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2018 May

May 27th, 2018


Juniper & Overlook                                                                                     (Patrick Dengate, oil on wood panel, 9″ x 12″)
 

May 26, 2018

Dear CalUWild friends—

It’s the Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the summer vacation season. Our national parks are more crowded (and more popular) than ever. That shouldn’t necessarily dissuade you from visiting, but remember that there are many other federal public lands out there, uncrowded and worthy of visitation. Find some time this summer to enjoy them!
 

You can support CalUWild and own some artwork at the same time! Two CalUWild members have generously offered to contribute proceeds from sales of their art to CalUWild.

Patrick Dengate, whose painting is above and whom we’ve featured in the Update previously (here, here and here), is an artist and one of the founders of Michigan Friends of Redrock Wilderness. He works in various media and has a series of paintings of the West, including Juniper & Overlook. Patrick will contribute 50% of the sales price to support CalUWild’s work. Click here for a catalog of 14 paintings. Visit his website to see more of his varied work.

Margie Lopez Read is a longtime Utah wilderness activist and artist who splits her time between Utah and California. She sells her art strictly as a way to support worthy nonprofit organizations, and she would like to include CalUWild among those. Her website is here. Check it out, and if there’s something you might be interested in, contact Margie through her website for more information on pricing and payment.

Finally, we still have a very limited number of Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary posters, featuring a block print by renowned California artist Tom Killion. The poster measures 18″ x 24″, and the price is $10 apiece, plus postage and shipping ($5 for 1 or 2, $5.50 for 3). 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

 
As always, thanks for your interest in and support for our wilderness and public lands!
 

Best wishes,
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1.   Bad San Rafael Swell Bill Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Carrizo Plain National Monument Oil Exploration
          Letters Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Ballot Measure Endorsement
          YES on Prop. 68
          Don’t Forget to Vote June 5
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA
4.   Rep. Jared Huffman Introduces Bill
          To Stop Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
5.   National Monuments Review Documents Released
          And Monument Photos Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
6.   Job Announcements
          a.   Western Environmental Law Center
          b.   Oregon Natural Desert Association
          c.   Bay Area Wilderness Training
          d.   SUWA Service Project Volunteers

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Bad San Rafael Swell Bill Introduced
          (ACTION ITEM)

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) and Rep. John Curtis (R) have introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, companion bills S. 2809 and H.R. 5727, in the Senate and House respectively. The legislation is a follow-up to Rep. Rob Bishop’s (R-UT) failed Public Lands Initiative (PLI) of 2016, but in reality it’s worse than what was proposed then.

The bill makes permanent all the existing routes in both the NCA and wilderness areas, meaning that the BLM will not be able to manage those areas with conservation and wilderness priorities. A management advisory council for the NCA will be created that allows for disproportionate local representation.

Although the act establishes the “San Rafael Swell Western Heritage and Historic Mining National Conservation Area” and the “Jurassic National Monument,” it only designates about one third of the wilderness included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. This amount is even less than was in the PLI. Furthermore many of these areas already have some level of protection as wilderness study areas (WSAs) or natural areas. Important areas in the Swell, such as Muddy Creek, the Mussentuchit Badlands and Molen Reef are completely ignored. Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River receives protection only on its west bank, because it is in Emery County.

The bill also transfers management of federal land near Goblin Valley State Park to the State of Utah.

You may read the text of the House bill here.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has a page with its analysis of the bill, and also photos of some of the spectacular affected areas.

It looks like we have a good fight ahead, either to improve the bill, as happened with the Washington County bill in 2009, or to defeat it totally. Complicating the situation is the fact that Sen. Orrin Hatch is retiring this year, so some members may feel influenced to give him a retirement “gift.”
 

Regardless, we oppose the legislation as it stands now. Please contact your senators and congressional representatives to let them know that.

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

Sen. Kamala Harris: 202-224-3553
Online here

If you live in a state other than California, contact information for your senators may be found here.

Full contact information for California members may be found by following the links here, and for other states by following the links here.
 

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Carrizo Plain National Monument Oil Exploration
          Letters Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

The following alert comes from our friends at Los Padres ForestWatch. Please write a letter to California State BLM Director Jerry Perez. Use the talking points below, but please, in your own words. If you have been to the Carrizo Plain, make sure to mention, saying what you found special about the place!

The Department of the Interior has approved a new oil well and pipeline at the base of the Caliente Mountains in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This is the first new oil development approved in the national monument since it was established in 2001, and the approval comes just months after the Trump Administration considered revoking the Carrizo Plain’s protected status altogether.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — the agency responsible for approving the new oil well — failed to consult with its sister wildlife agency, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to examine ways to lessen impacts on rare plants and animals such as the San Joaquin kit fox, California condor, giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, and Kern mallow — all critically endangered species. The BLM also approved the new well and pipeline despite the fact that neither are consistent with the Management Plan for the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

This decision is in stark contrast to a decision by the BLM two years ago to allow the oil company to abandon an existing well so that the agency could reclaim the oil pad and access road, remove its rusty equipment, and restore the area to natural conditions. The Trump Administration is now backtracking on those plans.

You can help stop the new oil well and pipeline from going forward. Send a letter to BLM State Director Jerry Perez to let him know that you are strongly opposed to new drilling on the Carrizo Plain National Monument and that the agency should instead move forward with their previous plans to restore the oil pad to natural conditions.
 

Talking points:

• This is the first new oil well and pipeline on the Carrizo Plain since the area was designated a national monument in 2001. Please reconsider this decision.

• The new well and pipeline aren’t consistent with the management plan for the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This plan was developed after years of public input, and its provisions should be followed.

• The well and pipeline would also be visible from the Caliente Mountain Wilderness Study Area and when driving along Route 166. These and other impacts require more robust review.

• BLM didn’t consult with federal wildlife agencies to ensure the protection of imperiled species like the San Joaquin kit fox, California condor, giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin antelope squirrel and Kern mallow.

• BLM should proceed with the 2016 plan to remove abandoned equipment from this same area where the new oil well and pipeline would be installed and restore the area to natural conditions. This would be consistent with the Carrizo Plain’s management plan, which requires prompt abandonment and reclamation of non-producing facilities in the national monument.

Letters should be addressed to:

Mr. Jerry Perez
California State Director
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W1623
Sacramento, CA 95825

Via email: castatedirector@blm.gov
 

3.   Ballot Measure Endorsement
          YES on Prop. 68
          Don’t Forget to Vote June 5
          (ACTION ITEM)

Statewide, voters are being asked to approve a bond measure, Proposition 68, in support of the state parks and other parks, as well as other environmental needs. Our parks are always underfunded and we have many other long-term needs, both conservation-related and in the general environment. If passed, 15 – 20% of the bonds’ funds would be dedicated to projects in lower-income communities. All the major newspapers and conservation organizations in the state support Prop. 68.
 

IN ALASKA
4.   Rep. Jared Huffman Introduces Bill
          To Stop Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
          (ACTION ITEM)

This week, California Rep. Jared Huffman (D-2), one of strongest congressional supporters of wilderness and public lands, introduced the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act. The following information is taken from an alert sent our by our friends at the Alaska Wilderness League.
 

Representative Jared Huffman has introduced the “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act” to keep oil rigs out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Arctic Refuge drilling only passed as part of December’s heinous tax bill because Republican leadership used it to lock up Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s swing vote. Drilling and the tax bill remain deeply unpopular with the American people.

The “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act” repeals Arctic Refuge drilling from the tax bill. It prevents the sacrifice of our wildest landscape so that oil companies and billionaires can get even richer.

Stand up for the Gwich’in people who rely on the Arctic Refuge and the calving caribou that raise young there. The Arctic Refuge and its coastal plain also supports denning polar bears and their cubs, wolves, foxes, muskoxen, and more than 200 migratory and resident bird species. This is not a place to drill for oil.

CalUWild friend Erik DuMont wrote an op-ed piece in The Hill this week about the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge and Rep. Huffman’s bill.
 

Please contact your representative and ask them to support Rep. Huffman’s bill. Full contact information for California members may be found by following the links here, and for other states by following the links here.

Please also contact Rep. Huffman’s office to thank him for introducing the bill.

Washington, DC office:

1406 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5161

For Rep. Huffman’s local offices or to comment via webform, follow the links here.
 

IN GENERAL
5.   National Monuments Review Documents Released
          And Monument Photos Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the Department of the Interior has released a large number of documents related to the national monument review process and the president’s executive order mandating it.

It can all be found here. Here are the monument- and content-specific links.

Monument/Topic Specific FOIA Docs (May 2018)

Basin and Range NM
Bears Ears NM
Bears Ears Zinke Staff Correspondence
Carrizo Plain NM
Giant Sequoia NM
Gold Butte NM
Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
Katahdin Woods and Waters NM
Meetings Held by Zinke Staff
Mojave Trails NM
National Monument Report
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts NM
NRDC
Process for Reviewing Public Comments
Public Comment Review
Review of National Monuments under EO 13792

One of the more notable revelations, though not really that surprising, is that one of the officials involved in the review, Randal Bowman, said—one week after the initial executive order was released— that it was very unlikely that they would learn anything new from the comments submitted. “Essentially, barring a surprise, there is no new information that’s going to be submitted,” Bowman is quoted as saying.

In other words, the fix was in from the beginning. You can read more details in this article in The Hill.
 

And a reminder from last month: Throughout the month of May, the monumentsforall.org website is asking monument supporters to upload photos from places protected by the Antiquities Act. Pictures with people enjoying and exploring our monuments are especially welcome. Also pictures of historic and cultural monuments, not just landscape monuments, are particularly needed.

Deadline: May 31

Thanks for your submissions!
 

6. Job Announcements
          a.   Western Environmental Law Center

The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 25-year legacy of success using the power of the law to safeguard the public lands, wildlife, and communities of the American West in the face of a changing climate. We seek a dynamic, experienced attorney to join our team. This position will use a full complement of legal advocacy tools to: (1) protect public lands, wildlife, and communities from fossil fuel projects; (2) engage federal and state legislative, policy, and rulemaking processes to advance climate action; and (3) support a just transition for communities away from fossil fuels. This full-time position will be located in our Taos, New Mexico office and will be filled as soon as possible.

Requirements and qualifications for the position include:

• Deep familiarity with Western U.S. climate, fossil fuel, and public lands legal issues, with knowledge of New Mexico’s legal framework, communities, and lands a significant plus.
• At least six years of litigation experience, with administrative advocacy and strategic/policy campaign experience a significant plus.
• Ability and willingness to use a complete set of legal advocacy tools including litigation, collaboration, administrative engagement, and rule and policy development.
• Admission to and good standing with a state bar and willingness to obtain membership to the New Mexico bar, if not already admitted, at the earliest opportunity after hiring.
• A science or technical background in climate, energy, or public lands-related issues is a significant plus.
• Creative, strong-willed capacity to achieve objectives in the face of adversity.
• Exceptional research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
• Strong interpersonal skills to foster relationships with our clients, partners, funders, and allies.
• Demonstrated commitment to the public interest and to WELC’s mission and strategies.
• Demonstrated commitment to conceptualizing and executing legal strategies that further WELC’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice.
• A positive, friendly, and enthusiastic attitude towards making the world a better place.
• A love and respect for the public lands, wildlife, and communities of the Western U.S.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning June 6, 2018 until the position is filled, with a start date no later than September 2018. To apply, please email the following as PDF attachments to jobs@westernlaw.org:

(1) cover letter addressed to Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Executive Director;
(2) resume; and
(3) minimum of three references

Cover letters should clearly communicate the applicant’s commitment to WELC’s mission and advocacy and their motivation to work in the public interest legal field. Please do not reiterate qualifications communicated by your resume. No phone calls or in-person visits please.

