10/29/07 Warrior’s Society News – “The Traverse” registration opens this week

In this issue:

1. “The Traverse” registration opens this week

2. October “Newbie” ride wrap-up

3. Commentary: the devastating fires

4. Commentary: Wilderness Designations -Same Story, Different Day


Registration for the 2008 “The Traverse” event will open this Thursday, November 1st. We do not expect the fires to affect our 2008 events.

We will have links to the downloadable application and online active.com registration on the event web page at:


If you decide to mail in an application and we sell out, only those apps postdated on the day we sell out will be accepted.

Start time 6:00 a.m. (40 miles with 8,000 +- of total elevation gain) 150 person limit. The race will have Intermediate ($65) Expert ($65) and Pro
($90) Classes with the Pros racing for finishing cash. PARTICIPATION IS LIMITED TO 175.

“The Traverse” event will be a fundraiser for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. The Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund honors the bravery and dedication exhibited by Americans in our Armed Forces who have sacrificed life or limb defending our country by providing educational scholarships to their children:


Here are the Classes and age groups for “The Traverse” and the Toad Festival

Pro Men —no ages—-cash payout
Pro Women — no ages — cash payout

NO Singlespeed category

Intermediate and Expert categories for men and women with age groups:

46 and up


First off I could not have pulled this off without some help so thanks to Sam aka “Brewmaster” for the info on Carbon Canyon/Chino Hills. To OMR for leading the “A” group. Tim aka “jasonmason” for sweeping the “A” group.
Warriors Society Members Treve and Chip for helping out with the “B” group.
My man Dino Brown and Dave aka “Fired Yo Momma” for sweeping the “B” group.
Mike who lead the “B” group and Bovinian route and to Maxine for her tips on descending. Thanks a bunch!

Well another great turnout on another glorious morning. The weather could not have been better. I really enjoy riding with this group. I got to meet new STR members and put more faces to names and it’s always a blast to see and hang out with the usual suspects. Big Prop to Jason aka “Pugz” for not
quiting. Way to finish strong!

These rides seem to bring out the lighter side of each of us. Everyone having fun and encouraging on e another. I always have time to go out and hammer one out, but it’s not often I can ride with 20, 30, or 50+, meet new friends and see some old ones. So what’s next? Stay tuned. We may be coming to your neck of the woods. Here are my pics: See you all next time.


Gene “Guides New Warrior’s” Frial


Although we are all devastated with the destruction caused by the fires across Southern California we must remember that fire is part of the cycle of the Chaparral environment. The environment is designed to survive fires in intervals of up to 60 years. The problem is when one of the two following conditions occurs:

1. When the fire interval passes above 60 years with the corresponding massive buildup of fuel. As Phil Rawlings, fire captain with CAL Fire, stated in the Orange County Register on Saturday, October 27:

“Rawlings stressed that fire would continue to burn even after firefighters dig a ring around it to prevent it from spreading. And, he said the prognosis could change depending on the weather and the thick and abundant ‘ancient fuels’ – old growth forest – of Cleveland National Forest, where the fire is burning.

The woods ‘are in the 100-year-old-age class,’ said Rawlings. ‘We don’t have a lot of recent fire history in the Cleveland National Forest.'”

It can be extremely devastating when this time interval combines with one of our normal cycles of droughts – causing low moisture levels in the flora – and/or the Santa Ana winds. The tremendous heat generated by these combined conditions can possibly “glaze” and sterilize the ground in some areas of the forest. This is why the use of controlled burns is so important.

2. When another fire occurs under 10 years after the initial fire and the chaparral did not have time to recover. This short interval increases the risk that drought tolerant invasive species, such as grasses, overcome the native flora and fauna, such as reptiles and mammals, are devastated and slow to recover if at all. There are several examples of this in Riverside County. This is one reason why it is important to “manage” fires and not let them just burn if no structures are threatened.

They are predicting an average to below average raining season – which is a curse because we really need more than average rainfall because of the drought – but a blessing because it will lesson the chance of massive mudslides and slope failures caused by the loss of vegetation.

We must always remember when we live near wilderness areas that Nature lives by one rule, “Only the strong survive,” and that’s why they call it (wild)erness.

Nature’s gift of wilderness calls to those of us with a love of it – and a desire to live close to it – but we must accept this knowing she can be merciless.

