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2017 April

May 2nd, 2017

Red Rock Alcove, Utah                                                                                                                  (Mike Painter)

 
April 27, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

A very short introduction this month: We’ve always had one simple membership requirement here—Each person agrees to write one letter (or make one phone call) a month to someone about something. This month, if we had a way to enforce it, we’d make all the actions in Item 1 mandatory. I hope you’ll see why.

 
Thanks for your continuing support,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   The White House Orders a Review
           Of All National Monument Designations Since 1996
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
          Reintroduced in the House & Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Sen. Feinstein Reintroduces Desert Protection Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Mountain and Rivers Proposal
          For Northwestern California Gathers Steam—
          Great Old Broads to Hold 2 California “Broadwalks”
          July 6-10 & July 13-17
          And 1 in Washington, DC
          October 16-20

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

 
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IN UTAH
1.   The White House Orders a Review
          Of All National Monument Designations Since 1996
          (ACTION ITEM)

The fight for the protection of our federal public lands with the new administration has now begun in earnest.

Yesterday the White House issued an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all the national monument designations of more than 100,000 acres—or any others, at the Secretary’s discretion—made in the last 20 years. This timeline begins with the Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996 and ends with the Bears Ears designation last December. Both are in Utah, and that state’s politicians vociferously and continuously complained. They finally found willing ears in the White House and, it seems, in the Department of the Interior, where they all gathered for the signing ceremony. So, although the executive order covers all monuments, we’re putting this item first, in the Utah section of the Update.

Although Secty. Zinke stated after the signing that nothing is a foregone conclusion—that it this only a review—his later comments belied that claim when he expressed his hostility to the use of the Antiquities Act.

A press release from the Interior Department stated:

The designations of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 and the Bears Ears National Monument in 2016 are considered the book-ends of modern Antiquities Act overreach. Each monument is more than 1.3 million acres.

“Historically, the Act calls for the President to designate the ‘smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected,'” Zinke continued. “Despite this clear directive ‘smallest area’ has become the exception and not the rule. Under the President’s leadership, I will work with local, state and Tribal governments to review monument designations made the past 20 years and make sure they work for the local communities.

“The view from the Potomac is a lot different than the view from the Yellowstone or the Colorado. Too many times, you have people in D.C. who have never been to an area, never grazed the land, fished the river, driven the trails, or looked locals in the eye, who are making the decisions and they have zero accountability to the impacted communities. I’m interested in listening to those folks. That’s what my team and I will be doing in the next few months.”

It is true that of the monuments designated recently have been large, but they served the important purpose of protecting unique examples of the American landscape. Any such monument has to be large-scale by definition. It was an important part of then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s effort to refocus the Bureau of Land Management away from being strictly an extractive resource agency. Congress made the BLM National Landscape Conservation System permanent by law in 2009.

Mr. Zinke’s comments are also a gross mischaracterization of the process that the Obama Administration undertook in designating the latest national monuments. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell held numerous meetings in towns all over the West whenever a monument was proposed, and they were always well-attended. Though there were some objections raised at times, they were often based on mis- or dis-information, with the Bears Ear being the prime example. For the most part, there was widespread support for the new national monuments, both locally and nationally.

Mr. Zinke is to report back within 120 days as to whether any should be shrunk or otherwise modified, and he promised a review of the Bears Ears within 45 days. He is also make recommendations as to legislative changes to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the law authorizing the president to designate monuments.

Please call the Interior Department immediately to voice your objections. The direct number is:

202-208-7351. If you get a recording, press 0 to leave a comment or message.

Or use the contact page on the department website.

Since we are seeing government-by-tweet, you can also contact Secty. Zinke via Twitter: @SecretaryRyanZinke In fact he told one of our friends that’s how he prefers to hear from people …

 
Please contact the White House on its comment line:

202-456-1111 (though it seems to be busy all the time)

 
Please contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators. Information can be found on their websites at house.gov and senate.gov. (You can combine your call with a message about America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act—see Item 2.)

 
Finally, write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Please point out in any and all communications that the Bears Ears monument boundaries very closely matched those in Rep. Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (though he proposed a National Conservation Area instead of a monument). Pres. Obama waited until the last minute with his designation precisely because he wanted to see whether Congress would act on the PLI proposal. But since it didn’t, judging that the area was worthy of protection—as everyone seemed to agree it was—he used the only tool at his disposal, the Antiquities Act, to protect it.

Here is a list of the monuments affected by the executive order, by state or geographical area:

Arizona
Grand Canyon-Parashant
Ironwood Forest
Sonoran Desert
Vermilion Cliffs

California
Berryessa Snow Mountain
California Coastal
Carrizo Plain
Giant Sequoia
Mojave Trails
San Gabriel Mountains
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains
Sand to Snow

Colorado
Canyons of the Ancients

Maine
Katahdin Woods and Waters

Montana
Upper Missouri River Breaks

Nevada
Basin and Range
Gold Butte

New Mexico
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
Rio Grande del Norte

Oregon
Cascade–Siskiyou (partly in California, too)

Utah
Bears Ears
Grand Staircase-Escalante

Washington State
Hanford Reach

Atlantic Ocean Marine
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts

Pacific Ocean Marine
Marianas Trench
Pacific Remote Islands
Papahānaumokuākea
Rose Atoll
World War II Valor in the Pacific

Reaction in the press and elsewhere was widespread, most pointedly from the Inter-Tribal Coalition, in a letter to Secty. Zinke. Here is an excerpt:

Our letters to your office from each of our Tribal nations, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and the Bears Ears Commission requesting meetings with you have gone unanswered. It seems illogical that letters sent nearly 100 days ago have not been answered, yet there will be review of Bears Ears within the next 45 days. The fact that you have not met with us is evident in your statement yesterday to the press. You said: “The administration has heard from Congress… The designation of monuments may have cost jobs, wages, and public access… It is the opinion of the West that it is abused.” Please do not forget – our Tribes are the original inhabitants of the West long before the United States was a nation, and we do not view Bears Ears National Monument as an abuse. To the contrary, it is a fulfillment of both our duty to preserve our cultures and our ancestral lands, and its designation was the result of a long, deliberative process with your predecessor to further our self-determination.

Other samples:

High Country News fact-checked the comments made by various people at the signing yesterday. Not surprisingly, misstatements were made.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an article setting the Obama Administration’s thinking out very clearly: Jewell defends Bears Ears monument process. Ms. Jewell was the CEO of REI before her appointment to Interior, and REI had this to say about the executive order.

The New York Times had an article: What Is the Antiquities Act and Why Does President Trump Want to Change It?, as well as the Washington Post: Trump orders review of national monuments, vows to ‘end these abuses and return control to the people’.

And a previous column in Time by CalUWild friend Heidi McIntosh: Gutting America’s National Treasures Is Unlawful and Unwise

Please speak out as loudly and as frequently as you can. And talk to your families, friends, and neighbors, encouraging them to do the same. Our shared American heritage is at stake in a profound way right now.

 
2.   America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
          Reintroduced in the House & Senate
          (ACTION ITEM)

As we anticipated last month, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47) introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the House of Representatives on April 6.

The bill number is H.R. 2044.

In addition to Rep. Lowenthal, six Northern California representatives were among the 30 original cosponsors:

Jared Huffman (D-2)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Ro Khanna (D17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)

We just learned yesterday that Rep. Doris Okada Matsui (D-6) will join her colleagues in cosponsoring the bill.

Please call their offices to say Thank You.

We would like to see the following House Members from California sign on, as well. Those with an asterisk (*) next to their names have cosponsored in the past.

