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2006 October

October 20th, 2006

October 20, 2006

Dear friends of CalUWild —

The 2006 election is less than three weeks away, November 7. Although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, and the press sometimes says the opposite, this is one opportunity for you to have an effect, by voting for candidates and initiatives that reflect your values. Even if your side doesn’t win, your vote still sends the message that you care about an issue and furthermore, that you care about representative democracy. Even if you cast a blank ballot on some issues or candidates, please go to your polling place or vote absentee. The deadline for registering to vote in California is Monday, October 23. You can download a registration form by following the instructions on this page.

From CalUWild’s standpoint, there are several issues of particular importance in California this Fall: Propositions 87 (the Alternative Energy Research Tax), 89 (Campaign Financing), and 90 (Private Property Rights Initiative). We support 87 & 89 and oppose 90.

Briefly: Prop. 87 would levy a tax on oil produced in California that would fund research into alternative energy sources, leading to a (hopefully) saner energy policy and remove some of the pressure to develop public lands. Prop. 89 would establish public funding for campaigns in California, removing some incentives for undue political influence.

We oppose Prop. 90 strongly. It was crafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain, whereby government could use its powers to support commercial development as a “public purpose” (as opposed to a park or school or new roadway). No one objects to that aspect, but Prop 90 further requires governments to reimburse property owners when government regulation reduces the value of property. This could play havoc with all sorts of environmental protection laws such as zoning, endangered species protection, or dealing with inholdings. Naturally, the proposal does not require a tax increase when government regulation increases the value of a piece of property.

Please read your voter pamphlet for more details.

In other news, the U.S population reportedly hit 300 million this week. Although much of the reporting in the press seemed almost celebratory, it was not good news from the perspective of wilderness and environment. A larger population will require even more wilderness, but at the same time, both direct and indirect pressures on wilderness will increase: there are more people who will want to visit wild areas, but at the same time, more land will be required to house people and provide food and other resources, creating incentives to stop designating wilderness areas or to de-designate existing ones. It’s an issue we will not be able to ignore much longer.

Thanks for your support of our American wildlands, and now, on to the news—there’s a lot to report this month and a couple of ACTION ITEMS, too.

Best wishes,

Mike

IN UTAH
1. Washington County Growth Bill Heads for Senate Hearing
Letters & Phone Calls Needed
(ACTION ITEM)
DEADLINE: MONDAY OCT. 23
2. BLM Closes Areas Around Factory Butte to ORVs
(ACTION ITEM)
3. No-Wilderness Policy Upheld

IN CALIFORNIA
4. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes
(ACTION ITEM)
5. Rep. Bono Introduces Wilderness Bill in Her District

IN THE NEWS
6. Dr. Edgar Wayburn Turns 100
7. Roadless Rule Reinstated
8. Court Voids Lethal Wolf Control
9. Courts Irked by Administration Policies

IN GENERAL
10. Great Old Broads Annual Online Auction
(AUCTION ITEM)
11. SUWA Job Opening in DC

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IN UTAH
1. Washington County Growth Bill Heads for Senate Hearing
Letters & Phone Calls Needed
(ACTION ITEM)
URGENT
DEADLINE: MONDAY, OCT. 23

We just learned today that the deadline is Monday Oct. 23 for Rep. Hinchey’s letter. Please call your representative first thing Monday morning.

As we’ve reported before, Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett (R) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D) are the chief sponsors of a highly objectionable piece of legislation. Titled the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006 (S.3636 / H.R. 5679), the bill deals with wilderness and public lands around St. George, Utah. This is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation and the average water consumption there is several times the national average. The bill includes the following provisions:

1. Up to 24,000 acres of public land to be given away or auctioned off.

2. The resulting revenue would be used to fund local county services instead of conservation purposes.

3. Inadequate amount of wilderness protected. And much of that wilderness to be designated is already protected in Zion National Park.

4. Creates a fragmented system of rights of way for roads and power and water lines.

The sponsors of the bill say they’ll push for its passage during Congress’s upcoming “lame duck” session after the election. The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be holding hearings on November 16. So strong opposition to the bill is now more important than ever.

There is also a chance that the Washington County bill will be joined with other wilderness bills into an “omnibus” package. Those other bills also contain troublesome provisions, so any omnibus bill should also be opposed.

America’s Redrock Wilderness Act (ARWA) is the Utah wilderness bill supported by most of the environmental community. Its chief sponsors in the Senate and House are currently circulating letters to their colleagues who are cosponsors of ARWA, opposing the Washington County bill. Please also call Sen. Barbara Boxer, asking her to sign onto Sen. Dick Durbin’s letter.

202-224-3553 (DC)
415-403-0100 (SF)
213-894-5000 (LA)
916-448-2787 (Sacramento)
559-497-5109 (Fresno)
619-239-5719 (SD)
909-888-8525 (San Bernardino)

The following California House members are cosponsors. Please call them, thank them for their support of Utah’s redrock wilderness, and ask them to sign onto Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s letter.

Mike Thompson (D-1) 202-225-3311
Doris Matsui (D-5) 202-225-7163
Lynne Woolsey (D-6) 202-225-5161
George Miller (D-7) 202-225-2095
Barbara Lee (D-9) 202-225-2661
Ellen Tauscher (D-10) 202-225-1880
Tom Lantos (D-12) 202-225-3531
Anna Eshoo (D-14) 202-225-8104
Mike Honda (D-15) 202-225-2631
Zoe Lofgren (D-16) 202-225-3072
Lois Capps (D-23) 202-225-3601
Brad Sherman (D-27) 202-225-5911
Howard Berman (D-28) 202-225-4695
Adam Schiff (D-29) 202-225-4176
Henry Waxman (D-30) 202-225-3976
Xavier Becerra (D-31) 202-225-6235
Hilda Solis (D-32) 202-225-5464
Diane Watson (D-33) 202-225-7084
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34) 202-225-1766
Jane Harman (D-35) 202-225-8220
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-37) 202-225-7924
Linda Sanchez (D-39) 202-225-6676
Loretta Sanchez (D-47) 202-225-2965
Bob Filner (D-51) 202-225-8045
Susan Davis (D-53) 202-225-2040

The following California representatives are already signed onto the letter. Please call with your thanks!

Pete Stark (D-13) 202-225-5065
Sam Farr (D-17) 202-225-2861
Maxine Waters (D-35) 202-225-2201
Grace Napolitano (D-38) 202-225-5256

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a member of the Senate ENR committee. Now is the perfect time to contact her, asking her to oppose the bill at the hearing or any omnibus package. You can fax her in Washington, DC:

202-228-3954

Or, you can phone her at:

202-224-3841 (DC)
415-393-0707 (SF)
310-914-7300 (LA)
619-231-9712 (SD)
559-485-7430 (Fresno)

2. BLM Closes Areas Around Factory Butte to ORVs
(ACTION ITEM)

In response to a petition filed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Friends of Factory Butte, the Richfield, UT office of the BLM has imposed travel restrictions on the area around Factory Butte, between Capitol Reef National Park and Hanksville. Long an area favored by off-road vehicle (ORV/OHV/ATV) enthusiasts, the landscape is actually quite fragile, and BLM’s actions were taken specifically to protect two species of endangered cactus. BLM did leave a heavily used area open to unrestricted ORV use. Predictably, the ORV and other access groups were outraged. Please send letters of thanks to:

Cornell Christensen
Manager, BLM Richfield Field Office
150 East 900 North
Richfield, UT 84701

3. No-Wilderness Policy Upheld

A federal judge in Salt Lake City ruled last month that the agreement between then Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Utah’s then-Governor Mike Leavitt was legal. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the case had not been able to show that existing wilderness study areas (WSAs) would be damaged by the agreement. Of course, that was not the argument in the case. Rather, the plaintiffs argued that the BLM had a duty to continue inventorying lands under its management for wilderness character. The case will probably be appealed to the 10th Circuit in Denver.

IN CALIFORNIA
4. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes
(ACTION ITEM)

On Tuesday of this week, the White House signed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, the bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1) and a part of Sen. Barbara Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Act. Sen. Dianne Feinstein helped shepherd the bill through the Senate.

The bill sets aside nearly 275,000 acres in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa Counties, protecting their outstanding wilderness values: solitude, wildlife habitat, including for endangered species, a wild and scenic river (portions of Black Butte Creek), and the Lost Coast, the longest undeveloped piece of coastline in the Lower 48.

The bill had the support of many local government officials and businesses, all of whom contributed efforts to securing its passage.

Please send letters or make phone calls of thanks to Rep. Thompson, Sen. Boxer, and Sen. Feinstein (phone numbers in Item 1). In addition, it’s not a bad idea to thank Pres. Bush for signing the bill, too. His address and phone number are:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
202-456-1111

5. Rep. Bono Introduces Wilderness Bill in Her District

Last month, Rep. Mary Bono (R-45) introduced H.R. 6270, a bill to designate wilderness in Riverside County. Although the bill has very little chance of passage in the current Congress, it is a strong signal from Rep. Bono that she wants it considered in the 110th Congress, which will convene in 2007.

The bill would designate areas in Joshua Tree National Park, add about 1,950 acres to the Agua Tibia Wilderness in the Cleveland National Forest and on BLM lands, and designate 7,131 acres on Cahuilla Mountain in the San Bernardino National Forest, and 21,760 acres there as the South Fork San Jacinto wilderness. Another 16,700 acres on Beauty Mountain on BLM lands would be designated as wilderness. Finally, 31 miles of the North Fork San Jacinto River, Bautista Creek and Palm Canyon would be recognized as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

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

IN THE NEWS
6. Dr. Edgar Wayburn Turns 100

One of the giants of the wilderness and conservation community turned 100 on the 17th of last month. Dr. Wayburn, longtime member and leader of the Sierra Club, made as his goal the preservation of Alaska, the California redwoods, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and many other areas as well.

