Middle Knob and other special Mojave Desert gems need your help
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a draft plan that will establish where legal motorized and non-motorized routes should be located in the Western Mojave Desert. The West Mojave Route Network Project (WEMO) would cover the approximately 3 million acres of public lands that the BLM manages in the area.
Unfortunately, the WEMO plan is proposing to open thousands of miles of new motor vehicle routes here, including in Mojave Trails National Monument, California Desert National Conservation Lands, lands with “wilderness characteristics”, and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. All of these desert lands were given these conservation designations because they hold special and important qualities that need and deserve to be protected; BLM’s decision to designate new routes here will increase the likelihood of damaging those characteristics. While it is important for the public to have access to these lands to use and enjoy them, there is no reason to increase the number of motorized routes in these important conservation areas.
One important area is Middle Knob, a largely unspoiled area north of the town of Mojave, at the junction of the Tehachapi Mountains, Mojave Desert, and Sierra Nevada. Despite its close proximity to highways and open play areas for off-highway vehicles (OHVs), the area supports significant biodiversity and naturalness, with rugged colorful landforms and dramatic vistas. Vegetation in the Middle Knob area transitions from Mojave Desert communities through Joshua tree woodlands to upper elevation pinyon pine and juniper with gray pine and Jeffery pine.
While BLM did a fairly good job in determining where routes should be located in this area, there are a two concerns with these decisions. We need your help to show BLM support for the good decisions and to change the BLM’s mind on the bad decisions. Please send the attached proposed letter to the BLM to help us do that. The deadline to send in comments is June 14, 2018.
Zinke's DOI diversity problem
Secretary Zinke’s recent comments about diversity fail to acknowledge how essential inclusion is when it comes to managing our public lands on behalf of all Americans. CalWild strongly urges the Secretary to make earnest efforts to include and incorporate diverse experiences and viewpoints in the Department of Interior’s workforce. That is most important for groups that have historically been excluded from these conversations, including people of color. These groups will be the stewards of our public lands in the generations to come.
Write Secretary Zinke using the form below to convey the importance of these practices.
Resisting river rollbacks
The number and intensity of conservation threats from federal legislators since President Trump’s election is mounting. As a result, California state legislators are implementing “backstop” bills like AB2975 to protect federally designated lands and waters at the state level.
AB 2975 is specifically geared towards federal Wild & Scenic Rivers. It’s a simple bill that directs the California Natural Resources Secretary to provide state protection for a federal Wild and Scenic River in response to legislation passed by Congress or an executive order signed by President Trump that either eliminates federal protection for all or part of a National Wild and Scenic River in California. The bill also would provide state protection if Congress or Trump attempts to weaken the provision in the federal act that prohibits new dams, reservoirs, and diversions on a federal river. The bill directs the Resources Secretary to hold a public meeting prior to adding a threatened federal river to the state system.
We need you to write your Assemblymember and tell them to support this bill before June 1st; click below to send a message.
Preserve the fundamentals of the Wilderness Act
For more than 50 years, the Wilderness Act of 1964 has protected wilderness areas designated by Congress from machines of all types. This has meant, as Congress intended, that Wilderness areas have been kept free from cars, trucks, motor boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, bicycles, and all other types of motorized and mechanized transport so as to protect places with “wilderness characteristics”. Mountain bicycling is the type of mechanization the National Wilderness Preservation System was established to exclude, in order to protect the rustic and primitive character of Wilderness areas. With its enactment of the Wilderness Act, Congress recognized that only certain forms of transport—foot, horseback, and paddling —are compatible with an experience based on the solitude, tranquility and naturalness of the wilderness environment.
H.R. 1349 is a dangerous attempt to weaken the Wilderness Act and carve a huge loophole in the National Wilderness Preservation System for bikes and other machines, and who knows what else afterward. The bill is yet another attack on our public lands that undermines one of our nation’s bedrock conservation laws and jeopardizes America’s wilderness.
Thank our legislative stewards for the Central Coast
Rep. Carbajal and Sen. Harris have unveiled a re-introduction of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, a bill on which we’ve worked for 7 years and whose history dates back even further. After spending most of the year in a defensive crouch from Congress’ myriad attacks to public lands, CalWild is really happy to see some of our junior legislators getting their hands dirty with wilderness bills like this.
Using the form below, please take a moment to thank the authors Rep. Carbajal and Sen. Harris (and cosponsors Reps. Brownley/Panetta and Sen. Feinstein) for shepherding a bill that would protect 244,909 acres of new or expanded wilderness and 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers.
Feinstein/Harris: Adopt these San Gabriels bills!
Rep. Judy Chu has introduced two bills to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, establish an adjacent San Gabriel River and Foothills National Recreation Area, and protect wilderness and wild and scenic rivers in the mountain range.