Western Environmental Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. We value diversity and our programs and employment are open to all. We offer a friendly, team-based environment, highly competitive salaries, and an excellent benefits package.
 

          b.   Oregon Natural Desert Association

From the Oregon Natural Desert Association:

Oregon Natural Desert Association Executive Director Brent Fenty will be shifting into a new role as head of the Oregon Desert Land Trust and ONDA’s board of directors has launched a nationwide search for our next leader.

Our executive director job description is now ready.

We’re seeking candidates who are:

• Passionate about Oregon’s high desert
• Solutions-oriented with a strong work ethic
• Committed to celebrating teamwork and maintaining the organization’s unique and effective culture, based on mutual respect, trust, and the beliefs of the organization
• Proficient in fundraising, communications and development
• Knowledgeable about conservation issues, policies and practices

View Job Description

Anyone interested in applying for this position should contact The Forest Group, by emailing Mary Mallif, mary@theforestgroup.com.

With a committed and growing membership base, a seasoned and passionate board and staff, and a slate of compelling initiatives, ONDA is an effective and thriving organization. We look forward to interviewing candidates who will help us become an even stronger force for conservation.

P.S. For future opportunities to work at or intern for ONDA, keep an eye on our careers page or follow us on LinkedIn.
 

          c.   Bay Area Wilderness Training

Our friends at Bay Area Wilderness Training have two job openings. Below are the position summaries, with links to further information.

Program Director
The Program Director, who reports directly to the Executive Director, has broad and deep responsibilities to ensure that Bay Area Wilderness Training is fully meeting the goals set forth in the organizations mission and vision. It has been said that the Program Director is the “heart beat” of the organization and as such they play a key role in supervising and hiring program staff, creating and ensuring high quality programs, and maximizing organizational reach, capacity, and efficiency. Top areas of responsibility include supervision and management, program development, oversight of client services, partnerships, growth, data tracking and reporting, and support of organizational operations. Currently, the Program Director oversees a team of four staff with the potential to grow.

For more information on the position and qualifications, click here.

Program Associate
Program Associate will directly report to the Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) Gear Library & Operations Manager and will support ongoing operations of the Oakland, San Francisco, and South Bay (Milpitas) outdoor equipment gear libraries. The highest level of independence is expected. Initiative and a proactive approach are a must. The top priority responsibilities associated with this position are as follows: gear inventory control and maintenance, coordinating gear pick-ups and drop-offs, trip report & invoice tracking, client support and correspondence, client (teacher & youth worker) recruitment and relationship management, volunteer outreach and support, and efficient operations overall.

Learn more about the position here
 

          d. SUWA Service Project Volunteers

From our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:

Into the Field: Volunteer with SUWA this Summer
Summer is upon us and our Field Crews are gearing up for a season of high elevation volunteering! Several spots remain open on our first batch of June-July-August Projects and I invite you to join the ranks of our 111 volunteers who have put in over 1,255 service hours to date in 2018! Scroll down this page for an overview of our early to midsummer project calendar.
 

IN THE PRESS & ELSEWHERE
7.   Links to Articles 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.

The Administration, Dept. of the Interior & Secty. Ryan Zinke

In the New York Times: Patagonia v. Trump

In the Washington Post: Trump administration moves to weaken protections for this unique American bird

In The Economist: The parable of the sage grouse

Good news: The 9th Circuit ruled that the he Bi-State population of sage grouse in the Mono Basin had been improperly delisted. See this article in Courthouse News.

An op-ed in the Washington Post: Walk with us, Ryan Zinke, and see the folly in what you’ve done

An article in MediaMatters: A timeline of scandals and ethical shortfalls at Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department

An op-ed in Mountain Journal: Ryan Zinke Now Claims To Be A Born-Again Conservationist

Scientific American and E&E News: Interior’s Handling of Science Gives Climate Advocates a Sense of Déjà Vu

An article in Science: Drilling boom threatens web of ancient roads in Southwest

The Los Angeles Times: The Trump agenda has Native American tribes feeling under siege

Other topics

The Sacramento Bee on the Klamath Basin: Can an uneasy truce hold off another water rebellion on California’s northern border?

An op-ed in the New York Times on ecological balance in the Great Basin: Let Mountain Lions Eat Horses

An op-ed in High Country News: The playground of Lake Powell isn’t worth drowned canyons

 
 

We haven’t been including links to videos recently because they trigger SPAM filters at various ISPs, and it’s very difficult to get around them. Sorry if you’ve missed them!
 
 
 
 
 

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.

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2016 May

June 1st, 2016

DSC_0719a3a
Juniper, Utah                                                                                                                                   (Mike Painter)

 
May 2016

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters—

There were a few developments this month with regard to wilderness and public lands around the West. And a good number of articles also appeared, updating issues we’ve covered before, such as the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation and Bundy trials, and others of general interest. Links are in the relevant items below and In the Press (Item 5).

In you’re in California, please vote in the June 7 Primary Election, remembering that there are other races and local issues needing attention, not just the presidential campaign.

Voters in the Bay Area have Measure AA on their ballots, which CalUWild, other conservation organizations, and most of the press support. It would levy a $12 a year parcel tax to fund restoration projects around the Bay. Many of the proposed projects have been approved, but funding has been lacking. Tideland and shoreline restoration can provide a buffer for anticipated rises in sea level.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:

AA—The shoreline tax. The bay’s mudflat edge is an environmental orphan, tabbed for restoration but deprived of funding. This measure asks two-thirds of the voters in nine counties to approve a $12 per parcel levy to supply $25 million per year for 20 years. Much of the land is already in public hands but needs the extra money to speed recovery. It’s a modest price for a major improvement. Vote YES.

The Chronicle is beginning a series “Rising Reality,” examining the issues connected to the potential rise in the Bay. You can read it online, though so far it appears to be behind the Chronicle‘s paywall.

Local publication Bay Nature also editorialized in favor of the proposal: Yes on Measure AA.

 
An exhibition, Wild West: Plains to the Pacific, opens June 18 at the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park in San Francisco. The Fine Arts Museums describe it as follows:

Mined from the wide-ranging collections of the Fine Arts Museums, Wild West explores artistic responses to the natural and cultivated landscapes of the western United States from the frontier era to the present. The exhibition features paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, historical artifacts, and ephemera in a thematic presentation that celebrates the abundance and diversity within the region’s physical environment.

It runs until September 11, 2016. For more information, click here.

 
As announced last month, I’ll be presenting a slideshow on Wild Utah in San Francisco on Thursday, June 2 for the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It will take place at the County Fair Building (formerly the Hall of Flowers), 9th Avenue & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Cosponsorship
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Public Lands Initiative & Rep. Rob Bishop
3.   Bears Ears Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN UTAH & CALIFORNIA
4.   Glen Canyon & Hetch Hetchy in the News

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Cosponsorship
          (ACTION ITEM)

Every month, it seems, there’s one item that comes in needing to be incorporated into the Update, just as it’s ready to be sent out. This month is no exception, but at least it’s good news!

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, H.R. 2430, gained two new co-sponsors recently, one of whom is from California. Eric Swalwell (D-15) joined 109 other representatives in addition to Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) of Long Beach, the lead sponsor and champion of the bill. Rep. Swalwell represents the East Bay cities of Hayward, Pleasanton, and Livermore.

If you live in Rep. Swalwell’s district, please send him a message of appreciation. A phone call is fine. Contact information for Rep. Swalwell:

Washington, DC:   202-225-5065
Pleasanton:   925-460-5100
Hayward:   510-370-3322

Mailing Address:
129 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

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

Jared Huffman (D-2)
Doris Matsui (D-6)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-11)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Mike Honda (D-17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Sam Farr (D-20)
Lois Capps (D-24)
Julia Brownley (D-26)
Judy Chu (D-27)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Tony Cárdenas (D-29)
Grace Napolitano (D-32)
Ted Lieu (D-33)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40)
Mark Takano, D-41

We’d still like to see the following California House members cosponsor H.R. 2430:

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

* cosponsor in a previous Congress

If your representative is on the first list, please contact them to say “thanks.” If on the second list, please ask them to become a cosponsor. A simple phone call will do, or send a note via an online comment form on the representative’s website. Complete contact information for representatives may be found by following the links here.

In the Senate, Barbara Boxer (D) continued her longtime cosponsorship. Please let her know your appreciation, too.

Phone:   202-224-3553
Other contact info

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

 
2.   Public Lands Initiative & Rep. Rob Bishop

There’s not much new to report on the Public Lands Initiative (PLI). Early in the month, the White House reportedly asked the Utah congressional delegation to come to some consensus on its recommendations for management of the federal public lands in the state. Rep. Bob Bishop (R-UT) has been hoping to stop the administration from designating a Bears Ears National Monument (Item 3) by achieving a “grand bargain” with the PLI.

Rep. Bishop says he’ll be introducing a bill in Congress soon; however, public opposition to the PLI continues to be strong, which may be delaying him. The Grand County Council sent a letter to him this month, saying that its concerns with the draft had not been addressed. (For more details on the letter, click here.) With very few legislative days left in this Congress, given the November election and summer recess, it’s difficult to see a path to its consideration and passage. However, Mr. Bishop remains optimistic, citing his role as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) support in the Senate. We’ll keep you posted.

In other news concerning Rep. Bishop, his proposal last month to turn over 3,000 acres of Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to Puerto Rico as part of a debt relief bill for the territory was stripped from the legislation. Puerto Rico would have been free to sell of the land to private developers. (Sales such as that proposal are the probable outcome that opponents point to should Utah be successful in its quest to wrest control over our public lands from the federal government.) Vieques is reportedly the 4th-most popular refuge in the country and home to endangered sea turtles and manatees. Fierce opposition from many quarters was instrumental in preserving its integrity.

In a third development, Rep. Bishop has announced his opposition to a potential donation of more than 87,000 acres in Maine to the National Park Service for designation as a Maine Woods National Monument by Pres. Obama, using his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The donor would also establish a $40 million endowment to support the monument’s management. More than 200 local businesses have supported the proposal, and polls indicate that 2/3 of Maine’s residents do, as well. Rep. Bishop will visit Maine this week for a public meeting. Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities released this announcement last week: Four Things To Know About Congressman Rob Bishop’s Anti-Parks Agenda in Advance of his Visit to Maine.

Among the points is one we know well: Despite his claims to be concerned about local input, when affected citizens favor land protection, Rep. Bishop refuses to go along, whether in Maine or in Utah.

 
3.   Bears Ears Campaign
          (ACTION ITEM)

The campaign for the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument in Southeast Utah continues to generate controversy as it moves along. In mid-May, the Utah legislature passed a resolution opposing the creation of any monument by a vote of 64-10. Opponents of the monument are seizing on the fact that some members of the Aneth Chapter (local Navajo governing bodies) oppose the monument, as evidence of an overall lack of Navajo support. It’s the only one of the seven chapters in Utah that doesn’t support it.

One of their main claims is that they will be prevented from gathering firewood in the area once a monument is established. However, the proposal for the monument allows for traditional uses to continue, and in fact, when Pres. Obama designated the Rio Grande del Norte monument in New Mexico, he specifically included such language in his proclamations. So those fears appear to be unfounded.

Then last week there were reports that a forged letter with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s signature had been posted in various locations, such as the post office in the town of Bluff and gas stations in surrounding San Juan County. The letter claimed that the president would reduce the size of the Navajo Nation by more than 4 million acres.

In addition, pamphlets supposedly from Utah Diné Bikéyah (the Navajo group that began the Bears Ears campaign) were found inviting people to a celebration of the monument’s creation saying: “Everyone is invited except Utah Navajos. … Lots of good food will be provided by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Great Old Broads for Wilderness and Friends of Cedar Mesa.”