For his efforts, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 by Bill Clinton.

There is a lot worth knowing about Dr. Wayburn, and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a profile on him and printed a letter to the editor (seventh letter down) from CalUWild, in response.

Dr. Wayburn is one of the original members of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, and we’re proud to know and work with him. We wish him continued health!

7. Roadless Rule Reinstated

Last month a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the Administration had illegally promulgated its substitute for the Clinton-era Roadless Policy. Instead of a policy that would be effective nationwide, the administration decided to substitute a state-by-state approach, whereby Washington would still have the final say in any petition.

The original Roadless Rule was the subject of one of the most comprehensive public comment processes in administrative history. Yet the Administration decided to reverse it. A federal court in Wyoming had upheld the Bush policy, but the latest ruling applies nation-wide.

The plaintiffs in the case included our friends at The Wilderness Society, California Wilderness Coalition, Northcoast Environmental Center, Oregon Natural Resources Council Fund, Siskiyou Regional Education Project, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club, Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife, in addition to the states of California, Oregon, New Mexico, and Washington.

Whether the new ruling is retroactive and how it will be implemented is still the subject of debate. We’ll keep you posted.

8. Forest Service Drops Idaho Wolf Control (For Now)

Wilderness Watch reports that the Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game has dropped its request to use helicopters in wilderness areas to dart and collar wolves. In addition the US Forest Service turned down IDFG’s proposal to kill off two-thirds of northern Idaho’s wolf population.

CalUWild submitted comments last December on behalf of all our members objecting strenuously to the helicopters in wilderness proposal. We stated:

This represents a direct violation of the Wilderness Act of 1964 for several reasons. Helicopters do not belong in wilderness, as they are considered mechanical transport. The Forest Service has not demonstrated any need for the use of helicopters. The proposed wolf collaring is a routine operation, and there is no emergency requiring their use.

But we also object to the uses the helicopters would be put to in addition to their presence. Wildlife populations, both their numbers and behavior, unhindered by human interference, are one of the hallmarks of wilderness. The collaring and manipulating of wolves interferes at a very basic level with wilderness character. This project should not be allowed to proceed, with or without the use of helicopters.

We’re happy to see some success.

9. Courts Annoyed by Administration Policies

The Washington Post reported two weeks ago on a string of decisions in which federal courts had openly criticized the Administration for it failure to enforce the nation’s environmental statutes. This is a quite unusual occurrence, because courts generally don’t want to interfere directly in the political affairs of the other two branches of government. The fact that judges have openly begun criticizing the Administration shows that they feel the administration’s motives in these cases are suspect.

Some of the cases the Post reports on include the Roadless Rule (see Item 7), logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument (see last month’s Update), and salmon restoration on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

It’s interesting to see that there is a growing, vocal backlash against the current Administration’s policies on many fronts.

IN GENERAL
10. Great Old Broads Annual Online Auction

Our “sister” organization, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, is hosting its annual fundraiser, an online auction, full of exciting and interesting items. We’re happy to pass along the announcement!

Support Wilderness Work through Wild for Wilderness Auction

Just in time for your holiday shopping or a bit of self-indulgence, Great Old Broads for Wilderness is hosting a Wild for Wilderness Auction online auction fundraiser. Here’s your chance to make shopping both easy and meaningful, because 100% of the auction monies raised will be used to support Great Old Broads’ important wilderness advocacy work.

The auction includes over 150 items and experiences, from outdoor gear to artwork to exciting adventure trips and vacation stays such as a night at the El Dorado Hotel with dinner for two in Sonoma’s historic district, a weekend sightseeing in San Francisco or Washington, D.C. or any of a wonderful selection of bed & breakfast stays. If getting out into the wild is more your style, you won’t want to miss trips like canoeing Labyrinth Canyon on Utah’s Green River, kayaking the Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands or backpacking and fly fishing in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. All of these fabulous experiences and more, are up for auction during the Great Old Broads for Wilderness online auction fundraiser. There’s no need to drive to the mall or hassle with the crowds. Just surf your way through their many fine selections, point and click!

Great Old Broads for Wilderness Wild for Wilderness Online Auction runs from October 27 –November 19, 2006. Bid on great auction items and support a good cause at the same time! If you have questions contact broads@greatoldbroads.org or call our Durango, CO office at 970-385-9577.

11. SUWA Job Opening in DC

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has a position for a legislative assistant open in Washington, DC.

Justin Allegro has filled the position very ably for the last couple of years. It has been a pleasure working with Justin, and we wish him luck in his new endeavors!

Here is SUWA’s announcement:

JOB DESCRIPTION
SOUTHERN UTAH WILDERNESS ALLIANCE

Title: Legislative Assistant
Location: Washington, DC Office
Reports to: Executive Director and Legislative Director
Status: Full-time
Salary: Commensurate with a candidate’s relevant professional experience.
To Apply: Submit resume, cover letter, writing sample, and three references to peter@suwa.org
Deadline: November 3rd, 2006

Description

The Legislative Assistant works closely with the Legislative Director and Executive Director to advance SUWA’s goal of protecting Utah wilderness. This person also plays a critical role in the success of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s congressional and administrative efforts. The Legislative Assistant will regularly lobby Congress on behalf of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, analyze legislation, develop educational materials for Congress and the public, and coordinate with SUWA staff in Utah and other wilderness advocacy organizations.

This is an entry-level legislative assistant position. A competitive benefits package includes health care coverage, a retirement plan, and paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for travel and additional training are available.

Qualifications

To effectively perform this role, this person must possess strong communication and writing skills, the ability to work in teams, and should be self-motivated and committed to the preservation of wilderness. Experience in environmental/wilderness issues strongly preferred. Experience with the legislative process and Congress is preferred, but not required.

Responsibilities

• Assist Legislative Director in daily tasks as well as implementing SUWA’s broader legislative strategies.

• Lobby members of the House of Representatives and Senate to gather cosponsors for Utah wilderness legislation and defend against harmful legislation.

• Work to achieve proper interim administrative protections for lands included in Utah Wilderness Coalition’s wilderness proposal, in order to ensure their wilderness suitability for eventual designation.

• Help organize activist trainings and lobby days in Washington, one or two times per year, working with SUWA grassroots staff.

• Coordinate closely with SUWA staff on wilderness legislation, public land reform measures, and relevant administrative actions, to achieve the goals of the organization.

• Coordinate with other wilderness advocacy and environmental groups in Washington to elevate the Utah wilderness issue nationally and defend against administrative or legislative action harmful to Utah’s wild lands.

• Prepare and deliver materials to Congress.

• Help with office administrative tasks.

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2005 October

October 31st, 2005

October 31, 2005

Dear CalUWild friends —

There are several items this month with very short deadlines, requiring immediate attention. I apologize for the short notice, but all are important, so please take the time in the next few days to send off a letter or make a phone call. Thanks!

One of our fellow wilderness organizations, Great Old Broads for Wilderness is having an online auction to help raise funds. They are a wonderfully effective group, a joy to work with, and definitely worth supporting. Please check out their auction web site. It won’t be ready to bid on until November 1, but you can go there and check it out now.

Speaking of fundraising, all nonprofit organizations are in constant need of support, and CalUWild is no exception. We do not engage in direct mail solicitations — all funding comes from current members, foundations, and a company or two. Dues have always been voluntary for members receiving our Monthly Update via e-mail. When you receive a dues reminder, please consider making a contribution. Large or small, it will help us help you protect the lands we all love.

Thanks,

Mike

IN UTAH
1. R.S. 2477 Lawsuit Filed

IN CALIFORNIA
2. Governor Signs Cache Creek Wild & Scenic River Bill
3. E-mails Needed on Plan Revisions for
Four Southern California National Forests
DEADLINE: November 10
(ACTION ITEM)

IN ALASKA
4. Senate Includes Arctic Drilling in Budget Bill
Deadline: Wednesday, November 2 in the Senate
Monday, November 7 in the House
(ACTION ITEM — URGENT)

IN NEW MEXICO
5. Ojito Wilderness Bill Signed

IN GENERAL
6. Fee Demonstration Hearing
E-mails Needed
Deadline: November 4, 2005
(ACTION ITEM)

7. Park Service Rules Revisions Get New Draft

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IN UTAH
1. R.S. 2477 Lawsuit Filed

In mid-October, the Wilderness Society and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance filed suit in Utah federal court against Kane County for opening up routes to off-road vehicle (ORV) use after the BLM had closed them. The disputed routes include 100 or more in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Earthjustice attorney Ted Zukoski of Earthjustice said in a written statement: “We’re filing this lawsuit because Kane County is attempting to seize control of the management of some of America’s most spectacular public lands. The Constitution and federal law require that these lands be managed for all Americans, not by local counties for the benefit of a few ORV enthusiasts. Kane County’s bluster and bullying don’t give it the right to trash national parks and other lands by turning them into dirt bike and ATV playgrounds.”

Earlier this year, the Utah BLM director threatened to sue the county over the road signs but so far has taken no action. Perhaps this lawsuit will encourage BLM to move.

IN CALIFORNIA
2. Governor Signs Cache Creek Wild & Scenic River Bill

On October 6, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk (D-Davis) designating 31 miles of Cache Creek in Lake and Yolo Counties “Wild and Scenic.” This issue has been at the top of the list of California conservationists for several years and has been the subject of several CalUWild Update items.

The bill protects the creek (actually a small river) from new dams and thus preserves the many recreational opportunities in the BLM-managed lands through which it flows, as well as rafting and other recreation on the creek itself.

Please write the Governor and thank him for signing the bill.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

3. E-mails Needed on Plan Revisions for
Four Southern California National Forests
DEADLINE: November 10
(ACTION ITEM)

The four national forests — Los Padres, Angeles, Cleveland, and San Bernardino — are among the jewels of the southern part of the state. They are beautiful and very heavily used for recreation. They also provide important reservoirs of plant and wildlife habitat in an area that is growing rapidly.