Now it’s time for Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein to show their support for the protection of the majestic San Gabriel Mountains by introducing companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. Please send emails today to them both to introduce companion bills to Rep. Chu’s comprehensive legislation to protect the San Gabriel Mountains.
Please send your emails to Senators Harris and Feinstein TODAY. Feel free to expand and add to the sample email provided.
McCarthy needs to lend his voice to protect Giant Sequoia
The Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM) covers 328,315-acre protecting the giant Sequoia groves and their surrounding forests and watersheds from resource development. A previous protection proposal by President George H.W. Bush was less than 1/3rd of the Monument established by President Clinton. The more expansive Clinton proclamation was preceded by extensive public input and local meetings. Although some people opposed its establishment, the Giant Sequoia National Monument enjoyed widespread public support, which continues today.
The Forest Service has all the policy tools it needs to effectively address tree mortality in the Monument. What the agency lacks is adequate funding from Congress. The Forest Service has suffered from severe budget cuts since the Giant Sequoia National Monument was established and most of its current budget is spent fighting wildfires. Budget cuts are a major impediment to effective forest management in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Lack of funding and political support in Congress is also the primary reason why the Monument lacks a visitor center, which would improve the visitor experience and boost tourism and the economy of local communities.
The well documented economic value of the Giant Sequoia National Monument is completely ignored by President Trump and the Western Caucus. Travel and tourism are important to the communities in the Giant Sequoia region, supporting about 55,100 jobs. Tulare and Fresno counties have experienced strong growth since the monument was established, with increases in population, jobs, and personal income. Overall, outdoor recreation in California generates $92 billion annually in consumer spending, directly contributes to 691,000 jobs, and adds $6.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.
Please make sure McCarthy understands how many benefits the Giant Sequoia is providing to his own constituents.
Thank Rep. Chu for her San Gabriels wilderness bill
On June 23, 2017, Rep. Judy Chu introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act, a bill that would add 31,069 acres of new wilderness and 45 miles of new wild and scenic rivers to the dramatic and popular San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. Rep. Chu has been acting with decisive and expedient force lately; between this bill and her swift introduction of H.R. 2323 (which would expand the San Gabriels National Monument), she has demonstrated her willingness to stand up for the anti-public lands sentiments coming from President Trump, his cabinet, and Congress. CalWild is proud to have her as one of our many conservation allies working to protect our public lands, monuments, and wilderness areas.
Please take a moment to thank Rep. Chu for this bill using the form below.
Expand (not revoke!) the protection of the San Gabriel Mountains
Rep. Judy Chu has introduced legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, a week after President Donald Trump ordered the review of the Monument and six others in California. Cosponsored by Representatives Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Linda Sanchez, and Tony Cardenas. Chu’s H.R. 2323 proposes to add more than 109,000 acres to Monument, which was established in 2014 by President Barack Obama. The bill also proposes to establish a 51,000-acre San Gabriel National Recreation Area in the publicly-owned foothills adjacent to the Monument and along the lower San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo.
Email Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris urging them to introduce a Senate companion bill to Rep. Chu’s bold legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and establish the downstream National Recreation Area.
Show your support for Sen. Feinstein's re-introduced desert bill
Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the California Desert Protection and Recreation Act (S. 32) earlier this year. The bill would protect many wild and special places in our desert and build upon the Senator’s career-long dedication to the preservation of our desert. The bill is a well-balanced compromise of a wide array of interests. As such, the bill not only has the support of conservationists, but of off-road vehicle enthusiasts, veterans, local government, utilities, small businesses, tribes, and the military, among other interests.
As one might guess, the current Administration and make-up of Congress lessen the probability that Congress will pass legislation like the Senator’s bill. However, what makes this bill different is that Representative Paul Cook has introduced a bill that is almost identical to the Senator’s bill (California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act (H.R. 857). That means the bill has bi-partisan support, which is critical in this political climate.
We need to encourage the Senator to continue to push for the bill’s passage. Take a moment to send the Senator a letter of support below.
Rep. Knight Needs to keep his promise on the Proposed Castaic Wilderness
In 2015, Representative Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) introduced legislation in Congress to protect the proposed Castaic Wilderness and establish the St. Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial. The nearly 70,000-acre proposed Castaic Wilderness is located on public lands in Los Angeles County north of the Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. The proposed St. Francis Dam National Memorial is a small 440-acre site located just southeast of the proposed wilderness.
Fast forward to 2017: Rep. Knight recently reintroduced his St. Francis Dam National Memorial legislation, without including the proposed Castaic Wilderness.
Send him an email now with the form below to let him know the Castaic deserves the protection he originally proposed!