John Garamendi (D-3) *
Mike Thompson (D-5) *
Ami Bera (D-7)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-11) *
Barbara Lee (D-13) *
Eric Swalwell (D-15) *
Jim Costa (D-16)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19) *
Jimmy Panetta (D-20)
Salud Carbajal (D-24)
Julia Brownley (D-26) *
Judy Chu (D-27) *
Adam Schiff (D-28) *
Tony Cárdenas (D-29) *
Brad Sherman (D-30) *
Pete Aguilar (D-31)
Grace Napolitano (D-32) *
Ted Lieu (D-33) *
Norma Torres (D-35)
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Karen Bass (D-37)
Linda Sánchez (D-38) *
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40) *
Mark Takano (D-41) *
Maxine Waters (D-43) *
Nanette Barragán (D-44)
J. Luis Correa (D-46)
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Scott Peters (D-52)
Susan Davis (D-53) *

Contact information can be found on their websites at house.gov.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D), reintroduced the Red Rocks bill in the Senate yesterday, with 17 cosponsors. He gave a floor speech to mark the reintroduction and also criticized the White House move to review the national monuments discussed in Item 1. His office put out a press release, with links to the video and text of his speech.

Please contact Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and urge her to sign on as a cosponsor.

Phone:   202-224-3553 or via her website

 
IN CALIFORNIA
3.   Sen. Feinstein Reintroduces Desert Protection Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

At the start of this Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) reintroduced her bill to protect areas in the Mojave Desert. The Desert Protection and Recreation Act of 2017 (S. 32) is the same bill she had introduced in the last Congress, except that the provisions regarding the Castle Mountains, Mojave Trails, and Sand to Snow National Monuments were removed, since Pres. Obama designated them last year.

Our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition provided this summary of the legislation. It would:

—   Protect 230,000 acres (359 square-miles) of federal land as wilderness in southeastern California, ranging from the Avawatz Mountains near Death Valley to Milpitas Wash in Imperial County;

—   Enlarge Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park by 43,000 acres (67 square-miles);

—   Protect important waterways such as the Amargosa River from future dam construction and development;

—   Establish the 75,575-acre (118 square-mile) Vinagre Wash Special Management Area in Imperial County where many ecologically sensitive areas and Native American heritage sites would be protected;

—   Designate the Alabama Hills area in Inyo County (the location for dozens of movies and television shows) as a National Scenic Area so that its priceless vistas are protected;

—   Permanently prohibit the staking of new mining claims on approximately 10,000 acres of land sacred to the Quechan Tribe in Imperial County;

—   Mandate the study and protection of Native American cultural trails along the Colorado River;

—   Help make it more difficult for developers to exploit groundwater in or near the Mojave National Preserve; and

—   Require the Department of the Interior to study the future impacts of climate change on the California desert, to mitigate these impacts and to identify and protect important wildlife migration corridors in the region.

The bill also protects five existing off-road vehicle recreation areas from mining, military base expansion, or other uses that would close them, requiring the BLM to write management plans for those areas. Though we are no fans of off-road motorized recreation, we feel the protective provisions listed above more than balance these out.

Please call Sen. Feinstein’s office and express support for her efforts.

DC office:   202-224-3841
Online here

 
4.   Mountain and Rivers Proposal
          For Northwestern California Gathers Steam—
          Great Old Broads to Hold 2 California “Broadwalks”
          July 6-10 & July 13-17
          And 1 in Washington, DC
          October 16-20

A campaign, spearheaded by the California Wilderness Coalition, is growing to restore and further protect public lands and waterways in the northwestern corner of the state, District 2, represented in Congress by Jared Huffman (D).

We’ll cover the proposal in more detail as time goes on, but here are links to pages with information on the three components of the proposal as it stands now:

Restoration
Wilderness
Wild & Scenic Rivers

Great Old Broads for Wilderness will be hosting two weekend campouts—they call them Broadwalks—in July in the area of some of the proposal. Broadwalks are a fun way to get actively involved in protection campaigns, go hiking, and meet other people who share your interest. So if you love the redwoods or want to learn more about them and/or the proposal, join in the fun.

Click on the following links for more information:

Session I. July 6-10

Session II. July 13-17

Once you’ve gone to the redwoods you might consider joining the Broads for a few days, putting your knowledge to work in Washington, DC, supporting legislation growing out of the Mountains and Rivers Campaign and other campaigns in the West. Click here for more information.

 
IN THE PRESS
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.

Public lands in general

An interview with the House Natural Resources Committee Ranking (Senior Minority/Democratic) Member, from Arizona: Congressman Raúl Grijalva’s Stand for Public Lands

An op-ed in the NY Times: The Endangered Antiquities Act

An op-ed in Outside: 5 Lies Being Used to Get Mountain Bikes in Wilderness

The Bundy saga

A Los Angeles Times op-ed by writer Rick Bass: The Bundy family and followers are on trial again. Win or lose in court, theirs is a lost cause

A report on the first verdicts in the Nevada trials: Bunkerville standoff case ruled a mistrial

Other

An article in the Arizona Republic: Grand Canyon gondola proposal stalls in Navajo council: ‘They don’t have the votes’

A Salt Lake Tribune article: Utah’s Terry Tempest Williams to teach at Harvard. Terry is on CalUWild’s Advisory Board.

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

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

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2017 February

March 11th, 2017

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

 
March 1, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends-

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

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

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

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

 
Best wishes,
Mike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a complete video of town hall meeting here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may read the ruling here.

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

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

Public Lands in General

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

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

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

Wyoming Senate president kills public lands transfer bill

Bundy Trials in Oregon & Nevada

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

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

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

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

 
We’ll continue with video links next month.

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

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2017 January

January 17th, 2017


Factory Butte at Sunrise, Utah                                                                                                       (Mike Painter)

 
January 17, 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

I hope your new year is off to a good start. 2017 started well on the public lands front, which is why this Update is coming out sooner than usual after the last one. Last week, Pres. Obama designated or expanded five new national monuments, two of them in California. (See Item 1.) Since his administration ends on Friday, we have a very limited timeframe to thank him. Please do so right away! (It will likely be your last chance to thank the White House for quite some time, unfortunately.)

2017 is going to be an interesting year, to say the least, as we see what the new administration and Congress have in store on the environment (and other issues, as well). It’s almost certain that there will be very few pieces of protective legislation passed by Congress, and we’ll be mostly engaged in defensive battles instead. Already Congress has passed rule changes that make it easier to transfer land to states by saying such transfers are “budget neutral” (meaning that, by definition, the value received doesn’t have to be equal to the value of the land given over) and further, saying that their value is zero. The New York Times features a “Room for Debate” on public lands transfers today. Please add your thoughts in the comments after the various opinions (though you need a username to do so).

It is critical that people not burn out by trying to fight too many things at once. Not everyone has to be involved in every issue, every time; it will be important to conserve our mental energy and plan on being “in it” for the long haul. CalUWild will do its best to bring you information on the most important issues as they arise, without being overwhelming. As always if you have questions, suggestions or critiques, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN CALIFORNIA
1.   Pres. Obama Expands the Coastal National Monument and
          Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Designates
          Three Other National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Job Listing: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
          Northern California Field Organizer

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IN CALIFORNIA
1.   Pres. Obama Expands the Coastal National Monument and
          Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Designates
          Three Other National Monuments
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last Thursday, Pres. Obama enlarged the California Coastal National Monument with six additions and brought Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument into California, as well. Both of these monuments are part of the National Landscape Conservation System. He also designated three new monuments, historic sites related to the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement.

Click on these links to read the proclamations for the historic monuments.

•   Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County, South Carolina
•   Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama
•   Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Birmingham, Alabama.

 
California Coastal NM
Pres. Bill Clinton established the California Coastal National Monument in 2000. It stretches the entire length of the California coast and consists of all the islands, rocks, and reefs along the coast. In 2014 Pres. Obama added the Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County, the first onshore section of the monument. In 2015 Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Jared Huffman (D-2), Ann Eshoo (D-18), and Lois Capps (D-24) introduced legislation expanding the monument further. Unsurprisingly, the legislation never progressed in Congress, so Pres. Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to expand the monument.