The Forest Service recently released a Final EIS and Management Plan for the four forests. Two organizations with which CalUWild works closely, the California Wild Heritage Campaign and the Sierra Club, have serious concerns about the final plan, and they are mounting a public letter writing campaign to improve the decisions that will be made under the new plan.

The request below is, therefore, different than most of our calls for letters or comments, because the plan in question has been released in its final form. Although we are asking you to write Mr. Weingardt, the Regional Forester, we are asking you to please e-mail them to Holly Owens, the CWHC organizer for Southern California. CWHC and the Sierra Club will personally deliver the letters to Regional Forester Bernie Weingardt.

Holly assures me that she will not collect e-mail addresses to add to other distribution lists.

***The Forest Service Needs To Hear From You!***

See below for an easy-to-email letter to the Forest Service

Dear friends of wild places:

The Forest Service has recently issued new management plans for the four Southern CA Forests: the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino. These plans are the blueprints for how our forests will be managed for the next 15-20 years, guiding decisions on everything from recommending areas for wilderness to protecting wildlife and deciding where development can occur. Concerned people like yourselves have worked hard for years to share ideas for how the forests can be protected and restored as the Forest Service wrote the new plans.

Unfortunately, the resulting plans are out of balance with the needs of most people who value and visit these national forests. For example, the Forest Service acknowledges they cannot meet people’s demands for wilderness recreation, yet the plans recommend only an additional 2% of our forests for wilderness designation, leaving out thousands of acres of land eligible for consideration as wilderness.

The new plans also fail to adequately address rapidly growing development and off-road vehicle damage. The LA Times editorialized about its disappointment in the new plans, noting that they “open up more forest land to off-road vehicles, even though the Forest Service admits it cannot police the areas already open.” The plans will expand harmful, polluting off-road vehicle use while offering few improvements for the 90% of visitors who don’t use off-road vehicles.

The plans do not address challenges that threaten the natural and recreational values in the four forests:

– The Cleveland National Forest is confronted with proposals to flood Morrell Canyon, a popular oak-filled canyon for a hydroelectric plant, to build a toll road through wilderness-quality lands, and to construct massive power transmission lines along a spectacular scenic vista.

– A plan to drill for oil in condor habitat and ongoing off-road vehicle damage are key threats on the Los Padres National Forest.

– A toll road has been proposed through the Angeles National Forest, where visitors often suffer inadequate facilities and services, and major new developments are gradually encircling the forest, threatening vital wildlife migration trails, increasing the risk of fire and impacting recreation opportunities.

– The San Bernardino National Forest faces similar development risks, particularly from growth pressures on communities surrounded by national forest land.

The four Southern CA forests are visited by over eight million people a year – twice the number of visitors to Yosemite National Park. These forests are where many children play in snow for the first time, see their first pinecones and deer, and wade in their first sparkling creek. For millions of residents, a personal link with our natural world begins and is sustained in these forests.

“Four years and millions of dollars have been spent on a plan that will only lead to a further decline in the quality of visitors’ experiences and the health and beauty of the forests. Now those who love and value our forests must continue to champion a positive vision that will serve the public and protect the forests in ways the Forest Service plans fail to do.” – Bill Corcoran, Sierra Club Senior Regional Representative [and CalUWild Steering Committee member].

Although there is no official comment period on the new forest plans, it is important that we let the Forest Service know how the plans can be improved as we continue to advance our efforts to protect the wild places of our national forests in the weeks, months and years to come. The Forest Service needs to hear from you.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Please take a few minutes to write a letter to the top Forest Service official in CA, Regional Forester Bernie Weingardt. Your letter, along with hundreds of others from people who care about our forests, will be hand delivered to Mr. Weingardt. Please send me your letter by November 10.

Instructions:

1. ** Customize the letter – include your own personal experiences and concerns by adding in your desire to protect specific places, your concerns about development and other damage to the forest, etc., and add the date and your contact information **

2. Email the letter to: holly@californiawild.org

Address the letter to:

Mr. Bernie Weingardt
Regional Forester
Pacific Southwest Region
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592

Suggested comments:

– Recommend more wilderness and wild rivers for permanent protection. Unlike the Back Country zones, wilderness permanently protects resources like water and wildlife while providing high quality and sustainable recreation opportunities to a continually growing number of forest visitors. These areas include, Morrell Canyon and the Eagle Peak in the Cleveland National Forest; Pleasant View Ridge and Condor Peak in the Angeles; and Cahuilla Mountain and South Fork San Jacinto River in the San Bernardino. Deserving rivers include, the San Antonio Creek and Lower Piru Creek in the Angeles Forest; Pine Valley Creek in the Cleveland Forest; North Fork San Jacinto River and Deep Creek in the San Bernardino Forest; and the South Fork Little Sur in the Los Padres Forest.

– Do not allow an expansion of off-road vehicle trails and do not legalize illegal trails. Trespassing, erosion, fire risk, loss of wildlife, pollution and noise make poorly managed off-road use one of the key threats to our forests.

– Provide real commitments to better serve the 90% of visitors who do not use off-road vehicles. We need improved trails, better facilities, and more field staffing to provide public outreach and education.

– Please take a leadership role in protecting our forests and better serving the majority of forest visitors.

Your voice is important in protecting our national forests’ wild places for future generations. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you for your time and for taking action,

Holly

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Holly Owens

Regional Organizer

Sierra Club / CA Wild Heritage Campaign

P.O. Box 638

Idyllwild, CA 92549

951-303-7922

IN ALASKA
4. Senate Includes Arctic Drilling in Budget Bill
Deadline: Wednesday, November 2 in the Senate
Monday, November 7 in the House
(ACTION ITEM — URGENT)

The information in the alert below comes from CalUWild’s co-coordinator Vicky Hoover of the Sierra Club. California’s senators will not vote to open up the refuge, but we are mounting a campaign to convince senators from other states to vote against drilling as well. So if you have family or friends in Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, or Rhode Island, please take a moment to call them or e-mail them. Ask them to contact their senators urging a NO vote on the Budget Reconciliation Bill. To make it easier for you, contact information for those key senators is given below.

REUTERS: Updated: 2:26 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2005

WASHINGTON – The Senate Energy Committee voted Wednesday to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling as part of a broad budget bill to fund the federal government.

Within weeks, the measure could become law. By attaching the language to the budget bill, Republicans have made it impossible for Democrats to block it with a filibuster. And the House of Representatives has repeatedly voted in favor of opening the refuge to energy development.

Tapping the refuge’s billions of barrels of crude oil is a key part of the Bush administration’s national energy plan. Environmental groups and most Democrats oppose drilling, saying that instead of threatening the habitat of wildlife in ANWR, lawmakers should look at ways to cut oil consumption with more fuel-efficient vehicle standards.

__________________

We Need Your Help

Please take a moment to tell Congress to keep the oil industry out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Conservationists are not alone in opposing the Reconciliation bill. A broad and growing coalition of progressive organizations — operating under the banner of the Emergency Campaign for America’s Priorities (ECAP) – has added its voices to the chorus demanding that Congress reject the Reconciliation Bill’s draconian cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, student aid, and other vital programs.

Now, after this ominous Committee action, final round of calls to key swing legislators in BOTH House and Senate assume extra urgency and importance:

No matter what state you live in, contact your own representatives and contact people you know in the states listed below, urge them to ask the relevant Senators and representatives to vote AGAINST the budget when both Houses hold their votes, which could be as early as Thursday. The House is expected to vote the week of November 7.

Phone numbers and fax numbers for these key votes are given below.

SENATORS (liberal Republicans who have voted previously to protect the Arctic) Phone number is listed first, then fax

John McCain, Arizona

(202) 224-2235 (202) 228-2862

Olympia Snowe, Maine

(202) 224-5344 (202) 224-1946

Susan Collins, Maine

(202) 224-2523 (202) 224-2693

Norm Coleman, Minnesota

(202) 224-5641 (202) 224-1152

Mike DeWine, Ohio

(202) 224-2315 (202) 224-6519

Gordon Smith, Oregon

(202) 224-3753 (202) 228-3997

Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island

(202) 224-2921 (202) 228-2853

IN NEW MEXICO
5. Ojito Wilderness Bill Signed

Pres. Bush signed the Ojito Wilderness Bill last Thursday, designating about 11,000 acres in Sandoval County, New Mexico as the Ojito Wilderness. South of San Ysidro, the new wilderness area is rich in archaeological resources, rare plants, and spectacular scenery. The area is on BLM-managed lad and had been a wilderness study area since 1991. This was the first wilderness designation in New Mexico since before 1990.

The bill also transferred adjacent ancestral lands to the Zia Pueblo, to also be managed as open space. Grazing will be allowed in the wilderness area, but mining, ORVs, and mountain biking will not be allowed.

IN GENERAL
6. Fee Demonstration Hearing
E-mails Needed
Deadline: November 4, 2005
(ACTION ITEM)

The alert below comes from Keep Sepse Wild in Southern California. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is on the Public Lands Subcommittee that held the hearing discussed. If there is an example of a non-compliant fee area near you, tell her about it. It wouldn’t hurt to send Sen. Barbara Boxer a copy of your comments as well.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(ph) 202-224-3841
(fax) 202-228-3954

Sen. Barbara Boxer
(ph) 202-224-3553
(fax) 415-956-6701

The Senate Subcommittee hearing held on Wednesday, October 26th to review implementation by the US Forest Service and the BLM of the new fee law, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), presented plentiful evidence of agency overreach beyond the letter and the intent of the law.

