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2006 September

September 6th, 2006

September 6, 2006

Dear CalUWild members, supporters, and friends—

School has started for many around the West, meaning that it’s a perfect time to get away and enjoy some of the West’s wild areas, now that the vacation season is over. And with Fall weather tending to be a bit cooler, the deserts of the Southwest are a good choice. Many acres await your exploration!

There was no Update sent out in August, but that’s not because CalUWild was on vacation. We decided to wait until the first week of September so that the first Action Item would be fresh in your minds and not get lost in the Labor Day holiday.

Most of the other items are news updates (most of them good!), although there is a quick need for letters to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle regarding an editorial the paper ran yesterday. See Item 5.

With a new academic year beginning, CalUWild will also start off another season of slideshows around the state. See Item 6 for more information. We also hope to have our first college level intern join us this Fall. So there are interesting things in store for the year ahead.

Thanks for working so hard to help protect our Western Wilderness!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN UTAH
1. Washington County Bill Heads for
Hearings in Both Senate and House
Calls and Faxes Needed
(ACTION ITEM)
2. Court Upholds Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
3. Court Turns Down BLM Oil & Gas Leases

IN CALIFORNIA
4. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes House
5. Court Turns Down Logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument
Letters to Chronicle Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

SLIDESHOWS
6. Schedule a CalUWild Slideshow for Your Group!
(ACTION ITEM)

IN UTAH
1. Washington County Bill Heads for
Hearings in Both Senate and House
Calls and Faxes Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

Committees in both houses of Congress will probably be holding hearings in the next weeks on the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006, the bill introduced by Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett (R) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D). Details of the bill were in the July Update but the worst bear repeating briefly here:

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 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 House Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill next week on September 14. California members of the Committee are:

Ken Calvert (R-44)
Dennis Cardoza (D-18)
Jim Costa (D-20)
Elton Gallegly (R-24)
George Miller (D-7)
Grace Napolitano (D-38)
George Radanovich (R-19)

Please contact them, asking that they oppose the bill, too. If you don’t live in any of their districts, contact Rep. George Miller’s office, saying that you’re from California. Contact information is on CalUWild’s website.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee postponed its planned hearing on the bill but may still hold one before the Senate adjourns at the end of September. 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.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a member of the ENR committee. Now is the perfect time to contact her, asking her to oppose the bill or an 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)
or
310-914-7300 (LA)

2. Court Upholds Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

At the end of July, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, CO, issued a ruling upholding Pres. Bill Clinton’s designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. The Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), the Utah Association of Counties and the Utah Schools and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) were the original plaintiffs in the suit, arguing that Pres. Clinton overstepped his authority in designating a monument of that size (1.7 million acres). The Association of Counties and SITLA dropped out as their claims were settled. MSLF represented an alabaster mining company that had lost its mining rights, but the court ruled that the company’s problems stemmed from its having failed to complete paperwork a whole year after the monument was designated, thus no government action was to blame.

It’s good news for CalUWild, too, since this organization got its start being an advocate for the monument here in California.

3. Court Turns Down BLM Oil & Gas Leases

Last month, the federal district court in Utah ruled that the BLM had illegally leased land in Utah that was wilderness quality. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and The Wilderness Society brought a lawsuit challenging the first oil & gas leases after the notorious agreement between then-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and then-Governor Mike Leavitt, which was supposed to invalidate the BLM’s more recent wilderness inventories in Utah.

The court ruled that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by basing its pre-lease analysis on out-of-date land use plans that never considered the option of not leasing, in addition to ignoring the agency’s own internal information showing that the leased areas had wilderness character.

It’s good news that these are just the first leases challenged, and that many more subsequent ones could also be declared illegal under this rationale. We’ll keep you posted.

IN CALIFORNIA
4. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes House

In July’s Update we mentioned that Rep. Mike Thompson’s Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (H.R. 233) was due to be voted on by the House of Representatives. It passed on a unanimous consent vote at the end of July, in a form slightly different than that the Senate passed in 2005. Now the two versions must be reconciled before going to the President’s desk for his signature.

5. Court Turns Down Logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument
Letters to SF Chronicle Needed
(ACTION ITEM)

At the end of August, a federal court in San Francisco ruled that the Forest Service plan allowing increased logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument was illegal. The Forest Service was ordered to re-draft its monument management plan and was also ordered to stop logging in four areas in the monument. Click here to read a full article on the decision from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Yesterday, the Chronicle ran an editorial praising the court’s ruling. Please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor thanking them for the paper’s coverage of the issue and expressing your support for the sequoia’s protection. Letters can be sent by email and need not be long.

Thanks!

SLIDESHOWS
6. Schedule a CalUWild Slideshow for Your Group!
(ACTION ITEM)

A big part of CalUWild’s mission is to educate the public about wilderness and the many issues facing public lands in the 21st century. One of the most important tools we have is the Monthly Update, which gets the news out to our members and friends about what they can do that month to advocate for the protection of the lands they love. But how do we reach those citizens who haven’t been exposed to the issues?

One effective way is through our slide show. It takes a close look at the wild lands of Utah that have little or no protection, showing the remarkable scenery and discussing the resource exploitation and abuse that can and does occur. These topics are discussed in the broader context of current issues and events across the West.

We are always happy to come and present the slide show for anyone willing to host us: environmental organizations, brown bag lunches at businesses, student groups, church groups, you name it! We’ve also been invited to house parties where someone invites friends and other interested folks for dessert and discussion.

So if you belong to a group that has regular meetings or if you would be willing to organize a gathering, please let us know. Trips to Southern California can be arranged if we can schedule a few slideshows together. Costs are minimal. The slideshow generally runs about 50 minutes, and there is time for a few questions.