Here are the descriptions of the new units from the Interior Department press release:

•   Trinidad Head, a promontory jutting off the coast of Humboldt County, a historic lighthouse sits atop sheer cliffs overlooking crashing waves and rugged sea stacks.

•   Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch, just south of Trinidad Head, has spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Eel River Delta, and the south spit of Humboldt Bay.

•   Thirteen miles south, the Lost Coast Headlands include rolling hills and dramatically eroding bluffs, punctuated by freshwater creeks, ponds, and pockets of forest.

•   Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County extends from the steep slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains to marine terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 5,800 acres, it encompasses ancient archaeological sites, riparian and wetland habitats, coastal prairie grasslands, and woodlands that include stands of coast redwood.

•   Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County provides visitors the opportunity to tour a historic lighthouse overlooking the site’s namesake white coastal rocks, and observe a colony of massive elephant seals loafing in the sun.

•   Orange County Rocks and Islands just off the coast of Orange County treat visitors to dramatic crashing waves, unique geology, and an abundance of marine-dependent wildlife including pelicans and seals.

The Lost Coast Headlands were not included in the original legislation.

You may read the proclamation here.

A fact sheet on the California Coastal National Monument expansion can be found here.

 
Cascade-Siskiyou NM
Pres. Obama also expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by about 47,000 acres, of which 5,000 are in California (the Horseshoe Ranch and Jenny Creek areas in Siskiyou County). The expansion significantly increased the size of the monument that Pres. Bill Clinton designated in 2000. Again, the monument expansion was originally proposed in legislation introduced by Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D), with support from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).

The monument was designated to protect the biodiversity of the area, which is especially rich as it lies at the intersection of the Cascade, Sikiyou, and Klamath mountains.

The presidential proclamation may be found here.

A map showing the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion can be found here.

A fact sheet on the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion can be found here.

 
Please thank Pres. Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for these latest designations. Phone calls are best, as it’s too late for letters to get to the White House and Interior Departments, but I’m including the addresses for future reference.

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

Comment line:   202-456-1111
Online comments here
Via Facebook message

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

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

 
2.   Job Listing: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
          Northern California Field Organizer

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is looking for a Field Organizer to work in Northern California, organizing grassroots events and other activities in support of its work to protect Utah’s wildlands. The position is for a part-time independent contractor. Click here for a full description of the position. Interested persons should submit their applications to travis [at] suwa [dot] org. Include a resume, cover letter, writing sample, and three professional references. The contract is open until filled.

Please share this listing with anyone you know who might be interested or with any other relevant networks you’re part of. Thanks!

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

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2016 November

December 4th, 2016

dsc_2166b3a
Aspens, Firs & Clouds, Great Basin National Park, Nevada                                                       (Mike Painter)

 
November 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

The holiday season is upon us, and the electoral season is behind us, much to the relief and dismay of many. Given the amount of information that’s been thrown at everyone these last 18 months, this month’s Update will be short, with Item 1, below, being the only substantive one. It contains some thoughts on where things stand and how we need to respond going forward. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please let me know.

There’s still hope for designations of the Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada as national monuments, so please contact the White House and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to keep those prioritized for them. Contact information is in Item 1 of our October Update. Please write or call!

Our 2016 Membership Appeal was mailed out last week to previous contributors. The remainder will go out by email next week. Contributions of any size are appreciated, so please support CalUWild as generously as you can.

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN GENERAL
1.   Thoughts on “What’s Next?”
2.   Fee-Free Days for National Parks in 2017

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

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

IN GENERAL
1.   Thoughts on “What’s Next?”

CalUWild turned 19 this month. We started out after Pres. Clinton’s designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, just three people who had been to the state and loved the redrock landscape there. When the Monument began its planning process, we decided to get friends and others involved and started Californians for Utah Wilderness. We soon became involved with the Utah Wilderness Coalition and supported its efforts to inventory and protect the wilderness-quality lands in Utah managed by the BLM. As time went on, citizens in other states around the West began their own wilderness inventories, and we realized we could be a voice in California for their efforts as well. It was then that we changed our name to reflect this expanded scope to Californians for Western Wilderness, though keeping the original “U-for-Utah” in our acronym.

But CalUWild had a second goal as well: To help citizens become effective advocates in our political system. I worked with the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and had seen the positive results achieved by them under the leadership of Wangari Maathai, linking environment and democracy. She was fighting against a brutal dictatorship while working with women to plant trees. Here in the U.S. we faced a different problem: Many people were cynical about government, very often with justification. But we believed that ordinary people could have an impact on decision-makers, if they knew how to work effectively and had the tools to do so. (Our Guide to Effective Advocacy is one example.)

So we combined the two ideas and have always said that CalUWild is as much a pro-democracy organization as it is pro-wilderness.

With respect to wilderness and public lands, regardless of who is in the White House or which party controls Congress, an active citizenry has always been important because these issues are rarely at the top of any politician’s agenda, though many people love the land. The results of the recent election will certainly make citizen involvement even more critical. The President-elect is not known as a friend of the environment, though he did say during his campaign that he was not in favor of selling off federal lands in the West. However, the names that have been floated around for Cabinet appointments are anything but environmentally friendly, though no one has been formally nominated yet.

CalUWild friend Erik Molvar wrote an op-ed in The Hill today, Trump’s Interior candidates would play Russian roulette with West, with an overview of some of the names apparently being considered as possibilities for Secretary of the Interior.

Given the Administration and the make-up of Congress, it is unlikely that major land protection legislation will make it into law. Rather, we can anticipate playing much more defense. Already, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) is calling on the President-elect to “de-designate” three national monuments: the Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine. (Whether a president had the authority to undo a prior designation is doubtful, though it is the subject of debate. Regardless, it shows the thinking that is prevalent.)

One of the main tasks facing us, therefore, will be to keep public lands issues in the public eye and to keep elected officials constantly aware that protection of these lands is important to many Americans. That may be a difficult task, because the incoming Administration is likely to make controversial proposals regarding many issues at once-Obamacare, climate change, Iran, Social Security & Medicare, to name a few. Many people will view those as being more important, so politicians and the media might easily overlook public lands.

So as we move ahead into 2017, here are a few things to keep in mind:

•   Regardless of how dire a situation may seem, panicking won’t help. We will need to stay focused and analyze the issues clearly and thoroughly.

•   Get to know the public lands staff in your congressional representatives’ and senators’ offices. Go to open houses and town hall meetings and speak with elected officials directly if you can. Get on their email lists, which you can sign up for by going to their pages on the House or Senate websites.

•   Write letters to the editor of your local paper whenever specific issues arise and in support of public lands in general. Ask them to devote more coverage of these topics if necessary. Even if letters don’t get published, they can still influence editorial decisions at the publication.

•   Get your friends involved. Wilderness and public lands will need more active supporters. This doesn’t need to be burdensome. CalUWild has always asked for just one letter or phone call a month, and we provide all the necessary information to be effective. Our membership has been holding steady at around 850 members. If everybody reading this Updatetalked to just one other person and convinced them to join, we would double our impact.

•   When it feels like it’s getting to be too much, go for a hike! Being out in Nature is known to have positive effects on mood and thinking.

•   Remember Edward Abbey’s quote: Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.

Preserving what remains of America’s wilderness and democratic heritage is too important to be left to others. Thank you for being part of the endeavor.

 
2.   Fee-Free Days for National Parks in 2017

The National Park Service has announced the following fee-free days for next year:

January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 20: Presidents Day
April 15-16 & April 22-23: National Park Week weekends
August 25: National Park Service birthday
September 30: National Public Lands Day
November 11-12: Veterans Day weekend

Mark your calendars!

