Hikes in the Bodie Hills

IN COLORADO
3.   Chimney Rock National Monument
          Legislation Introduced in the House

IN GENERAL
4.   Wilderness Study Area Release Bill
          Due for Committee Hearing in July
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Bruce Babbitt & Ken Salazar—
          2 Interior Secretaries, 2 Approaches

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

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

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

The drive continues to get members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. Right now the environment seems to be the last thing on people’s minds in Washington, so it’s proving difficult. But we need to keep wilderness and other issues in front of our representatives if we hope to move forward.

Right now, the California cosponsors of the Red Rock bill are:

          Mike Thompson (D-01)
          Lynn Woolsey (D-06)
          George Miller (D-07)
          Jerry McNerney (D-11)
          Jackie Speier (D-12)
          Pete Stark (D-13)
          Mike Honda (D-15)
          Zoe Lofgren (D-16)
          Sam Farr (D-17)
          Lois Capps (D-23)
          Howard Berman (D-28)
          Adam Schiff (D-29)
          Laura Richardson (D-37)
          Grace Napolitano (D-38)
          Bob Filner (D-51)

          Sen. Barbara Boxer (D)

We’d still like to see the following sign on:

          Doris Matsui (D-05)
          Barbara Lee (D-09)
          John Garamendi (D-10)
          Anna Eshoo (D-14)
          Brad Sherman (D-27)
          Henry Waxman (D-30)
          Xavier Becerra (D-31)
          Judy Chu (D-32)
          Karen Bass (D-33)
          Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34)
          Maxine Waters (D-35)
          Linda Sanchez (D-39)
          Loretta Sanchez (D-47)
          Susan Davis (D-53)

If your representative is on the list, please contact him or her and ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. Contact information may be found on the representative’s page at house.gov.

Jane Harman (D-36) resigned from the House in February to become head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. A special election for her seat in April resulted in a run-off, and it has not been filled.

Lynn Woolsey (D-06), a longtime cosponsor of the bill and strong supporter of the environment and public lands, announced this week that she will retire at the end of this Congress. She is in her tenth term representing Marin and Sonoma Counties.

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Hikes in the Bodie Hills

The Bodie Hills are a fascinating area, east of Yosemite and north of Mono Lake. They have a rich gold mining history and as we’ve reported in the past, a proposal for a new gold mine is a current issue of concern. But the Bodie Hills are also a wonderful natural area, home to sage grouse and countless other species of plants and animals. In recognition of its unique character, the Bureau of Land Management designated three wilderness study areas on the land it manages.

The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, of which CalUWild is a member, is hosting various hikes throughout the Bodie Hills in the spectacular Eastern Sierra. The dates are:

July 31, August 7, & September 4.

All trips will meet at 8 a.m. at the parking lot in front of the Forest Service Visitor Center to carpool. These will be all day hikes. Visit http://friendsoftheinyo.org or http://www.bodiehills.org for specific information on trips, or contact drew@friendsoftheinyo.org for more info on the trips.

On July 24 and August 14, there will be public presentations discussing the issues facing the Bodie Hills, so if you happen to be in the area on one of those dates, you might attend. Programs will take place at the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining, on the main street (U.S. 395), starting at 5 p.m. both days.

See for yourself what makes the Bodie Hills so special!

IN COLORADO
3.   Chimney Rock National Monument
          Legislation to Be Introduced in the House

Rep. Scott Tipton, (R-CO) announced plans to introduce a bill in the House to designate the Chimney Rock archaeological area in the San Juan National Forest of southwestern Colorado a national monument. The bill’s language has not been finalized, but is a companion bill to S. 508 introduced in March by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).

The Denver Post published a letter to the editor from me in support of the bill, expressing the hope that other legislators will follow suit and introduce bills to protect significant landscapes and resources in their districts. (The letter is only available online in the paper’s for-pay archives.)

We’ll keep you posted as the bills progress.

IN GENERAL
4.   Wilderness Study Area Release Bill
          Due for Committee Hearing in July
          (ACTION ITEM)

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on H.R. 1581, the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011” introduced by California Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-22) that would release many BLM wilderness study areas and Forest Service roadless areas from administrative protection. The hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 26.

A companion bill, S. 1087, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

The problem with these bills is that they eliminate at once all those WSAs that the two agencies did not originally recommend for final wilderness designation without looking at the individual circumstances pertaining to each. Many WSAs were created years ago, and attitudes and standards have changed in the intervening years, so if approached individually, some of them might be found suitable now. Additionally, some of the WSAs were likely not recommended based on political and economic considerations rather than resource evaluations (their potential for energy or mineral exploitation being major factors).  A third concern is that local offices may have made the decisions without taking the national significance of the lands into account. Finally, the sweeping legislation does not take into account the attitudes and concerns of local citizens who may be in favor of protection. It’s interesting that while local input is supposedly of paramount importance when considering “pro-wilderness” legislation, it can be ignored when anti-wilderness bills are crafted.