If you are interested, or for more information, please send an e-mail to info@caluwild.org, or give me a call at 415-752-3911.

We just purchased a digital projector, so our slides need to be transferred, but the slideshow is completely operational the old fashioned way. We are hoping to increase the number of our presentations, so we look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2006 September

2005 September

September 21st, 2005

September 21, 2005

Dear friends of CalUWild:

There are quite a few news items this month, but not much in terms of Action Items. So without any further ado, we’ll jump right in.

Thanks for all your letters and comments in support of wild places!

Best wishes,

Mike

IN UTAH
1. “No More Wilderness” Settlement Hits the Skids!
2. Salt Creek in Canyonlands National Park
And Other RS 2477 News
3. SUWA Requests ORV Help
(ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
4. Cache Creek Wild & Scenic Bill Passes Senate
Governor’s Signature Still Needed
(ACTION ITEM)
DEADLINE: October 5
5. Conservation Groups Appeal Los Padres Oil & Gas Plan
6. Sequoia National Monument Outing September 30
RSVP by September 25

IN NEW MEXICO
7. Legislation Introduced to Protect Valle Vidal

IN GENERAL
8. New National Park Service Standards
For Park Management in the News
9. Three Western States Sue
Over New Roadless Rule
10. Job Listing: Defenders of Wildlife
DEADLINE: September 30

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IN UTAH
1. “No More Wilderness” Settlement Hits the Skids!

The agreement between Utah’s then-Governor Mike Leavitt and Interior Secretary Gale Norton was partially undone last week when attorneys for both parties got rid of the language that made the deal permanent. The original settlement had nullified the inventories conducted by the Bureau of Land Management under Pres. Bill Clinton. Those inventories had found nearly 6 million acres of potential wilderness. The State of Utah sued and the Department of the Interior then negotiated a sweetheart deal that pretty much acquiesced to the state’s claims. Conservationists appealed that decision, and it went back to the trial court, where the judge stated that he never meant his signature to bind future administrations.

Given the new interpretation by the judge, conservationists think they have a good chance of a successful appeal, since the agreement might still violate the Federal Lands Policy & Management Act.

We’ll keep you posted.

2. Salt Creek in Canyonlands National Park
And Other RS 2477 News

Last week, a federal judge in Salt Lake City upheld the actions of the National Park Service in closing Salt Creek, the only perennial stream in Canyonlands NP, to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use.

In the latest round in a longstanding battle over use of the creek—between San Juan County, the State of Utah, OHV users, the Park Service, and conservationists—the judge ruled that the Park’s actions had not been “arbitrary and capricious,” as the Park Service had produced much evidence of damage to the streambed. OHVs had been shown to erode streambanks, smash vegetation, pollute the water with oil and other fluids, and frighten away wildlife, among other things.

Despite this victory, San Juan County still has a lawsuit pending that claims Salt Creek is a county RS 2477 right-of-way, and thus the county has jurisdiction over the route.

In other RS 2477 news, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned the 2001 ruling by Utah District Court Judge Tena Campbell that clearly laid out the requirements for a valid right-of way. That ruling was an extremely thorough and well-written opinion, based on the language of the statue. The appellate court ruled that state law was applicable in deciding what defined a road. Conservationists have not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling.

3. SUWA Requests ORV Help
(ACTION ITEM)

This alert comes from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

HELP SUWA DOCUMENT DISPLACEMENT BY OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

Have you stopped visiting southern Utah as often because of the growing number of off-road vehicles (ORVs) in the area? When you visit southern Utah, do you avoid certain places due to the increased level of ORV use there?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, or know someone else who feels displaced by Utah’s ORV invasion, we could use your help. SUWA is seeking to establish contact with anyone who can help us document that this sort of user conflict is occurring in Utah’s backcountry. We know from first hand experience that displacement is happening, but it is a hard thing to document concretely. With your help we can address this growing problem and make some headway.

Once we have compiled your responses, we will send information to the BLM and use it in our ongoing work with national, regional and local media. We hope to convey the simple message that allowing unrestrained ORV use in Utah’s redrock country threatens our overall economy by turning away non-motorized visitors to our public lands. We know that this message resonates with a broad, diverse range of people in Utah, especially in the local communities closest to proposed wilderness areas.

Many local residents intuitively understand that the majority of out-of-town visitors (and the money they bring) are attracted primarily by the beauty and serenity of southern Utah’s unique landscapes. It follows that in order to protect the lion’s share of their economies, they need to protect some of these landscapes from the various negative effects of ORVs.

Send comments about your own experience to franklin@suwa.org or call SUWA’s Moab field office at (435) 259-4399.

Thank you!

IN CALIFORNIA
4. Cache Creek Wild & Scenic Bill Passes Senate
Governor’s Signature Still Needed
(ACTION ITEM)
DEADLINE: October 5

The California State Senate passed Assemblywoman Lois Wolk’s AB 1328, the Cache Creek Wild & Scenic River Act, and sent it Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The good news is that he didn’t veto the bill. Instead, he said he wanted more time to study it, and in an odd parliamentary move sent it back to the Assembly for another 30 days’ consideration. This means he needs to sign it around October 6 or 7. Even if you’ve written to him before, please write a letter asking for him to sign Wolk’s bill.

Use some or all of the following talking points (from Cache Creek Wild) and add anything personal, to make a stronger letter.

1) Cache Creek provides lush vegetation, pristine waters and fresh air for diverse species of wildlife. Bald eagles, ospreys, tule elk, black bears, mountain lions, and river otter flourish river otter flourish in this amazing habitat.