Invited witnesses Kitty Benzar, Western Slope No Fee Coalition, Marv Stalcup, Arizona No Fee Coalition, and Lance Young, World Outing Club, Seattle, testified that few or no changes have occurred at fee sites since the FLREA was signed into law 10 months ago – though the FLREA specifically restricted fees to “areas” with six amenities present (trash can, picnic table, toilet, interpretive sign, designated parking and security services), prohibited entrance fees for Forest Service and BLM lands, and banned fees for access to backcountry, parking, or passing through public lands without using any facilities.

Further, the agencies have created a new fee category (nowhere mentioned in the FLREA), the “High Impact Recreation Area,” or HIRA, which often extends for up to tens of thousands of acres around the core site where the six amenities are present.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: The Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests chaired by Senator Larry Craig, (R-ID) has demonstrated a keen interest in Forest Service and BLM implementation of the FLREA, simply by holding this hearing and by inviting three fee opponents to testify.

What happens next is not immediately clear, however. Will the Senate introduce legislation to tighten the poorly-defined language of the FLREA? With your help, this CAN be accomplished!

On our side is the fact that the Senate unanimously passed Sen. Craig Thomas’s (R-WY) bill in 2004, which made permanent Park Service fees ONLY, and would have allowed US Forest Service, BLM and US Fish & Wildlife Service recreation fees to lapse. Key Senators were extremely upset when the FLREA was foisted on them instead, with no opportunity for debate, amendments, hearings or a vote, as a rider attached to a must-pass spending bill in Dec 2004.

But vital to the success of our efforts to curtail the agencies’ overreach in the implementation of the FLREA is YOUR INPUT to Washington DC! Written public testimony is being accepted into the official record of the hearing until November 4th. Quite simply, more will happen, and faster, if an unprecedented number of emails are received at the offices of the Subcommittee.

WHAT TO DO: Please email the Subcommittee that held the hearing. Deadline for comments to be entered in to the public record (this is important) is Friday November 4th, 5 pm Eastern time.

We are not providing a sample letter, as brief comments are OK and we want to avoid the sample letter being seen as a form letter (which carries much less weight).

EMAIL TO: kristina_rolph@energy.senate.gov

In order to be accepted into the record you must

1. Begin your email with the following statement: “Please include this in the public record for the 10/26/05, 2 pm hearing before the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on the implementation of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.”

2. End your email with your name and complete regular mailing address.

Your testimony WILL NOT be accepted without these TWO inclusions.

Please also mention facts about agency overreach in your area, such as the following:

(a) High Impact Recreation Areas (HIRAs) which illegally extend fee authority beyond a core site that contains the six amenities (toilet, trash can, interpretive sign, designated parking, picnic table and security services) and which also include undeveloped trailheads under fees, when the FLREA says they should remain free. (b) Special Recreation Permits. These used to be for commercial outfitters and guides, but are now being required by the agencies for individual uses of public lands (i.e. Wilderness access, ORVs, mountain biking and horseback riding). If you are now being required to buy one, give the details. (c) Trailhead parking fees, which are using fees to control access to dispersed, undeveloped backcountry areas despite language in the law prohibiting fees for backcountry use.

For further details on agency fee overreach and examples of non-compliant fee sites, check out the WSNFC’s Oct 2005 Survey Report to Congress at their NEW website, http://www.WesternSlopeNoFee.org.

We don’t often have the opportunity to submit testimony for the official congressional record, especially via email. Emails are easy to generate! Please help further by contacting friends and family who will send an email similar to yours.

This may be 2005’s MOST IMPORTANT opportunity to give input to the public record of a fee hearing in DC. Please help deluge the congressional record with testimony from concerned citizens!

Thank you.

Alasdair Coyne,
Keep Sespe Wild
(805) 921-0618

P.O. Box 715
Ojai, CA 93024

7. Park Service Rules Revisions Get New Draft

As we reported in the September Update, the Department of the Interior in August released a revision to the Department’s park management policies. These revisions were prepared by a political appointee, Paul Hoffman, and would have allowed more commercial and recreational activities in parks, including opening many trails to ORVs. The Park Service rejected these changes.

Mr. Hoffman said that his draft was meant to stimulate discussion. However, it is not clear why the policies needed revision, as they were just revised in 2001. In any event, this month the Department issued a new draft which stepped back from many of the more controversial provisions. However, conservationists remain concerned. The new rules are undergoing a 90-day public comment period and CalUWild will try to provide more information next month for our members.

Stay tuned.

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2005 October

2004 October

October 27th, 2004

SPECIAL NOTE: Due to the brevity of the first October UPDATE, it has been added to this interim update as a single web release.

October 27, 2004

Dear friends and supporters of CalUWild —

On October 15 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an environmentalist, Dr. Wangari Maathai of Kenya. She is the founder and coordinator of the Green Belt Movement, a program that encourages and facilitates women planting trees in areas needing reforestation. The women are paid a small sum for each tree that survives longer than a year, and this money is often the only money that the women have any control over, since many of the Kenyan tribes are extremely patriarchal.

Besides acting to empower women, GBM also took the lead in restoring democracy to Kenya during the dictatorship of the former president. She is now the country’s Deputy Minister for the environment.

While I was working for Resource Renewal Institute (CalUWild’s fiscal sponsor) I had the privilege of working with Wangari through GBM’s international arm, fundraising and arranging travel and speaking engagements for her. Unfortunately, we also frequently mounted letter-writing campaigns when she was beaten and arrested by the police in Nairobi.

One of the most important things I learned from working with Wangari is that if you want democracy, you have to work for it. That’s not always easy. The situation in the U.S. is quite different from Kenya, yet there are threats to democracy here as well. One threat is the belief that ordinary citizens can’t have an impact. This, unfortunately, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you believe it, you won’t get involved, and uninvolved people are not heard by decisionmakers.

We do still have a voice; it’s up to us to use it. Write to your senators and representatives. Write to newspapers. Submit comments to the BLM and other agencies.

Most importantly, vote on November 2.

In some good news this month, the BLM announced it was calling a halt to a study that might have led to the approval of three energy projects along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. The Front is a very important scenic and wildlife area, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. The BLM said it wants to undertake a more thorough review of the entire region’s resources, probably beginning in 1997. By then perhaps, a way may be found to protect the area permanently.

In some bad news, the State of Utah announced earlier this month that it plans to sue the Department of Interior over 10 rights of way in the San Rafael Swell that it claims under R.S. 2477. According to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, at least two of the routes are in wilderness study areas. In May of this year, San Juan County filed suit to open Salt Creek in Canyonlands National Park, which the Park had closed after years of comments and lawsuits. These actions by the state are quite hypocritical, since the purpose of the memorandum of understanding that Utah signed with Interior Secretary Gale Norton last year was to make litigation unnecessary. Furthermore, one of Utah’s repetitive claims has been that it is conservationists who are always going to court to file suit. Yet the state is doing the same thing itself when it feels like it. We’ll keep you posted as things develop on R.S. 2477.

As you’ll see from the items below, there are several slide shows and films that you might find interesting. Please attend one or more if you’re able. If you know of events in your area that might be of interest, let us know and we’ll try to include them in our monthly UPDATE.

Again, many thanks to the CalUWild members who have renewed their memberships recently. A new batch of renewals will be going out soon to those with later renewal dates, so if you receive one, please help us out if you can.

Finally, as always, if you ever have questions, suggestions or other comments, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send an e-mail to info@caluwild.org. We are here to help you be effective advocates.

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

IN UTAH
1. Price RMP Comment Period Extended
New DEADLINE: November 29, 2004

IN CALIFORNIA
2. 40th Anniversary Slide Show in Berkeley
November 3, 2004

3. An Evening with Tim Palmer
November 12, 2004

4. Screenings of Monumental
A Film about David Brower
Berkeley: November 15, 2004
Palo Alto: December 2, 2004

IN ARIZONA
5. Colorado River Management Plan
Open House in San Francisco
December 2, 2004

IN NEVADA
6. Lincoln County Wilderness Bill
Passes House & Senate
Final Action Still Needed

7. Friends of Nevada Wilderness 2005 Calendar
Passes House & Senate
Final Action Still Needed

IN NEW MEXICO
8. Ojito Wilderness Bill Passes House

IN GENERAL
9. Roadless Rule Comments Still Needed
DEADLINE: November 15, 2004
(ACTION ITEM)

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

IN UTAH
Price RMP Comment Period Extended
New DEADLINE: November 29, 2004

As we announced in our very brief UPDATE two weeks ago, the deadline for the BLM’s Price Office Resource Management Plan has been extended to November 29. Please see the September UPDATE for talking points. You can find it on CalUWild’s web site at: https://www.caluwild.org/docs/September_UPDATE_web.htm

IN California
2. 40th Anniversary Slide Show in Berkeley
November 3, 2004, 7 p.m.

Wilderness advocates and lovers, grateful for this treasure in our lives, will get together to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

On November 3, at 7:00 p.m. in Berkeley there will be a slide show of Wilderness beauties and of the people and events leading up to that historic event. Come to learn about Wilderness in the U.S., share your enthusiasm and experiences, end enjoy refreshments. Presentation by Jack Robbins, former chair of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s Wilderness Subcommittee and renowned climber. Included will be photos by late CalUWild Advisory Board member Galen Rowell.

The location is:

REI
1338 San Pablo Avenue (near Gilman Street)
Berkeley, CA

3. An Evening with Tim Palmer
November 12, 2004.

The following comes from the South Yuba River Citizens League:

The South Yuba River Citizens League presents an evening with award-winning author & photographer Tim Palmer. He will do a slide presentation and talk about his new book “California Wild .” Tickets are $5 at the door. All proceeds go to SYRCL.

Friday November 12
7pm at Camp Del Oro Lodge
Nevada City, CA

For more information: (530)265-5961 x202.