Finally, another letter—supposedly signed by a leader from another chapter, who in fact supports the campaign to designate the monument—warned again that firewood gathering and access for sacred activities would be curtailed.

Someone’s playing dirty tricks …

Surveys continue to show widespread support for the monument among Utahns.

High Country News published an article with excellent information on the historical efforts to protect the Bears Ears area: In Utah, the fight for a Bears Ears monument heats up

There have been many op-ed pieces and letters to the editor published in support of a monument designation. Here are links to two of the more interesting op-eds:

From the Vet Voice Foundation: Utah Veterans ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears as a National Monument

And in the Moab Sun News: It’s about time to protect Bears Ears

As an example of what could conceivably happen should federal public lands be turned over to the state of Utah, there’s this: Hole in the Rock Foundation asks Utah lands agency to auction area near Bears Ears—land sold off to the highest bidder, with no guarantee of continued public access to them.

If you haven’t already, please sign the Bears Ears Coalition’s online petition, and send a message of support to the White House and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell:

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

Comment line:   202-456-1111
Online comments here

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

Comment line:   202-208-3100
Email address:   feedback@ios.doi.gov

 
IN UTAH & CALIFORNIA
4.   Glen Canyon & Hetch Hetchy in the News

The construction of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, forming Lake Powell, and of O’Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolumne River, creating Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park, were two of the 20th-century conservation movement’s most significant defeats. However, many people have held onto hope that both places might someday have their functioning ecosystems, if not landscape, restored. And in recent years, both have entered the realm of possibility. Mother Nature is giving a big boost to the efforts to decommission Glen Canyon Dam, and the legal system may assist with Hetch Hetchy.

In the case of Glen Canyon, ongoing severe drought is causing water levels to drop both there and in downstream Lake Mead, to the point where the loss of hydropower generating capacity at both of them is a real possibility. Studies of evaporation also show substantial water loss at Glen Canyon. A serious proposal has been made to decommission Glen Canyon Dam and allow the water stored there to be stored in Lake Mead instead. (It would have the added benefit of restoring the Grand Canyon’s ecosystem to something resembling its state before the river’s natural flows were cut off.)

The New York Times published a lengthy op-ed this month looking at the issue: Unplugging the Colorado River: Could the end be near for one of the West’s biggest dams? That article is excerpted from a series by ProPublica, Killing the Colorado. The Palm Springs Desert Sun also ran an article: Lake Mead declines to lowest level in history.

Last week, our friends at the Glen Canyon Institute made public a website devoted to picturing and mapping Glen Canyon as water levels drop, allowing side canyons to restore naturally. Here’s what they had to say:

The Glen Canyon Living Atlas is Live!

GCI is proud to announce the Glen Canyon Living Atlas is now live on our website, www.glencanyon.org. With cooperation from National Geographic Maps and numerous Glen Canyon explorers, the Living Atlas was created to provide a virtual tour of restoring areas in Glen Canyon as they emerge. The ongoing ‘story map’ presents a series of geo-referenced photographs and hiking trails throughout restoring canyon country. This map includes photos from the last 13 years, highlighting the stunning transformation that’s taking place as Glen Canyon emerges from Lake Powell.

We will continue to update this map with new photos and information in the years to come, and encourage our members to submit their photos and observations to us. Next time you visit Glen Canyon and document a restoring area, please email us your photos at maps@glencanyon.org. Today “America’s Lost National Park” has a second chance, and together we can show the world what it looks like!

CLICK HERE TO EXPERIENCE THE LIVING ATLAS

 
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir has also been in the news recently. As we reported last year, Restore Hetch Hetchy filed suit in Superior Court in Tuolumne County, California, to have the dam declared an unreasonable method of diversion under the California Constitution. Late last month, the judge in the case dismissed the suit, ruling that the federal Raker Act, passed by Congress in 1913, authorizing the dam, pre-empted the claims and that the state constitutional provisions were enacted five year after the dam was built. Restore Hetch Hetchy has said it will appeal the decision.

High Country News published an article: Why Hetch Hetchy is staying under water. John Mirisch, the mayor of Beverly Hills, wrote an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee: Restore Hetch Hetchy Valley, help repair the world.

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

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

In the New York Times

Designated wilderness within San Francisco’s city limits … The Farallon Islands Are Off Limits to Humans — But Not Wildlife

Nicholas Kristof on his annual hike on part of the Pacific Crest Trail with his daughter: Sore, Happy Feet on the Pacific Crest Trail

Room for Debate: Should Overcrowded National Parks Have Restricted Access? (See below for other national parks articles.)

Utah news

BLM wants to pay people who help find looters, vandals

Looking back at the history of Utah’s national parks Good facts, though it should be pointed out that only Congress, not presidents, can establish parks, though the president signs the legislation.

The push is on for a Grand Canyon National Monument

Obama pressed to create new Grand Canyon monument

Opponents of the Greater Grand Canyon National Monument Resort to Biased and Manipulative Public Opinion Research

The Disappearing West

Conservation Science Partners produced a study funded by the Center for American Progress, titled The Disappearing West, analyzing land development in the West. Its conclusion: Every 2.5 minutes, area the size of a football field is lost. It received extensive coverage around the region, including:

California—San Jose Mercury News: America’s vanishing West: California losing most land to development

Colorado—Denver Post: Hundreds of miles of Colorado wilderness lost to 21st-century development boom

If you’re interested in reading about the technical methodology employed in the study, click here.

Despite that assessment, there is occasionally good news to report, as in this article from the Los Angeles Times: You can now hike 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains uninterrupted

National Park News

A website devoted to collecting maps of many national parks all in one place: National Park Maps

The National Parks Have Never Been More Popular, a post in the FiveThirtyEight statistics blog.

Yellowstone Tourists Put Bison Calf In Car Because They’re Worried It’s Cold. National Parks Traveler reported later: “In the case of the bison calf, which two visitors placed inside their SUV recently because they thought it was cold, park rangers later had to put down the animal because it was abandoned by its mother and “was continually approaching visitors and vehicles.” Visitor behavior in Yellowstone has reached the point where the Park Service felt it necessary to issue a news release reminding people to act appropriately (or as National Parks Traveler wrote more bluntly above: Don’t Be Stupid.”

Oregon Standoff-Related Items

Ammon Bundy Considering Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Multnomah County (including a claim that his Second Amendment rights are being violated while he’s in jail)

Lawyers for national wildlife refuge occupiers worry jury won’t be impartial

Harney County Votes For Candidates Opposed To Armed Occupation (the county where the occupation took place)

Grazing

An op-ed in High Country News: Privatize public lands? Start with grazing fees.- Advocates for federal-to-state land transfers have overlooked some of the implications, including higher grazing fees.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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 May

June 3rd, 2015

DSC_1316a3Mountain Juniper, Yosemite Wilderness, California                                                                   (Mike Painter)

May 28, 2015

Dear CalUWild friends & supporters-

Memorial Day, unofficially heralding the arrival of summer, is past. That means it’s the time when many people embark on their summer vacations, especially if they have children or are students.

We’re blessed with an abundance of public lands here in the U.S., which are a wonderful resource and our birthright. As we’re reminded with increasing frequency, though, there are many who want nothing more than to exploit these lands for their own gain. And they are finding increasingly strong support for the idea among politicians, too.

It’s up to us to ensure that public lands remain public, this summer and all summers into the future. The best way to do that is to go out, explore, and get to know places in the West and the rest of the country. Then when you’re back home-while the memory is still fresh-share your enthusiasm with your representatives by visiting, writing, or calling them. The best way to succeed is to make the political personal.

Thanks, as always, for your efforts and commitment!

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
          Reintroduced in Congress
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   ATV Riders in Recapture Canyon Protest Ride
          Found Guilty

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Rep. Lois Capps Reintroduces
          Central Coast Wilderness Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
          Reintroduced in Congress
          (ACTION ITEM)

In the middle of the month, Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California (D-47) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, bill numbers H.R. 2430 and S.1375, respectively. There were 77 original cosponsors in the House, and 14 in the Senate, which is more than in the last Congress-and that’s good news!

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

Jared Huffman (D-2)
Doris Matsui (D-6)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-11)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Michael Honda (D-17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Sam Farr (D-20)
Lois Capps (D-24)
Judy Chu (D-27)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Tony Cárdenas (D-29)
Grace Napolitano (D-32)
Ted Lieu (D-33)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40)

We’d still like to see the following California House members cosponsor H.R. 2430:

John Garamendi (D-3) *
Mike Thompson (D-5) *
Ami Bera (D-7)
Jackie Speier (D-14) *
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Julia Brownley (D-26)
Brad Sherman (D-30) *
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Linda Sánchez (D-38) *
Mark Takano (D-41)
Maxine Waters (D-43) *
Janice Hahn (D-44)
Mimi Walters (D-45)
Loretta Sanchez (D-46) *
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Susan Davis (D-53) *

* previous cosponsor

If your representative is on the first list, please contact them to say “thanks.” If on the second list, please asking them to become a cosponsor, which they can do by contacting Rep. 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.

In the Senate, Barbara Boxer (D) continued her longtime cosponsorship. Please let her know your appreciation, too.

Phone: 202-224-3553
Other contact info

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

2.   ATV Riders in Recapture Canyon Protest Ride
          Found Guilty

A Federal District Court jury in Salt Lake City found San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman and another defendant guilty of conspiracy and driving motorized vehicles during a protest on closed BLM lands in Recapture Canyon near Blanding. Two other defendants were found not guilty, even though photos clearly showed them on vehicles in the closed part of the Canyon.

The BLM closed the canyon to motorized use in 2007 to protect 1,000-year-old-plus archaeological sites created by Ancestral Puebloans.

Mr. Lyman and his co-defendants argued that they had received permission to ride on the road from the San Juan County Water Conservancy water master (who actually opened the gate for them). The agency has a right of way to maintain a pipeline in Recapture Canyon. That defense was rejected by the jury.

Sentencing was scheduled for July 15, and the pair could serve up to a year in prison, be fined $100,000, and be forced to pay additional reimbursement to the BLM for damage caused during the ride.

The Salt Lake Tribune wrote an editorial critical of Mr. Lyman’s claim that the ride was an act of civil disobedience.

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Rep. Lois Capps Reintroduces
          Central Coast Wilderness Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

This week, Rep. Lois Capps (D-24) announced she was introducing the Central Coast Wild Heritage Act of 2015, with cosponsors Sam Farr (D-20) and Julia Brownley (D-26). The bill is identical to the one Rep. Capps introduced last year. We expect Sen. Barbara Boxer to introduce a companion bill in the Senate next week.

Los Padres Forest Watch provided this description of the bill last year, saying it would:

– Designate 180,000 acres of wilderness adjacent to existing wilderness areas in the Los Padres National Forest, including the Sespe, Matilija, and Chumash wilderness areas in Ventura County, the Dick Smith and San Rafael wilderness areas in Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Lucia, Machesna Mountain, and Garcia wilderness areas in San Luis Obispo County.

– Propose an additional 41,000 acres adjacent to the San Rafael Wilderness Area in Santa Barbara County for future wilderness designation. The bill encourages the construction of a long-awaited connector trail that, once built, will restore historic public access to an existing network of trails in the Cuyama Valley. Once the trail is constructed, the forest land will automatically revert to wilderness.

– Designate 61,000 acres as wilderness in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, a vast landscape adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. Known as “California’s Serengeti,” the Carrizo Plain is home to Tule elk, pronghorn antelope, and the highest concentration of rare plants and animals in California. The wilderness areas outlined in the bill include Caliente Mountain, the Temblor Range, and the Soda Lake area.