2) Cache Creek offers outdoor enthusiasts an amazing number of activities including hiking, horseback riding, birding, hunting, fishing, river rafting, and camping.

3) Protecting Cache Creek can give an economic boost to local business because a Wild and Scenic designation will bring visitors from all over eager to see our wild river. This bill has received bipartisan support in the legislature.

4) This designation will prevent the state from participating in the planning or development of any new dams or diversions in these reaches of the river, and it protects farmer’s water now and in the future.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633
http://www.govmail.ca.gov

5. Conservation Groups Appeal Los Padres Oil & Gas Plan

As we reported in our August Update, Los Padres National Forest released an environmental impact statement in July on new oil & gas development in the forest. Although it seems to include protection for roadless areas of the forest, three groups—Los Padres ForestWatch, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity—announced their intention to file an administrative appeal.

As the basis for their appeal, the groups argue that the Forest Service relied heavily on a reasonably foreseeable development scenario from 1993 that had never been updated. The report heavily underestimates the price of oil today and the ecological impact of drilling. The Forest Service has 45 days to respond to the appeal.

6. Sequoia National Monument Outing September 30
RSVP by September 25

Outing in the Sequoia Monument

Hug a Sequoia! SEPT 30 – OCT 2

YOU are invited by the Sierra Club’s Sequoia Task Force on Sept 30 – Oct 2 on a Fall Outing in the magnificent Giant Sequoia National Monument, about 90 minutes east of Porterville, California. You can arrive anytime after 2:00 pm Friday, September 30. Saturday morning we will have several hikes and see a wide variety of spectacular scenery. If we are lucky, the aspens will be changing colors and the dogwood will be turning red! We will hike through the Wheel Meadow Grove down the South Fork of the North Fork of the Tule River. Later we will take a short but steep jaunt to a secret waterfall. We will enjoy the vista from Dome Rock with an overview of the Kern Valley and views into the high peaks of Sequoia National Park; We will visit sites where the Sierra Club is challenging logging that is going on right now to measure stumps and count annual rings to determine the ages of these recently felled trees. Saturday night we will join together in a potluck, a favorite, creative treat.

As always, seeing old friends and meeting new people from all over the country are the best part of these outings. Talk with the activists who worked to protect these forests and groves for a quarter of a century and who continue to fight the Forest Service’s latest plans to log in the groves under the pretext of restoration.

Before heading home Sunday morning, we will hike to a hidden glade in one of the most spectacular stands of Sequoias that exists with no crowds and no ORVs. Hug a Sequoia that may well have been a seedling when Cleopatra was crossing the Nile. If enough of us make the trip, we just might be able to stretch all our arms around one single tree. Others may chose to continue to hike to the Bush Tree at the bottom of the Freeman Creek Grove, others may hike out to the Needles Lookout before heading home

Participants will need their own food and camping gear. Tents are recommended but not required. We will provide the group campsite, spare gear, liquid refreshment, maps, advice, and lots of information. Complete details about this popular annual outing are available by emailing Carla at cac@ocsnet.net or by calling 559 781-8445. Be sure to leave your name and contact information. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED BY SEPTEMBER 25th. This year we are asking for $10.00 from each participant to defray the costs of the campground. There are no other costs and participants are not required to be members of the Sierra Club.

WE HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US FOR A BEAUTIFUL FALL OUTING IN THE SEQUOIAS!

IN NEW MEXICO
7. Legislation Introduced to Protect Valle Vidal

Tom Udall, US Representative from New Mexico (D), introduced legislation in the House that would permanently bar mineral exploration and extraction in the Valle Vidal in New Mexico.

In the press release announcing the bill, Udall’s office stated: “Straddling the Colfax-Taos county line, the Valle Vidal harbors one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in the state. It is home to 60 species of mammals, 33 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 15 species of fish.

“Thirty years ago, the Pennzoil Co. purchased nearly 500,000 acres of the land, which was being used as a hunting park. Pennzoil maintained the area as such until 1982, when it donated a 100,000-acre parcel of it to the federal government – at the time, the largest donation in Forest Service history. During its ownership, Pennzoil never opened the area for oil and gas drilling.

“What an ironic travesty it would be for the government to now turn its back on this precious gift and allow the area to be blighted. Recent economic studies demonstration that the protection of special public lands like the Valle Vidal is good for local economies and that, in fact, exploitation of these places for a few hours of energy can hurt long-term economic growth and sustainability. I hope to work with other members of the congressional delegation, … [NM governor] Richardson[’s] administration, and all who want to preserve the Valle Vidal,” Udall concluded.

The Forest Service comment period on the energy proposal for Valle Vidal just finished up. For more details, see CalUWild’s July Update.

IN GENERAL
8. New National Park Service Standards
for Park Management in the News

The New York Times reported in late August that Paul Hoffman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, had proposed making significant changes in the management of the nation’s national parks. The proposals would have allowed more recreational activities and weakened protections for water, air, wildlife, and scenery. In addition, OHV and snowmobile use in the parks could have been increased.

The Times reported that Mr. Hoffman, an aide to then-Congressman Dick Cheney and a former head of a local Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyoming, made changes to wording that might have appeared insignificant on paper, but which could have huge impacts. For example: “Illegal uses, Mr. Hoffman proposed, must ‘irreversibly’ harm park resources, instead of just harming them. Instead of obligating managers to eliminate impairments to park resources, he proposed that they should ‘adequately mitigate or eliminate’ the problems.”