Ryan Henson of the California Wilderness Coalition has prepared a list of areas in California that would be affected by the legislation should it pass. It totals over 719,000 acres of BLM land and nearly 3.7 million acres managed by the Forest Service.

Much of the land covered by the bill has been proposed for protection for many years, Some areas that would have been covered by the bill have in fact been protected by legislation such as Sen. Boxer’s (D) Wild Heritage Act, Sen. Feinstein’s (D) California Desert Protection Act, Rep. David Dreier’s (R-26) Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests Protection Act, and Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-49) Beauty Mountain & Agua Tibia Wilderness Act—in other words, by bills from both sides of the aisle.

Please contact your representative and ask them to oppose the bill.

California members of the Natural Resources Committee are. They especially need to hear people’s opinions.

Tom McClintock (R-04)
John Garamendi (D-10)
Jeff Denham (R-19)
Jim Costa (D-20)
Grace Napolitano (R-38)

The full Committee roster may be found online here.

5.   Bruce Babbitt & Ken Salazar—
          Two Interior Secretaries, Two Approaches

In a speech to the National Press Club, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt sounded an alarm regarding public lands protection in the United States. Opening his speech, Mr. Babbitt said:

I believe that this Congress, in its assaults on our environment, has embarked on the most radical course in our history. The Congress, led by the House of Representatives, has declared war on our land, water and natural resources. And it is time for those of us who support our conservation tradition to raise our voices on behalf of the American people. 

He then called on Pres. Obama to step up and lead the land and water protection efforts, “something that he has not yet done in a significant way.” In fact, he criticized the Administration for agreeing to the budget restriction on the implementation of the new Wild Lands Policy, referring to staffers in the White House as “munchkins.” It was a rare public critique by a former Cabinet official. Mr. Babbitt was Interior Secretary under Bill Clinton and set up the National Landscape Conservation System, with the intent of protecting some of the most significant lands managed by the BLM.

Mr. Babbitt then discussed the 1906 Antiquities Act and the 1964 Wilderness Act, looking at the attempts to weaken or even repeal them.

As these attacks escalate the urgent question for those of us who support and advocate for our conservation tradition is how to respond. [¶] One alternative is to lie low, hoping that this storm will soon pass by without too much lasting damage. [¶] Failure to respond, however, is a form of appeasement that has not worked in the past and it will not work this time.  Our adversaries prefer to operate in the shadows, outside the sunshine generated by public knowledge and participation. For our opponents know that when anti-environmentalism becomes a public issue they will lose. They know that American support for our environmental heritage is wide and deep.

Mr. Babbitt then went on to suggest that the president designate some new monuments and work too increase the amount of wilderness in the U.S.:

The best way to defend the Antiquities Act is for the President to use it. [¶] The Wilderness Act is also in need of more vigorous advocacy from its friends, including the Administration.
The next day, current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called on Congress to move ahead on wilderness bills that members had already introduced. He also said that the Interior Department would provide Congress with a list of BLM lands it thinks deserve wilderness designation.

As we reported last month, though, Mr. Salazar formally announced (unnecessarily, in my view) the previous week that the Interior Department would abide by the Congressional budget restriction. But in an even more disheartening statement just last week, Secty. Salazar told House Republican leaders that the Interior Department would not designate any “Wild Lands” in the future, regardless of whether Congress continued the funding cutoff or not. The limitation was only for Fiscal Year 2011, which ends in September. The Department appears to have completely abandoned the policy, though it did say that BLM would continue to inventory lands, as required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).

At this point, it is not at all clear how Mr. Salazar proposes to protect BLM lands of wilderness quality until such time as Congress permanently decides their fate.

One thing is for certain, Mr. Salazar is no Teddy Roosevelt, who, when presented with a bill he felt he had to sign, but which also took away his power to designate forest reserves (national forests), used the time between the bill’s passage and the date he needed to sign it to cover the White House floors with maps and decide what lands to preserve. He designated the reserves he wanted and then signed the bill that prohibited him from ever doing it again.
Click here for the full (prepared, so no mention of “munchkins”) text of Mr. Babbitt’s speech.
Here are a few other reaction from the press to these issues:

Denver Post editorial and Santa Fe New Mexican editorial on Mr. Salazar’s reversal

New York Times editorial “Mr. Babbitt’s Protest”

The Los Angeles Times ran an editorial “Obama lukewarm on conservation”

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

Diane Rehm Show with a general look at public lands policy:

          Environmental Outlook: America’s Wilderness

          Guests:

          William Meadows, president, The Wilderness Society.
          Coral Davenport, energy and environment correspondent, National Journal.
          Kathleen Sgamma, director of government and public affairs, Western Energy Alliance.
          David Hayes, deputy secretary, Department of the Interior.