Other options for free or reduced price entrance fees to the national parks include passes for senior citizens (age 62+), military personnel, disabled citizens, and fourth-graders and their families. The $80 annual “America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass” also allows unlimited entrance to federally-managed recreation areas

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

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

In Item 1 of last month’s Update, we wrote about the sale of a Utah state trust land parcel inside the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. The Salt Lake Tribune had an article about the buyer: ‘Family farm’ has spent millions buying acres of state land for unknown purpose.

More on the Bundy verdict (coverage was tapering off as the month progressed)

A New York Times op-ed piece: Bundy Verdict Puts a Target on the Backs of Federal Workers

A Washington Post article: In the Nevada desert, Bundy family warns of another standoff

An article in New Republic by historian Char Miller: The Bundy Standoff is a Sign of Things to Come

Standoff members’ beliefs also in mainstream politics-Others also seek to wrest control of federal lands

Return to Malheur: A Battle-Scarred Community Where Cowboys and Conservationists Are Working Together

A post on the Wilderness Watch blog by CalUWild friend Kevin Proescholdt, looking at the issue of mountain bikes in wilderness: Wilderness is Intended as Refuge from Bikes and other Mechanization

The Seattle Times reports on the death of one of our wilderness heroines: Polly Dyer, driving force for Northwest conservation, dead at 96

California Department of Fish & Wildlife reports: Two Gray Wolves Confirmed Present in Lassen County

An op-ed by CalUWild friend Jacques Leslie in the Los Angeles Times: The delta tunnels – a project only engineers can love

Book review

A gift idea: 100 Classic Hikes: Utah from Mountaineers Books, reviewed in National Parks Traveler

Video link

The Resource Renewal Institute (with whom I used to work and now CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor) has been producing a video series Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak, in which significant people in the environmental movement talk about their lives and work. With this Update, we’ll begin including links to selected films. This month we feature a talk between RRI founder Huey Johnson and John Leshy, a law professor who has also worked in the Department of the Interior. The short film has a title appropriate for our first installment: Keep Public Lands Public

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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2016 October

November 3rd, 2016

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The Bears Ears, Proposed National Monument, Utah                                                                  (Mike Painter)

 
October 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

Last month I attended two events with our partner organizations, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Great Old Broads for Wilderness, visiting areas proposed for protection under America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and a Bears Ears National Monument. We’ve written about both topics many times over the years. It was good to see the numbers of people dedicated to protecting our wild places in the West and spend time with them. Not much occurred in September or earlier this month, so I decided to wait with the Update for October. As you’ll see, a few items came up, including not guilty verdicts in the Oregon Bundy trial.

As year-end approaches, we traditionally send out our membership appeal, and we’ll be doing that next month and in December. Dues have never been required to receive CalUWild’s Monthly Update, but we do rely on support from our members to help pay expenses. If you’d like to help us save on printing and postage expenses for our mailing, you can send in a contribution ahead of time, mailing it to:

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

Dues payable to CalUWild are not tax-deductible, as they may be used for lobbying. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please make your check payable to Resource Renewal Institute, CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor, and mail it to the address above. Please print out and enclose a membership form.

Thanks in advance!

Also, if anyone has access to a legitimate copy of Adobe Creative Suite that they would be willing to share, either on disc or by download key, it would be much appreciated. (It doesn’t have to be the latest version.) Photoshop and InDesign are important tools for our work, and our current versions are unusable on newer Mac OS machines.

Thanks, as always, for your support and interest!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Bears Ears Monument Proposal
          Support Still Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Zion National Park Visitor Use Planning
          DEADLINE: November 23
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN OREGON
3.   Defendants in Malheur Refuge Occupation Case
          Found Not Guilty of Conspiracy

IN GENERAL
4.   “Every Kid in a Park” Program Renewed
5.   Great Old Broads for Wilderness Annual Online Auction
          October 30 – November 13
          (AUCTION ITEM)

IN MEMORIAM
6.    Marge Sill, Advocate for Nevada Wilderness

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Bears Ears Monument Proposal
          Support Still Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

The campaign for a presidential designation of the Bears Ears as a national monument continues. If you haven’t contacted the White House or Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, there’s still the opportunity to do that. And if you have, there’s no harm in repeating your request, since it is more important than ever to show support for public lands with the first Bundy trial over.

Another event highlighting the need for the designation took place this month when the State of Utah sold off a square-mile parcel of land included in the proposal to a private party. The buyer, Lyman Family Farms, has a history of buying lands near parks and protected areas, but it’s not clear what their intentions are. The Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation had nominated the parcel for sale, saying it wanted to run educational history programs there, but in the end, it was not the successful bidder.

Other threats to the area include vandalism to archaeological sites as well as oil and gas and mineral development.

Here is contact information for the Administration:

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

Comment line:   202-456-1111
Online comments here
Message via Facebook page

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

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

Here are two press items related to the Bears Ears:

An article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: CMU students learn about Bears Ears area

An editorial in Los Angeles Times: The Bears Ears National Monument would be the bee’s knees

 
2.   Zion National Park Visitor Use Planning
          DEADLINE: November 23
          (ACTION ITEM)

Visitation to the national parks has been hitting record numbers the last few years, especially in this 100th Anniversary year. Many of the parks are finding themselves at their limits, among them Zion in Utah. That park is beginning to develop a plan to manage visitor use and is seeking your input. Here is the Park’s announcement:

Visitor Use Management Plan and EA

Visitation to Zion National Park has been increasing for decades, but especially significant increases have been experienced in the last few years. In 2015, 3,662,220 people visited the park, which was 450,624 more visitors than in 2014 which was also a record year. The peak season in the park has now extended into early spring and late fall. During the height of the summer season it is now common for visitors to wait in long lines to enter the park and board the park shuttle. Parking is routinely full in the park by 9:30 a.m. daily which adds to the parking congestion in Springdale. This increase in visitation stresses park infrastructure, can degrade natural and cultural resources, and adversely affects the visitors’ park experience.

In order to address these issues the park is beginning a Visitor Use Management (VUM) planning process. Through the VUM process, park managers will devise measures to be taken that provide an enjoyable and safe visitor experience while protecting the park’s fundamental resources and values. Various measures will be tested and important information collected during the planning process to help inform the Plan.

The plan will focus on areas where the issues are most acute, principally the park’s front country areas, especially in Zion Canyon. However, due to the influence of any changes in the management of front country areas, the plan will need to analyze impacts associated with gateway communities and the park’s wilderness areas.

This collaborative process will include park partners; visitors; local, state, and federal agencies and governments; and the public. Continue to check this site throughout the process for planning updates for updates and how you can be involved.

More information, including the purpose and need, may be found on the Park Planning website. The page also includes possibilities for management schemes, including timed entry, reservations, elimination of first-come first-serve campsites, park entrance redesign, and more.

Comments should be submitted on this online form before midnight, November 23.

Comments may also be submitted by US Mail to:

Zion National Park
ATTN: VUMP
State Route 9
Springdale, UT 84767

 
IN OREGON
3.   Defendants in Malheur Refuge Occupation Case
          Found Not Guilty of Conspiracy

To the shock of just about everyone, defendants included, a jury in Portland returned verdicts of not guilty in the trial of Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others. It seemed an open and shut case, given the very public nature of the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon. In fact, some original defendants had pleaded guilty to those charges to avoid trial.

Conspiracy to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs was the main charge that the federal government brought against them, not trespass, firearms possession, or unauthorized use of government vehicles. Any of those would have been easily proven. Instead, it seems prosecutors went for a charge that carried a stiffer penalty. Unfortunately, it was one they couldn’t prove.

Ammon Bundy testified that the purpose of the occupation had nothing to do with the work of the Refuge; rather it was to make a point about supposed federal overreach. One juror, known only as Juror 4, sent a lengthy email to the Portland newspaper, The Oregonian, explaining that the verdict should not be seen as support for the Bundys, their actions, or their philosophy, but rather a sign that the prosecution was not able to prove its case that a conspiracy existed.