4. Screenings of “Monumental”
A Film about David Brower
Berkeley: November 15, 2004
Palo Alto: December 2, 2004

David Brower, a founding member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, was one of the giants-some would say THE giant-of the conservation movement in the 20th century. He left behind an important legacy. Our friends and partners at the California Wilderness Coalition are hosting 2 free screenings of the film “Monumental” in the weeks ahead. We hope you’ll join them. Here is their invitation:

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the California Wilderness Coalition invites you to a free screening of Monumental: David Brower’s Fight for Wild America Showing in two Bay Area locations.

Presentation on the anniversary of the Wilderness Act and light refreshments provided at 7:00 p.m. Film begins at 7:30 p.m.

Showing in Berkeley Monday, November 15th Pacific Film Archive Theater, UC Berkeley Campus 2575 Bancroft Way at Bowditch Street.

Showing in Palo Alto Thursday, December 2nd at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto 505 East Charleston Road Seating is limited.

Seating is Limited. Please e-mail lfrancisco@calwild.org or call (510) 451-1450 to RSVP by November 8th for Berkeley screening, by November 22nd for Palo Alto screening.

5. In Arizona
Colorado River Management Plan for Grand Canyon National Park
Open House in San Francisco
December 2, 2004

Mark your calendars!

The National Park Service has released its Draft Colorado River Management Plan for Grand Canyon National Park. They will be holding open houses around the country (mostly in the West) in November and December and only one will be in California, in the Bay Area. The last meeting scheduled will take place in San Francisco at the Presidio on December 2. The complete schedule of open houses is below. Please tell your friends and family who might be interested in other areas of the country.

Important: You can submit your comments to the Park Service whether or not you attend one of the open houses, and we will cover the comment process next month.

CalUWild is working with other conservation and river-running organizations from around the country to develop simple talking points for comments, and we hope to have them ready for distribution soon. If you plan on attending one of the other meetings before the next UPDATE comes out, please send an e-mail to info@caluwild.org for more information on the plan.

All CRMP Public meetings will be held at the following cities from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.:

San Francisco, California
Thursday, December 2, 2004
The Presidio of San Francisco
Officers’ Club
50 Moraga Avenue
San Francisco, CA
http://www.presidio.gov/Visiting/DirectionsShuttle/OfficersClub.htm

Denver, Colorado
Monday, November 8, 2004
Arapahoe Community College Cafeteria
5900 S. Santa Fe Drive
Littleton, CO
http://www.arapahoe.edu/aboutacc/maps/index.html

Salt Lake City, Utah
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Salt Lake Community College-Miller Campus
Karen Gail Miller Conference Center
9750 South 300
West Sandy, UT
http://www.slcc.edu/miller/MAP/

Arlington, Virginia
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel Ballroom
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA
http://marriott.com/property/propertyPage/WASGW

Las Vegas, Nevada
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Henderson Convention Center Ballroom and Sierra A & C
200 Water Street
Henderson, NV
http://www.visithenderson.com/index01.html

Flagstaff, Arizona
Monday, November 22, 2004
Coconino Community College Administration Building –
Commons Area
2800 S. Lone Tree Rd.
Flagstaff, AZ
http://www.coconino.edu/campuses/lonetree.html

Phoenix, Arizona
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Glendale Community College
Student Lounge
6000 W. Olive Avenue
Glendale, AZ
http://www.gc.maricopa.edu/map/

6. In Nevada
Lincoln County Wilderness Bill Passes House & Senate
Final Action Still Needed

Earlier this month, the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2004 passed both the House and the Senate, although in slightly different versions. Among other things, the bill designates 768,294 acres of wilderness in Lincoln County. The bill has been controversial, however, within the conservation community because it contains numerous other public lands provisions that are objectionable and have nothing to do with wilderness.

Among the provisions opposed by conservationists was the grant of a water pipeline right-of-way which would allow for interbasin water transfers from rural Nevada to Las Vegas.

The Nevada congressional delegation, led by Democratic Whip Sen. Harry Reid, has decided to take a county-by-county approach to public lands legislation in the state and has signaled that they will not entertain stand-alone wilderness bills. The Clark County bill that passed in 2002 was the first such. Wilderness advocates have thus been faced with a tough choice: whether to include their proposal with a bill that is far from perfect on other grounds, or forego wilderness protection at the present time.

The House version was passed on a voice vote, and it was amended on the floor to restore two areas in the Nevada citizens proposal that House Resources Committee chairman Richard Pombo had deleted previously. In addition, some land also deleted by Rep. Pombo was added to a wilderness study area. The final bill does contain the objectionable water right-of-way provisions.

Congress is in recess until after the election, so House action to reconcile the two versions will have to wait until the lame duck session.

7. In Nevada
Friends of Nevada Wilderness 2005 Calendar

The following comes from Friends of Nevada Wilderness:

The 2005 Wild Nevada calendar is now available. It showcases beautiful photographs of Nevada’s wild landscapes, interesting history and facts about the Silver State, while celebrating designated Wilderness around the state and bringing attention to wonderful wild places throughout Nevada that still deserve protection.

The 2005 calendar features wilderness areas designated in Clark County in 2002, areas that are likely to be designated in the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2004, some of the “Jaksick parcels” approved for acquisition in Round 5 of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, proposed wilderness in the Owyhee Canyonlands and many more!

And all proceeds benefit Nevada’s wild places!

The 2005 Wild Nevada Calendar makes a great holiday present. Get your holiday shopping out of the way before fall ends. Let the Wild Nevada 2005 calendar tell your friends, family, clients and coworkers what beautiful lands we have in Nevada. It’s an affordable gift that keeps giving all year long.

Order yours today!

Calendar prices (prices include tax):

1-4 Calendars $12 each
5-9 $11
10-24 $10
25-49 $9
50-99 $8
100 or more $7

Add 10% for shipping.

Order yours today! You can do so in the following ways:

1. Call (775) 324-7667 (or for more information)
2. Click here to order yours securely online: https://www.nevadawilderness.org/buycal.phtml

Conservation Organizations: The 2005 Wild Nevada Calendar is great way to share your mission with others while raising funds for your organization. Call us to discuss the opportunities.

Retail merchants. If you operate a bookstore or gift shop, call us for wholesale pricing on quantity orders.

Order your 2005 Wild Nevada calendar today! Your wall will be lonely without it.

8. In New Mexico
Ojito Wilderness Bill Passes House

We reported in March that a New Mexico wilderness bill had been introduced.

https://www.caluwild.org/docs/Mar_UPDATE_web.htm#5

The bill was considered with the Lincoln County, Nevada Bill discussed above in the House and was passed with it. It now awaits action in the Senate in the upcoming lame duck session.

The bill designates about 11,000 acres of land adjacent to the Zia Pueblo, 35 miles northwest of Albuquerque, and allows the pueblo to buy land separating the two parcels of land making up the pueblo. That land would, however, remain undeveloped and accessible to the public.

9. In General
Roadless Rule Comments Still Needed
DEADLINE: November 15, 2004
(ACTION ITEM)

As we mentioned in our September UPDATE, the comment period for the Forest Service Roadless Rule was extended until November 15.

Please see the August UPDATE for talking points. https://www.caluwild.org/docs/August_UPDATE_web.htm#3

Comments are due November 15, 2004. Send them by mail, fax, or via e-mail.

Mail comments to:

Content Analysis Team
Attn: Roadless State Petitions
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 221090
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

Fax: 801-517-1014

E-mail: statepetitionroadless@fs.fed.us

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

INITIAL OCTOBER UPDATE – OCTOBER 8, 2004

Dear CalUWild members and supporters —

This is the shortest UPDATE we’ve ever published, with only one announcement.

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

IN UTAH
1. Price RMP Comment Period Extended
New DEADLINE: November 29, 2004

The Utah BLM just announced that it has extended the comment period on the Price Resource Management Plan by 45 days. The new deadline is November 29, 2004. Please see the September UPDATE, Item 1, sent out September 26, for details on talking points and addresses.

You can find it on the Web at: https://www.caluwild.org/docs/September_UPDATE_web.htm

We’ll resume with a regular UPDATE later in the month.

Thanks for sending in comments, Mike

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2004 October

2003 October

October 16th, 2003

October 16, 2003

Dear CalUWild friends —

September was a relatively quiet month, and I spent a couple of weeks away from the office exploring some of the wild areas of Utah and visiting with fellow wilderness enthusiasts and friends there. It was a good trip, with no e-mail, voicemail, or computer to interrupt-just slot canyons, red rock and sand, a few ruins and petroglyphs, and lots of blue sky. But now October is here and things are heating up again.

The recall election in California is over. It remains to be seen what Governor-elect Schwarzenegger will do on environmental (and other) issues, since he refused to be specific during his campaign. He did threaten to eliminate the California Environmental Protection Agency to cut back on “waste,” but he seems to have backed off on that position. With so much of the media focused on that election, it hasn’t been hard to lose sight of the fact that there are other issues that the press hasn’t focused on but which need our attention nevertheless.

* On the R.S. 2477 (roads claims) issue, the Interior Appropriations Bill is awaiting the Conference Committee. The House version has language in it that prohibits funding for processing claims in national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, and wilderness and wilderness study areas (WSAs). The Senate version has no such language, so the pressure needs to be on to keep the House language intact.
* The Bureau of Land Management released two “Instruction Memoranda” on September 29, implementing the recent settlement with the state of Utah and explaining how wilderness is to be dealt with in land use planning processes. There were no real surprises-among other things: BLM renounced its authority to create new WSAs; WSAs created after 1993 will lose their status; there is no mention at all of what to do with lands that BLM acquired after 1993; and there is no requirement to consider wilderness characteristics in planning process, although the agency “may consider” them.
* 2 weeks ago, the BLM issued its final management plan for the Headwaters Forest in Northern California. The plan offers strong protection for the area. However, in accordance with the Utah settlement, it does not propose any new wilderness areas or WSAs. You can be sure BLM in Washington will tout this as an example of what can be done under its new standards. The problem is that what can be done administratively can also be UN-done administratively-much more easily than through legislation.
* On October 6, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals by Tulare County and the Mountain States Legal Foundation. The plaintiffs had challenged Pres. Bill Clinton’s use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate Giant Sequoia National Monument and monuments in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state. The Bush administration argued that such lawsuits against the president over the designation of national monuments were not authorized by any law.
* Rep. Diane Watson (D-33) of Los Angeles is the latest California co-sponsor of America’s Redrock Wilderness Act, the Utah wilderness bill. Thanks are due to her office. This brings the total number of California cosponsors to 27 in the House. Only Loretta Sanchez has not renewed her cosponsorship, so if you live in her district, a phone call or letter is in order.
* The wilderness community is beginning to prepare for the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act in September 2004, and the Campaign for America’s Wilderness has set up a web site at http://www.WildernessForever.org.