I’ve heard criticism of people who live in fire prone areas, but what about people who live in flood prone areas, tornado prone areas, hurricane prone areas, earth quake prone areas, volcano prone areas, etc.? Where is it truly safe to live?

You cannot find true heaven on earth, because living life comes with risks. If there is a God I can comprehend and grudgingly accept why he’s allowed Nature to destroy human life, or why he allows us free will – what kind of life would it be with complete safety, with no consequences?

It would not be life, because life implies the risk of no existence and of consequence. To me it would be a very boring, gray and unexciting existence – not life.

I do not find God in the wrath of Nature, I find him in the response of our fellow human beings who of their own free will reach out and help others.
This blessing of grace is a beautiful and inspiring gift; it is the face of God.

That is not to say that the loss of life and property that occurred during this fire should be welcomed, or that we should not take precautions to lesson our risk. We should all be grateful that during the forest plan process (forest plans determine how the forest will be managed for a 15-year
period) the Sierra Club’s and the Center for Biological Diversity’s proposals to ban the or severely limit the use of fire retardants, as well as other proposals to tie the hands of fire fighters, were not adopted by the Forest Service:


The Center for Biological Diversity is also the organization that sued to close Maple Springs Road during the endangered Arroyo Toad Breeding Season (April 1st to October 30th) to protect them against humans. Since the lawsuit was filed over 6 years ago Maple Springs has only been closed twice during the Arroyo Toad breeding season because drought or massive flooding has prevented toad from breeding. Perhaps the Center for Biological Diversity should sue Mother Nature for its impact on the Arroyo Toad.

Their other forest plan proposals would have also banned mountain biking.

The Sierra Club’s and Center for Biological Diversity’s Wilderness campaign (The Wilderness designation bans mountain bikes and puts restrictions on “active” management of the forest) to designate much of the Cleveland National Forest, as well as the other three National Forests in Socal as “Wilderness” would have put restrictions on fire management as the following letter from a forest official to a leader of the Sierra Club wilderness campaign explains:


The Warrior’s Society, along with other recreation organizations and fire agencies, fought against and defeated the forest plan and wilderness proposals of the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity.

During the Forest Plan process the Sierra Club’s and Center for Biological Diversity’s motto was “Protect And Restore Our Forests” They hid behind this slogan and did not trust the public enough to explain what the proposals were behind the slogan. How does tying the hands of fire fighters and land managers ability to actively manage wildland fires help to “Protect And Restore Our Forest?”

The next time the Sierra Club wants your support, question the proposals behind their slogans; ignorance is not bliss.

The Warrior’s Society will be working closely with the Forest Service to assess the damage to the trails and to take steps during our trail work projects to install erosion control devices on those trails affected by the
fires. We will keep you informed on these future projects.


Editor’s note: Candace Oathout is an equestrian concerned about policy and legislative actions that would affect our ability to manage (and recreate
in) our public lands. While equestrians are allowed in wilderness areas, the wilderness designation bans “motorized use” including mountain biking.
Currently California Senator Barbara Boxer is pushing two wilderness bills in California that would detrimentally affect mountain bike access. The Sierra Club had attempted to declare most of the forests in Southern California as wilderness areas, including here in the Santa Ana Mountains, but they were defeated by the Warrior’s Society and other organizations opposed to losing recreational access.

WILDERNESS DESIGNATIONS – SAME STORY DIFFERENT DAY By Candace D. Oathout Warrior’s Society National Legislative Representative

I was recently asked to lend support to efforts to stop legislation designating more Wilderness; something I am happy to do.

Legislation has been introduced to add additional Designated Wilderness in five western states. It would designate approximately 8 million acres in Montana, over 9 million acres in Idaho, over 3 million acres in Wyoming, over a million acres in Oregon and about ¾ of a million acres in Washington.
It will also establish the Flathead National Preserve Study Area which covers 285,000 acres adjacent to Glacier National Park. This amounts to more than 21 million more acres of Designated Wilderness and is in addition to the 107,436,608 acres that have already been designated, which exceeds the state of California in size. It is three times larger than the state of Arizona and Virginia. In fact we have more Designated Wilderness than the combined areas of the states of California, Maryland, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

Surely it is time to place a moratorium on all Wilderness Designations. Many of the acres proposed have been reviewed for suitability as Designated Wilderness and have failed to meet the criteria outlined in the Wilderness Act of 1964 which states; “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean, in this Act, an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value. (emphasis added) so determined wilderness activists are changing the rules.