Other concerns for the jury included the FBI’s use of paid informants and the fact that all kinds of people, including politicians, were able to freely go to the Refuge during the occupation.

The Bundys still face charges in Nevada for their roles in the 2014 standoff outside Las Vegas. They were not released from custody, much to their lawyer’s dismay. He created such a scene in the courtroom that the federal marshals wound up using a taser on him.

More detailed information on Juror 4 and his comments may be found here, and a detailed analysis of the verdicts may be found here.

The controversy over federal agency management in the West is far from over, however, and we will continue to follow it and keep you informed.

 
IN GENERAL
4.   “Every Kid in a Park” Program Renewed

The National Park Service has extended its “Every Kid in a Park” program for a second year. The program gives fourth grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 federally-managed lands and waters. Visit the program page to download the pass and obtain more information.

You may read the Interior Department’s announcement here.

 
5.   Great Old Broads for Wilderness Annual Online Auction
          October 30 – November 13
          (AUCTION ITEM)

It’s time for the Great Old Broads’ Online Auction, our sister organization’s annual fundraiser. Every year, there’s a wide variety of categories to choose from: art & photography, books, jewelry, outdoor adventure trips, vacation stays, and more.

CalUWild is happy to support the Broads in their efforts.

Click here to get started!

 
IN MEMORIAM
6.    Marge Sill, Advocate for Nevada Wilderness

Marge Sill, affectionately known to many of us as the “Mother of Nevada Wilderness,” died at her home in Reno last week at the age of 92. Marge was a tireless champion for protecting wilderness and public lands in Nevada and supported efforts in other states as well. She sometimes checked in here to let me know it was time for more news from Nevada, and it was always a pleasure to talk with her on the phone or at meetings.

Marge worked for nearly 50 years on wilderness and public lands protection, including the establishment of Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada in 1986 and the passage of the Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989, which established 13 wilderness areas. She lived a full life. To say she will be missed is an understatement.

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

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

Utah land grab — two articles in the Deseret News

Attorneys general cast doubt on Utah land push

Group launches petition asking Reyes to nix battle over federal lands

An essay in High Country News: A visit to the Grand Canyon, without handrails — A wild river is “a necessity of the human spirit.”

Two Associated Press articles

Feds to launch expanded review of drilling in Chaco region

Debate simmers over Devils Tower’s name

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

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2016 July

August 3rd, 2016

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Ancient Pueblo Dwelling, Bears Ears NM Proposal                                                                    (Mike Painter)
 

July 2016

Dear CalUWild friends & supporters-

Summertime tends to be slow on the action front, but not this year, as you’ll see below. Take your choice of items to focus on in August-they’re all critical. But please, with one the major party platforms (See Item 7, below) including the proposition that some federal lands should be disposed of, this is not time to take a vacation from involvement.
 

Thanks again to everyone who made an extra contribution to CalUWild in response to the request in last month’s Update. If you’d still like to make a contribution, full information may be found here.
 

There’s always something to add at the last minute: In our October Update and in last month’s, we linked to reviews of a recent book on the great German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. We just received an announcement that on Friday, August 19, at 6 p.m., the Goethe-Institut San Francisco will be showing the film Measuring the World, looking at the curiosity that drove Humboldt and the equally great mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in totally opposite directions. The film is based on the novel of the same name, runs 113 minutes, and is in German with English subtitles. Admission is free. The Goethe-Institut is located at 530 Bush Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco 94108.
 

Thanks for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for wilderness and public lands!
Mike
 

IN UTAH
1.   Public Lands Initiative Bill Introduced in House
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Interior Secty. Sally Jewell Visits the Bears Ears
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
3.   National Forest Planning
          Sequoia National Forest
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Yosemite Wilderness Planning
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Central Coast Wilderness Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL
6.   Other Legislation in Congress

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Public Lands Initiative Bill Introduced in House
          (ACTION ITEM)

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced his long-awaited Public Lands Initiative (PLI) covering seven counties in eastern Utah on July 14, just as Congress was heading out of town for a seven-week recess. More significantly, though, the bill is an attempt to prevent the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument by the President. Mr. Bishop introduced it just as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other administration officials were visiting Utah to learn more about that proposal (See Item 2).

The bill, H.R.5780, does not incorporate much of the feedback received from various counties and the public, and in some respects is worse than the draft released earlier in the year. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance sent out this summary (edited very slightly):
 

After years of missed deadlines, Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) finally introduced his long-delayed Public Lands Initiative. As anticipated, the PLI fails to protect Utah’s remarkable public lands and divests the American people of their public lands heritage. There is no chance this terrible bill could be passed in the few days left in this Congress, and it serves only as an effort to forestall President Obama from designating a Bears Ears National Monument.

Utah’s congressional delegation will no doubt repeat ad nauseam their talking point about 4.6 million acres of federal land “designated for conservation” in the PLI. Don’t believe it. The big acreages proffered by Rep. Bishop are disingenuous, as a hard look at the bill reveals that the PLI is a cobbled together mess that maximizes resource extraction and includes land “protections” riddled with loopholes.

A pro-development bill disguised as conservation

Among the laundry list of unacceptable provisions of the bill, the PLI:

• Fails to protect 62% of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Actas designated wilderness and opens up currently protected lands, such as Wilderness Study Areas, to energy development and off-road vehicle use.

• Substitutes bastardized National Conservation Areas (NCAs) that enshrine the Bush-era management plans that designated thousands of miles of off-road vehicle routes; allows designation and development of new motorized trails; green-lights vegetation manipulation projects (such as pinyon-juniper clearcuts); mandates livestock grazing; declares that no more wilderness can be protected in these areas; and limits federal land managers’ ability to protect natural and cultural resources.

• Fails to protect over half a million acres of the Bears Ears region as proposed by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition; diminishes the Coalition’s voice in management of the reduced Bears Ears NCA by creating a 10-member advisory committee with only one tribal representative; promotes motorized recreation in this archaeologically rich region; allows grazing in currently closed areas like Grand Gulch, Fish, Owl, and Arch Canyons; and prohibits the agency from protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness.

• Seizes authority from public land managers and instead gives the State of Utah control over the permitting and regulation of all forms of energy development on millions of acres of federal lands and, in doing so, likely eviscerates meaningful energy leasing reform such as the nearly completed Moab Master Leasing Plan.

• Codifies the abysmal Bush-era motorized travel plans in protected areas and prohibits future closures of any motorized route for natural or cultural resources concerns.

• Grants thousands of miles of claimed R.S. 2477 routesto the State of Utah while allowing for continued litigation over R.S. 2477 routes within areas designated as wilderness, NCAs, and Recreation Areas.

• Unleashes a carbon bomb by transferring large blocks of federal land to the State of Utah for tar sand, oil shale, potash, coal, oil, and gas development. These blocks are located in the remote Book Cliffs, in high-value scenic and recreation lands near the Green River west of Moab, on Hatch Point bordering Canyonlands National Park, near the world-renowned San Rafael Swell, and in the Uintah Basin.

• Permanently establishes livestock grazing as a priority across southern and eastern Utah and would result in both increased and new grazing in areas currently closed by federal land agencies due to natural and cultural resource damage.

• Furthers the State of Utah’s land grab efforts by transferring federal land to the state, without compensation, for facility development and increased motorized and non-motorized recreation.

• Rewards dangerous anti-government activity by granting a right-of-way for motorized access in Recapture Canyon, the site of San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s illegal 2014 ATV protest ride.

• Undermines the Antiquities Act by including a companion bill [H.R.5781] that would remove the president’s authority under the Antiquities Act to protect deserving landscapes in southern and eastern Utah.