If you’re interested in knowing about some of the activities and resources surrounding the anniversary, check it out.

As always, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions about anything in this UPDATE or how CalUWild can improve, please don’t hesitate to contact us by e-mail to:info@caluwild.org or phone: 415-752-3911.

Thank you for your support and interest in wilderness and public lands!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN UTAH

1. Cedar Mountains Wilderness Bill

IN CALIFORNIA

2. Emigrant Wilderness Dams Comment Due
Deadline: October 27
(ACTION ITEM)

3. Wild Heritage Campaign
(ACTION ITEMS)

4. CalUWild Slide Shows in Modesto & Marysville
October 17, November 21

5. California Wilderness Coalition Annual Autumn Celebration
November 8

IN NEVADA

6. Eastern Nevada Wilderness Proposal
ACTION ITEM)

IN IDAHO

7. Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Comments Due
Deadline: October 27
(ACTION ITEM)

IN GENERAL

8. Energy Bill

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

IN UTAH

1. Cedar Mountains Wilderness Bill

Today, October 16, the subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands held a hearing on H.R. 2909, the Utah Test and Training Range Protection Act.

* The hearing on the bill was premature (and troublesome) for wilderness advocates for several reasons:
* There were no maps of the proposed wilderness area boundaries, making it difficult to gauge the proposal.
* There was no proposed report language but the bill contains ambiguous language regarding potential construction activities inside wilderness.
* The bill allows the construction of new communications facilities inside wilderness and wilderness study areas. This is inconsistent with the Wilderness Act, since it destroys the sense of solitude found in wilderness. And it is unprecedented management language. The bill also allows for an increase in the number of sites, as long as they do not collectively have a significant impact or increase in the number of sites. But it sets no limits, so there is the danger that over time, the cumulative impact is great, although the individual enlargements were not.

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

IN CALIFORNIA

2. Emigrant Wilderness Dams Comments Due

Deadline: October 27

(ACTION ITEM)

The Emigrant Wilderness in Stanislaus National Forest, north of Yosemite, was designated in 1975. At that time, the wilderness area contained 18 small dams, which were not addressed in the legislation.

These dams raise the level of natural lakes by a few feet each, and most were installed in the 1920s and 30s to augment stream flow in the creeks below the lakes for fishery enhancement. Three were built to raise lake levels and three to maintain meadows. High elevation lakes in the area were naturally fishless prior to stocking by cattlemen in the 1890s.

The dams have been the subject of attempts to ensure their permanent maintenance, most notably through legislation repeatedly introduced by Rep. John Doolittle (R-04) of Sacramento. However, the Forest Service and the California Department of Fish & Game have done no maintenance on the dams since 1989.

Now the Forest Service has released a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) in which the preferred alternative (Alt. 1) proposes to reconstruct one dam and repair 11 others, The Forest Service would then operate and maintain them in the wilderness area. Six dams would be allowed to deteriorate naturally to restore natural processes. Alt. 3 would allow for the maintenance of seven dams that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

CalUWild recommends that the Forest Service adopt Alt. 2, “No Action,” allowing all the dams to deteriorate naturally. Our recommendation is based on the clear language of the Wilderness Act.

Sec. 2(c) reads in part: “A wilderness… is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man[,]… retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements… which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which … generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable[.] ”

Maintenance and operation of the 12 dams contradicts the Wilderness Act on at least four counts:

* The dams are a “permanent improvement.”
* Continued operation of the dams to manipulate stream flow conflicts with the requirement that the wilderness area be “untrammeled” (free to operate without interference by human activity).
* The DEIS states: “[O]nce the structures are seen, they tend to dominate the visual environment in the vicinity.” Given this admission, the dams can hardly be considered “substantially unnoticeable.” The Forest Service tries to minimize this objection by stating that given the fact that there are over 100 named lakes in the Emigrant Wilderness, dams on 18 could be considered “substantially unnoticeable.” This is open to debate, and should be addressed in comments.
* Finally, since the Cow Meadow main dam no longer exists, it will be reconstructed. This also violates the Wilderness Act and should not be undertaken.

If you have visited the area, please add personal comments about your experiences there, especially related to the dams.

The DEIS is available on the Stanislaus National Forest website. http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/stanislaus.

Comments should be mailed to:

Stanislaus National Forest
Attention: Emigrant Wilderness Dams
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370.

Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to:comments-pacificsouthwest-stanislaus@fs.fed.us .

[Subject: Emigrant Dams]

(please include full name and a mailing address with comments)

Again, the DEADLINE is October 27.

3. Wild Heritage Campaign

(ACTION ITEMS)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has still not given her support to the California Wild Heritage Act. The Wild Heritage Campaign continues to collect signatures on petitions expressing citizen support for protecting California’s remaining wild areas. You can sign the petition on-line at http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/Wild-Places/.

You can also download a copy http://www.californiawild.org/pdf/FeinsteinPetition.pdf of the petition to circulate among your friends for their signatures.

On the legislative front, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act is that portion of the statewide bill in Mike Thompson’s District 1. In the House the bill number is H.R. 1501 and the companion bill in the Senate is S.738. Both bills need cosponsors.

H.R. 1501 has the 8 cosponsors, with the following 6 from California:

* Rep. Tom Lantos (D-12)
* Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-38)
* Rep. Pete Stark (D-13)
* Rep. Michael Honda (D-15)
* Rep. Hilda Solis (D-32)
* Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-10)

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN4) round out the list.

S.738 has no current cosponsors.

If your representative is not on the list, please call them and ask that they become a cosponsor of H.R. 1501. Please also call Sen. Dianne Feinstein and ask her to cosponsor S.378.

As this UPDATE is being written, the full Northern California Wild Heritage Act, covering all of Northern California, is being introduced in the House, authored again by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1). The Southern California bill is expected to be introduced shortly by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-32).

4. CalUWild Slide Shows in Modesto and Marysville

October 17, November 21

CalUWild coordinator Mike Painter will give a slide show looking at wilderness issues in the West, using Utah as an example. It’s at the monthly meeting of the Sierra Club Yokuts Chapter, and will take place at the Modesto Police Department, located at the corner of Tenth and G streets. Parking is available on the street. The meeting room is on the ground floor. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and the presentation will be at 7:30.

The same slide show will be shown Friday November 21 at monthly meeting of the Club’s Sierra Nevada Group, Mother Lode Chapter. The meeting will be at the Marysville Library, 7:30 p.m. Details will follow.

Please attend and tell your friends who might be interested.

Slide shows are one of the best ways to spread the news about wilderness issues, and CalUWild is looking to increase the number of presentations to organizations. Possibilities include student groups, service organizations like Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, or even private homes. If you’d like to organize one, please contact Mike at mike@caluwild.org or 415-752-3911.

5. California Wilderness Coalition Annual Autumn Celebration

November 8, 4:30 p.m.

The California Wilderness Coalition invites you to join them for their Annual Autumn Celebration, honoring Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Sam Farr with their inaugural Phillip Burton Wilderness Award, for their tireless work enacting the Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act.

Saturday, November 8, 2003
4:30 – 7 p.m.
California Society of Pioneers
300 Fourth Street at Folsom Street
San Francisco
Across from the Moscone Center
Powell Street BART Station

Hors d’oeuvres, Wine, Silent Auction

$75 suggested donation; all contributions are welcome and tax deductible.

RSVP by October 31 to 530-758-0380.

IN NEVADA

6. Eastern Nevada Wilderness Proposal

The following comes from Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Today, your help is crucial to protect threatened wild lands in Nevada’s Lincoln County. Please take a few minutes now and write a personal letter to Senator John Ensign, asking him to support the entire Citizens’ Proposal for Wilderness in Lincoln County.

As you read this, Senators Ensign and Harry Reid are drafting public lands legislation for Lincoln County, Nev., just north of Clark County and Las Vegas. Senator Ensign supported Wilderness in Clark County because he received overwhelming support for wilderness from people like you. However we need to demonstrate a similar amount of support for wilderness in Lincoln County if these important wildlands are to be protected.

How much Wilderness Sen. Ensign agrees to in this bill depends largely on how much public support he receives for Wilderness. How much Wilderness is protected in this bill depends on you!

Eastern Nevada’s wild places need you NOW! Because legislation is being drafted now, we have very little time to show our broad public support to Sen. Ensign for Wilderness in Lincoln County. Please take a couple of minutes to tell Sen. Ensign how much Wilderness means to you. Personal letters are more influential with our elected leaders than form letters and e-mails. The more letters he receives, the more Wilderness we’ll see protected in the bill. Below are some points you can pass on to Sen. Ensign:

1. Every acre of every Wilderness Study Area should be designated, plus Citizen-Proposed Areas. Support the Nevada Wilderness Coalition’s Citizens’ Wilderness Proposal for Lincoln County, encompassing 37 areas and 2.8 million acres.
2. Wild lands in Lincoln County are facing increasing impacts from the growing Las Vegas population not far away. As the population continues to grow, it is important that we designate Lincoln County Wilderness for people to hike, hunt, backpack and horseback, while protecting them from being destroyed from irresponsible off-road vehicle use and other impacts.
3. Protecting these places as Wilderness will help protect the petroglyphs and other amazing cultural and archeological resources found throughout the region.
4. Wilderness will help assure a healthy habitat for wildlife.
5. Wilderness helps ensure clean air and water for everyone.
6. Please mention areas in particular, such as the Mormon, Meadow Valley and Delamar Mountains, Mount Irish, the Pahranagat Range and Big Rocks.