Click on LISTEN at the top right, or for a transcript, click here.

National Parks Conservation Association releases report on national parks.

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2010 June

October 14th, 2010


The Priest and the Nuns, near Moab, Utah                                                                                      Mike Painter

June 29, 2010

Dear CalUWild friends—

After taking a break from the news last month while I was on the road, there are a few items of interest to share this month.

You may recall a few months ago there was an uproar over a Department of the Interior memo, leaked by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (R), mentioning some places that the administration might consider for national monument designation. If you’d like to see for yourself what all the fuss was about, Sunset Magazine had articles on the 14 that were mentioned. Unfortunately, the Interior Department has not done a good job of supporting the suggestions. Secretary Ken Salazar told Utah lawmakers that there would be no designations without consultations with local interests. Since many, if not most, local officials are opposed to federal management, what this might actually mean is open to interpretation. Of course, the President could designate monuments over local objection, but it seems unlikely given the generally cautious approach the Administration takes to things.

In other political news, former representative and Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo (R), lost his congressional comeback bid in the California June primary. Though a resident of Tracy, he was running in the adjacent 19th District for the seat of retiring Rep. George Radanovich (R). Mr. Pombo is remembered for his stalwart opposition to wilderness and to endangered species. Needless to say, supporters of both issues were not disappointed by the result.

I hope that Summer is off to a good start and that you’re able to get out sometime for a visit to a wilderness area or other public land. It’s your birthright as an American—enjoy it!
Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act:
Status Report &
Two New California Cosponsors Added
Thank You Letters Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

2.   New State BLM Director for Utah

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Update on State Parks
(ACTION ITEM)

4.   Pleasant Valley Trails Lawsuit
Information Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

5.   Wilderness Stewardship Internships

IN NEVADA
6.   Wilderness Stewardship Trips

IN GENERAL
7.   America’s Great Outdoors
Listening Session in Los Angeles
July 8
SHORT REGISTRATION DEADLINE: July 1
& Website Comments
(ACTION ITEM)

8.   Free Days for Public Lands

9.   Wilderness Volunteers Service Trips

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

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act:
Two New California Cosponsors Added
Thank You Letters Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

There are few things to report regarding America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

There has been no further congressional action on the bill following the hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee last Fall. Unfortunately, when Interior Secretary Salazar made his comments regarding national monuments in Utah (see introduction), he also said that the Administration does not support ARRWA, but favors a county-by-county approach instead. The problem is that wilderness boundaries do not follow county lines. In addition, county commissioners tend to focus only on local issues and concerns. Larger (state or federal) interests are likely to be overlooked or opposed. Since these are federal public lands after all, belonging to all Americans, those larger interests need to be considered.

In addition, the county-by-county approach is now in question. Sen. Bob Bennett (R) has been behind proposals in San Juan and Emery Counties. Utah Republicans, at their state nominating convention in early May, declined to nominate him for a fourth term in the Senate. So it’s not clear that those processes can be furthered while Sen. Bennett is still in the Senate. Sen. Hatch has been working on a proposal for Piute County, but again, it’s not clear whether that will make progress, either. That the local political situation can stall progress illustrates why the whole county-by-county idea is flawed to begin with.

The Red Rock bill, however, continues to gather support in Congress. Several representatives have added their names to the cosponsor list in recent weeks. Two of them are from California. They are:

• Rep. John Garamendi (D-10), who was elected to replace former Rep. Ellen Tauscher when she joined the Administration. Rep. Garamendi is a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, serving in the Clinton Administration from 1995-98. Rep. Tauscher was a cosponsor before she left Congress.

• Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-39). Rep. Sánchez is a returning cosponsor.

Letters and phone calls saying thank you to both are needed. If you (or anyone you know) live in their districts, please send a message.

Rep. John Garamendi

Phone:              DC:   202-225-1880
Walnut Creek:   925-932-8899
US Mail:           1981 N Broadway, Suite 200, Walnut Creek, CA  94596
Webform here.  Other contact info may be found here.