Taken as a whole, the PLI is an assault on the wilderness of southern and eastern Utah.

Where do we go from here?

It’s time to move forward for the sake of Utah’s land, wildlife, and cultural resources. It’s time to call the PLI what it really is: one more failed attempt by Utah’s congressional delegation to develop a meaningful conservation bill for the national treasures of southern and eastern Utah.

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

There has been much written in the Utah and Western press about the PLI, and I could go on and on about it, but I’ll simply link to an op-ed SUWA’s Executive Director Scott Groene wrote for the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah leaders will fail until they respect wilderness.

Our best line of defense in the House is to alert our cosponsor friends to the legislation. Pick out a couple of the bullet points above and please give your representative a call. Especially important are members of the House Natural Resources Committee, marked with an *.

House cosponsors from California 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)
Alan Lowenthal (D-47), lead sponsor

Not cosponsors, but on the House Natural Resources Committee:

Doug LaMalfa (R-1)
Tom McClintock (R-4)
Paul Cook (R-8)
Jeff Denham (R-10)
Jim Costa (D-16)
Norma Torres (D-35)
Raul Ruiz (D-36)

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

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

A full list of Natural Resources Committee members may be found here.
 

2.   Interior Secty. Sally Jewell Visits the Bears Ears
          (ACTION ITEM)

An estimated 1,500 people showed up in Bluff, Utah on July 16 to meet with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, BLM Director Neil Kornze, US Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, and Michael Black, Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Significantly, members of Utah’s congressional delegation sent staff members to attend rather than appear in person.

The gathering in Bluff followed a three-day tour of the area by the officials, which included meetings with tribal leaders at the Bears Ears and with Grand County officials. Secty. Jewell hiked to some of the archaeological sites in the proposal and said she was shocked to see the lack of protection for them. She stressed all along that she was in Utah to listen and that no decision had yet been made within the Administration. Secty. Jewell has long said that they prefer legislative protection, but that the Administration would not hesitate to use the Antiquities Act to designate a monument if that process failed. She expressed disappointment that the PLI had taken so long to be introduced.

Further evidence of the need for protection is provided by this article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the planned expansion of a uranium mine in the monument proposal area.

The Sutherland Institute, no friend of wilderness (see ITEM 7 for an example), posted a video of the Bluff meeting on YouTube. It’s three hours and 15 minutes long, but you don’t need to watch the whole thing to see what the meeting was about.

The Bears Ears proposal continues to garner widespread press in Utah and across the country. Here are a few examples:

CalUWild friend and Advisory Board member Terry Tempest Williams wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune regarding the tribes’ proposal.

The Washington Post published an op-ed, President Obama, make Bears Ears a national monument.

Salt Lake Tribune reported on remarks by Gary Herbert, the state governor, voicing his opposition via an unfortunate choice of words: Utah guv calls pro-Bears Ears monument proposal ‘a political tomahawk’

We repeat our action call from previous months: If you haven’t already, please sign the Bears Ears Coalition’s online petition, and send a message of support to both 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 [at] ios [dot] doi [dot] gov

 
IN CALIFORNIA
3.   National Forest Planning
          Sequoia National Forest
          DEADLINE: August 25
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last month we reported that three California national forests-Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia- had draft management plans open for comment, and we included the California Wilderness Coalition’s recommendations for the Inyo NF. This month we include their recommendations for Sequoia NF. CWC hasn’t released its recommendations for Sierra, and we’ll do our best to get them to you via email or by our Facebook page. (This is one example of a time where Facebook does come in handy, so we don’t have to send out multiple emails, as we try to avoid cluttering up your INBOX. So if you’re on Facebook, please Like and Follow CalUWild there if you haven’t already. We also use it to occasionally post articles of interest between Updates.)

What’s At Stake in the Sequoia National Forest Plan Revisions

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

Unfortunately, the Forest Service’s “preferred” Alternative B for the Sequoia Forest recommends no new wilderness for protection. Even worse, the preferred alternative proposes to double the amount of logging on the Sequoia Forest. But the more conservation-oriented Alternative C recommends more than 206,904 acres of wilderness, while proposing a more modest level of logging.

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

Domeland Wilderness Additions – Alt. C proposes to add 37,415 acres to the existing Domeland Wilderness, including portions of the upper Trout and Salmon Creek drainages and the beautiful Siretta Trail and the unique Twisselmann Botanical Area.

Golden Trout Additions – Alt. C proposes to add 32,920 acres to the existing Golden Trout Wilderness, but roadless lands encompassing Rattlesnake and Durwood Creeks (key tributaries to the North Fork Kern Wild & Scenic River) are not proposed for protection under Alt. C.

Other Wilderness Additions – Alt. C recommends modest additions to the existing Monarch and Jennie Lakes Wilderness.

New “Stand Alone” Areas – Alt. C recommends protection for several new “stand alone” Wilderness areas, including the Stormy Canyon and Cannell Peak areas encompassing much of the lower North Fork Kern watershed, and Slate Mountain and Long Canyon in the Giant Sequoia National Monument portion of the Forest.

The plan identifies about 77.6 miles of rivers and streams previously determined eligible for Wild & Scenic River protection. This includes segments of the Kings, lower Kern, Little Kern, North Fork and North Fork Middle Fork Tule Rivers. But no new eligible streams were identified, including Rattlesnake, Durwood, Trout, Salmon, Brushy, and Dry Meadow Creeks – all important tributaries to the North Fork and South Fork Kern Wild & Scenic Rivers.

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

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

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

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

Project web-site comment form

E-mail

US Mail:

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

 
4.   Yosemite Wilderness Planning
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: September 30
          (ACTION ITEM)

Yosemite National Park is updating its Wilderness Stewardship Plan and has released a Preliminary Concepts Overview. The Park is currently accepting public comments regarding this overview and ideas pertaining to two of the more complex issues in the Yosemite Wilderness: Visitor Use and Capacity, and Stock Use.

The Park’s announcement just came out, so there hasn’t been any time to review it, but if you’d like to do some independent reading, you may download the relevant documents by clicking on the links at the bottom of the project’s Preliminary Concepts page. The page also lists some suggested questions to answer for your comments.

The Park will also host a series of webinars and public meetings in August:

Online Webinar #1
Tuesday, August 9
12 noon – 1 p.m.
Webinar link

Groveland Public Workshop
Wednesday, August 10
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Groveland Community Hall
18720 Highway 120
Groveland, California

Lee Vining Public Workshop
Thursday, August 11
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Lee Vining Community Center
296 Mattly Avenue
Lee Vining, California

San Francisco Public Workshop
Monday, August 15
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Fort Mason Center, Building C
2 Marina Blvd.
San Francisco, California

Oakhurst Public Workshop
Thursday, August 18
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Oakhurst Branch Library
49044 Civic Circle
Oakhurst, California

Online Webinar #2
Monday, August 22
6 – 7 p.m.
Webinar link

For the webinars, the Park Service advises visiting the webex website prior to the meeting date to ensure your device has the proper software to participate.

To submit comments online, click on the Comment Now button on the Preliminary Concepts page.

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

Superintendent
Yosemite National Park
Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

 
5.   Central Coast Wilderness Bill
          (ACTION ITEM)

CalUWild is a member of the coalition working for permanent protection of areas on the Central Coast of California. Rep. Lois Capps (D-24) has been a staunch advocate for wildlands protection there via the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (as well as many other places, including Utah). We shared a detailed description in Item 2 of our May 2014 Update. Rep. Capps reintroduced the bill in the 114th Congress in April 2015 as H.R.1865, and Sen. Barbara Boxer reintroduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Here is a brief description of the bill from the California Wilderness Coalition:

The legislation will protect 245,500 acres of wilderness, create two scenic areas encompassing 34,500 acres, and safeguard 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Once they become law, these protections will help sustain the area’s quality of life by ensuring clean water for communities, protecting valuable wildlife habitat, and stimulating a vibrant local economy.