Nevada’s wild places are what make this state a great place to live. In order to keep these places wild, it takes the effort of people like you to help Keep It Wild!

Thank you!

Brian Beffort, Conservation Director

Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Please address letters to:

Senator John Ensign
600 E. Williams St., Suite 304
Carson City, NV 89701

or send a fax to Senator Ensign at:
(202) 228-2193

or send an email to:senator_ensign@ensign.senate.gov

PS: Please let us know if you write to Senator Ensign. Call or Fax Friends of Nevada Wilderness when you mail your letter, or if you have any questions.

Phone: (775) 324-7667; Fax: (775) 324-2677; email: brian@nevadawilderness.org

For full information on the lands proposed for protection in eastern Nevada, visit our website: www.nevadawilderness.org

IN IDAHO

7. Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness
Comment Due
Deadline: October 27
(ACTION ITEM)

The following is an edited version of an alert sent out by Wilderness Watch. Due to space considerations, it contains only the “Background” and the specific request for each suggested talking point. When writing your comments, it is important to back up your requests with good arguments, so please read the complete alert at:

http://www.wildernesswatch.org/Hot%20Topics/Action%20Alerts/Frank.htm

Help Keep the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness Wild!

Your Letters Make a Difference!

The U.S. Forest Service has released the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness management plan. If approved, the FEIS and Record of Decision will guide management of the 2.4 million-acre Wilderness – the largest in the Lower ’48 – for years to come. The wild character of this area has degraded significantly in the past 20 years and that trend will actually increase under the new plan. Please take a few minutes to write a letter to the Forest Service asking them to protect the wilderness character of the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness.

Comments must be submitted by October 27, 2003.

Background

Established by the 1980 Central Idaho Wilderness Act, the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness provides essential habitat for populations of grizzly bears, wolves, salmon, bull trout, wolverine, otters, and many other species found in the Northern Rockies. The Wilderness harbors two of the nation’s premier Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Middle Fork and Main Salmon, where visitors can view bighorn sheep from the river, bathe in natural hot springs, and sleep under a blanket of stars. It is Wilderness on a grand scale, though its future is anything but certain.

The Forest Service issued a draft EIS in 1999 and a supplemental draft EIS in 2000. These studies addressed a broad array of issues including many of the most contentious and Wilderness-damaging activities now occurring in the FC-RONR Wilderness. Unfortunately, in the Final EIS the agency has opted to omit many of the most damaging activities from its analysis. As a result the final plan allows unlimited expansion of aircraft and motorboat use, continued degradation around campsites, lakes, streams and trails, serious impairment of the opportunity for a wilderness experience on the Middle Fork Salmon and Main Salmon rivers, and an unfair quota system that has commercialized much of the access to these rivers. It’s important that we speak up and urge the agency to address the issues at hand.

While the draft EIS included 11 alternatives for consideration, the FEIS is reduced to 5 Alternatives (A to E). The Forest Service’s preferred alternative is Alternative D. Though none of these alternatives will protect and preserve the area’s Wilderness character and values, Alternative B comes closest. Urge the Forest Service to adopt Alternative B with the following changes:

* Aircraft Use: Urge the Forest Service to limit the number of aircraft landings to pre-Wilderness designation levels, and to implement a permit system that allows access for legitimate Wilderness dependent activities only. Urge the Forest Service to permanently close the Dewey Moore, Mile-Hi, Simonds, and Vines landing strips.
* Campsites, Trails and Related Impacts: Urge the Forest Service to implement specific management strategies to reduce crowding and on-site physical impacts from occurring elsewhere.
* Outfitter Camps: Urge the Forest Service to require that outfitter camps be temporary and removed at the end of each season.
* Managing use on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon rivers: Urge the Forest Service to cap river use at the level set in Alternative B, but to increase the number of trips available to the public by reducing group size limits to 12 per trip, and by allocating a much larger percentage of the launches to the public, rather than commercial users.
* Jetboats: Urge the Forest Service to prohibit “jetbacks,” and to cap motorboat use at 1978 levels.
* Painter Bar Road: Urge the FS to close the Painter Road in the final plan.
* Livestock grazing, fire control, fish stocking: Urge the Forest Service to adopt standards that promote naturally functioning ecosystems.

Send your comments to:

Mr. Ken Wotring
FC-RONR Wilderness Coordinator
Forest Supervisor’s Office
Salmon-Challis National Forest
50 Highway 93 South
Salmon, ID 83467
Phone: (208) 756-5131
Fax: (208) 756 – 5151

via email: comments-intermtn-salmon-challis@fs.fed.us

IN GENERAL

8. Energy Bill

21 organizations, including CalUWild, released the following fact sheet opposing the proposed Energy Bill in currently in Congress. Please call your senators and representatives regarding the bill.

Title III of the discussion draft released by the House-Senate Energy Conference Committee on September 29th would make oil and gas development the dominant use of America’s western public lands. The myriad other uses and values of these lands – water quality and quantity, livestock grazing, the private property rights of ranchers and farmers on “split estate” lands, wildlife and wildlife habitat, recreational uses, wildland preservation, and cultural and archeological values – would take a back seat to oil and gas production on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and on national forests. The bill represents a radical departure from Congress’ direction for our public lands over the past 50 years. It threatens the landscapes of today’s West with rapid industrialization, resulting in the pollution of its clear air as well as streams and rivers, degradation of wildlife habitats and dwindling populations of big game and other species, and the destruction of the quality of life of its residents.

For over five decades, Congress has mandated the multiple use principle for management of our public lands – not the dominant use principle. Rather than allow these lands to be managed for a single, dominant use, Congress has directed that activities like energy production be balanced against other land uses and values and that the damaging impacts of development activities to be minimized. Under this proposal, energy production would trump all other uses – and western landscapes and communities would pay the price.

The September 29 draft includes provisions that seek to:

Prohibit drilling fluids from being considered drinking water pollutants – even when they contain diesel fuels and other potentially harmful chemicals (Sec. 327).

Exempt oil and gas drilling sites from water pollution controls (Sec. 328).

Establish a new “Office of Federal Energy Project Coordination” in the White House to expedite the permitting and completion of energy projects on public lands (Sec. 341).

Require the Secretary of the Interior to review federal oil and gas permitting processes and take action to ensure “timely action” on applications for drilling permits (Secs. 342, 343) – at a time when more than thousands of drilling permits have already been approved so far this year.

Require the U.S. Geological Survey to identify “restrictions” and “impediments” to oil and gas development on public lands – including scientifically based measures to protect fish and wildlife, cultural and historic values, and other publicly-owned resources from harm during development (Sec. 345).

Prohibit federal land managers from “taking any action” before determining if there would be “a significant adverse effect” on energy development (Sec. 346) – an attempt to discourage adoption of any resource protections that might affect development.

Establish a special “pilot project” to streamline approvals of drilling permits (Sec. 348) – a project that could result in the abandonment of protections for wildlife and other public values in seven specific BLM field offices across the West.

Allow applicants for drilling permits up to two years to complete their applications but mandate BLM approval of drilling permits within days (Sec. 349). This provision also seeks to require approval of an application that is “complete,” even if the project is fundamentally flawed because its impacts cannot be mitigated – as when the site is near a sensitive area like a stream or on a steep slope. This language was in neither the House or Senate passed energy bill.

Allow corridors for oil and gas pipelines, as well as electricity transmission and distribution facilities, to be established by Secretarial order circumventing the land use planning process (Sec. 351). This provision too was in neither the House or Senate passed energy bill.

Put the Energy Department in charge of permitting utility corridor rights-of-way on public lands (Sec. 352).

Mandate approval of a 500 KV power line through California’s Cleveland National Forest precluding meaningful environmental review and public participation (Sec. 354)

In addition, the bill would ease access for energy companies to tribal lands by undermining environmental review and public participation requirements (Indian energy title).

And, the discussion draft would provide massive subsidies to the oil and gas industry – already the nation’s wealthiest industrial sector – to underwrite their degradation of our lands. Its subsidies include:

Creation of a $500 million loan program to assist and encourage companies to develop oil and gas reserves (Sec. 335). This sum is $400 million more than the House bill provided and, unlike the House bill, the discussion draft lacks any guarantees that loans would actually be repaid.

Establishment of a program for reclaiming some of the orphaned, abandoned and idled wells on federal lands that includes provisions for reimbursing energy companies for cleanup costs (Sec. 319). Instead of forcing the industry to internalize these costs, taxpayers could end up footing the bill.

Allowing the Secretary of the Interior to reimburse oil and gas companies when they pay for environmental reviews of their projects (Sec. 326), rather than making adequate federal funds available.

Granting royalty exemptions for marginal wells that produce less than 15 barrels of oil per day or 90 million Btu of gas as well as offshore wells deeper than 400 meters (Sec. 313). The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that these exemptions would cost $136 million over the next ten years.

Drilling the West won’t make America energy independent. Making oil and gas production the dominant use of our western public lands will destroy western landscapes, western communities and the environmental values of those lands. All Americans will suffer – now and in the future – if this legislation, written by and for the energy companies, becomes law.

The groups signing the fact sheet were:

Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Californians for Western Wilderness, Colorado Environmental Coalition, Dakota Resource Council, Dakota Rural Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment Colorado, Forest Guardians, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Plains Resource Council, Powder River Basin Resource Council, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, U.S. PIRG, Western Colorado Congress, Western Organization of Resource Councils

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2002 October

October 31st, 2002

October 31, 2002

Dear CalUWild friends —

It’s been another quiet month in terms of action items, but there are a few items of interest, nevertheless.

