Friends of the Warrior's Society,
We have a lot share with you in this Wilderness Update. Our goal to defeat Senator Boxer's Wilderness Bill continues to move forward. To pass, this bill must go through a committee process in the Senate, then a vote of the full Senate. The bill must go through a similar process in the House of Representatives. Once both bills make it through their respective chambers, they must then go to a conference committee to iron out the differences. If the bill doesn't, pass by November, the entire process must start again next year.
We hope by use of these updates to keep you informed without burning you out. It is important that you keep up to date on this issue and you do your part by spreading the word. California leads the nation and the outcome of this bill has great implications outside our borders.
The current wilderness bill is part of a larger policy, the Wildlands Project, being pushed by environmental organizations. The main goal of the Wildlands Project is to put 50 percent or more of the land in the United States under restrictions similar to the wilderness designation.
Other methods are used to implement the Wildlands Project and lock up public land beside the wilderness designation, such as lawsuits claiming endangered species, or lawsuits to prevent thinning as a fire prevention tool. Designations such as conservation easements are also used.
We are already seeing the results of the Wildlands Project by the lawsuit filed by environmental organizations which has banned personal watercraft on Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Powell and six other national parks after Sept. 15. Can boats be far behind?
Along with the three lakes on the Colorado River between Nevada, Utah and Arizona, sites affected are Amistad and Lake Meredith, Texas; Big Horn Canyon, Mont.; Chickasaw, Okla.; Curecanti, Colo.; and Lake Roosevelt, Wash.
Karla Norris, a spokeswoman for Lake Mead National Recreation Area, said Tuesday that the ban is expected to be temporary but could last until May. The Park Service is under court order to show that personal watercraft don't harm the parks.
Most lawsuits that are filed by environmentalists, including the recent closure of a popular mountain bike trail in Arizona, don't argue that recreation is detrimentally harming the environment; they want the land managers to show it isn't. You can expect more lawsuits forcing "temporary" or permanent closures of our trails, lakes, rivers in the future. Mountain biking is not the only recreation that will be affected, equestrians, OHV, climbers, boaters, and watercraft users will also be affected by their efforts to bring the Wildlands Project to fruition.
This has alarmed not only recreation enthusiasts, but also many communities adjacent to the forests, both rural and urban, about the implications of this policy, if adopted, would have on them. What effect would this have on our economy and decisions on where we could live? What types of recreation will the government allow in the future?
One of the shared concerns expressed by forest service officials and anti-wilderness activists is the limits a wilderness designation puts on fire prevention and forest fighting. The first item we have to share with you is a Palomar Ranger District memo that almost mimics the same concerns expressed by the Angeles Forest District Ranger regarding fire and recreational access. You can view Angeles Forest memo.
Following the Palomar District memo is an article from the Washington Times telling how Senator Tom Daschle quietly slipped into a spending bill language exempting his home state of South Dakota from environmental regulations and lawsuits, in order to allow logging in an effort to prevent forest fires. Tom Daschle is a big supporter of the environmental agenda - for others.
A wilderness designation does not allow logging i.e. thinning of the forest; how can you when no mechanical methods can be used, which are the concerns raised by the both the Palomar District memo and the Angeles Forest District Ranger's memo.
After the article on Tom Daschle is a press release describing Rep. George Radanovich (R-Mariposa) demands this week that the Sequoia National Forest be exempt from the National Environmental Protection Act and the National Forest Management Act, just as Democrat Leader Tom Daschle has exempted his state from these environmental laws to prevent fire.
And the last article we have to share in this update is one describing the summer of 2000, when recreationists and local access groups warned the Clinton administration of the fire danger in the Sequoia National Forest.
At the end of the articles mentioned above we have our alerts that call for your action.
1. Kern County Board of Supervisors to vote to oppose wilderness bill.
2. El Dorado business alliance opposed to wilderness bill
3. San Diego Board of Supervisors set to vote on wilderness bill
4. Nevada County to vote on support for wilderness bill
We also have the email addresses of Senator Boxer and Feinstein at the end of this update so you can email them with your opposition to the wilderness bill.
Subject: Comments on proposed Wilderness Area designations,
Cleveland National Forest
There are serious management issues for both public Forest Service and private lands within the current proposed Wilderness Area designations on the Cleveland National Forest.