– Establish two protected Scenic Areas totaling 34,000 acres, including Condor Ridge along the crest of the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, and Black Mountain in the La Panza Range in San Luis Obispo County.

– Add 158 miles of pristine mountain streams to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers system, forever protecting them from dam-building and preserving their free-flowing condition. The protections would extend to upper Piru Creek, upper Sespe Creek, and Matilija Creek in Ventura County, and Mono Creek, Indian Creek, Manzana Creek, and other tributaries of the Sisquoc River in Santa Barbara County.

– Formally recognize the Condor National Recreation Trail, the central coast’s first thru-hiking route that would span 400 miles of existing paths in the Los Padres National Forest. The long-distance trail would begin at Lake Piru in the south, travel through the backcountry of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and terminate on the Big Sur coast.

The California Wilderness Coalition has a webpage with more information, a map, and links to fact sheets for each wilderness area and wild & scenic river segment.

Please thank Rep. Capps for introducing the bill.

Phone: 202-225-3601
Other contact info

If you live in their districts, also thank Rep. Farr

Phone: 202-225-2861
Other contact info

and Rep. Brownley for cosponsoring it.

Phone: 202-225-5811
Other contact info

Finally, please thank Sen. Boxer for her upcoming Senate bill.

Phone: 202-224-3553
Other contact info

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

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

From the New York Times

A column but Nicholas Kristof, What ‘Wild’ Has Wrought, reflecting on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

Our Pampered Wilderness, an op-ed on “glamping” or “glamorous camping”

An article examining the conflict between tule elk and cattle at Pt. Reyes National Seashore in northern California

Huey Johnson, president of Resource Renewal Institute, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor, wrote an op-ed piece in the Marin Independent Journal on the elk controversy.

CalUWild friend John Hart wrote an essay in High Country News in support of a Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument designation

An op-ed in the UK’s Guardian, by CalUWild friend Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League: Arctic drilling for ‘extreme oil’ is risky – and letting Shell do the work is reckless

In Western states, idea of reclaiming federal land still has a strong allure, an article in the Los Angeles Times

An article in the Washington Times looking at the increasing role that veterans are taking in campaigns to protect public lands

Video links

Episode 12 in the U.S. Forest Service’s Restore series: Chaparral Restoration

Another in the National Park Service series, America’s Wilderness, some of which we featured in 2014. This time: The Escape Artist: Muddy Mountains Wilderness in Nevada

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 May

May 26th, 2014

WildernessAnniversaryPoster-Killion-CROPa
Mt. Whitney from Little Claire Lake                                                                                                 (Tom Killion)

May 25, 2014

Dear CalUWild friends—

As we mentioned last month, artist Tom Killion has created a poster (woodcut above, click here to see the full poster) in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, especially for California. CalUWild is proud to offer it to our members and the public, with all proceeds benefiting our work. We’re still receiving expressions of interest so have decided to wait a while longer before placing our order. Please let me know by June 15 if you’re interested. The more we’re able to order in advance, the better wholesale price we’ll receive. Our price will be $10 plus shipping, a likely total of $16. If you’ve already expressed interest, there’s no need to do so again. We’ll confirm orders along with payment information before shipping.

Best wishes,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Recapture Canyon ORV Ride
          Makes National News
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Rep. Lois Capps Introduces
          Central Coast Wilderness Bill
           (ACTION ITEM)

IN NEW MEXICO
3.   Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
          Is the Newest National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   National 50th Anniversary Wilderness Conference
          Albuquerque, October 15-19
          Registration Open!!
          Earlybird DEADLINE: JULY 31
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Recapture Canyon ORV Ride
          Makes National News
           (ACTION ITEM)

Utah made the front-page news nationally this month when a San Juan County commissioner led an illegal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) ride into closed Recapture Canyon, just north of Blanding. The protest was another sign of the continued disdain that some in the West have for federal management of lands that belong to all Americans and came as a followup to last month’s armed showdown by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy’s son addressed a rally before the ride, telling them that there is no such thing as federal land.

Recapture Canyon was closed to vehicles in 2007 when trails were discovered damaging the rich archaeological resources there. (See Item 2 in CalUWild’s September 2007 Update.) Commissioner Phil Lyman, however, decided these seven years later that the closure was arbitrary and just another example of “jurisdictional creep,” so he decided to organize the protest ride. (The irony is that there are close to 4,000 miles of open ATV routes in San Juan County.)

San Juan County sheriffs did not stop the riders, who reportedly went 2.5 miles down the canyon, far enough, they said, to make their point. Though the BLM was not visibly present, unlike at the Bundy standoff in Nevada, federal officers reportedly recorded riders for future prosecution in court.

Here are links to two editorials criticizing the ride, from the Salt Lake Tribune and the Denver Post. Writer Doug Peacock had this to say on his blog.

Please write BLM Director Neil Kornze urging continued closure of Recapture Canyon to vehicle use and enforcement of the law against those who rode illegally on May 10. His address is:

          Hon. Neil Kornze
          Director
          US Bureau of Land Management
          18489 C Street, NW, Rm. 5665
          Washington, DC 20240

Or send Mr. Kornze an email.

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Rep. Lois Capps Introduces
           Central Coast Wilderness Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

This week, Rep. Lois Capps, (D-24) introduced the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which would designate wilderness and wild & scenic rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The bill contains land in the districts represented by Julia Brownley (D-26) and Sam Farr (D-20), and both have signed on as original co-sponsors. There is no bill number yet.

Los Padres Forest Watch provided the following description of the bill, saying it would:

– Designate 180,000 acres of wilderness adjacent to existing wilderness areas in the Los Padres National Forest, including the Sespe, Matilija, and Chumash wilderness areas in Ventura County, the Dick Smith and San Rafael wilderness areas in Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Lucia, Machesna Mountain, and Garcia wilderness areas in San Luis Obispo County.

– Propose an additional 41,000 acres adjacent to the San Rafael Wilderness Area in Santa Barbara County for future wilderness designation. The bill encourages the construction of a long-awaited connector trail that, once built, will restore historic public access to an existing network of trails in the Cuyama Valley. Once the trail is constructed, the forest land will automatically revert to wilderness.

– Designate 61,000 acres as wilderness in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, a vast landscape adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. Known as “California’s Serengeti,” the Carrizo Plain is home to Tule elk, pronghorn antelope, and the highest concentration of rare plants and animals in California. The wilderness areas outlined in the bill include Caliente Mountain, the Temblor Range, and the Soda Lake area.

– Establish two protected Scenic Areas totaling 34,000 acres, including Condor Ridge along the crest of the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, and Black Mountain in the La Panza Range in San Luis Obispo County.

– Add 158 miles of pristine mountain streams to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers system, forever protecting them from dam-building and preserving their free-flowing condition. The protections would extend to upper Piru Creek, upper Sespe Creek, and Matilija Creek in Ventura County, and Mono Creek, Indian Creek, Manzana Creek, and other tributaries of the Sisquoc River in Santa Barbara County.

– Formally recognize the Condor National Recreation Trail, the central coast’s first thru-hiking route that would span 400 miles of existing paths in the Los Padres National Forest. The long-distance trail would begin at Lake Piru in the south, travel through the backcountry of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and terminate on the Big Sur coast.

The California Wilderness Coalition has a webpage with more information, a map, and links to fact sheets for each of the wilderness areas and wild & scenic river segments.

Please send a message of thanks to Reps. Capps, Brownley, and Farr, by phone, letter, or web comment.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-24)

          2231 Rayburn House Office Building
          Washington, D.C. 20515
          Phone:   202-225-3601
          Fax:   202-225-5632
          Online comment (for constituents only) and information for other offices here.

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-26)

          1019 Longworth House Office Building
          Washington, DC 20515
          Phone:   202-225-5811
          Fax:   202-225-1100
          Online comment (for constituents only) and information for other offices here.

Rep. Sam Farr (D-20)

          1126 Longworth House Office Building
          Washington, D.C. 20515
          Phone:   202-225-2861
          Fax:   202-225-6791
          Online comment (for constituents only) and information for other offices here.

IN NEW MEXICO
3.   Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
         Is the Newest National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

Also on Wednesday, Pres. Obama designated his 11th and largest (almost 500,000 acres) national monument in five mountain ranges around Las Cruces, in southern New Mexico: the Robledo, Sierra de las Uvas, Doña Ana, Organ, and Potrillo Mountains. New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (both D) had introduced a bill in Congress establishing the monument, and retired Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) was also a longtime proponent of the monument

The area is rich in archaeology, geology, and natural and human history, as well as scenic beauty. Ancient dwelling and artifacts are scattered across the area. Many interesting plants and animals call the area home. The Apache chief Geronimo was said to have hidden out in the Robledo Mountains, and Billy the Kid did in fact, because his carved name can be found on “Outlaw Rock,” as it’s known today.

Criticism from Republicans was immediate. Local Congressman Steve Pearce (R) was quoted as saying that the designation “flies in the face of the democratic process.” Pearce had proposed legislation creating a much smaller monument.

Energy & Environment News reported that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, “accused Obama of showing a ‘total disregard’ for the threat of human and drug trafficking in the border region and said a monument designation could do nothing but exacerbate the risk. ‘For that, the president should be held personally accountable,’ he said.”

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have repeatedly said that a monument would not interfere with their work.

Sens. Udall and Heinrich said they will continue with legislation for protections not included in the proclamation, such as the designation of eight wilderness areas and releasing some wilderness study areas along the Mexican border. Those are actions that the law reserves for Congress.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was a strong proponent of the new monument as well.

The President’s proclamation is here and the announcement and video of the signing ceremony are here. The best part of Pres. Obama’s comments: “I’ve preserved more than 3 million acres of public lands for future generations, and I am not finished.” (emphasis added)

Please contact Pres. Obama and Secty. Jewell to thank them for establishing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and to encourage them to continue their protection efforts around the country.

Contact information:

          White House Comment Line:   202-454-1111
          White House Online Comment Form

The Interior Department may be reached at its online comment page, by email, or by phone at 202-208-3100.

4.   National 50th Anniversary Wilderness Conference
          Albuquerque, October 15-19
          Registration Open!!
          Earlybird DEADLINE: JULY 31
          (ACTION ITEM)

The following announcement (slightly edited) came out this month from Wilderness50, the national planning team of which CalUWild is part for the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. I hope to see you there!

Wilderness50 announces the opening of registration for the National Wilderness Conference, the first national gathering of the wilderness community in 25 years. The conference, hosted in October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will honor the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by charting the future of the wilderness system through a focus on recent advances and emerging issues in wilderness stewardship.

The program includes a special opening ceremony welcome from former president Jimmy Carter, eight plenary programs, 84 track sessions, two lunch panels including one that unveils a plan for the future of wilderness, posters, exhibits, an outdoor gear auction, a station-based immersion learning experience for kids, for-credit pre-conference trainings and K-12 teacher workshops, over 20 field trips to New Mexico wilderness areas and cultural sites, a film gala, and the public ‘Get Wild’ Festival.

Conference and associated event dates:

·         Partnerships and Professionalism Pre-Conference Training, October 14-15, Rio Grande Nature Center
·         Field trips, October 14-15, various
·         People’s Wilderness Film Gala, October 14 and 19, KiMo Theatre
·         National Wilderness Conference, October 15-19, Hyatt Regency Hotel
·         Wilderness Celebration Exhibition, October 16-18, Albuquerque Convention Center
·         ‘Get Wild’ Festival, October 18, Civic Plaza

Online registration is now open. Registration prices increase from $350 to $450 starting August 1st.

