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Newsletter Archive


Sandstone, San Rafael Reef, Utah                                                                                                               (Mike Painter)

 
May 2, 2022

Dear CalUWild friends—

Spring is here and that means summer is right around the corner—a time when many people take off and explore America’s treasury of public lands. The pandemic greatly increased visitation during the last two years, and reservation systems for entrance, hikes, and campgrounds have been implemented in some of the most popular national parks. Yosemite in California, Arches and the Angels Landing hike at Zion in Utah, and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado are among them. Be sure to check requirements in advance of your planned travel!

California’s Outdoors for All Initiative has expanded its program to include free day-use entry at most California state parks for public library card holders. Details may be found here. This is in addition to the free Adventure Pass program for fourth graders and their families at 19 state parks around the state.

The California Natural Resources Agency released its Final Pathways to 30×30 Strategy in April. We haven’t reviewed it yet, but you may read and download it by following the links here.

As always, thank you for your support of our wilderness and public lands.

 
Best wishes,
Mike

 
IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsorship
          (ACTION ITEM)

IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act
          (ACTION ITEM)
3.a.   California Coastal Commission Rescinds its Approval
          Of Pt. Reyes National Seashore’s Ranch Management Plan;
3.b.   Pt. Reyes Announces Development of Tule Elk Management Plan
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: May 9
          (ACTION ITEM)

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

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

IN UTAH
1.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsorship
          (ACTION ITEM)

We’re still hoping for more California Congressional representatives to sign on as cosponsors to America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. We’ve been working with other members of the Utah Wilderness Coalition to set up meetings via Zoom and have had a few with a couple more scheduled. But so far, the cosponsor list isn’t getting any longer. These are the office we’d still like to set up meetings with. If you are a constituent and would be interested in joining a meeting with the staff member, please send me an email.

Josh Harder   (D-10)
Jackie Speier   (D-14)
Eric Swalwell   (D-15)
Adam B. Schiff   (D-28)
Tony Cardenas   (D-29)
Brad Sherman   (D-30)
Jimmy Gomez   (D-34)
Norma Torres   (D-35)
Raul Ruiz   (D-36)
Karen Bass   (D-37)
Linda T. Sanchez   (D-38)
Lucille Roybal-Allard   (D-40)
J. Luis Correa   (D-46)

If your representative has not yet cosponsored, please ask them to. In particular, we would like to get all the previous cosponsors on board. And if they have already, please thank them. You can see the list on our online California Congressional Information Sheet.

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

 
IN CALIFORNIA
2.   Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act
          (ACTION ITEM)

There was good news when Sen. Alex Padilla (D) announced that he and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) were introducing a bill in the U.S. Senate to add Walker Ridge to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The bill, S.4080, is a companion to H.R.6366, introduced by Reps. John Garamendi (D-3) and Mike Thompson (D-5) The bill renames Walker Ridge as “Condor Ridge (Molok Yuluk)”—the name in the local Indigenous Patwin language.

The bill also includes the House language mandating Tribal engagement in developing the management plan and continued involvement in future management decisions.

Because it’s just as important to thank our friends (sometimes even more so, since so many people neglect doing it) as it is to request things from them, please take a minute to thank Sens. Padilla and Feinstein for introducing the bill:

Sen. Padilla:     202-224-3553
Sen. Feinstein:     202-224-3841

You may read Sen. Padilla’s press release here. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat printed a story on the bills: California lawmakers seek to add Lake County ridge to Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

More information about the monument expansion may be found in ITEM 2 of our February-March Update, where we also included a list of hoped-for House cosponsors for H.R.6366—all representatives who had cosponsored previous legislation for the monument.

Doris Okada Matsui   (D-6)
Ami Bera   (D-7)
Anna G. Eshoo   (D-18)
Jerry McNerney   (D-9)
Grace F. Napolitano   (D-32)

From that list, Rep. Matsui has cosponsored. Reps. Jared Huffman (D-2) and Katie Porter (D-45) had already cosponsored the bill. If you live in one of those districts, please thank them. If you are in any of the other districts, please call and ask them to become a cosponsor. Phone numbers for their DC offices may be found on our online California Congressional Information Sheet.

And if your representative isn’t on the list, it wouldn’t hurt to call them, as well, with a cosponsorship request.