Park Service officials rejected the proposed changes, which were developed without their knowledge. A Times editorial stated bluntly: “In short, this is not a policy for protecting the parks. It is a policy for destroying them. … Mr. Hoffman has given us is a road map of what could happen to the parks if Mr. Bush’s political appointees are allowed to have their way.”

We agree.

9. Three Western States Sue
Over New Roadless Rule

In late August, California, Oregon, and New Mexico sued the Forest Service over the revised Roadless Rule promulgated by the Bush administration. The new rule gives governors the option of requesting that the Clinton-era rule apply to national forest lands in their states. But the federal government would still make the final decision.

The state attorneys general alleged that the administration did not do a thorough analysis of the new rule’s environmental impact. According to the Associated Press, Agriculture Department Undersecretary Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, said the suit was “unfortunate and unnecessary. The quickest way to provide permanent protection is through the development of state-specific rules, not by resuscitating the 2001 rule.”

Washington’s Governor Christine Gregoire reportedly learned of the suit too late to join in, but said she supports full protection of roadless areas under the Clinton rule.

10. Job Listing: Defenders of Wildlife
DEADLINE: September 30

Job Description
July 2005
Title: Desert Associate
Supervisor: California Representative

Job Description
This professional-level position is responsible for developing and implementing work plans for the California Desert Program. The Desert Associate will serve as a liaison to other organizations, federal/state/local agencies, elected officials and their staff, the media and the general public. Must possess a solid background in political organizing. Must possess excellent communications and writing/editing skills in order to assist with drafting and revising documents and publications. Must be extremely well-organized and capable of juggling many different projects and tasks. Assignments are results- or goal-oriented, requiring substantial discretion on the part of the position in determining how to meet the assigned goal (e.g., producing a newsletter or generating grass-roots support). This is an eighteen-month, temporary position with the potential to become permanent. This position will be located in a community in or near the West Mojave Desert of California.

Duties
1) Develop and implement strategies, campaigns, publications, and education materials and reports associated with the California Desert Program.

2) Represent Defenders in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, and general communications with public officials, the media, and members regarding the California Desert Program.

3) Establish and maintain effective working relationships with members of the Legislature, legislative staff, state and federal agency personnel, biologists, scientists and staff of leading NGOs.

4) Communicate value of desert conservation to local governments, businesses, civic organizations, and the media in the West Mojave Desert.

5) Represent Defenders on the Desert Tortoise Information and Education Working Group through the Desert Managers Group. Oversee messaging and products.

6) Develop a locally-based outreach program aimed at reducing human attractants for ravens in the desert.

7) Participate in local and regional conservation planning and implementation efforts in the West Mojave Desert.

8) Other duties as assigned by supervisors.

Qualifications
1) Advanced degree or undergraduate degree with combined applicable experience in Natural Resources, Public Policy, Biology, or related field.

2) At least 2 years of advocacy experience involving natural resource issues.

3) Some knowledge of federal and state agencies, laws, treaties, policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources, and land use planning.

4) Experience developing, implementing, and managing conservation campaigns.

5) Strong writing, media and communications skills.

6) Ability to deal effectively with a broad range of audiences.

7) Personal interest and commitment to conservation.

To apply, please send cover letter, resume, and writing sample to:

hr@defenders.org

or to

“California Desert Associate Search”
926 J Street, Suite 522
Sacramento, CA 95814

and indicate interest in the California Desert Associate position by September 30, 2005.

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2005 September

2004 September

September 26th, 2004

September 26, 2004

Dear Friends of CalUWild:

I’ve just returned from a week in Washington, DC, where more than 350 wilderness activists from around the country gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act. It was a week filled with good spirits and a sense of what we’ve accomplished together over the last 40 years. At the same time, all were mindful of the challenges facing us in the present, especially the threats posed by the current administration’s quest to open every last place to oil and gas exploration and its refusal to support wilderness protection for deserving areas.

Many wilderness supporters met with congressional offices, explaining these threats and seeking support for wilderness designation in states all around the country. It was a week well-spent, and both the Utah Wilderness Coalition and the California Wild Heritage Campaign took part. For some participants, it was the first time they had ever ventured to Washington on behalf of wilderness. Others were veterans of multiple trips.

Future opportunities for citizen activists are planned, so if you are interested in traveling to the nation’s capital with a group of like-minded folks, please contact me at mike@caluwild.org, and we’ll see what can be arranged.

This month’s UPDATE contains two action items, both of which are calls for comments on Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plans — one in Utah and one in California. RMPs, as they are called, are extremely important documents, because they establish the land management practices and programs for a given area for a time period of 10-15 years. Thus, public participation is critical! Please submit comments as suggested below. Thanks!

The upcoming election is probably the most important in a very long time for people who care about the environment. The deadline for registration in most states is 30 days before the election — October 3 this year. So if you’ve moved recently or your registration has lapsed for some reason, please register. To make it easy to register, we’ve added a button to CalUWild’s home page that will take you to the Earth Day Network’s voter registration site. Follow the instructions there to register. And then don’t forget to vote on November 2!

The response to our dues mailing in August has been very gratifying. A big “thank you” to everyone who has responded. If you received a notice and haven’t yet sent in a contribution, please do so if you can.

Finally, we need more citizens working to protect our wilderness areas and public lands. Please pass this UPDATE along to people you know who might be interested in helping out. Ask them to get involved! If they send us their e-mail address, we’d be glad to add them to our list. Currently the UPDATE goes out to more than 650 people across the country. (And as we’ve always stated, we do NOT share our mailing list with ANYone for ANY reason.)

Thank you for your enthusiasm!