Relevant conference links:

          Registration
          Program
          Conference website

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

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

The 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, an essay in the Adirondack Almanack by Ed Zahniser, son of Wilderness Act author Howard Zahniser

The National Park Electronic Library is a portal to thousands of electronic publications, covering the cultural and natural history of the National Park Service and the national parks, monuments, and historic sites of the National Park System. There is a companion site for Canada’s parks here.

Video clips:

A short film on the 150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant
Another in the Park Service’s video series on wilderness, this time on Zion NP’s wilderness
Episode 2 in the Forest Service’s Restore series, looking at the results of restoration efforts in the Eldorado National Forest following a wildfire in 1992.

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

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2012 May

May 4th, 2012


Sisters, near Corona Arch, Utah                                                                                                              (Mike Painter)

May 2, 2012

Dear CalUWild friends —

Originally there weren’t too many items for the April Update, but three came in yesterday as I was preparing to send it out, so please excuse the slight delay. There has been quite a bit of interesting press coverage on our issues, so this edition has more links than usual to it.

Speaking of the press, a big thank you to our members who have made contributions to CalUWild to enable us to have subscriptions to the New York Times, High Country News, and Orion. These are important resources for us. If you find the Update valuable and haven’t made a contribution in a while or are new to CalUWild, please consider doing so! Full information is here on our website.

As we’ve mentioned before, 2014 will be the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. I am a member of a national committee comprised of conservation community members and government agency officials coordinating the celebration. Please note the official logo, designed by Josh Hamari of the California BLM, at the end of the Update. We anticipate a year-long series of events including a national conference in Albuquerque in October as well as events in Washington, DC. We’re hoping for many local events, planned by wilderness advocates such as yourselves, too. So please start thinking about what might be interesting, educational, and fun. We have a lot to celebrate, after all!

With social media burgeoning, there is an official 50th Anniversary Facebook page, as well. It will serve as the central place for information of all sorts. If you’re on Facebook, please LIKE the page and tell your friends to do the same. If you’re not on Facebook don’t worry: we’ll be reporting here on events of interest as they arise.

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

IN UTAH
1.   Desolation Canyon Energy Exploration
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   R.S. 2477 in the News Again

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Ft. Ord Declared a National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Southern California National Forest
          Roadless Area Planning
          DEADLINE: June 11. 2012
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Wilderness Lobby Week
          In Washington, DC
          June 25 – 28
6.   Alaska Wilderness Slideshow
          Comes to the Bay Area
          Redwood City, May 7, 7 p.m.
          San Francisco, May 15, 7 p.m.

IN GENERAL
7.   Two Bills in Congress
          a.   Sportsmen’s Heritage Act
          b.   Land Acquisition to cut National Debt Act
8.   Pacific Crest Trail Incident Reports
9.   Job Announcement: Wyoming Wildlife Federation
          DEADLINE: May 15

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Desolation Canyon Energy Exploration
          (ACTION ITEM)

The deadline for formal comments on the Gasco Desolation Canyon energy project was April 16, but so far, the Interior Department and BLM have not announced a final decision. That means that you can still ask Secretary Salazar and the Vernal BLM office to protect the wilderness values that are so important to the area. Because a decision could come at any time, email is best to use right now. In addition (but not instead), please sign SUWA’s online petition asking the Secretary not to approve the development as proposed.

There has been quite an outcry nationally against the BLM’s recommendation. Six longtime congressional cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act sent a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar objecting to the plan. The letter may be found here on Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s (D-NY, and the chief sponsor of ARRWA) website. The New York Times ran a strongly-worded editorial in opposition. And the Salt Lake Tribune printed two editorials against it, which you may read here and here.

Here is what we wrote in last month’s Update:

This month, the Bureau of Land Management and the Interior Department approved a natural gas drilling project in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness along the Green River, one of the largest roadless areas in the lower 48 states.

The BLM released its Final EIS after the initial Draft EIS received extremely low marks from the US EPA, so it has now proposed a new Alternative F as the one it will proceed with, after a 30-day waiting period.

The conservation community and EPA had supported Alternative E, which would have allowed no wells in the proposed wilderness area and only six acres would have been disturbed. The new Alternative F will allow 215 wells, disturbing close to 2,500 acres of proposed wilderness-only seven wells fewer, but almost 50% more acreage disturbed than under the company’s own original proposal, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The EIS may be found online here.

Please write to BLM and ask it to adopt Alternative E, originally supported by the EPA and conservationists, as its final choice. As always, personalize your comments, mentioning your experiences, if any, in the area, and why the issue is important to you.

Email your comments to BLM.

Please also send a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar pointing out that this approval by the Utah BLM flies in the face of his efforts promoting America’s Great Outdoor Initiative to get people outside and expand recreational opportunities, since Desolation Canyon is one of the country’s premier rafting and roadless areas.

Secretary Ken Salazar’s contact information:

E-Mail
Webform

2.   R.S. 2477 in the News Again

The specter of the outdated and repealed R.S. 2477, the Civil War-Era statue granting rights-of-way across public lands for the construction of highways, was seen this month again, but this time it was conservation organizations that did the resurrecting. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance, and the Wild Utah Project joined in a press conference last week to make public a map of the routes that the State of Utah claims.

To see what a spider web of “highways” the state is claiming, click on the map image on SUWA’s newly updated R.S. 2477 webpage. That page also contains photos, fact sheets, and other information relating to the issue.

The press conference took place against the backdrop of the State of Utah’s intent to file a lawsuit claiming ownership of the rights-of-way on thousands of routes across the state. Last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also hosted a meeting with the governors of four neighboring states: Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. Gov. Herbert’s purpose in convening his Rocky Mountain Roundtable was to “not only identify areas of common ground on unique western issues, but also discuss common solutions and a way forward.” (In the end, it appears that only Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead attended, with Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada putting in a short appearance by phone.)

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial against the state’s road plans.

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Ft. Ord Declared a National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

The campaign to have Ft. Ord in Monterey County paid off when Pres. Obama designated much of the old army base a national monument on April 20. We wrote about it in the January Update. This is the second monument, both military installations, that Mr. Obama has designated. There was widespread local support and little, if any, opposition to the plan.

The BLM’s website for the land is here.

Paul Rogers, the excellent science reporter at the San Jose Mercury News wrote an article in anticipation of the designation. It includes a nice slideshow.

Please send a message of thanks to Pres. Obama for the designation. In addition to just being good manners, letters let him know that we value our public lands. And with the Antiquities Act under constant assault in Congress (see Item 7a, below), it is doubly important to support him when he chooses to use it.

Contact information for the White House:

The White prefers that you use its online comment form.

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

U.S. Mail (irradiated and delayed still):

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

4.   Southern California National Forest
          Roadless Area Planning
          DEADLINE: June 11. 2012
          (ACTION ITEM)

This detailed alert just came in from our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition. Please use the sample letter for talking points only. Do not simply COPY and PASTE it into the form. Agencies are quite adept at sifting out form letters, and they discount them.

Southern California contains some of the largest urban areas in the United States. Fortunately for its residents, it also has large stretches of undeveloped public land such as national forests managed by the US Forest Service (USFS) that provide wonderful scenery, recreation opportunities, fresh air and clean water, and habitat for such rare wildlife species as the California condor, San Joaquin kit fox and bighorn sheep. The Angeles National Forest (ANF), Cleveland National Forest (CNF), Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) and San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF) stretch from Mexico to Big Sur and from the desert to the sea, covering over 3,530,000 acres of land (over 5,500 square miles).

National forests are owned by the American people, just like national parks. However, unlike parks, the federal government allows logging, mining, oil drilling, road construction and other development activities to occur in them. For over a century, conservationists have fought to protect the wildest remaining parts of our national forests, lands that are often called “roadless areas.” Roadless areas provide a refuge for wildlife and are a source of clean water to thirsty cities. They also provide outstanding opportunities for non-motorized recreation. The most permanent and comprehensive way to protect roadless areas is to have them designated as “wilderness” by Congress where development is prohibited but low-impact recreation activities are still allowed.

In 2005, the USFS prepared management plans for the national forest lands in southern California. But unfortunately, the agency failed to recognize the importance of roadless areas in providing wildlife habitat, clean water, and recreation. The plans recommended wilderness protection for only a few of the areas. As a result, the California Wilderness Coalition and other groups appealed the plans and in response, the USFS agreed to reconsider protection of these vital areas.

The USFS is currently preparing a document called the Southern California National Forests Land Management Plan Amendment (LMP Amendment). This document will determine the future management of 39 Southern California roadless areas in the ANF, CNF, LPNF and SBNF. If the agency recommends that the 39 roadless areas be designated as wilderness by Congress, then they will essentially be managed as such by the USFS over the next decade or more. On the other hand, the agency can decide to open all of them up to development. The agency’s tentative proposal is to recommend 17% of the roadless area acreage for wilderness designation and to open 83% of the remaining roadless acreage to energy development, road construction and other activities that could destroy their wild character over time. We can’t let this happen!

What you can do
Visit the LMP Amendment website to see if you have visited any of the 39 roadless areas that are being considered in the document. Think about why the areas you have visited are important to you and why they should be protected, then take the following actions.

(1) WRITE A LETTER: The USFS will be accepting public comments on the fate of the 39 roadless areas until 6/11/12. Click here for a sample letter. Please write the agency on or before 6/11/12 and:

• Thank USFS staff for recommending 14 roadless areas for wilderness designation in the LMP Amendment;
• Request that the agency recommend the remaining 25 roadless areas for wilderness designation; and
• If possible, explain why roadless areas are important to you, especially if you are familiar with one or more of the 39 roadless areas shown on the maps at the LMP Amendment website.

You can submit comments by mail to:

William Metz, Forest Supervisor
Cleveland National Forest
10845 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 921272107
ATTN: LMP Amendment

You can also submit comments via email or you can submit them online.

(2) SEND A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES: Click here to find your representative in the House. Follow the links on his or her website to send them an email or fax. You can do the same for the Senate by clicking here.

Visit our website for a sample letter.

(3) ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING: You can also make the same points from our sample letter at one of the following public meetings the USFS will hold on the LMP Amendment.

May 29, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Avenue Adult Center
550 N. Ventura Avenue
Ventura, CA 93001

May 30, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Angeles National Forest Headquarters
701 North Santa Anita Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91006

May 31, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Santa Maria Red Cross
3030 Skyway Drive
Santa Maria, CA 93455

May 31, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Santa Clara Mojave Rivers Ranger District Office
33708 Crown Valley Road
Acton, CA 93510

May 31, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
San Bernardino National Forest Headquarters
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave.
San Bernardino, CA 92408

May 31, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Palomar Ranger District Office
1634 Black Canyon Road
Ramona, CA 92065

June 1, 2012, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Frazier Park Library
3732 Park Drive
Frazier Park, CA 93225

June 5, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Descanso Ranger District office
3348 Alpine Blvd., Alpine, CA 91901

June 5, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Trabuco Ranger District office
1147 E. 6th Street
Corona, CA 92879

THANK YOU! Your comments will help ensure that these spectacular wild places are preserved for current and future generations. After you have taken action, please share this email with your friends or visit us on Facebook and help spread the word.

5.   Wilderness Lobby Week
          In Washington, DC
          June 25 – 28

An excellent and effective way to show Congress your support for wilderness is by visiting Capitol Hill. It’s not something you have to do on your own, though, and in fact is more fun as part of a group. The Wilderness Society is sponsoring Great Outdoors America Week in June. The following information came yesterday from Paul Spitler, Wilderness Policy Director at TWS and former ED of the California Wilderness Coalition.