Primarily, what is the reason and goal of these designations? What are the current and potential future threats to these areas?
None of these areas contain outstanding natural physical features or significant biological diversity or populations.
Current human activity within these areas [is] minimal, and current protection (designated roadless areas) is not likely to change.
Due to a variety of reasons, we are not managing these areas to the best of our ability as it is; Wilderness Area designations will only limit our ability to manage these areas further.
Fire management is the single most important aspect to land management on the Cleveland National Forest, Wilderness Area designations will only hinder or limit our ability to manage for fire and suppression activities, regardless of what the Wilderness Act states.
Fuel management practices (which are both necessary and mandated) will be severely restricted and/or altered by these designations, and may even result in increased environmental damage and impacts.
Designation of Wilderness Areas will only lead to increased use within these areas by drawing attention to them. Many of these areas do not have trails, trailheads, or adjacent facilities. How will these designations provide for or improve recreations opportunities?
How much money will be spent on these designations and their management? The Forest Service is under funded as it is. How will these areas be better managed?
Several of the areas listed (Barker Valley, West Fork, San Diego River) are not in pristine condition. The San Diego River is subject to areas of intense human use and management problems. All three of the areas contain exotic species (both fish and plants), how will Wilderness designation assist in their management and control by limiting access and equipment?
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle quietly slipped into a spending bill language exempting his home
state of South Dakota from environmental regulations and lawsuits, in order to allow logging in an
effort to prevent forest fires.
The move discovered yesterday by fellow lawmakers angered Western legislators whose states were forced to obey those same rules as they battled catastrophic wildfires.
"What's good for the Black Hills should be good for every forest in the United States," said Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican and chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
Mr. Daschle, a Democrat, said the language to expedite logging is essential to reduce the timber growth that can fuel wildfires.
"As we have seen in the last several weeks, the fire danger in the Black Hills is high and we need to get crews on the ground as soon as possible to reduce this risk and protect property and lives," Mr. Daschle said in a statement late Monday night after a House-Senate conference committee agreed on the language.
The language was tucked inside the defense supplemental spending bill, which passed the House last night by a 397-32 vote. The overall measure, which spends $29 billion, will be taken up by the Senate today.
The provision says that "due to extraordinary circumstances," timber activities will be exempt from the National Forest Management Act and National Environmental Policy Act, is not subject to notice, comment or appeal requirements under the Appeals Reform Act, and is not subject to judicial review by any U.S. court.
More than 20 lawsuits, appeals or reviews are blocking timber projects to remove fuel from the Black Hills Ñ some bottled up in bureaucracy since 1985, say Republican aides.
"After hearing all the hand-wringing from environmentalists downplaying the impact of appeals and litigation, it's nice to see that the highest-ranking Democrat in the nation agrees that these frivolous challenges have totally crippled forest managers," said Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Republican and chairman of the House Resources subcommittee on forests and forest health.
Mr. Daschle said his measure is the "fastest and most effective way to get the forest thinned." "To be effective, any piece of legislation must be crafted in a way that avoids more time-consuming litigation, and this deal should meet that critical test," Mr. Daschle said.
House and Senate Republicans signaled they would try to extend the exemptions to forests in their own states.
"He should expect that and he should support it," Mr. Craig said. More than 50,000 fires have torched 3.7 million acres this summer, the National Interagency Fire Center reported yesterday.
"It will be interesting indeed to find out if what's good for Mr. Daschle's goose is also good for the West's gander. We intend to find out," Mr. McInnis said.
Environmental groups oppose timber cutting as a form of fire prevention, and some groups contend that logging activities constitute the sort of human actions that cause forest fires.
"It's like giving people the mumps vaccine during a measles outbreak because you don't have a measles vaccine," said Jeff Kessler, spokesman for the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance.
"You appear to be doing something that matters, when instead all you are doing is eroding the rule of law," Mr. Kessler said.
The provision to allow logging in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and Beaver Park was first included in the farm bill by Rep. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson for his seat in November.
It was killed by Mr. Daschle and Mr. Johnson under pressure from environmental groups, congressional aides said.
"They caved to the national environmental groups during the farm bill and got destroyed back home because of it, so they really didn't have any choice but to join Mr. Thune," one Republican aide said.