 
3.a.   California Coastal Commission Rescinds its Approval
          Of Pt. Reyes National Seashore’s Ranch Management Plan

The California Coastal Commission unanimously voted to reject the National Park Service’s plan to remedy water pollution and other problems caused by cattle ranching at the Seashore. Last year, the Commission had voted to approve the plan, by a vote of 5-4, on the condition that the Park Service provide a plan within a year to address the cleanup needs. However, the Commission, at its early April meeting, rejected the proposals brought forward by the Park Service as being completely inadequate, not containing any detail as to priorities, standards to measure progress, or enforcement.

The Coastal Commission has no legal enforcement power, but its approval is important nevertheless. The Park Service said it will continue to work with the Commission and submit a new proposal in September. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.

 
3.b.   Pt. Reyes Announces Development of Tule Elk Management Plan
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINE: May 9

          (ACTION ITEM)

The Park Service also announced that it would begin development of a management plan for the Tule Elk herd at Tomales Point, at the northern end of the Seashore. The first of the herds to be established at the Seashore, it has suffered significant die-offs during the last two droughts, due to lack of forage and reliable water supplies, because it is behind an eight-foot fence, cut off from the rest of the Seashore. Much of the preserve is designated as part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness.

The Park Service is accepting public comments prior to beginning its formal planning process. NPS anticipates looking at the following issues:

•   maintenance or removal of the tule elk fence;
•   population management of the Tomales Point tule elk herd;
•   supplemental water for the elk in times of need;
•   wilderness management; and
•   visitor use and infrastructure management at Pierce Point Ranch

Our friends at Wilderness Watch suggest including the following points:

•   The Point Reyes National Seashore belongs to all Americans, not just to ranchers who profit from its use. The NPS must protect the Seashore and its wildlife.
•   Fences have no place in Wilderness. The NPS needs to end the tragic, ongoing deaths of rare Tule elk at Point Tomales in the Phillip Burton Wilderness by taking down the fence so elk can access food and water.
•   The NPS needs to prioritize the needs of native wildlife by putting an end to commercial ranching at Point Reyes like it was supposed to do decades ago.

You may submit comments online at:

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=119614

Or by U.S. Mail to:

Tomales Point Area Plan
c/o Superintendent
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

The comment deadline is May 9.

 
Also regarding Pt. Reyes: The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed about preserving the historical Indigenous presence there: How a national park can honor Coast Miwok ancestors and their living descendants

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

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. Gift links are temporary links from some websites, allowing non-subscribers to view articles for free. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

In Utah

Grand Canyon Trust published a story map about White Mesa, the site of a uranium mill on the edge of Bears Ears National Monument, just south of Blanding.

The Denver Post later ran a long article about the issues there, too: Colorado, Utah tribe worries nation’s last uranium mill is contaminating water, causing uptick in illness. (The website says it’s a “subscriber only” article, but it was accessible as of this writing.)

There were two articles in the Salt Lake Tribune regarding the Colorado River in Glen Canyon:
Lake Powell continues to disappear as Colorado hits pause on plan to prop up levels

A waterfall could soon form on the Colorado River as Lake Powell drops

In California

An article at SFGate.com, prominently featuring the Bodie Hills: One man’s quest to document California’s most vulnerable public lands

An article on Conglomerate Mesa in the Los Angeles Times: Conservationists are a step closer to keeping a ‘desert island in the sky’ wild forever

An article in the Los Angeles Times: As drought hammers Mono Lake, thirsty Los Angeles must look elsewhere for water

A storymap from California Trout on the removal of five obsolete dams in California: Dams Out

An article in the Calexico Chronicle: Border Wall Settlement Reflects Ocotillo Resident’s Concerns

An obituary in the New York Times for former California Rep. Vic Fazio (D-3) and who was a founding member of CalUWild’s Advisory Board and long-time public lands supporter. (gift link for non-subscribers)

In New Mexico

The Biden Administration agreed to review the previous administration’s approval of fracking in the area around Chaco Canyon, sacred to Indigenous peoples and renowned for its archaeology. You may read the press release from our friends at the Western Environmental Law Center here and an article in the Albuquerque Journal here.

In Texas

A bit outside our normal geographic range, but there’s a national monument proposal for just north of El Paso, Texas. The Castner Range National Monument would add protected lands to the area, which includes Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico. Here’s a storymap about the proposal.

In General

Western Watersheds Project has published a storymap looking at how grazing lease are renewed without undergoing any public environmental analysis

A column by Margaret Renkl in the New York Times examining the human need for wildness: The Second Coming of the Lord God Bird (gift link for non-subscribers)

 
 
 

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