The wilderness community mourns the death last week of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. He was an ardent champion of wilderness preservation around the West, in addition to being an outspoken proponent of other environmental and social justice issues. Sen. Wellstone will be missed greatly.

There is some good news, however. On Wednesday, a federal court in Washington, DC, temporarily stopped seismic exploration outside Arches National Park in Utah. The judge will look at claims by SUWA, NRDC, and The Wilderness Society that the BLM violated environmental laws by allowing the seismic contractor to begin without taking all the negative consequences into account.

In other court news, an appeals court in Washington, DC, threw out a challenge to the creation of national monuments by former president Bill Clinton. The court upheld Clinton’s use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to create the Giant Sequoia NM in California. The ruling applies to the other monuments named in the case: Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon; Hanford Reach in Washington state; the Grand Canyon-Parashant, Ironwood Forest and Sonoran Desert in Arizona; and the Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado.

Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the US Forest said: “The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.” Remember to vote on November 5!

Finally, CalUWild is officially 5 years old–we got our start at the 1997 California Wilderness Coalition fundraiser. (See item 5 for this year’s announcement.) We have about 500 dedicated members and supporters around the state, and a few outside California as well. When Keith Hammond, Vicky Hoover and I started the organization, we had no idea where it would lead. We’ve become a strong voice for grassroots citizen involvement in wilderness and public lands management. And we’re a model for organizations in other states as well. Thank you for helping us get as far as we have!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN UTAH

1. Salt Creek in Canyonlands NP Remains Closed to Traffic

ACTION ITEM

2. A Few Cosponsors Short for America’s Redrock Wilderness Act

ACTION ITEM

IN NEVADA

3. Clark County Wilderness Bill Passes

IN CALIFORNIA

4. Wild Heritage Campaign Update

5. California Wilderness Coalition Fundraiser

November 14 in Oakland

IN GENERAL

6. Land Exchanges in the News

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

IN UTAH

1. Salt Creek in Canyonlands NP Remains Closed to Traffic

ACTION ITEM

Earlier this month, Canyonlands National Park followed through on its

preferred alternative, deciding to keep Salt Creek Canyon closed to

vehicles. This issue has been ongoing for several years now, and CalUWild

has reported on it and requested comments from you several times, the last

time in July of this year.

This is great news! Salt Creek is the only stream in Canyonlands that runs

year around; thus it provides crucial wildlife habitat. Additionally, easy

vehicle access threatens the many archaeological resources in the canyon.

As reported in the July UPDATE, the Park Service has also made a

preliminary determination that the RS 2477 road claim made by San Juan

County is unfounded. This matter is currently in court, and will be decided

in the next few month. We’ll keep you posted.

You can read more about the decision at:

http://www.nps.gov/cany/pphtml/newseventsdetail5783.html

Please write a letter of thanks to:

Mr. Jerry Banta

Superintendent

Canyonlands National Park

2282 S. West Resource Boulevard

Moab, UT 84532-3298

2. A Few Cosponsors Short for America’s Redrock Wilderness Act

ACTION ITEM

America’s Redrock Wilderness Act currently has 17 cosponsors in the US

Senate and 162 in the House. While the Senate count is a new record for

this legislation, the House tally falls 7 short of the previous record of

169.

Congress will be coming back for a lame duck session after the election

next week, so it can’t hurt to call your representatives if they aren’t on

the bill yet. Here in California we have 27 representatives signed on, a

record. However, there are a few who might still make the list:

Joe Baca (D-42)

Gary Condit (D-18)

Cal Dooley (D-20)

Steve Horn (R-38)

Tom Lantos (D-12)

Maybe even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)!

If your rep is a cosponsor and you haven’t sent a thank you letter, please

do so:

Xavier Becerra (D-30)

Howard Berman (D-26)

Lois Capps (D-22)

Susan Davis (D-49)

Anna Eshoo (D-14)

Sam Farr (D-17)

Bob Filner (D-50)

Jane Harman (D-36)

Mike Honda (D-15)

Barbara Lee (D-09)

Zoe Lofgren (D-16)

Robert Matsui (D-05)

Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-37)

George Miller (D-07)

Grace Napolitano (D-34)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-33)

Loretta Sanchez (D-46)

Adam Schiff (D-27)

Brad Sherman (D-24)

Hilda Solis (D-31)

Pete Stark (D-13)

Ellen Tauscher (D-10)

Mike Thompson (D-01)

Maxine Waters (D-35)

Diane Watson (D-32)

Henry Waxman (D-29)

Lynn Woolsey (D-06)

IN NEVADA

3. Clark County Wilderness Bill Passes

On October 17, the U.S. Senate passed the Clark County Conservation of

Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002, just a day after the House

of Representatives had passed a companion bill. This legislation created 18

new Wilderness areas, totaling about 452,000 acres in southern Nevada.

Pres. Bush is expected to sign the bill next week.

This bill protects BLM, Park Service, and Forest Service lands around Las

Vegas, one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.

In addition, the legislation created the Sloan Canyon National Conservation

Area and provided for the mineral withdrawal of about 800,000 acres in

areas of critical environmental concern, until the BLM can make the

withdrawal permanent.

This is just the successful beginning of a drive to designate more

wilderness in the Silver State.

For more information on Nevada Wilderness, visit the Friends of Nevada

Wilderness at:

http://www.nevadawilderness.org

IN CALIFORNIA

4. Wild Heritage Campaign Update

Sen. Boxer’s Wild Heritage Act of 2002 continues to attract support from

around the state–except from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has yet to support

it formally. As a Hallowe’en treat, the Campaign delivered 20,000 postcards

in support of protecting wilderness in our state to her offices in San

Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Additionally, as we’ve reported, the

Campaign is conducting a petition drive for people to express to Sen.

Feinstein their support for protecting some of California’s remaining wild

places.

You may sign the petition online at:

http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/Wild-Places/

Or if you would like to circulate it, download a PDF version from:

http://www.californiawild.org/pdf/FeinsteinPetition.pdf

Additionally, a letter to Sen. Feinstein is being circulated to businesses

in support of wilderness. As of 5 p.m. today, 233 had signed on. If you are

a business owner, or know someone who might be interested in signing on,

please contact Dave Westman at the Sierra Club in Oakland at:

510-622-0290 x-220

or by email at:

dave.westman@sierraclub.org

Only 17 more signatures are needed in the next week to meet the goal of 250!

5. California Wilderness Coalition Fundraiser

November 14 in Oakland

Every Fall, the California Wilderness Coalition has a fundraising reception

to celebrate the year’s accomplishments preserving California’s wild

places. This year the event will be held at:

Earthjustice

Thursday, November 14

426 – 17th Street, 6th Floor

Oakland

7 – 9 p.m.

California printmaker Tom Killion will discuss his new book The High Sierra

of California, written with poet Gary Snyder. Killion has adapted

traditional Japanese woodblock printing methods to produce marvelous prints

of California’s natural heritage.

Suggested donation is $75, but all contributions are welcome. Please RSVP

to CWC at 530-758-0380 by November 8.

IN GENERAL

6. Land Exchanges in the News

One of the biggest scandals in public lands management has been the way

land exchanges have been handled.

State and federal agencies may wish to exchange ownership of land with a

state for various reasons: it is impractical for an agency to manage a

particular parcel, state lands may be inside national monument boundaries,

etc. The exchanges are supposed to be fairly valued: the value of the real

estate on each side should be roughly equal. This has not always been the

case, however, and in the last few years exchanges have come under close

scrutiny. Two of the principal watchdogs have been Public Employees for

Environmental Responsibility (PEER) in Washington, DC, and the Western Land

Exchange Project, based in Seattle, WA.

There have been several exchanges in Utah recently: in the Grand

Staircase-Escalante NM, the state trust lands I in the monument were

transferred to the BLM for other lands around the state (with more

development potential); and an exchange was recently approved in the House

for the San Rafael Swell.

The New York Times reported on October 12 that in one exchange in Nevada, a

developer acquired 70 acres of BLM land that the agency had valued at

$763,000, then sold it the next day for $4.6 million.

Some employees within BLM have complained that exchanges weren’t being

fairly valued–usually the federal lands were undervalued, giving states a

windfall. These employees were generally ignored by the BLM.

The Appraisal Foundation, a body which sets real estate appraisal standards

and qualifications issued a report at the end of September blasting the BLM

for the way it handles exchanges. Titled “Evaluation of the Appraisal

Organization of the Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management,” the

report found numerous violations of law and charged that the appraisal

process was often politicized. The report called for a moratorium on

exchanges, a Justice Department investigation into legal violations, and

the formation of a board to oversee evaluations and exchanges in the

Department of the Interior.

Coincidentally or not, the BLM has removed two of the officials who were in

charge of exchanges: Ray Brady, Realty Lands & Realty Manager and David

Cavanaugh, Chief Appraiser.

If you’d like more information, the Western Land Exchange Project and

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sent out a press release

when the report was issued. You may read it online at:

http://www.peer.org/press/282.html

You may download a copy of the report at:

http://www.peer.org/appraisal_report.pdf

(WARNING: It’s a huge file)

or you may request a copy from PEER:

2001 S Street, NW, Suite 570

Washington DC 20009

202-265-7337

For more information on PEER, visit:

http://www.peer.org

For more information on the Western Land Exchange Project, visit:

http://www.westlx.org/

God bless America. Let’s save some of it.

–Edward Abbey

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

Michael J. Painter

Coordinator

Californians for Western Wilderness

P.O. Box 210474

San Francisco, CA 94121-0474

415-752-3911

mike@caluwild.org

caluwild@mindspring.com

https://www.caluwild.org

(undergoing renovation)

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

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