California Friends,

I wanted to take a moment to encourage you all to join us in DC for GO America Week (June 25th – 28th)! Californians have always been a strong and critical part of the lobby weeks we’ve hosted in DC and we want that tradition to continue. Your efforts have been critical not only for wilderness in the state but across the country. California leads the way and we need that leadership as part of Great Outdoors America Week.

In an effort to make it easier for you all to participate we have secured a block of rooms for the week and are willing to cover the cost of those rooms for you. [Participants arrange their own transportation to DC.] Right now we have set aside rooms for 25 Californians (double occupancy). This is often the greatest cost associated with lobby weeks in DC and should make it really affordable for you all to participate. Once you are ready to book you can work with Michael Carroll (michael_carroll [at] tws [dot]org or 970-946-9043) on our staff to reserve the space for yourselves and your teams.

This week brings together wilderness and public lands groups from across the country as well as other advocates for the America’s Great Outdoors. It’s a great chance to meet with Representatives and colleagues from around the country. Please consider joining us!

For more information, please contact Michael Carroll.

6.   Alaska Wilderness Slideshow
          Comes to the Bay Area
          Redwood City, May 7, 7 p.m.
          San Francisco, May 15, 7 p.m.

“The Wild Western Arctic-America’s largest public land expanse”
Hear long-time Alaskan author Debbie S. Miller share her experiences hiking and canoeing more than 600 miles through the largely unknown western Arctic.

Miller, a former Marin County resident, is a naturalist and author of Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For the past three years Miller has explored the 23-million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the largest block of public land remaining in America. With a team of photographers, Miller studied the wildlife, wilderness, and cultural and fossil history, including the largest bed of arctic dinosaur bones in the world.

Debbie’s PowerPoint program will focus on her explorations in the Reserve, traveling along four wild rivers: the Nigu, Etivluk, Colville, and Utukok. Debbie will also discuss the current campaign to protect the special areas within the Reserve from proposed oil and gas leasing.

Midnight Wilderness, Debbie Miller’s first book, published by the Sierra Club in 1990, is now a classic; it has become the definitive book on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the issues surrounding protection versus development of its remote and legendary coastal plain. It has appeared in paperback, and recently in an updated version.

Both presentations are sponsored by local Sierra Club entities.

Monday, May 7
Loma Prieta Chapter
6:15 p.m.: registration & social, light dinner, chapter business; 7 p.m.: presentation
Redwood City Public Library, Community Room
1044 Middlefield Road (2 blocks from Caltrain)
Redwood City

Tuesday, May 15
Bay Chapter Wilderness Subcommittee
7 p.m.
Sierra Club Headquarters, Third Floor
85 Second Street (near Montgomery BART)
San Francisco


IN GENERAL
7.   Two Bills in Congress
          a.   Sportsmen’s Heritage Act

Mid-month, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012, by a vote of 274-146.

The bill’s main provisions: 1) require land management agencies to evaluate the impacts of planning decisions on fishing and hunting; 2) prevent the Bureau of Land Management from restricting target shooting in national monuments; and 3) prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from banning lead bullets and fishing tackle.

Many conservation groups expressed fears that the bill would be interpreted to weaken Wilderness Act requirements prohibiting motorized recreation, mining, logging, and other commercial activities. The House passed an amendment by Doc Hastings (R-WA) that stated that the bill wasn’t “intended” to authorize such use, but courts looks at what the language of a bill actually states, not necessarily what Congress “intended.” Another amendment that made those prohibitions much clearer was defeated, however.

Prohibiting BLM from restricting target shooting raises fears of increased damage to rock art, other historical objects, and even cactus, all of which are frequent targets for vandals.

Another important amendment also passed. It requires the President, before designating a national monument, to obtain the approval of the legislature and the governor of the state in which the monument is located. This is a severe restriction of the President’s powers under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

The bill now moves to Senate. We’ll keep you posted.


          b.   Land Acquisition to cut National Debt Act

The House Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands held a hearing on H.R. 4193, the Land Acquisition to cut National Debt Act. (And no, the lower case “c” in “cut” is not a typo; that’s how the title is listed on the Library of Congress website.) The bill would prevent the Park Service, the BLM, Fish & Wildlife Service, and Forest Service from acquiring any new land in any year that there was not a balanced budget.

In a nod to hunters, though, the bill does “not apply to land purchased with funds made available through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps.”

What the bill does not recognize is that much of the funding for government land purchases comes from the Land & Water Conservation Fund-royalties from offshore oil and gas development that Congress specifically appropriates for this purpose, rather than general tax revenues.

The chief of land resources for the Park Service, William Shaddox, testified against the bill, saying that land acquisition is a very minor part of the federal budget, and that the bill fails to take into account the benefits that Americans enjoy from increased protection. Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop (R), chairman of the subcommittee, said: “I don’t know what the ultimate goal is. But somewhere we have to realize enough is enough, and actually having the federal government controlling everything is not the best ideal.”

Anti-federal public land sentiment, I suspect, is the crux of the matter, not the budget.

8.   Pacific Crest Trail Incident Reports

The Forest Service has developed a reporting form for illegal or suspicious activities encountered along the Pacific Crest Trail, including dumping, ATV/ORV use, resource damage, and aggressive animals. So if you’re going hiking on the Trail this summer, please take a copy of the form along (or at least note the information requested, if you’re watching weight) and help protect our public resources.

The form may be downloaded here. The page also includes reporting instructions.

Please note that there is a separate form for incidents in Kern County, California, available for download on the same page.

9.   Job Announcement: Wyoming Wildlife Federation
          DEADLINE: May 15

The Wyoming Wildlife Federation is looking for a full-time field organizer. The position would be located in Laramie or Lander.

For the full announcement, click here.

To Apply: Email a letter of interest explaining how your experience and skills match this position, a resume, and three references to Joy Bannon at joybannon [at] wyomingwildlife [dot] org. Please enter “Field Organizer Position” in the subject line. The position will remain open until filled but WWF will begin reviewing applications on May 15, 2012.

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

As always, if a link is outdated or otherwise doesn’t work, or you have trouble accessing an article, please send me an email.

The Los Angeles Times has run a few articles looking at various issues and conflicts surrounding public lands, such as energy production in the Mojave Desert and the conflict between some states and the federal government over ownership of land

Wind power and archaeology

Western states land fights

Conservation organizations’ conflicting views on energy production

Long-time conservationist Martin Litton profiled in High Country News, reprinted in Adventure Journal. Martin is a CalUWild Advisory Board member.

A veteran’s group speaks out for public lands protection:

Protect Public lands in the San Juans (and elsewhere) for future generations

War Veterans Group Wants Organ Mountains National Monument

Pat Shea, former director of the BLM and attorney for Tim DeChristopher, in the Salt Lake Tribune , on Utah land politics

From the National Parks Conservation Association: A report on oil shale and tar sands threats to national parks

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2011 May

October 26th, 2011


Canyonlands National Park, May 2011                                      Mike Painter

June 2, 2011

Dear CalUWild friends —

Travel and the Memorial Day holiday conspired to delay the May Update, but here we are with the latest on a couple of ongoing topics. There are just a few items this month, making it relatively short. That just gives you more time to write a letter or make a call. Wilderness is not getting much support from the Administration these days (see Item 4), so it’s important that we who do care about it let our representatives know of our concern for wild places. But also let the Administration know. It might give them some resolve.

Summer is coming slowly to the West this year—rain continues and snow lingers in many areas. I hope you’ll be able to take some time soon` to get out and enjoy the places we are all working so hard to protect!

Thanks for all your efforts,
Mike

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Wilderness Act Reintroduced
             (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Greater Canyonlands Campaign Begins
             (ACTION ITEM)
3.   Court Victory: Salt Creek NOT an RS 2477 Route

IN GENERAL
4.   Secretary Salazar Cancels His Wild Lands Policy
             (ACTION ITEM)

IN  THE PRESS
 5. Articles and reports of interest

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

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

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was re-introduced in both the House and Senate last month. The bill would designate as wilderness land managed by the Bureau of Land Management that “generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; and has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation,” in the words of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Although we do not expect this Congress, dominated in the House by anti-environment legislators, to pass the bill, it remains the benchmark against which protection efforts will continue to be measured.

In the House, the bill’s number is H.R. 1916. It currently has 68 cosponsors, including principal Sponsor Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and 15 are from California:

          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)

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-16) and Adam Schiff (D-29) are new since the last Update.

We’re still hoping to get the following representatives signed 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)
          Jane Harman (D-36)
          Linda Sanchez (D-39)
          Loretta Sanchez (D-47)
          Susan Davis (D-53)

In the Senate—where there are six cosponsors, including principal sponsor Dick Durbin (D-IL)—the bill number is S. 979.  Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) is a cosponsor. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is not and is not likely to become one. It’s important for her to hear that people care about Utah, though.

If your representative is on either of these lists, please call or send a note of thanks or a request to cosponsor. Complete contact information may be found at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

2.   Greater Canyonlands Campaign Begins
             (ACTION ITEM)

Canyonlands National Park, west of Moab in southeastern Utah, is a spectacular place, with a variety of landscapes in its three main sections: Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze. The confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers is its heart.

The Park does not sit in isolation, and its boundaries are really artificial, the result of political compromises made at the time of its establishment. It lies in the middle of a larger basin, surrounded by lands managed by the BLM and the Forest Service. These lands have no particular special protection, and therefore, impacts on them may have negative impacts on the Park itself. Among those impacts are oil & gas development, off-road vehicles, and the potential for tar sands development.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other members of the Utah Wilderness Coalition are embarking on a campaign to protect these lands surrounding the Park. As the first step, SUWA has petitioned the Secretary of the Interior to ban ORVs on 1,050 miles of routes designated by the BLM within the Greater Canyonlands region. Many of these routes were designated with no regard to their impacts on archaeological and other sensitive resources such as streams or riparian habitats.

You may view and download a copy of SUWA’s petition here.

SUWA has an online email generator that you may personalize and sign here.

Better yet, write your own letter of support to the Secretary in support of SUWA’s petition. Ask him to implement the recommendations in the petition for protection of the Greater Canyonlands submitted by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Make your letter personal, talking about what the landscape means to you, how often you’ve visited (or if you still hope to) and what you saw, including any damaged resources, etc. Send your letter to:

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

We’ll keep you posted as the campaign continues.

3.   Court Victory: Salt Creek NOT an RS 2477 Route

Continuing the Canyonlands theme, there was good news for the Park last week, when a federal court in Utah ruled that San Juan County had not been able to prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that “continuous” vehicle travel by the public had taken place for the ten years necessary to establish a public highway, as required by Utah state law.

Salt Creek is the only perennial stream in Canyonlands National Park and contains important riparian habitat. The Park Service had closed it to vehicle traffic in 1998, but the County Sheriff opened the gates several times to force the issue. Finally the County sued the Department of the Interior, with support from the State of Utah.

You may view and download a copy of the clear and detailed 81-page ruling here.

The judge ordered the County and State to pay the costs of the suit. There has been no word on whether the County will appeal the ruling. But you can be sure that the R.S. 2477 battle will continue. Garfield County in Utah has filed a “notice of intent to sue” claiming more than 70 rights-of-way in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We’ll keep you posted.

IN GENERAL
4.   Secretary Salazar Cancels His Wild Lands Policy
             (ACTION ITEM)

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled his new Wild Lands policy, which he had announced only last December. It was a surprise move, but the announcement was couched in such neutral language that it’s not clear what the practical effect will be. (You may read the Secretary’s memo here.) However, from the standpoint of defending the principle of protection of wild places, the announcement is a major disappointment.

