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Wilderness Alert 08/05/03

In this Wilderness Update:
1. Senator Barbara Boxer re-introduces her California (statewide) Wilderness Bill (S1555)
2. Wilderness proponents are attempting a piecemeal approach to California wilderness designations
3. Take action!!
4. Support our advocacy

1. SENATOR BARBARA BOXER REINTRODUCES HER CALIFORNIA STATEWIDE WILDERNESS BILL (S1555)

On Friday, August 1st, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill to designate 2.5 million acres of public lands in California as wilderness. It is the second time that Ms. Boxer has introduced the bill, called the California Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, (S1555).

Opponents of the bill argue that the state does not need new wilderness areas and that lands are already protected against unsustainable activities by the NEPA process, the Endangered Species Act (which has been abused by use of fraud to close off areas) and the Forest Planning process.

Senator Boxer is trying to set aside areas that should be left open for multiple use and protection from catastrophic wildfires.

Under the bill, an additional 246,000 acres of Los Padres would be designated as wilderness, bringing the total wilderness to nearly two-thirds of the forest. Los Padres spans six counties from Monterey to Ventura and covers 1.7 million acres. Many other areas throughout California including popular riding areas near Los Angeles, the White Mountains, Mammoth and Lake Tahoe will also be affected.

Senator Boxer introduced her wilderness bill last year and withdrew it for lack of support, but by taking a piecemeal approach, one piece of the legislation that had little opposition survived; the designation of 54,000 acres of Big Sur as new wilderness.

2. WILDERNESS PROPONENTS ARE ATTEMPTING A PIECEMEAL APPROACH TO CALIFORNIA WILDERNESS DESIGNATIONS

As we mentioned in our previous alert, wilderness proponents are using a strategy to advance the wilderness designation in California by attempting to slip them in piecemeal, where they could stay below the radar and become law. While the focus many be on Senator Boxer's statewide California Wilderness Bill (S1555), we must all be alert to this tactic of implementing piecemeal wilderness designations.

U.S. Representative Mike Thompson has introduced a wilderness bill, H.R.1501, which contains the Northern California areas in Senator Boxer's state wide wilderness proposal.

If not resisted from the beginning, this and similar bills can slide through, giving opponents no time to organize and respond.

3. TAKE ACTION!!

It is urgent that all mountain bikers contact Senator Diane Feinstein and request that she not support these wilderness bills. Mountain bikers should also contact Representative Mike Thompson and ask him to reconsider his Northern California specific wilderness bill.

It is also important to contact Representative Pombo, Chair of the House Resources Committee, who has already voiced his opposition to wilderness designations and support his position. Our Legislative Representative Candace Oathout will be submitting written testimony to Rep. Pombo stating our opposition to these and other wilderness designations, as well as our other concerns regarding management policies and laws that have locked out recreation from our public lands. Candace hopes to meet with Rep. Pombo in August to reiterate our concerns.

When contacting these representatives it is important to state the following talking points.

1. Wilderness designation prohibits mountain bikes and other recreational activities, which would have an adverse affect on the local communities that rely on recreation to support their economies. If you are familiar with or have ridden on the trails in the proposed bill, state that in your letter to show a personal connection with the area.

2. Mention that there are existing laws and policies such as the Endangered Species Act, the NEPA process, Forest Plans, etc. that offer existing protection to these areas to prevent exploitation and unsustainable activities.

3. Wilderness designations prevent the use of management techniques needed to address the catastrophic fires we have been experiencing in the west. Wilderness designations tie the hands of Forest Service, BLM and other agencies in the use of preventative measures to address the overgrowth of fuels in our forests and in fighting fires once they start. Billions of dollars of damage and wasted tax dollars are the result of abandoning the management of our forests.

CONTACT INFO:

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN
Attn: John Watts
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (619) 231-1108
Fax: (310) 914-7318
Fax: (415) 989-3242
Fax: (559) 485-9689

HONORABLE MIKE THOMPSON
Attn: Jonathan Birdsong
119 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3311
Fax: (202) 225-4335

HONORABLE RICHARD POMBO
2411 Rayburn HOB
Washington D.C., 20515
Tel: (202) 225-1947
Fax: (202) 226-0861

4. SUPPORT OUR ADVOCACY

We have no paid staff and operate under a very low overhead in an effort to use your contributions as efficiently as possible. Our representatives have years of experience in land use issues and are motivated by a passion to protect your access to your public lands. They are only reimbursed for travel costs.

We depend upon your participation in our events to help fund our advocacy. Our next event is the Toad Festival on Saturday, October 25th. For more information on the Toad Festival click here.

We are also offering Warrior's Society hats and t-shirts for sale to assist us in our advocacy. The money raised by these sales will be specifically earmarked to assist us in our state and federal advocacy efforts to protect our access.

The hats come in black and tan with the Warrior's Society feather on the front and "Warrior's Society" on the back. The t-shirts are tan and feature the Warrior's Society logo and staff on the front pocket with the choice of a graphic of a wheel on the back incorporating the Warrior's Society logo and staff or our "protect our access and conserve our public lands / it's up to you" statement and graphic.

The hats and t-shirts are both $11.99 plus mailing (insured) and sales tax. Up to 3 items can be mailed for the same cost of shipping 1 item. View the hats and shirts here.

You can order clothing using our printable order form.

You can order online at active.com. (click on "register now" and follow the directions to order using your credit card)

You can also purchase these items at:

Switchback Cyclery
In Orange at 3426 E. Chapman at Prospect (714) 628-3913

The Path bike shop
In Tustin at 215 W. First Street, east of the 55 Frwy. (877) 425-2453

Rock and Road Cyclery
In Mission Viejo at 27825 Santa Margarita Pkwy (949) 859-5076
In Laguna Niguel at 27281 La Paz Road Laguna (949) 360-8045

We thank you for your support and promise to continue to do our very best to protect your access to our pubic lands as efficiently as possible. We will also continue to push for sound scientific management practices that are not biased against access.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

Click here for a list of all the wilderness alerts


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