The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance opposes logging in the Black Hills and is threatening to sue to stop such activities.
Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, where more than a half-million acres have been destroyed by fire, said the process should have been open and the solution available to all states in a "tinderbox situation."
"It certainly can only be described as blatant hypocrisy on behalf of the Senate leader to claim on one hand to be the champion of the environment and then on the other hand to cut a special deal for his home state," Mr. Hayworth said.
"What he is proving today is that true environmentalists are willing to have effective forest management. This is a classic case of somebody saying one thing for political posturing, and doing another for public policy," Mr. Hayworth said.
"We're trying to rebound from the worst fires in our history Ñ hundreds of homes, thousands of lives shattered Ñ we're on emergency footing in the White Mountains of Arizona trying to rebuild people's lives," Mr. Hayworth said.
"Believe me, if we had the option to take advantage of this for Arizona, you better believe we would have."
Contact: Rebecca Rahe
FRESNO-Rep. George Radanovich (R-Mariposa) demanded this week that the Sequoia National Forest be exempt from the National Environmental Protection Act and the National Forest Management Act, just as Democrat Leader Tom Daschle has exempted his state from these environmental laws to prevent fire.
"This week, I have cosponsored legislation to extend Sen. Daschle's South Dakota-specific forest plan to the rest of America and thereby free all national forest land at risk of catastrophic fire from the shackles of burdensome regulations and lawsuits," Radanovich said. "The legislation is titled The National Forest Fire Prevention Act, H.R. 5214.
"While I'm glad to see Mr. Daschle change his tune and recognize the common sense in preventative forest management, I find it appalling that the Democrat leader would seek to help his own state from the threat of fire while forests in the West burn out of control. I want this exemption for the forests in my district, including Sequoia National Forest, so that those magnificent trees don't end up like charcoal."
Radanovich continued, "In a shameless act of political posturing, Mr. Daschle killed a similar attempt by Republican Senate candidate John Thune weeks ago to help South Dakota forests, only to turn around and sneak it into a defense spending measure himself. Only smoke from a forest fire could blind voters from recognizing this kind of self-serving, back-handed politics.
"It's wonderful the Democrat leader is worried about the threat of fire in his state, but we have fires burning NOW in the west. Allowing forest managers the ability to mechanically thin and maintain Sequoia National Forest in my district could have prevented the current fire, and would help stop it in its tracks now. I will call on Mr. Daschle, therefore, to extend this common-sense approach to my district and all of the West."
OAKLEY, CA -- In the summer of 2000, recreationists and local access groups warned the Clinton
administration of the fire danger in the Sequoia National Forest. The BlueRibbon Coalition and others
held a rally and filed an RS 2477 rights-of-way assertion at the Trail of 100 Giants trailhead. This
was in the very area that is today threatened by the fires created by the anti-management agenda of
the so-called environmental movement and their political allies.
The groups gathered to oppose the many road and trail closures of president Clinton's new Sequoia National Monument. They also said the lack of active management would create the very fire that is seeing burn through this important resource.
At the rally two years ago, Tom Barile, a spokesman for the SAMs Coalition, said on local TV, "It's their (Clinton administration) obligation to protect the health and safety of all the users of the forest as well as the forest. What they are doing is bordering on criminal negligence."
Don Amador, the western representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, stated, "I think all of us at the rally two years ago were afraid that the non-management policies of the Clinton/Gore administration would lead to the destruction of valuable resources and recreation opportunities in the Sequoia National Forest."
"As fires burn throughout the West, I hope the Bush administration does something very quickly to address the excessive fuel-loading in our public forests." Enough lives and property have been lost. It's time to act." Amador said.
Bill Dart, the Coalition's public lands director, comments, "Senate majority leader Tom Daschle acknowledged the severity of the catastrophic wildfire problem, and the inability of the land managers to deal with the excessive fuel loading issue due to interference by obstructionist groups and policies put in place by the Clinton Administration. when he recently moved to exempt all of the National Forest and BLM lands in his home state of South Dakota from the normal planning processes, even blocking anypotential lawsuits Unfortunately, he is only willing to extend these protective measures to his own state, while the rest of the western forests burn."
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public lands. It represents over 1,000 organizations and businesses with approximately 600,000 members.