Rep. Linda Sánchez
Phone:              DC:   202-225-6676
Cerritos:   562-860-5050
US Mail:           17906 Crusader Avenue, Suite 100, Cerritos, CA  90703
Webform here.

Thanks!


2.   New State BLM State Director for Utah

BLM Director Bob Abbey announced last month that he was replacing Utah State Director Selma Sierra. The move was one that conservationists have been hoping for, for a long time. Ms. Sierra was originally appointed during the Bush Administration, and her policies gave precedence to energy exploration and off-highway vehicle use rather than conservation, even in and near wild areas.

Juan Palma will be the new director. He comes from Virginia, where he served as the BLM Eastern States Director. Prior to that, Mr. Palma served as director of the Las Vegas office and in Oregon. Ms. Sierra will take his position in Virginia.

We hope that Mr. Palma will bring a more balanced approach (maybe even pro-conservation!) to the issues facing Utah’s BLM lands.


IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Update on State Parks
(ACTION ITEM)

The initiative to permanently fund California’s State Park System via an $18 annual motor vehicle fee was officially placed on the November ballot. It provides that passenger vehicles registered in California would not have to pay entrance fees at state parks. (You can read the text of the initiative here.)

The Sacramento Bee has started a section on its website for stories, pictures, and other items related to the State Park System, and it plans on adding to it throughout the Summer. The newspaper sent out the following message:

You can read the full story at: www.sacbee.com/stateofstateparks. We hope you enjoy it and welcome your feedback now and as our coverage continues with stories on crime, encroachment of civilization, and creative ways to pay for parks.

We’re looking for your help getting the word out about the parks guide linked to this project, which includes public information available nowhere else online related to maintenance and crime – and asks those interested in the parks to upload photos showing their favorite areas, walks, views and any problems they uncover during their visits. We’ve been getting a lively response from park enthusiasts and photo hobbyists already, but there is great potential for this becoming a focal point in the debate about state parks.

Our goal is to get at least one photo uploaded for each of the 278 state parks and we know we can’t reach that goal without you. Would you be able to let your acquaintances/friends know about this effort? If you or your organization has a Website, would you be willing to link to it? Ditto with Tweets and Facebook updates?

The direct link for the parks guide, filled with information and the photo uploading form, is www.sacbee.com/stateparks.

I appreciate any attention you can help us draw to state parks.

Amy Pyle
Assistant Managing Editor/Investigations & Enterprise
The Sacramento Bee
apyle@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1050


4.   Pleasant Valley Trails Lawsuit
Information Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

Sometimes the only access to public lands is across private property. It is a long-settled principle of law that public use of a path over private property for a specified period of time creates a public easement that is permanent and cannot be revoked by subsequent owners. We recently received the following notice from a citizens group in the Sierra Nevada south of Lake Tahoe regarding access issues. If you have information that might help them and are interested in helping out, please get in touch with the people mentioned in the alert. Thanks.

Pleasant Valley is a beautiful meadow south of Lake Tahoe that for well over 100 years had served as a major access point into Alpine County high country, including the Pacific Crest Trail and the Mokelumne Wilderness Area. Access to Pleasant Valley was gated shut by a private landowner in 1999 who no longer wished to have hikers, anglers, and others cross his land. In the years following the trails’ closure, Friends of Hope Valley (FOHV) worked hard to persuade the landowner to voluntarily reopen these trails for public use, but after eight years of working for an amicable resolution this gateway to public lands remains closed. With no other recourse, FOHV has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in an effort to reopen the trails.

FOHV is working to find members of the public who accessed the Pleasant Valley trails in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Potential witnesses will be interviewed by FOHV’s legal team, possibly deposed by the defendant’s lawyers, and may be asked to testify in court in Sacramento. The deadline to discover witnesses is fast approaching and is essential to building the case for the trail’s historic use.

The public’s right to access public trails, even if people have to pass through private land to reach them, is firmly grounded in California state law. Any land in California that was used by the public for five continuous years before March 1972 cannot lawfully be closed to public access at the whim of the landowner. There is ample evidence demonstrating lengthy historical use of Pleasant Valley for hiking, fishing, and other recreational uses, including prior use by the Washoe tribe for more than a century.

Securing trail users from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s as witnesses is crucial to asserting the public’s legal right to access these pristine trails. Hikers, anglers and others who used Pleasant Valley from 1950-1980 are asked to contact Friends of Hope Valley by emailing info@hopevalleyca.com or to call FOHV’s lawyer, Matthew Zinn of Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger LLP, at 415-552-7272 as soon as possible. For more information about the Friends of Hope Valley lawsuit, visit http://www.hopevalleyca.com/issues.html.