The U.S. Forest Service in January of 2007 issued FSH 1901.12 which overrides the definition of Wilderness as an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, and expand the definition to include areas that have heliports, airstrips, cell towers, television/radio towers, radio repeaters, associated access roads, power lines, phone lines, structures, fence lines, areas with less than 70% federal ownership, developed campgrounds and tree plantations all of which do not qualify under the definition contained in the Wilderness Act of 1964. All of the above conditions will no longer stop efforts to change their status to Designated Wilderness.

The designation of Wilderness is the most restrictive form of land use management. The 1964 Act states; “Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.”

There is are very serious consequences that inevitably stem from using the Forest Service’s new rule to designate Wilderness and then changing current land uses to comply with the criteria of Designated Wilderness. The de-construction of rural resource dependent industries is or should be of utmost concern. Not only does Designated Wilderness preclude active forest management, such as, logging to maintain forest health, it seriously impacts the ability to protect our watersheds from catastrophic wildland fires by active fire fighting. Lack of active forest management prevents land managers from treating invasive species and, pest and disease infestations or the stress of overcrowded growth that contributes to these problems.
Removal of existing roads also places limits on land managers abilities to preserve wildlife habitat or even to survey or study endangered species.
Imagine that the only way to stop the advance of the vigorous annual grass know as Cheat Grass which is extremely flammable is to hike or ride horseback to it’s location and use hand tools to remove it before it goes to seed. Keep in mind that this grass covers millions of acres and continues to spread each year. It is already necessary for land managers in National Forests to require field maintenance crews to hike in and have their equipment and supplies delivered, by pack mule, by volunteers, such as, the Backcountry Horseman of America. Many protests have been logged against even these limited efforts as they are considered by wilderness purists to have too much impact on Wilderness areas.

Two thirds of forest land in the western United States is public land compared to one sixth of forest land in the eastern U.S. The data show that logging in the Rocky Mountain region is one quarter of what it was twenty years ago. It is even less in the Pacific Northwest at less than one tenth the volume it was twenty years ago. This has led directly to increased housing costs here in this country due to the need to import wood and increased deforestation in countries that export wood and wood products to the U.S. The cessation of logging combined with managing forest for “old growth” has led to overcrowded tree stands that are stressed by competition and much more susceptible to pest and disease infestation. This, in turn, makes them much more susceptible to catastrophic wildland fires that cost the agencies more than a billion of dollars in fire fighting costs in fiscal year 2006. 9.5 million acres of forest have burned last year alone. This amounts to almost 5% of forests burned in just one year.

It is a fact that anyone can propose that an area be considered for wilderness designation. It is apparent that extreme wilderness advocates are driven by the belief that “untouched wilderness” is some how superior to the “works of man”. This belief is so strong that it is now being used to designated areas that do not fit the criteria for Designated Wilderness.
Areas that are clearly inappropriate for this designation.
Studies have shown that “wilderness designations lead rapidly to excessive biomass accumulation that will enhance the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires. Surely it is time to look at the results of 43 years of designating wilderness and stop the insanity of repeating a failed policy hoping for a different outcome.

Candace D. Oathout


Manitou and Shimano are the Major Component Sponsors of the Warrior’s Society

Cytomax is the Official Fluid Replacement Drink of the Warrior’s Society

Clif Bar is the Official Energy Bar and Gel of the Warrior’s Society

The Warrior’s Society is a Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) affiliated organization

The Warrior’s Society is a Tax Exempt Organization under 501 (c) 4 of the IRS Code


Chris Vargas
Executive Director of the Warrior’s Society Mountain Club

Manitou and Shimano are the Major Component Sponsors of the Warrior’s Society

Cytomax is the Official Fluid Replacement Drink of the Warrior’s Society

Clif Bar is the Official Energy Bar and Gel of the Warrior’s Society

The Warrior’s Society is a Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) affiliated organization

The Warrior’s Society is a Tax Exempt Organization under 501 (c) 4 of the IRS Code

“It is better to try big things, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy much nor suffer much.”


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