CWC is asking people to support the effort at protection by contacting the offices of Rep. Capps and Sens. Boxer and Dianne Feinstein as follows:

Rep. Lois Capps:Thank her for her leadership on this to date. Urge her to push for a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee, including submitting a new letter to the committee

Phone:   202-225-3601
Online (for constituents only) here

Senator Barbara Boxer:Thank her for securing a hearing on the bill. Urge her to prioritize the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act and explore strategies to get it passed before the end of her term.

Phone:   202-224-3553
Online here

Senator Dianne Feinstein:Ask her to co-sponsor the Central Coast Heritage Act.

Phone:   202-224-3841
Online here

 
IN GENERAL
6.   Other Legislation in Congress
          (ACTION ITEM)

Three anti-public-lands bills have come to our attention recently. Please feel free to share your thoughts about them with your legislators. (It’s interesting that all of them come Utah legislators … )

Interior Appropriations Bill
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) has introduced an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would prevent the president from designating national monuments in Utah and other areas using the Antiquities Act. The Administration has threatened to veto the bill if this provision is included. Let’s hope Pres. Obama keeps that threat if needed.

Mountain Biking in Wilderness
The Wilderness Act of 1964 (16 USC §1131) begins with: “In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States …” Further on it states: “[T]here shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.” (Emphasis added.)

These words have been generally understood to prohibit bicycles, wheelbarrows, and chainsaws in designated wilderness areas. Over the years, some in the mountain biking community have urged that wilderness areas be opened to mountain bike use. This idea has been gaining some steam, and in March 2016 CalUWild joined over 110 other environmental organizations in a letter to Congress objecting to the idea. In mid-July, the idea became more concrete when Utah Senators Mike Lee (R) and Orrin Hatch (R) introduced the “Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act,” S.3205. The bill would allow land managers to open trails to mountain bikes, as well as use chainsaws for trail maintenance and other activities.

The Park City, Utah, Park Record published an article explaining the legislation in more detail as well as an editorial opposing it: Mountain bikes don’t belong in designated wilderness areas.

Wilderness is a philosophical land designation and not based solely on criteria related to recreation or harm to trails. Rather, it’s meant to keep the modern world at bay. People who enjoy mountain biking are entitled to the same access as everyone else: on foot, horseback, raft, or canoe.

Law Enforcement
Earlier in the year Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act of 2016, H.R.4751, which would terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies. This is another example of the anti-federal-lands viewpoint of some Westerners finding support from their legislators.

So far, the bill has been cosponsored by: Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Mia Love (R-UT), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ), Frank C. Guinta (R-NH), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mark E. Amodei (R-NV), Steve Pearce (R-NM), and Raul R. Labrador (R-ID).
 

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

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

The Oregonian reports: Ammon Bundy’s bodyguard Brian Cavalier pleads guilty to two federal charges

Prosecutors: Ryan Bundy Jail Escape Foiled During Cell Search, reporting that Ryan Bundy tore his bed sheets and braided them together into 12-15 feet of rope in an attempt to escape Multnomah County, Oregon jail.

High Country News Articles

Don’t just save the Grand Canyon. Save the wider region, too.

#whereisjose: The man forging a new path in the outdoors, an article on CalUWild friend José Gonzáles, founder of Latino Outdoors, and his efforts

An essay on the relevance of a sometimes forgotten Western writer: Sometimes, the West must be protected from itself: Today, we need to listen more carefully than ever to the ideas of Western historian, Bernard DeVoto.

A story about the Yosemite ranger, featured in Ken Burns’s series on the national parks: How Shelton Johnson became the Buffalo Soldiers’ champion: The Park Service’s best-known ranger is determined not to let the African-American soldiers fall into obscurity.>

Other Public Lands Links

As mentioned in the introduction: Outside Magazine published an op-ed, Fact-Checking the GOP’s Plan to Steal Your Public Land

As mentioned in Item 2, above, a Center for Western Priorities exposé- Quote: “PERC and Sutherland gave Oregon’s visitation data to New Mexico, Utah’s numbers to Oregon, and Washington’s to Utah. Washington received visitation data from Wisconsin-a state which wasn’t included in the Sutherland/PERC report.” Busted: Right-wing “environmental research” group uses falsified data to justify state land grab

An op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune supporting a Greater Grand Canyon National Monument proposal: Obama should declare this monument … in Arizona

US Fish & Wildlife Service photos of wolf pups in the Rogue Pack started by OR-7, the wandering wolf from Oregon of 5 years ago. (California has its own Shasta Pack in Siskiyou County with pups, as we reported in August last year. So far they’ve pretty much managed to stay out of the spotlight.)

On the Web

CalUWild is a member of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership. Here’s an interesting website and blog dealing with the natural history of the Bodie Hills and the surrounding area.

On Television

In Item 4 of our April Update we linked to a ProPublica series titled Killing the Colorado. On Thursday, August 4, 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central, the Discovery Channel is airing a documentary with the same title, based on the series. The film will be available on Discovery.com, Discovery Go, and Discovery On Demand on August 5.

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

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2016 June

July 1st, 2016

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

June 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

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

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

Take advantage of the opportunity if you can.
 

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

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

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

Best wishes,
Mike
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Bears Ears Monument Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll keep you posed as things develop.
 

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

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

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

Details on the Inyo National Forest Plan Revisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project web-site comment form

E-mail

US Mail:

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

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

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

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

A map of the proposed expansion is here.

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

2411 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

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

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

DC phone: 202-224-3553
Online here

 
5. Changes to Southern California
          National Forest Recreation Fees

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

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

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

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

New York Times Articles

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

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

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

The Bundy Case

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

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

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

Public Lands in General

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

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

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

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

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

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

The National Parks

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

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

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

The Public Trust Doctrine

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

Book Reviews

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

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

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

Video Links

President Obama Speaks at the Sentinel Bridge in Yosemite

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

Grand Canyon in Depth #7: North Rim

 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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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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2016 April

May 5th, 2016

nps_stamp_panel_625
U.S. Postal Service National Park Forever Stamps, 2016

 
April 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

The first thing you probably noticed about this month’s Update is that the illustration is a bit different than usual. On June 2, the U.S. Postal Service will be issuing this panel of 16 stamps commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. (And you may have noticed a rare occurrence last month when the price of a first class stamp actually decreased-to $0.47.) So stock up!

In response to a recent inquiry: The armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and the 2014 standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada didn’t involve wilderness per se. At their foundations, however, is the federal management of public lands, upon which wilderness designation rests. It is important for wilderness supporters to have an understanding of those issues, which is why I’ve been including articles on different topics, all related in varying degrees. I can assure you that our coverage of wilderness issues has not been reduced because of these events. There simply hasn’t been a lot of Congressional or planning activity lately. However, we are still hoping that more California representatives will sign onto America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. (See Item 1.)

Everyone’s focus seems to be on the presidential campaign, in which there is very little discussion about the environment, let alone public lands. It’s important, though, for citizens to keep their representatives and others conscious of these important issues regardless. So, please, write or call Washington, DC and send letters to the editors of your papers whenever you think something needs attention.

Speaking of elections, the California Primary is June 7. There are no environmental propositions on the ballot, though there may be local issues, depending on where you live. The deadline to register vote is Midnight, May 23, which you can do online here.

Finally, I’ll be giving a slideshow on Wild Utah to the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society on Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m in the Recreation Room of the County Fair Building (formerly known as the Hall of Flowers) at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco). Please join us!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Bears Ears Campaign Update

IN GENERAL
3.   Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
          Gives Major Conservation Speech
          (ACTION ITEM)
4.   Job Listing: Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
          DEADLINE: May 12

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

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

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

There have been no recent cosponsorships from California for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, H.R. 2430, though there has been progress across the country. Totals now stand at 108 in the House and 20 in the Senate. Though 19 California representatives are cosponsors, in addition to Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47), the chief sponsor, we’d still like to see the following California House members sign on.