Feel free to email with additional questions or for more information.

Sincerely,

Severn Williams, on behalf of the Friends of Hope Valley
Severn Williams, Principal
Public Good PR – Communications for a Better World
510-336-9566
f: 510-588-4641
sev@publicgoodpr.comwww.publicgoodpr.com


5.   Wilderness Stewardship Internships

The following came in from our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition.

WANTED: TWO INTERNS INTERESTED IN SPENDING THEIR SUMMER IN THE YOLLA BOLLY-MIDDLE EEL WILDERNESS!

The California Wilderness Coalition, Mendocino National Forest and Student Conservation Association are seeking two full-time, paid interns to serve as volunteer coordinators this summer/fall in the rugged and remote Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness. The Yolla Bollys form the spine of the Coast Range in Mendocino, Tehama and Trinity counties, roughly 30 air-miles west of the town of Red Bluff and 12 air-miles northeast of the little community of Covelo.

About the area: This region consists of steep, old-growth shaded canyons and windswept, open ridges which form the headwaters of the South Fork Trinity River and the Middle Fork Eel River, two very important salmon and steelhead trout streams.  Important tributaries of the Sacramento River also originate in the wilderness area’s eastern side. As the northern end of the interior Coast Range, the southern end of the Klamath Mountains and the western rampart of California’s Great Central Valley, it is a rich ecological melting pot with a wide range of plants and animals. For more information visit: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS&sec=wildView&WID=661

About the job: From 2007-2009 we had interns for the Yuki, Sanhedrin and Snow Mountain wilderness areas. Volunteers were recruited and trained to erect wilderness boundary signs, restore areas damaged by illegal vehicle use, monitor recreation impacts and conduct a host of other important activities in the three wilderness areas. Full-time interns who served as volunteer coordinators were essential to these efforts.  This year we want to carry this successful partnership to the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, so we are seeking two volunteer coordinators who can:

–Recruit potential volunteers by giving presentations to groups and by using the phone, the media and the Internet;
–Plan and complete volunteer projects;
–Ensure that volunteers are properly trained and provided with necessary equipment; and
–Supervise volunteers in the field.

Interns will receive:

–Stipends of $160/week for six months;
–Medical insurance;
–An education scholarship worth $2,360 at the end of the internship; and
–Free housing and on-the-job transportation.

Qualifications: The volunteer coordinators must be self-motivated, willing to work in remote locations for up to 4 days at a time and must have excellent written and oral communication skills.

For more information please contact Ryan Henson of the CWC at 530-365-2737
or at rhenson@calwild.org.


IN NEVADA
6.   Wilderness Stewardship Trips

Friends of Nevada Wilderness always have a nice list of trips and service projects for people looking to do a little work and explore some of the wild places of the Silver State. Check out the listing of their current trips here and sign up for one!


IN GENERAL
7.   America’s Great Outdoors
Listening Session in Los Angeles
July 8
SHORT REGISTRATION DEADLINE: July 1
& Website Comments
(ACTION ITEM)

We’re following the progress this Summer of the Great Outdoors Initiative. So far there have been listening sessions in Montana, Maryland, and South Carolina, with another scheduled for Seattle tomorrow. Los Angeles plays host to one next Thursday, July 8. With the 4th of July holiday, there is a short registration deadline, tomorrow July 1. This announcement just went up yesterday on DOI’s website. EPA told me today that all are welcome, even if not registered in advance.

The Department of the Interior’s announcement says:

Senior national and local leaders from US EPA, CEQ, USDA, DOI and DOD will be present to hear your recommendations and to participate in a conversation with you about America’s Great Outdoors.

Please Register:
This event is free and open to the public.  For planning purposes, please register by Thursday, July 1st by sending an email to sun.nelly@epa.gov with your name, the name of the organization with which you are affiliated, if any, your telephone number and email address.  We will endeavor to accommodate everyone.

When:
Thursday – July 8, 2010, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Where:
Thorne Hall
Occidental College
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA  90041 (See map at http://www.oxy.edu/x6062.xml)

If you live in the Mojave or east of Los Angeles, California Wilderness Coalition will be providing a bus for attendees. Here’s information regarding the bus:

To get a ride on the bus, you can meet at:

1.) 11am at the Victorville Park n Ride 16838 D St. Victorville 92392
or
2.) 12:30pm at the REI in Rancho Cucamonga 12218 Foothill Boulevard Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

Both of these locations are easily accessible from I-15 and/or I-10 for folks coming from the high desert, the Morongo Basin, Coachella Valley, Riverside, San Diego, or the Inland Empire. From there, the bus will take us to the Listening Session in Los Angeles. For bus riders, we will provide lunch and dinner.