In the last funding bill, the Administration had agreed to a provision prohibiting the use for funds for implementing the new policy in 2011, so it’s possible that the announcement is a simple recognition and restatement of that fact, meant to reassure his critics. Secty. Salazar said nothing about what might happen after Fiscal Year 2011 is over.

One thing is clear: the Wild Lands Policy was controversial from the day the Secretary announced it. Anti-wilderness representatives in Congress mis-characterized it as an “end-run” around Congress’s sole authority to designate wilderness. In fact all the policy did was restate BLM’s authority under the Federal Land Policy & Management Act to inventory lands for wilderness characteristics and manage them to preserve those characteristics until Congress acts on their designation. And both Republican and Democratic administration had used this authority previously.

Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton unilaterally gave up that authority when she signed a settlement in 2003 with then-Governor Mike Leavitt of Utah settling a lawsuit over BLM inventories. The judge in the case ruled that the agreement was not binding on future administrations, so Secty. Salazar decided to reclaim the prerogative.

My feeling is that a good part of the problem was that rather than state that BLM simply would be going back to the way it had done things prior to the Norton-Leavitt settlement (inventories and wilderness study areas), Secty. Salazar invented the brand new designation of “Wild Lands,” which had no definition in the law. Given the polarized political situation in Washington right now, wilderness opponents were in no mood to listen to any rational explanation of the policy. The ironic thing is that these Wild Lands would have had less protection than the old WSAs—the new policy wasn’t even as strong as what the law originally provided for. That didn’t stop wilderness opponents from going ballistic, though, and their campaign against the policy started immediately.

We’ll have to see what happens, but the Administration will need every bit of encouragement possible, if we want it to move ahead with any enthusiasm. So it’s important that people let the Administration and Congress know that support for wilderness is widespread, and it is the federal government’s duty to protect wilderness.

Contact information for relevant officials:

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

          email: KenSalazar@ios.doi.gov

          Ms. Nancy Sutley
          Chair
          Council on Environmental Quality
          360 Old Executive Office Building
          17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
          Washington, DC  20503

          webform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Contact information for the Senate and the House may be found at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

The announcement received widespread coverage in the press. To read some of it, click on the following links.

          New York Times

          Washington Post

          Salt Lake Tribune

          Los Angeles Times

IN  THE PRESS
 5. Articles and reports of interest

Parade magazine article and slideshow on the National Landscape Conservation System.

San Francisco Chronicle article looking at shifting political views over protecting the California Desert.

National Parks Conservation Association report on dams and how they affect parks along the Colorado River. Follow the links here.

New York Times writer on the plans to close California state parks.

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2010 May

October 14th, 2010

May 27, 2010

Dear CalUWild friends—

I’ve been spending these last weeks of May in the Four Corners region, meeting with fellow wilderness advocates, talking with land managers a bit, and looking at some of the areas CalUWild has been interested in over the years. It’s nice being away from regular email, but it also means that there aren’t a lot of items collected to share with you this month. So instead, I’m going to do something different and share a few pictures from some the areas I’ve visited. We’ll resume our regular format in June.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend, and enjoy some of our public lands if you get the chance. And thanks for all your interest and support!

Best wishes,
Mike

Professor Creek, near Moab, Utah. Included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Legislation recently introduced to establish and enlarge wilderness areas.

Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, Colorado. Legislation recently introduced in Congress to establish it as a national monument

Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, Colorado. Legislation recently introduced in Congress to establish it as a national monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

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2009 May

May 30th, 2009

May 30, 2009

Dear friends and supporters of CalUWild:

We try not to send out many emergency alerts, but sometimes they’re unavoidable. This month, the urgent first item is a topic outside of our normal scope, but one which we’ve discussed before: the potential closure of most of California’s State Parks due to the state’s budget crisis. Please get in touch with Sacramento on Monday.

There are a few other items of interest this month, too. Read on!

Thanks for your interest and efforts to preserve our public lands, state and federal, for all Americans to use and enjoy. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or critiques, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes,
Mike

IN CALIFORNIA
1. Governor Threatens to Close State Parks
Faxes & Phone Calls Needed Immediately
DEADLINE: Monday, June 1
(URGENT ACTION ITEM)

IN UTAH
2. OHV Protestors Stage a Ride through Wilderness Study Area
In Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
3. Controversy Continues over the December 2008 Oil & Gas Lease Sale

IN NEW MEXICO
4. Appeal Court Rules Against Oil & Gas Leases on Otero Mesa

IN GENERAL
5. Guns in Parks, Again

IN MEMORIAM
6. Brian O’Neill,
Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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IN CALIFORNIA
1. Governor Threatens to Close State Parks
Faxes & Phone Calls Needed Immediately
DEADLINE: Monday, June 1

(URGENT ACTION ITEM)

Late this week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that almost all of California’s state parks would be closed, effective July 1, as a cost-cutting measure. He made the announcement in response to the defeat by voters of the package of propositions in the special election held on May 19.

The proposal is even more drastic than that made last year, which was defeated by an outpouring of opposition. It’s important that concerned Californians make their voices heard once again.

The Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee is holding a hearing on Tuesday, June 2 to consider the proposal, so if our state parks are to remain open, it is important that the public weigh in immediately, both to the State Senate and Assembly, and also to the Governor himself.

The California Wilderness Coalition and the State Parks Foundation sent out alerts yesterday, and the talking points below come from those.

— The General Fund budget that state parks receive account for less than 1/10 of one percent of the entire state budget.

— Last year alone, there were over 80 million visitors to state parks – and all indications are that this year was going to be even higher.

— For every dollar that funds the parks, $2.35 is returned to the state’s General Fund through economic activities in the communities surrounding the parks.

— The state park system is an investment that the Governor and the Legislature have been entrusted with safeguarding. We are all, today, beneficiaries of the work of leaders, activists, and park supporters who had the vision to identify and preserve places that are part of the park system’s legacy. It is not a legacy that they can or should undo.

Personalize your comments somewhat by also mentioning how the parks are important to you .

Please contact your state Assemblymember, Senator, and the Governor. Because of the very short time frame (Monday) contact them, in order of preference, by fax, phone, or via their websites.

Contact and comment information for the Legislature may be found by following the links here:

Assembly: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/defaulttext.asp
Senate: http://www.senate.ca.gov/

The Governor may be reached at:

Hon. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: 916-445-4633
Phone: 916-445-2841
Email via his website at: http://gov.ca.gov/interact

If you have time, send a copy to the State Parks Foundation office in Sacramento, so they can present the letters at the hearing as part of their testimony.

Fax: 916-442-2009
Email: Linsey@Calparks.org

IN UTAH
2. OHV Protestors Stage a Ride through Wilderness Study Area
In Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

On Saturday, May 9, outside of Kanab, Utah, a group of some 300 off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders decided to protest the BLM’s policies on roads in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. They decided to ride up the Paria River, though the Paria-Hackberry Wilderness Study Area. The riverbed is not listed as a road in any of the Monument’s planning documents.

The protest was announced well in advance, but BLM issued no citations to any participants, but reportedly did take photos of vehicle for possible later identification.

Kane and Garfield Counties, which make up the Monument, have lost several lawsuits against the federal government over their road claims, yet they persist in arguing that they have valid rights-of-way over the Monument for motorized vehicle travel.

3. Controversy Continues over the December 2008 Oil & Gas Lease Sale

Earlier this month, oil & gas exploration companies and three Utah counties separately sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar over the Department’s cancellation of 77 leases close to national parks and in proposed wilderness areas. A federal judge had already ruled in January, before the new administration came in, that the leases were illegal because BLM had not properly analyzed their environmental impacts, so it’s not quite clear why Secretary Salazar’s actions are the subject of another lawsuit.

These leases were offered in December 2008, at an auction where a University of Utah student, Tim DeChristopher placed bids designed to drive up the prices. A grand jury indicted Mr. DeChristopher in April despite the fact that the lease sale had been ruled illegal, and proceedings against him are pending. A further irony is that, reportedly, BLM has refunded all the bids it received to all bidders — except Mr. DeChristopher.

The final twist was that Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett had placed a hold on the nomination of Deputy Interior Secty. David Hayes in an attempt to express his displeasure with Secty. Salazar’s cancellation of the leases. The Senate, mid-month, was unable to come up with the 60 votes necessary to override Sen. Bennett’s hold. Sen. Bennett later withdrew the hold, having received assurances from Secty. Salazar that Utah’s concerns over the leasing process would be listened to, and Mr. Hayes was confirmed.

IN NEW MEXICO
4. Appeal Court Rules Against Oil & Gas Leases on Otero Mesa

Good news came from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, when it ruled that BLM improperly changed one of its planning alternatives for Otero Mesa, a large wild grassland in southern New Mexico, home to a unique ecosystem. The court said that BLM had to consider protection of the area as one of its planning alternatives, rather than only consider options that allowed oil & gas drilling.

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance had inventoried the Otero Mesa and found that 500,000 acres qualified for designation as wilderness. And the area sits on top of an aquifer, threats to which BLM downplayed or ignored in its planning analysis.

This means that BLM will now have to undertake a planning process that includes real alternatives and offers the possibility of real environmental protection.

IN GENERAL
5. Guns in Parks, Again

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) caved in and allowed an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would allow loaded guns in national parks. The amendment was attached to the credit card reform bill, a piece of legislation popular with Democrats and considered “must pass.” Pres. Obama then signed the legislation into law after it passed the House, making no mention of the gun provision.

Most park conservation and employee groups opposed the amendment, claiming that national parks are already among the safest places in the U.S., so there is no real need for loaded weapons. Additionally, wildlife poaching is growing problem in our parks and refuges, and this makes it easier to engage in that type of illegal activity. Finally, there is concern about general public safety as well as the safety of park employees, who will now have to face visitors knowing that they might be armed.

The Bush Administration had proposed a rule allowing guns in parks late last year, but a federal court overturned it. The Bush rule in turn reversed a regulation from the Reagan years banning them.

IN MEMORIAM
6. Brian O’Neill,
Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Bay Area and the National Park Service lost a great friend in Brian O’Neill when he passed away on May 13, at age 67, following complications from heart surgery. Brian was appointed Superintendent at GGNRA in 1986, and had been Assistant Superintendent before that. Prior to coming to the West Coast, Brian had worked for the federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (later the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service).

While at the BOR he helped with the initial planning for Gateway National Recreation Area, at the entrance to New York Harbor and convinced then-Pres. Richard Nixon to support the establishment of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). He also played a role having the Eel, Klamath, Trinity, and Smith Rivers in California designated Wild and Scenic Rivers.

His passion was public service, with the idea that all Americans should be able to enjoy their public lands. Thus he was an early strong supporter of the concept that national parks should also be located near urban centers. While at GGNRA he oversaw the transformation of Alcatraz, the incorporation of the Presidio and other old forts into vibrant parts of the park, and the restoration of Crissy Field from an old runway into a functioning tidal marsh.

Brian always had a ready smile for everyone and was able to share his enthusiasm for parks and people. He realized that people would work to protect their parks best if they had an emotional attachment to them, so he worked hard to instill that bond in the citizens of the Bay Area.

He will be missed, but his work will be carried on.

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2008 May

May 6th, 2008

May 6, 2008

Dear CalUWild friends —

Things can move quickly in the public lands arena, and there are a couple of items to bring to your attention before I take a break for a few weeks.

So without further ado, here’s the shortest CalUWild Update ever.