John Garamendi (D-3) *
Mike Thompson (D-5) *
Ami Bera (D-7)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
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 list, please ask them to become a cosponsor. And if you have friends or family living in one of those districts, please encourage them to contact the representative. That’s how we spread our message. A simple phone call will do, or send a note via an online comment form on the representative’s website. Complete contact information may be found by following the links here.

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

 
2.   Bears Ears Campaign Update

The campaign by the Bears Ears Coalition to have the area in southeastern Utah designated a national monument continues to gather steam. In an important step forward, the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s largest newspaper, published an editorial calling on the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to do just that: Obama should create a Bears Ears National Monument.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell gave a speech (see Item 3) in which she mentioned Utah, though not the Bears Ears specifically, as a place needing protection, and she said she and her staff would be visiting the state this summer as part of a national listening and fact-finding tour. In that speech, Secty. Jewell also strongly defended the use of the Antiquities Act, saying:

I believe it’s one of the most important tools a President has to improve our country. … I do not think the Act should only be used in places where there is complete agreement, as some are suggesting. If that were the case, then Teddy Roosevelt would never have protected the Grand Canyon or Muir Woods. And Franklin Roosevelt would never have protected Zion or Joshua Tree. These were all controversial when they were established. … [T]oday, every one of those (now) national parks is an economic engine and huge source of pride for its respective state.

A good way to gauge the impact of a campaign or proposal is to see how the opposition reacts. The anti-conservation politicians in Utah seem to be pulling out the stops against the Bears Ears.

In one move, last week Sen. Mike Noel (R) and the state’s Constitutional Defense Council asked Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate-“ferret out”- the connections, particularly financial, between the Inter-Tribal Coalition and the conservation groups supporting the monument proposal. Mr. Noel claims that the groups, particularly the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, are manipulating the Indian tribes into supporting the monument proposal.

Reaction was negative from many quarters. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted Utah Dine Bikeyah Chairman Willie Grayeyes as saying: “If lawmakers want to know, all they have to do is pick up a phone. Our door is open, and our financials are all online. The state of Utah should consider calling us and asking us how we are funded before launching an investigation. We buy our office furniture at the secondhand store, we have dozens of volunteers and our board members are all unpaid.”

The Tribune also editorialized against Sen. Noel-Noel’s conspiracy theory is insulting-and published several letters to the editor, among them: More ‘conspiracies’ for Noel to ferret out and Constitutional? No, just political.

The Constitutional Defense Council was set up and given a budget of $14 million to promote a lawsuit to transfer of much of the federal land within Utah’s borders to state control and management. It is telling that the Council’s Republican majority has refused to share its lawyers’ legal analysis with its Democratic Party members, despite the fact that those lawyers are hired by the Council, not the GOP members.

Giving yet another insight into the opponents’ mindsets, at a hearing last month of Utah’s Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands, State Sen. David Hinkins (R), the co-chairman, repeatedly asked one of the witnesses from the Ute Mountain Tribal Council, a woman, why there were no male representatives for the tribe testifying. He’s also been quoted in news stories as saying he’s seen no support among the Navajo tribe in Utah for a monument designation, despite the fact that six out of seven chapter houses in the state have voted to support it.

These examples show why those of us who treasure the federal public lands in Utah , but live outside the state need to be actively involved in citizen and legislative efforts to protect them. It’s abundantly clear that the state’s own politicians at both the local and federal levels have no real interest in doing so.

Click here for a map showing the Bears Ears proposal in relation to America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and the Greater Canyonlands monument proposal.

 
IN GENERAL
3.   Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
          Gives Major Conservation Speech
          (ACTION ITEM)

Last week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell gave a speech at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. In it, she laid out important ideas for the country to pursue for the next 100 years.

Her speech looked at three broad themes: Make Parks Relevant to All Americans; Think Big: Landscape-level Planning; and Invest in America’s Public Lands. Here are a few highlights.

In addition to her strong defense of the Antiquities Act (mentioned above in Item 2), Secty. Jewell pledged to continue the “Every Kid in a Park” program, giving fourth-graders and their families free admission to national parks and monuments for a year. She continued, saying: “We also need to ensure that when a diverse class of 4th graders does visit, that they see park rangers who look like them. Or talk to wildlife biologists who share their background. Or see signs in their first language. Or, that they can visit a place that honors their heritage or culture,” citing César Chávez, Harriet Tubman, and the Buffalo Soldiers as finally having their historic contributions recognized by the Park Service. She also said she wants to hear from communities what they see as goals for conservation in the years ahead.

Secty. Jewell said it was necessary to “think big. It’s simply not enough to protect a few isolated places. … We need to take a holistic look at an ecosystem_-_on land or in the ocean_-_to determine where it makes sense to develop, where it makes sense to protect the natural resources, and where we can accomplish both.”

Thirdly, she talked about investing for the future, pointing out that parks generated about $32 billion on a budget of about $3 billion, a 10 to 1 return. But infrastructure such as roads and bridges isn’t the only area needing investment. She also mentioned the need “to check the spread of invasive species, build resilient coastlines in the face of climate change, and restore wetlands and watersheds.” Secty. Jewell also highlighted that “Congress can also do right by permanently authorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million as originally intended.”

Secty. Jewell concluded with a defense of public lands and an appeal to all Americans to continue to work for their protection on whatever level needed and “to set a new path for conservation in the 21st century.”

You may find the full text of Sally Jewell’s speech here and watch it online here, followed by Q&A.

Please send Secretary Jewell a message of thanks.

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

Comment line: 202-208-3100
By email

 
4. Job Listing: Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
          DEADLINE: May 12

Our friends at CSERC have a staff position open for advocacy and fieldwork. Full details here. (Sorry for the short notice; we only got the announcement last week ourselves.)

 
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.

A couple of developments in the Oregon & Nevada standoff cases and related issues

Bundy brothers, three others refuse to enter pleas in Bunkerville standoff

Ammon Bundy to challenge authority of feds to prosecute Oregon standoff defendants

The Guardian published an article: Utah ranchers vow to stand up to government despite Oregon arrests

Bundy Militia’s Takeover Dreams Dashed by Bond Between Ranchers and Feds

The Christian Science Monitor wrote about one aspect of the aftermath: Why Malheur Wildlife Refuge is seeing green after the siege

 
Good news for the Klamath River in Northern California: State, US agree to dismantle 4 dams on Klamath River

A Denver Post article illustrating how legislation sometimes gets introduced: Tipton proposal, largely written by oil and gas company, draws criticism

We wrote last month about April 16-24 being National Parks Week. Pres. Obama issued a proclamation for it, which you can read here.

 
Video Link

Episode 19 in the US Forest Service’s Restore series: Sage Grouse Habitat

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

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2016 February

March 3rd, 2016

DSC_0905a3a
Near the Dolores River, Utah                                                                                                       (Mike Painter)

 
February 2016

Dear CalUWild friends-

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

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

 
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support!

 
Best wishes,
Mike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact information California’s two Senators is here:

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

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

The general page for Senate contact information is here.

 
2.    Public Lands Initiative
          Comments Needed
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Designating several Wild & Scenic Rivers

• Establishing five off-highway vehicle recreation areas.

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

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

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

Mojave Trails

Sand to Snow

Castle Mountains

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

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

Comment line:   202-456-1111
Online comments here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– You support a tramway-free Grand Canyon.

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

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

You can contact the Secretary here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Applications are due March 21st.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Video Links

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

Grand Canyon in Depth #5: Desert View Watchtower.

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

 
 
 
 
 
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