RSVP to Laurel:lwilliams@calwild.org or 909.260.8833 or Monica at margandona@calwild.org to reserve your spot on the bus. We strongly encourage everyone to join us on the bus to reduce traffic and pollution!

We just need to know that you’re coming by FRIDAY, JULY 2nd.

If you are not able to attend a listening session, there is a page on the GOI website where you can submit your own ideas, vote on others’ suggestions, and make comments.

It’s not totally clear how the website is operating. Previous suggestions have disappeared off the main pages, and their comments have been removed, such as Overturn the “No More Wilderness” Policy , KEEP IT WILD, and Protect the National Conservation Lands. The links take you to the original pages, and you can still vote for them, but they are no longer listed under their authors’ names. I’m trying to find out what’s going on, but so far have no answer.

One idea that hasn’t disappeared is Protect Wilderness-Quality Public Lands.

These are all suggestions that CalUWild supports, and it can’t hurt to vote in their favor, whether they are active or not. To vote, though, you need to register. It’s an easy process, starting with clicking on “register” in the top right corner.

We’ll keep you posted as the Initiative moves forward.


8.   Free Days for Public Lands

The public lands agencies, as part of a concerted effort to get Americans outdoors and aware of their lands, have announced that entrance fees will be waived on several dates in the coming months. This applies for the National Parks, National Forests, BLM lands, and National Wildlife Refuges. The dates are:

August 14 & 15, Back to School
September 25, Public Lands Day
November 11, Veterans Day


9.   Wilderness Volunteers Service Trips

Besides Nevada (above), there are many more opportunities for service trips in wilderness areas and other public lands. Our friends at Wilderness Volunteers keep a busy schedule around the country. You can see their trips here.

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2009 June

June 30th, 2009

July 1, 2009

Dear CalUWild friends –

The Update often takes longer to get together than planned, so it’s a day late this time. But the information is current, nevertheless!

Summer is underway, but for various reasons, Americans take less vacation than their counterparts in other industrialized nations. Thus, many do not or cannot take the time to get away with their families, friends, or by themselves to enjoy the birthright of every American — the wonderful public lands of the West. And while we don’t want to love our wild places to death, people do need the time to be able to get away to visit them. Very often the motivation to protect those special places comes from having gotten to know them intimately.

At CalUWild we always look for ways to link wilderness protection with other grassroots citizen initiatives. Over the last couple of years, a movement has grown up in support of minimum vacation requirements, sick and maternity/paternity leave, and other areas where Americans lag behind. One of the organizations leading the campaign is Take Back Your Time. More detailed information about the issues, including an August 2009 conference in Seattle, can be found on their website. These are issues worthy of investigation, if not our support.

In breaking news, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled yesterday that the Bush Administration illegally changed the rules for National Forest planning when it dropped requirements designed to restrict logging, protect streams, and ensure “species viability.” This is the latest court decision overturning attempts by the previous administration to weaken or even gut public protections. Congratulations to Pete Frost at the Western Environmental Law Center, who represented the organizations involved in the suit.

One policy we are still waiting to see reversed is the “No More Wild” policy. This resulted from an agreement between Utah’s then-governor, Mike Leavitt and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, in which the BLM abdicated its legal responsibility to undertake continued inventories of land that might qualify for wilderness designation. One way of letting Secretary Ken Salazar know this is an important issue is by letting our Congressional friends know as well. So the next time you contact your representative or senator, please also put in a quick mention that you’d like Interior to use all the tools at its disposal to protect wildlands and give them the importance within BLM that they deserve and that the law requires. Thanks

In other news, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the Department of the Interior is putting solar development on public lands on the fast track. The Department will begin a two-year study of some 1,000 square miles of lands for potential commercial development. This may present problems for conservationists, who support alternative energy but do not want to see public lands, which are often sensitive landscapes or home to threatened species, turned into industrial zones. So we’ll have to pay attention as this unfolds.

Click here for maps of the areas identified.

Thanks, as always, for your interest and support!

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1. Red Rock Wilderness Cosponsorship Update
Schedule an August Recess Meeting with Your Rep!
(ACTION ITEM)

2. In the Press

IN CALIFORNIA
3. State Parks Still under Threat of Closure
(ACTION ITEM)
4. Sen. Dianne Feinstein Introduces a Rider in Congress
To Extend Pt. Reyes Oyster Farm’s Lease for 10 Years
(ACTION ITEM)

IN NEVADA
5. Wilderness Service Trips

IN GENERAL
6. No Fee Bill Introduced in the U.S. Senate
7. Documentary on Pete McCloskey
On KQED
Sunday, July 5, 6:00 p.m.