Mike
==========================================================================================

IN UTAH
1. Price BLM Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 14, 2004
(ACTION ITEM)

IN California
2. BLM San Diego County Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 12, 2004
(ACTION ITEM)

IN Wyoming
3. Forest Service Roadless Rule
Comment Period Extended
Deadline: November 15, 2004 (Action Item)
(ACTION ITEM)

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

IN UTAH
Price BLM Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 14, 2004
(ACTION ITEM)

Most of the information in this item comes from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

In July, the Price Office of the BLM released its Draft Resource Management Plan. The Price RMP is one of five that will be released in coming months, and they will determine to direction that the management of the BLM lands will take: what areas will be opened to oil and gas exploration, off-road vehicle use, and mining, and what places will be protected for their natural qualities. Much of the land has been proposed for Wilderness status and is included in America’s Redrock Wilderness Act.

The Price plan covers a large portion of central Utah, including such special places as: Desolation Canyon, Turtle Canyon, Price River, Humbug Canyon, Lost Spring Wash, Mexican Mountain, Sids Mountain, Eagle Canyon, Molen Reef, Upper Muddy Creek, Muddy Creek, Devil’s Canyon, Rock Canyon, Hondu Country, San Rafael Reef, Cedar Mesa, Mussentuchit Badlands, San Rafael River, Labyrinth Canyon, and Sweetwater Reef.

Of more than 1.5 million acres proposed for wilderness preservation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (90% of which the BLM has previously agreed has wilderness characteristics), nearly 1 million acres will be open to oil, gas, and mineral development. Areas proposed for wilderness but open to oil and gas leasing under the BLM plan include Desolation Canyon, Turtle Canyon, Mexican Mountain, the San Rafael Reef, and Eagle Canyon. Of the entire 2.5 million-acre planning area, only 584,128 acres will be closed to leasing (almost all of which are Wilderness Study Areas already protected from leasing by Congressional mandate).

Regarding off-road vehicles, although the BLM has committed to designating trails, they are leaving open illegal, user-created routes that are detrimental to protecting Utah wilderness. The plan leaves open routes in Wilderness Study Areas, like Devil’s Racetrack in Sids Mountain WSA in the San Rafael Swell, as well as the notorious Five Miles of Hell, and Behind the Reef Road.

If you’ve been to any of these places (or others in the area) explain which specific areas you’ve visited; what activities you’ve engaged in; what you saw; and how you think these lands should be managed to ensure that resources and activities important to you are protected. Additional points to raise in your comments:

* Do not offer citizen proposed wilderness lands to oil companies for development. Preserving special places now proposed for wilderness from oil and gas development will ensure that these natural wonders, critical plant and animal habitat, riparian corridors, and ecologically sensitive areas will not be squandered for short-term, speculative gain.
* Designate off-road vehicle trails outside of citizen proposed wilderness areas. Designate citizen proposed wilderness areas as semi-primitive non-motorized to protect them as such.
* Protect lands that contain significant cultural, geologic, scenic, recreational, and plant and wildlife habitat as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs).

Written comments should be sent to:

Price Field Office RMP Comments
Attention: Floyd Johnson
125 S. 600 W.
Price, UT 84501

Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to: comments@pricermp.com

or at the BLM website: http://www.pricermp.com/comments.asp

If you use the website, I suggest using “special designations” description for comments. In accord with the backroom settlement made last year between Interior Secretary Gale Norton and then-governor Mike Leavitt, there is no “wilderness” category.

Finally, comments may be faxed to: 435-781-4410.

If you have questions, you may call BLM at: 435-636-3600 or contact Margi Hoffman at SUWA: 801-486-7639 ext. 20 or margi@suwa.org

IN California
2. BLM San Diego County Resource Management Plan
Comments Needed
Deadline: October 12, 2004 (Action Item)

The following alert comes from the Sierra Club San Diego Chapter.

Protect San Diego County’s Wild Places

San Diego County is known for its beautiful landscapes and mild weather. It also is blessed with an incredible variety of plants, animals, and insects. In fact, some experts feel this is the most biodiverse county in the entire U.S.

Please help protect these wild places by sending a letter or email to the Bureau of Land Management’s El Centro field office. The El Centro field office is preparing a new Resource Management Plan for public lands in the eastern part of San Diego County (north of interstate 8, east of the Laguna and Volcan Mountains). The BLM is required by law to address in the plan any concerns the public raises during the comments period.

If you have been to any of the affected areas, please mention your experiences in your letter. A few possible concerns are also listed below. To give your letter more weight with the BLM, please use your own words.

Protect Endangered Species:

The peninsular bighorn sheep lives in the area. Please urge the BLM to redraw the grazing allotments to prevent grazing in areas that have been declared critical habitat for the bighorns.

There may be Quino Checkerspot butterflies in the area. This endangered species lost much of its habitat during last fall’s wildfires. Please urge the BLM to conduct biological surveys to see if the butterflies are present in this area and if they are, to manage those areas to protect the butterfly.

Protect Wilderness Study Areas:

There are four Wilderness Study Areas (Table Mountain, Sawtooth Mountains A, San Ysidro Mountain, and San Felipe Hills) in the region. The BLM probably will drop the first three from consideration for wilderness because they are less than 5,000 acres each and the fourth because of surrounding private property. Please urge the BLM to manage these areas to protect their biodiversity and solitude if they lose WSA status.

Protect Wilderness Areas:

The Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness and Carrizo Gorge Wilderness are within the area. They border on places where off-roaders like to ride. Please urge the BLM to monitor these wildernesses for off-road vehicle intrusions and to take quick action to eliminate illegal routes into them.