On Tuesday, July 30, 2002 at 2:00, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will consider a recommendation
from the Planning Department and County Administrative Office to adopt a position in opposition to
S.2535 by Senator Boxer and H.R 4947 by Congresswoman Solis.
1. If you can make it to Bakersfield for the meeting, please stand up and voice your opposition to any Wilderness designations in Kern County. Call (661)868-3198 for meeting location.
2. Please take a moment to send them a note asking that they adopt a position of opposition
How to reach the Kern County Board of Supervisors firstname.lastname@example.org
If the above address does not work, try the following:
Phone: (661) 868-3601
Fax: (661) 868-3636
3. Write a letter to the editor to the local paper. This will help educate others and put more pressure on the Board.
Fax: (661) 395-7380
To: Senator Barbara Boxer
Re: Wilderness Designation Legislation (S.2535)
Honorable Senator Boxer:
The El Dorado Business Alliance is a group of organizations that represents thousands of individuals in business in El Dorado County including: the Building Industry Association of Superior California, the El Dorado Builders Exchange, the El Dorado County Joint Chambers Commission, the El Dorado Forum, the El Dorado County Association of Realtors and the Surveyors, Architects, Geologists and Engineers. We have reviewed your Wilderness Designation Bill S.2535 and have unanimously voted to oppose the Wilderness Designations as set forth in S.2535.
El Dorado County is striving to find balance between many different lifestyles and community interests, from rural and urban housing opportunities to recreation, business, agriculture, ranching and tourism needs. Due to significant existing acreage in national forests and areas like Lake Tahoe (governed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency), half of our county is already under federal or state control, leaving limited areas in which to resolve these competing needs. Our elected public officials and public interest groups have struggled for years to create the necessary equilibrium, and introducing new Wilderness designations would have an adverse affect on these efforts.
Unfortunately widespread public input was not sought prior to the creation of S.2535. If it had been - you would have found that El Dorado County agrees with the many, many agencies and interest groups that are already on record in opposition of this legislation. We believe the most compelling reasons for opposing S.2535 are as follows:
Loss of the ability to fight devastating forest fires due to discretionary prohibition of motorized vehicle access and restricted road construction and/or maintenance;
Potentially negative impacts to current and future water distribution and storage facilities;
Loss of the Forest Service's ability to actively manage the designated areas for wildlife diversity;
Loss of recreational activities for numerous interest groups from snow mobile and off road vehicle users to hunters and fishermen who must drive to their destinations;
Loss of use to virtually everyone not young and healthy;
Lack of economic assessments as to impacts on local jurisdictions and loss of revenues due to the "Wilderness" designation;
Failure to consider impacts on revenues currently generated in the affected areas, and future taxpayer costs of incorporating another level of control in Wilderness designated areas (such as permit-to-enter process, etc).
The Business Alliance believes that at some point the nation needs to evaluate all issues surrounding
the ongoing movement that, for the vast majority of citizens, reduces access to lands held in public
trust and closes them to communities they were created to serve. Extensive economic and environmental
analysis should be conducted before any more land is locked away from human contact and management.
Thank you for your consideration of our position in this very important matter.
Kimberly Beal, Chairwoman
July 22, 2002
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors met on July 23, 2002 to consider a position of "support" for
the Boxer wilderness bill. Although Environmentalist outnumbered recreationalists by 2 to 1 at the
meeting, the board decided to let everyone make public comments. We still have time to voice our
opposition to wilderness designations in Nevada County.
Mountain bikers would lose the Mount Lola trail if the Castle Peak wilderness was created. In Grouse Ridge, they'd lose the Beyers Lake trail. Most disturbing in the package of accompanying documentation are various statements that all recreation groups now support this bill!
The Nevada Irrigation District voiced concern over their continued use of a helicopter on Grouse Ridge to conduct snow surveys and inspect equipment at three of its reservoirs: French, Faucherie and Sawmill. The water agency also uses snowmobiles there. Both would be prohibited.
Another concern is that boundaries are drawn along section lines, the one-mile-square units that form townships instead of following recognizable geographic features (drainage, ridge, etc.). Section lines are an extremely difficult boundary to mark, maintain, follow, and the public has great difficulty knowing if they are in or out of a wilderness.