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

IN UTAH
1. Red Rock Wilderness Cosponsorship Update
Schedule an August Recess Meeting with Your Rep!

(ACTION ITEM)

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act continues to draw support in Congress. In the Senate, there are 19 cosponsors of S.799, plus Sen. Durbin. This ties the previous record! Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) is a cosponsor, while Dianne Feinstein (D) is not.

In the House, H.R.1925 is up to 124 cosponsors, and there is still a ways to go there. We are hoping that the Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing after the August recess.

Here’s a list of current California cosponsors:

Mike Thompson (D-1)
Lynn C. Woolsey (D-6)
George Miller (D-7)
Barbara Lee (D-9)
Ellen O. Tauscher (D-10)
Jerry McNerney (D-11)
Jackie Speier (D-12)
Fortney Pete Stark (D-13)
Anna G. Eshoo (D-14)
Michael M. Honda (D-15)
Zoe Lofgren (D-16)
Sam Farr (D-17)
Lois Capps (D-23)
Brad Sherman (D-27)
Howard L. Berman (D-28)
Adam B. Schiff (D-29)
Henry A. Waxman (D-30)
Jane Harman (D-36)
Grace F. Napolitano (D-38)
Loretta Sanchez (D-47)
Bob Filner (D-51)
Susan A. Davis (D-53)

It’s important to let your representative know when they’ve done something you approve of, so if you haven’t thanked them yet, please do so. Special thanks go to Rep. Jackie Speier (D-12); this is the first time she is cosponsoring after replacing long-time cosponsor Tom Lantos.

Missing from the list of returning cosponsors:

Doris Matsui (D-5)

Xavier Beccera (D-31)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34)
Maxine Waters (D-35)
Jane Harman (D-36)
Linda Sanchez (D-39)
Diane Watson (D-33)

Rep. Hilda Solis (D-32) is now Secretary of Labor, and Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-10) is now Undersecretary of State for Arms Control. Their seats are currently vacant.

Others who are potential cosponsors:

Dennis Cardoza (D-18)
Laura Richardson (D-37) replaced Juanita Millender-McDonald, a long-time cosponsor
Joe Baca (D-43) replaced George Brown, a long-time cosponsor
Mary Bono Mack (R-45)

If you live in any of these districts where the rep has not cosponsored or renewed their cosponsorship, the August Congressional Recess (it’s not a vacation time for them) provides a perfect opportunity to schedule a meeting with your representative or their staff. Citizens from around the country will be doing just that in support of Wild Utah.

If you’d be interested in being a part of this campaign in your district, send me an email, and I’ll help you get organized.

2. In the Press
Two ongoing issues in Utah have been the December Energy Lease Sale and even longer-term, the looting and destruction of archaeological sites. Rather than write an item about each, I’ll provide links to 2 New York Times articles that report on recent interesting and disturbing developments.

Registration is required for the Times website, but it’s free and won’t subject you to any SPAM. If you have trouble accessing the articles, let me know.

Interior Report Shows Flawed Utah Lease Sale

23 People Are Arrested or Sought in the Looting of Indian Artifacts

IN CALIFORNIA
3. State Parks Still under Threat of Closure
(ACTION ITEM)

It’s July 1, and the state budget crisis is still not resolved, so the fate of California’s State Parks remains undecided.

Negotiations continue among the officials in Sacramento. Please call the following with the message that our parks belong to the citizens of the state and must stay open. You might also point out that they bring in more money to the state than is spent in their budget.

Darrell Steinberg, Senate President Pro Tem: 916-651-4006
Dennis Hollingsworth, Senate Minority Leader: 916-651-4036
Karen Bass, Assembly Speaker: 916-319-2047
Sam Blakeslee, Assembly Republican Leader: 916-319-2033
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: 415-703-2218

In an interesting development, the San Jose Mercury News reported yesterday that the National Park Service has threatened to step in and take control of those parks that have received funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. These include: Henry Coe, Fremont Peak, Big Basin Redwoods, Castle Rock, Año Nuevo, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake, Andrew Molera, Humboldt Redwoods, Point Lobos, Hearst San Simeon State Park, Anza-Borrego Desert, Sutter’s Fort and Mount Tamalpais.