Thanks,
Mike

IN UTAH
1. Washington County Bill Not Good Enough
Please Let Senators Know
(ACTION ITEM)
2. Utah Wilderness on YouTube

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Wild Heritage Campaign Roundup
Mt. San Jacinto State Park
Idyllwild
May 30 – June 1

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IN UTAH
1. Washington County Bill Not Good Enough
Please Let Senators Know
(ACTION ITEM)

As mentioned in April’s Update, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) has reintroduced his Washington County public lands bill, S.2834. The conservation community is hoping to improve the bill, but at the same time we feel its important to let our senators know that it’s unacceptable in its present form.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has sent out the following alert, asking people to contact their senators.

On April 9, Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) introduced S. 2834, the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2008. While in some ways this bill is better than Senator Bennett’s 2006 version, which you helped to defeat, it still contains some of the same damaging provisions for southwestern Utah that would perpetuate bad precedents for all future public lands bills. Once again we need your help! Please let your Senators know that S. 2834 is bad for Utah wilderness!

SUWA will continue to work with Sen. Bennett and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to make the necessary improvements to S.2834, but we are unable to support the bill in its current form. The most problematic provisions in the bill would:

— Fail to protect over half of Washington County’s proposed wilderness-quality lands as identified in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act

— Put at risk to ORV damage sensitive Zion-Mojave lands, including threatened desert tortoise habitat in the Mojave Desert and currently protected Wilderness Study Areas near Zion National Park

— Sell off up to 14 square miles of America’s public lands, the majority of which are not currently identified for sale

— Create a loophole to redirect conservation funds to pay for development projects in Washington County, potentially including the controversial Lake Powell water pipeline

The good news: there is still the time and the means to improve S. 2834, but we need to let every member of the Senate know that this bill has major problems. Here’s what you can do:

— Read more about the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2008 and why the bill as introduced is bad for Utah wilderness.

— View a map that shows how the bill’s Wilderness proposal compares with that of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

— Tell your Senators to oppose S. 2834 in its current form so that we can gain the support necessary to either fix the bill or stop it from advancing through Congress.

As always, letters are best, but should be mailed to local offices rather than to Washington, DC because of security. Faxes are almost as good. Phone calls to Washington are also helpful.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s contact information may be found here.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s contact information may be found here.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to do this!

2. Utah Wilderness on YouTube

If you’re in need of a short break (5 minutes or so), take a quick look at Utah’s wilderness. Rich Csenge, Utah activist extraordinaire, has made a short video that’s now on YouTube. Rich runs Mainers for Utah Wilderness, one of the Utah state activist groups that has sprung up over the years.

Click here.

IN CALIFORNIA
3. Wild Heritage Campaign Roundup
Mt. San Jacinto State Park
Idyllwild
May 30 – June 1

Join wilderness enthusiasts, volunteers, and staff from around the state for our annual, state-wide celebration of California wilderness! Our Fourth Annual California Wilderness Round-Up is a great weekend of hiking, camping, and fun.

Friday, May 30-Sunday June 1, 2008.

Mount San Jacinto State Park, Idyllwild Campground, Idyllwild, California.

The Round-Up will give you an opportunity to visit proposed wilderness areas in the California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act which is currently moving through Congress.

You will also have a chance to celebrate our successes, meet other volunteers and wilderness advocates and share stories with wilderness-lovers from around the state while camping out under the mountain sky.

The weekend is free and open to your friends and family. Campgrounds are already reserved and spaces will fill up quickly, so don’t wait. Register today!

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2006 May

May 21st, 2006

May 21, 2006

Dear CalUWild Friends –

There are five items of interest this month that require attention. So please take a few minutes to contact the appropriate decisionmakers regarding one or more of them. Because all of the items include contacting Sens. Barbara Boxer and/or Dianne Feinstein, rather than include their contact information in every item, here are their most important addresses, phone, and fax numbers.

Because of the ongoing irradiation of correspondence to Washington, DC, it’s best to write letters to local offices:

Honorable Dianne Feinstein
1 Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104

Honorable Barbara Boxer
1700 Montgomery St., Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111

Alternatively, you can FAX letters to their offices:

Feinstein: 202-228-3954
Boxer: 415-956-6701

If you phone instead of write, here are the DC and some local numbers:

Feinstein: 202-224-3841
310-914-7300
415-393-0707

Boxer: 202-224-3553
213-894-5000
415-403-0100

Complete contact information for California’s congressional delegation may be found on CalUWild’s website.

I hope you are able to find some time in the near future to get out and enjoy some our wild places. Thanks for all you do helping to preserve them for the future!

Mike

IN UTAH
1.No Further Word From Sen. Bob Bennett
On Zion-Mojave Proposal
(ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2. Wilderness Bill Introduced for the Eastern Sierra
(ACTION ITEM)
3. House of Representatives Passes Bill to Allow Hunting
On Santa Rosa Island in Channel Islands National Park
(ACTION ITEM)

IN MONTANA
4. Bill Introduced to Allow Motorized Access
For Dam Maintenance in Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
(ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA
5. The Arctic Wildlife Refuge Always Needs Your Support
(ACTION ITEM)

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IN UTAH
1. No Further Word From Sen. Bob Bennett
On Zion-Mojave Proposal
(ACTION ITEM)

In last month’s Update, we discussed the proposal put forth by Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Jim Matheson for a comprehensive public lands bill for Washington County, in the southwest corner of Utah. Among the objections: the sale of 25,000 acres of public lands for development in an area already experiencing phenomenal growth. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance reports that the senator and congressman received over 100,000 e-mails from around the country opposing the provisions of the proposal.

Thank you for your part in that astounding number!

Sen. Bennett so far has not released any modifications to his proposal in response to the public comments, but we hope he will do so.

In whatever form it takes, the bill will be first heard in the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a key member of that committee and a strong supporter of wilderness (although not a cosponsor of America’s Redrock Wilderness Act). Please contact her office and let her know that the proposal as it currently stands is unacceptable.

We’ll keep you posted as the situation develops.

IN CALIFORNIA
2. Wilderness Bill Introduced for the Eastern Sierra
(ACTION ITEM)

Last month, Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA25) introduced a bill in Congress that would add two areas in his district to the National Wilderness Preservation System and designate 24 miles of the Amargosa River as “Wild & Scenic.” Rep. McKeon’s district runs to the east from Santa Clarita at the northern edge of Los Angeles, encompassies Death Valley National Park, and extends north past Mono Lake.

Rep. McKeon’s bill would add about 40,000 acres to the Hoover Wilderness near Sonora pass and 640 acres to the Emigrant Wilderness. The Amargosa River is the only river flowing into Death Valley.

We hope that this is just the start of Rep. McKeon’s championship of wilderness, because his district contains nearly 1/3 of the lands included in Sen. Boxer’s statewide California Wild Heritage Act.

The bill’s number is HR 5149, and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein both introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S 2567.

Please call Rep. McKeon’s office and voice your thanks!

Washington, DC: 202-225-1956
Southern California: 661-254-2111

Also, please let your own representative know of your support for this legislation. And it wouldn’t hurt to contact Sens. Boxer and Feinstein to thank them for their ongoing championing of wilderness in California and elsewhere.

3. House of Representatives Passes Bill to Allow Hunting
On Santa Rosa Island in Channel Islands National Park
(ACTION ITEM)

The following comes from Vicky Hoover, CalUWild’s co-coordinator.

On May 11 when the House of Representatives passed the Defense Appropriations bill, it included a controversial proposal by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA52) to allow members of the military to hunt deer and elk on a national park island off the Ventura County coast. Opponents fear that the plan could limit public access to Channel Islands National Park and threaten native species.

Indeed, this misguided proposal is an effort to use part of our venerated national park system for special interests. We need to stop this provision from passing the Senate. Senators Feinstein and Boxer have previously expressed opposition to the idea, and they need to hear from you now that you, as a citizen, oppose this idea also. Senator Feinstein, especially, as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, needs to know you support her efforts to get the “Duncan Hunter Channel Islands National Park military hunting” provision removed from the Senate bill.

Thanks for helping preserve our national parks.

IN MONTANA
4. Bill Introduced to Allow Motorized Access
For Dam Maintenance in Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
(ACTION ITEM)

Wilderness Watch, a national organization dedicated to the proper management of existing designated wilderness areas, is one of the organizations with which CalUWild works closely. They recently sent out the following alert.

SAY “NO” TO BURNS’ DAM BILL!!

Legislation would allow more than 100 miles of road building, unlimited motorized use in Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

Senator Conrad Burns (MT) has introduced legislation (S.2633) that would allow dam owners in the Bitterroot Valley to build roads and use unlimited amounts of motorized equipment for accessing and maintaining 16 dams in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The bill would allow roads to be built where trails now exist in Bass Creek, Big Creek, Blodgett, Canyon, Carlton, Chaffin, Fred Burr, Mill, One Horse, Sheafman, and Tin Cup Creek canyons. These canyons represent many of the major entry points into the 1.3 million-acre Wilderness.

Specifically, Burns’ bill would:

• Grant unrestricted rights-of-way (ROW) up to 120 feet in width where the trails now exist, and up to 500 feet from the high-water mark around the dams and lakes. The bill essentially gives away the public land within the ROW, and allows the dam owners to sell the ROW to anyone.

• Exempt activities on the dams, lakes and rights-of-way from the Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, National Dam Safety Program Act, or any federal law to protect fish and wildlife or maintain water quality.

• Allow unlimited motorized travel along the rights-of-way and unlimited use of motorized equipment at the dams.

• Strip Forest Service jurisdiction from the lands and give it to the State. The dam owners would not be liable for any claim or damage resulting from their operation of the dams, except where one could prove negligence of the owner.

The Burns’ bill is entirely unnecessary. The Wilderness Act recognizes the valid rights of water users to maintain dams in the Wilderness while preventing dam owners from further degrading the wilderness character of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman explained how the law would apply to pre-existing dams:

“Water developments have been allowed in these wilderness-type areas. The works generally have been constructed and maintained by means which did not involve motorized transportation. We would construe the provisions of S.4 as permitting the continued maintenance of these existing projects by means which would not involve motorized transportation as in the past.”

The Burns’ bill would strike a blow to the Wilderness Act and could set the stage for road-building in many other areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The solution is for the Forest Service to assist the water users in finding wilderness-compatible, non-motorized ways to maintain the dams, as it’s been done for the past 100 years. Wilderness Watch and others have offered to help many times.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Write or call Senator Burns and tell him what you think of his dam bill. Urge him to encourage the Forest Service and water users to seek wilderness-compatible, non-motorized solutions.

Hon. Conrad Burns
187 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: 202-224-2644
Fax: 202-224-8594

Write or call your own senators and congresspersons and make them aware of your concerns with the bill.

For more information contact:

Wilderness Watch
P.O. Box 9175
Missoula, MT 59807

wild@wildernesswatch.org
http://www.wildernesswatch.org

IN ALASKA
5. The Arctic Wildlife Refuge Always Needs Your Support
(ACTION ITEM)

There is an impasse in Congress right now over the budget fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the north coast of Alaska. The Senate has included revenues from Arctic drilling in its version of the upcoming budget. The House has not passed a budget and has so far not included drilling in its discussions. (And it may be that the House passes no budget at all this year.)

That does not mean, however, that friends of wilderness can let down their guard. The pressure to open up the Arctic Wildlife Refuge continues, and today’s high gasoline prices are being used as an additional excuse now to allow energy exploration.

It would be helpful to call your representative and senators to tell them that you are opposed to drilling in the Refuge. Also remind them that petroleum from the area won’t be flowing for at least 10 years and, while it’s not known exactly how much oil is actually there, the estimates are that it would reduce the price of gasoline by only $ .01 (one cent)/gallon. That is hardly worth the tradeoff of losing a priceless wild area.

Sens. Feinstein and Boxer are strong opponents of drilling in the Refuge, but it is still helpful to contact them so they use their constituents’ views to help persuade others to oppose drilling as well.

Thanks.

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