Protect Cultural Resources:

The area contains many cultural resources, such as Native American village sites and sacred sites. Please urge the BLM to fully survey these cultural resources and manage the area to protect them.

Manage for Biodiversity:

The area’s plants, animals, and insects are threatened by other uses of the area, including grazing, off-roading, poorly controlled target shooting, and possible future mining. Please urge the BLM to make its management decisions based on what will be good for the long-term biological health of the area, not what brings short-term benefit today.

For additional information contact:

Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter, Desert Committee
Kelly Fuller, kdfuller@adnc.com
Larry Klaasen, klaasen_L@juno.com

Letters must be postmarked by October 12, 2004. E-mails also are due October 12, 2004.

Send comments to:

Ms. Lynnette Elser
Eastern San Diego County RMP and EIS
Bureau of Land Management
1661 S. Fourth St.
El Centro, CA 92243

or e-mail them to: lelser@ca.blm.gov

IN GENERAL
3. Forest Service Roadless Rule Comments Needed
Comment Period Extended
DEADLINE: November 15, 2004
(ACTION ITEM)

In response to requests from CalUWild and numerous other organizations, the Forest Service granted a 60-day extension of the comment period on its proposed revisions to the Clinton Administration’s Roadless Rule. Comments may now be submitted until November 15, 2004. If you didn’t get a chance to submit comments before the original Septmeber 15 deadline, here’s your chance!

Please see CalUWild’s August UPDATE for details and suggested talking points.

https://www.caluwild.org/docs/August_UPDATE_web.htm

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

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Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on 2004 September

2002 September

September 22nd, 2002

September 22, 2002

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

During August, not much “action news” came in so we were able to give you a little bit of a breather and not publish an UPDATE.

That doesn’t mean, however, that CalUWild wasn’t busy. We continue our involvement in the R.S. 2477 issue (working against improper rights-of-way for roads in wilderness and potential wilderness areas) at both the national and state levels. We have also joined the Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance (see Item 4), working to ensure an effective Colorado River Management Plan in Grand Canyon National Park. We are also continue to be active members of the California Wild Heritage Campaign, a coalition of groups working on energy-related public lands issues, and the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC).

CalUWild members can be proud that there are now 25 Utah State Activist Groups around the country. (See next paragraph for a list of states with “SAGs.”) They all coordinate with the UWC and were instituted after and based on the grassroots successes of CalUWild and the Illinois Sierra Club’s Utah Wilderness Task Force. Leaders of 11 SAGs met for a week in August at Posey Lake in Utah’s Dixie National Forest. Evenings were spent comparing strategies, discussing issues with a BLM representative, and planning for the future. During the day we hiked in proposed wilderness areas in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, able to see firsthand the landscape we are seeking to preserve.

These states currently have SAGs: Arizona, California, Colorado Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin & West Virginia. Contact information for these groups can be found at:

http://www.uwcoalition.org/getinvolved/grassroots/groups.html

If you know anyone who might want to take a leadership role in an existing SAG or start one in a state without one, please have them contact that group, Ken Venables at the UWC (phone:

801-486-2872), or Dave Pacheco at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

(phone: 202-546-2215).

In other news, CalUWild’s June UPDATE mentioned that the BLM had put out an environmental assessment for seismic testing in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. (The 30-day comment period did not allow time to include it in an UPDATE, but we did submit comments in our members’ names.) The BLM decided to allow the seismic exploration, despite the fact that the monument contains some of the highest known concentrations of archaeological sites in the U.S. However, a judge in Denver issued a temporary restraining order, preventing any such exploration, so he could hear a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice and the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies on behalf of the San Juan Citizens Alliance and The Wilderness Society.

On a related topic, the energy bill is currently in conference committee. The House and Senate versions are so different that the two houses are trying to craft a compromise bill. The House version is decidedly worse, with many bad public lands provisions and little in the way of energy conservation or alternative energy production. The latest twist is that Interior Secretary Gale Norton has suggested that Pres. Bush veto the energy bill if the final version doesn’t contain provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, the House version (H.R. 4) opens up the ANWR to drilling, while the Senate version contains no such language. Frankly, a presidential veto might be the best thing.

Work continues to restore and update the CalUWild website at . Thanks to webmaster Phillip Loughlin for his efforts!

Finally, the response to our August dues mailing has been good so far. Thank you to all who responded. If you received a reminder and would like to help out with expenses but haven’t yet sent your contribution in, please do so. The mailing address is at the end of this UPDATE. We run a tight ship here, but it does take dollars to keep CalUWild running. We can use your support!

Best wishes,

Mike

There are a few items of interest this month:

IN UTAH

1. Jim Hansen’s Title XIV

2. America’s Redrock Wilderness Act

(ACTION ITEM)

IN UTAH & ARIZONA

3. Glen Canyon Jet Skis

Deadline: November 12

(ACTION ITEM)

IN ARIZONA & CALIFORNIA

4. Grand Canyon Open House in Oakland: October 2

Scoping Comment Period Extended

Deadline: November 1

(ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA

5. California Wild Heritage Campaign Continues to Move Ahead

6. Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains NM Planning

Scoping Deadline: October 1

(ACTION ITEM)

IN MEMORIAM

7. Barbara and Galen Rowell

IN UTAH

1. TITLE XIV

Utah Rep. Jim Hansen’s proposal for “wilderness” in the Utah Test & Training Range continues to stir up controversy, for several reasons:

1) It is part of the Defense Authorization Act, so it went to the Armed Services Committee — where it clearly does not belong — rather than Resources.