4. Sen. Dianne Feinstein Introduces a Rider in Congress
To Extend Pt. Reyes Oyster Farm’s Lease for 10 Years
(ACTION ITEM)

The saga of the oyster farm continues. As we reported in our December Update, the owner of the Johnson Oyster Company, operating in Drake’s Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore, wants his lease from the National Park Service extended when it expires in 2012. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has attached a rider to the Park Service’s budget included in the Interior Appropriations bill that would extend it for another 10 years.

The present owner knew when he bought the property several years ago that it was unlikely the Park Service would give him an extension, but he said at the time he’d be able to recoup his expenses and make a profit.

The issue is now complicated now by the fact that the Park Service has been accused of releasing inaccurate scientific assessments of the environmental effects of the operation on the Estero. In our opinion, that only distracts from the main issue, which is land use, not ecology.

The owner points to the sustainable and local nature of the operation, the fact that much of Pt. Reyes National Seashore is covered with historic dairies, many of which continue to operate, and finally that there are some 30 jobs involved and Johnson’s is the last oyster cannery on the West Coast.

These are all valid and true. However, Congress designated the Estero and the land on which the oyster farm as potential wilderness in 1976, with the expectation that it would become part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness when the lease expired. This law was subject to full and open debate at that time. If Congress wants to change the policy it enacted, then the same type of full and open debate needs to be held again.

Appearing on KQED Radio’s Forum yesterday, Sen. Feinstein said that the issue had been discussed with plenty of input, editorials, discussion, and reports. That, however, is not how legislation is crafted. And it leaves out the fact that (as we repeatedly point out to Utahns who want local control of federal lands) this land belongs to all Americans, so their representatives should be in on the discussion, as well.

We object to riders because they bypass the normal legislative process of committee hearings and public input. (And riders generally involve issues that wouldn’t be able to pass on their own merits. In other words, they’re sneaky.) We complain mightily when legislators opposed to conservation use them. So we’re doubly disappointed when our friends use them, too.

Regardless of where one stands on the issue of whether the oyster farm should remain, it’s a matter of supporting democratic principles.

Please contact Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s (D-6) office, in whose district Pt. Reyes National Seashore lies, and let her know that any decision to change the status of the oyster operation at Drake’s Estero should be open and public, not via a rider.

DC: 202-225-5161
Marin: 415-507-9554
Sonoma: 707-542-7182

Sen. Feinstein may be reached at:

DC: 202-224-3841
SF: 415-393-0707
LA: 310-914-7300
San Diego: 619-231-9712
Fresno: 559-485-7430

IN NEVADA
5. Wilderness Service Trips

Friends of Nevada Wilderness has a lineup of summer wilderness trip to various wild areas in Nevada. They’re a great way to help restore areas and to get to know and explore them as well. For a full listing, click here.

IN GENERAL
6. No Fee Bill Introduced in the U.S. Senate

In April Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) re-introduced legislation to repeal much of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which had passed a few years ago, charging citizens for using public lands. Sen. Baucus is the chairman of the Finance Committee. The bill number is S. 868 and currently has 2 cosponsors, Sens. John Tester (D-MT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was a cosponsor in the last Congress, so the bill may have support within the Obama Administration.

No companion legislation has been introduced in the House so far.

As written, the legislation applies only to lands managed by the Department of the Interior (not National Forests) and would leave in place the long-standing entrance fees to National Parks and fees for facilities in parks, including developed campgrounds and boat launches, developed swimming sites, and other amenities. The bill specifically prohibits charging fees for anyone under 16 years of age or for an outing conducted for a noncommercial educational purpose by a school or other academic institution.

In addition the Department of Interior may not charge a fee for Federal recreational land or water managed by the Bureau of Land Management or the Bureau of Reclamation.

We’ll keep you posted as the bill progresses.

7. Documentary on Pete McCloskey
On KQED
Sunday, July 5, 6:00 p.m.

Bay Area CalUWild members will have the chance to see the premiere of Pete McCloskey: Leading from the Front. Many may remember Mr. McCloskey as a candidate in the 2006 Republican primary election to unseat Rep. Richard Pombo (R-11), then-chairman of the House Resources Committee. (Although he lost, his challenge contributed to Mr. Pombo’s later defeat by Jerry McNerney (D) in the general election, who continues to hold the seat.) But Mr. McCloskey has a long history of achievement behind him as a Korean War hero, lawyer, Congressman, and farmer.

The documentary was produced and directed by Rob Caughlan, a longtime member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board and founder of the Surfrider Foundation. Paul Newman is the narrator.

Click here for more information on the film.

The film airs on KQED Sunday, July 5, at 6:00 p.m.

If you don’t live in KQED’s viewing area, please ask your local PBS station to air it when it becomes available.

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