1. Write the Board of Supervisors and ask that they formally oppose Senator Boxer's wilderness bill.
How to reach the Nevada County Board of Supervisors
Voice: (530) 265-1234
Fax: (530) 265-1480
2. Write a letter to the editor to the local paper. This will help educate others and put more pressure on the Board.
Grass Valley Union Newspaper
Fax: (530) 477-4292
On Tuesday, July 30, 2002, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider a position in
support to S.2535 by Senator Boxer.
1. If you can make it to San Diego for the Board of Supervisor's meeting, please stand up and voice your opposition to any Wilderness designations in San Diego County.
San Diego County
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego , CA 92101-2400
Call (858) 694-3900 for meeting location.
2. Please take a moment to send them a note asking that they adopt a position of opposition
How to reach the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Fax: (619) 557-4155
3. Write a letter to the editor to the local paper. This will help educate others and put more pressure on the Board.
San Diego Union Tribune
Fax (619) 260-5081
In about half of the areas in the bill Wilderness designation would eliminate significant bicycling opportunities. The bill would prohibit bicycling in important riding areas near Lake Tahoe and Donner Pass, around Mammoth Mountain, in the northern Coast Range and southern Sierras, and north and east of Los Angeles.
WRITE U.S. SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN
Senator Feinstein has not yet endorsed the bill and is concerned about not only our access but also the economic effects this bill would have. The first action you can take is to contact U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein's support is crucial to the advancement of Senator Boxer's bill. Senator Feinstein is carefully examining the proposal and is listening to her constituency. The time to influence her is now!
Due to security concerns, mailed letters are not the best way to convey your concerns. It takes as much as a month between mailing and the opening of a letter by congressional staff. Please send a fax or place a telephone call, then follow with a mailed letter.
PLEASE FAX YOUR LETTERS with the subject line: Oppose Wilderness Bill
Honorable Senator Feinstein
One Post St., #2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (619) 231-1108
Fax: (310) 914-7318
Fax: (415) 989-3242
Fax: (202) 228-3954
Fax: (559) 485-9689
Fax a copy of your message to Senator Boxer.
Honorable Senator Boxer
1700 Montgomery St., #240
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 403-0100
Fax: (213) 894-5012
Fax: (909) 888-8613
Fax: (619) 239-5719
Fax: (559) 497-5111
Fax: (415) 956-6701
Fax: (916) 448-2563
If You Can Do More...
WRITE A HOUSE SPONSOR OF THE BILL -- U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) will introduce companion bills in the House for northern California and U.S. Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) will do the same for southern California. They, too, are examining the details of Senator Boxer's proposal. Fax your letter to:
Honorable Mike Thompson
119 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0501
Fax: (202) 225-4335
Phone: (202) 225-3311
Honorable Hilda Solis
1641 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0531
Fax: (202) 225-5467
Phone: (202) 225-5464
WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON -- Find the name and address of your member of Congress. Ask your member to speak to Representatives Thompson and Solis about bicycling and the Wilderness bill.
WRITE YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER -- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Learn the address of your local paper.
Messages to television and radio stations, web news sources and discussion groups are also appropriate. Letters to media should be
short -- around 200 words. Reasoned discussion is always preferable to inflamed rhetoric. The goal is to persuade others, not to yell.
POINTS TO MAKE IN YOUR LETTER
* State your concern that some of California's best trails will be closed to bikes through Wilderness designations. If you have specific knowledge of areas in Senator Boxer's proposal that overlap great riding, provide that information.
* Mountain bikers support conservation and would support alternative designations such as the Backcountry Designation
* California is the birthplace of mountain biking and home to 2.5 million off-road cycling enthusiasts. We are an important constituency that generates millions of tourism dollars for the state of California. Bicycling adds more than $2 billion annually to the state's economy.
* Citizens need detailed maps of all proposed Wilderness areas to carefully examine this geographically based proposal.
LONG PROCESS AHEAD -- STAY TUNED
To pass, this bill must go through a committee process in the Senate, then a vote of the full Senate. The bill must go through a similar process in the House of Representatives. Once both bills make it through their respective chambers, they must then go to a conference committee to iron out the differences. If the bill doesn't, pass by November, the entire process must start again next year.
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