2) It gives the Department of Defense unprecedented control over a wilderness area, allowing unrestricted military development. Currently the Defense Department only controls the airspace above the BLM land in question. Furthermore, the BLM would have to receive permission from the Defense Department and the Utah National Guard before changing any management strategies.

3) Rep. Hansen’s acreage is far less than is eligible and included in America’s Redrock Wilderness Act. In fact, it’s less than in his own West Desert Bill of a couple years ago.

Title XIV is controversial enough in the current Senate-House Conference Committee that the decision to include it or not in the final bill will probably be left up to the Committee’s four leaders, the senior senator and representative from each party. California’s Duncan Hunter (R-52), not a fan of wilderness by any means, may step into that role to replace ailing Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ).

East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-10) is a member of the conference committee. As a cosponsor of America’s Redrock Wilderness Act, she has been taking an active, strong stand against Title XIV with her colleagues on the committee. The only other Californian on the committee is Rep. Buck McKeon (R-25), also no friend of wilderness.

We’ll keep you posted as the bill progresses.

2. AMERICA’S REDROCK WILDERNESS ACT

(ACTION ITEM)

Currently there are 162 House cosponsors and 17 in the Senate. This is a record for the Senate, but still 7 below the previous record for the House. Congress is likely to have a lame duck session following the election, so it’s not too late to get more cosponsors. If your representative isn’t listed below, give him or her a call to say you support wilderness in Utah. If your representative is listed below, give him or her a call to say “thank you!”

Here’s a list of California cosponsors of America’s Redrock Wilderness Act in the House (H.R.1613). Sen. Barbara Boxer is a cosponsor of S.786, the Senate bill, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein has not renewed her cosponsorship from the 106th Congress.

California House cosponsors:

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 UTAH & ARIZONA

3. GLEN CANYON JET SKIS (ACTION ITEM)

On September 13, the National Park Service opened a comment period on a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) looking at Jet-Ski use in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The Park Service’s press release states the following about the DEIS’s 3 alternatives:

“Alternative A would allow use as currently exists under a special regulation. Personal watercraft use would be authorized for all areas of the recreation area above Glen Canyon Dam except where prohibited by the 2002 Superintendent’s Compendium.

“Alternative B [the Preferred Alternative] would allow personal watercraft use in the recreation area under a special regulation with additional management restrictions. Personal watercraft use would be prohibited in portions of the Colorado, Escalante, Dirty Devil, and San Juan Rivers to increase protection of environmental values and reduce visitor conflict. To further reduce visitor conflict and improve visitor experience, speed restrictions would be imposed in additional areas of the Escalante and Dirty Devil Rivers. This alternative also includes enhancement of educational programs and materials, and the development of a monitoring program and Lake Management plan that would comprehensively consider all lake uses to manage the effects on resources by all watercraft use.

“Under Alternative C, the no action alternative, all personal watercraft use within the recreation area would be prohibited, based on the year 2000 National Park Service rule.”

Public planning meetings will be held in October in the following cities: Salt Lake City, Phoenix & Page, AZ, and Grand Junction, CO. (No meetings will be held in California.) Exact dates, locations, and times may be found at:

http://www.nps.gov/glca/plan.htm

The comment period will run for 60 days, and we will try to have more detailed information regarding issues and comments in the next UPDATE. In the meantime, the plan may be downloaded from:

http://www.nps.gov/glca/pwceis/pwchome.htm

In addition to the public meetings, comments may be mailed to the park:
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
691 Scenic View Dr.
P. O. Box 1507
Page, Arizona 86040
By fax: 928-608-6204

or emailed to:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Wright, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, 928-608-6339

IN ARIZONA/CALIFORNIA

4. GRAND CANYON OPEN HOUSE IN OAKLAND

OCTOBER 2

(ACTION ITEM)

For the last couple of months, CalUWild has been a member of the Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance (GCWA), a coalition of organizations dedicated to preserving and enhancing the wilderness character of the Colorado River as it flows through Grand Canyon. (Other members include The Wilderness Society, Alaska Wilderness League, Arizona Wilderness Coalition, Bluewater Network, Friends of the Earth, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Living Rivers, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.)

In our July UPDATE, we announced that scoping comments were being accepted for a new Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP), with a deadline of September 21. In response to a request by the GCWA, the Park Service added a California scoping meeting and one near Baltimore, MD. Also, the comment deadline was extended until November 1.

The California meeting will be held Wednesday, October 2 at:

Merritt College

Student Dining Hall (Building R)

12500 Campus Drive

Oakland, CA

4 – 8 P.M.

For directions to Merritt College, go to:

http://www.nps.gov/grca/crmp/public/directions.htm#ca

For a map of the campus, go to:

http://www.merritt.edu/cat/mermap.html

Merritt College is not the most convenient location, but please attend anyway if you can. this will show the Park Service the level of concern among Californians for the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, the Park Service did not add a meeting in Los Angeles, although the Alliance had requested one there as well.

Please see the July UPDATE for comment suggestions. These can be submitted at the open house or by mail. Additional points to make include:

1) Although not mentioned anywhere in its scoping discussion, the Park Service should undertake a full study of the effects of Glen Canyon Dam on the ecology of Grand Canyon. Cold water temperatures, drastically reduced silt content, and at-times-drastically reduced water flows, among others, have all had extremely negative impacts on Grand Canyon’s environment. Effects include reduced beach area along the shores, decimation of native fish populations, invasion by tamarisk and other invasive non-native species.

2. The scoping materials also make little mention of management to preserve the wilderness character of the river corridor. In previous planning “go-rounds”, the Park Service had recommended wilderness designation for the river. The CRMP should use this recommendation as the basis for all planning alternatives.

3. If you are unable to attend the Oakland open house because the location is inconvenient (e.g., not easily accessible by BART) please mention that in any comment you submit. Thanks!

For more information please see the park’s CRMP website at:

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

Comments can be sent in by mail and electronically.

CRMP Team, Grand Canyon National Park

P.O. Box 129

Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

or via email:

by November 1.

5. CALIFORNIA WILD HERITAGE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES TO MOVE AHEAD

Rep. Hilda Solis’s Southern (H.R. 4947) and Rep. Mike Thompson’s Northern California Wild Heritage Act (H.R. 4948) bills are attracting cosponsors. As of September 16, California cosponsors included:

Lois Capps (D-22)

Susan Davis (D-49)

Anna Eshoo (D-14)

Bob Filner (D-50)

Jane Harman (D-36)

Mike Honda (D-15)

George Miller (D-07)

Grace Napolitano (D-34)

Nancy Pelosi (D-08)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-33)

Brad Sherman (D-24)

Ellen Tauscher (D-10)

Mike Thompson (D-01)

Maxine Waters (D-35)

Henry Waxman (D-29)

Lynne Woolsey (D-06)

Out-of-state cosponsors include:

Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)

Jim McDermott (D-WA)

Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)

Jim Moran (D-VA)

Robert Wexler (D-FL)

The Wild Heritage campaign will be working to get the following California

representatives on board:

Joe Baca (D-42)

Xavier Becerra (D-30)

Howard Berman (D-26)

Calvin Dooley (D-20)

Sam Farr (D-17)

Tom Lantos (D-12)

Barbara Lee

Zoe Lofgren (D-16)

Robert Matsui (D-05)

Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-37)

Loretta Sanchez (D-46)

Adam Schiff (D-27)

Pete Stark (D-13)

Diane Watson (D-32)

In other news from the CWHC:

– Just two weeks ago, the California Assembly and Senate passed a joint resolution in support of Senator Boxer’s CA Wild Heritage bill. For more information check out:

http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/acsframeset2text.htm

– Three top state constitutional officers have joined the list of endorsers. Lieutenant Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and State Treasurer Phil Angelides have all written letters of support for S. 2535.

– Over 125 state and local elected officials have also given their support for the California Wild Heritage Act.

To build on this success, over 75 national, state, and local conservation organizations sent a letter to Gov. Davis, encouraging him to join the wave of support growing for the California Wild Heritage Act. CWHC thanks all those groups who joined on to make the letter so diverse and compelling!

Finally, CWHC is still collecting signatures on its petition to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (who has yet to sign on to Sen. Boxer’s bill) in support of California’s wild places. You may sign the petition online at:

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

Or if you would like to have your friends and relations sign it, send them the above URL or download a PDF version from:

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

6. SANTA ROSA AND SAN JACINTO MOUNTAINS NM PLANNING

SCOPING DEADLINE: OCTOBER 1

(ACTION ITEM)

In October, 2000 Congress passed a bill creating the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument in Southern California, to be jointly managed by the BLM and Forest Service. The monument is beginning to develop a general plan, and the scoping period runs until October 1.

The scoping process will identify planning issues, develop criteria, and will include an evaluation of the existing BLM and USFS land and resource management plans in the context of the needs and interests of the public and conservation of natural and cultural resources specified in the designating legislation.

As wilderness advocates, please request that the BLM and Forest Service conduct inventories of areas identified as potential wilderness by the California Wild Heritage Campaign. Furthermore, those areas should be managed as Wilderness Study Areas under section 202 of the Federal Land Policy Management Act.

This is a bit short notice, but at this point in the process, your comments need not be much longer than a couple of sentences. The comment period will run until October 1, 2002. Publication of the draft EIS is anticipated in early 2003. The public may give comment at the public scoping meetings or submit comments by mail, fax, or email to the addresses listed below.

Written comments may be sent to:

Danella George, Monument Manager

Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office

Bureau of Land Management

P.O. Box 581260

North Palm Springs, CA 92258

By fax: 760-251-4899

By email:

For more information, call: 760-251-4800

IN MEMORIAM

7. Barbara and Galen Rowell

Memorial Gathering: October 13

As has been widely reported, Barbara and Galen Rowell died August 11 when the plane they were flying in crashed as it was approaching the airport in Bishop, CA. The plane’s pilot and another passenger also died. Barbara and Galen had been members of CalUWild’s Advisory Board for a little over a year.

Both were outstanding photographers of the Earth’s wild places, and Galen was an adventurous rock climber and supporter of Tibetan human rights as well. In addition, they and their Mountain Light Gallery were generous supporters of many wilderness and conservation organizations, often hosting receptions and fundraisers at the galleries in Emeryville and later in Bishop.

A few of Galen’s books are: “My Tibet” with text by the Dalai Lama, whom Galen and Barbara knew well (University of California Press). They traveled extensively in Tibet and the Himalayas. Galen’s photos accompany an edition of John Muir’s “The Yosemite,” published by the Sierra Club. Other titles include: In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods, Mountain Light, The Vertical World of Yosemite, Alaska: Images of the Country (with text by John McPhee). More are listed at their website:

http://www.mountainlight.com

We will all miss them greatly. Their photography, however, is a legacy that will continue to inspire people to protect wilderness and cultural resources.

A public memorial gathering will be held:

Sunday, October 13

Berkeley Community Theater

1930 Allston Way

Berkeley, California

3 P.M.

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

Californians for Western Wilderness

P.O. Box 210474

San Francisco, CA 94121-0474

415-752-3911

info@caluwild.org

caluwild@mindspring.com

https://www.caluwild.org

(undergoing renovation)

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

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