Greetings Rec News Subscribers!
Today, BRC's Executive Director, Greg Mumm, testified at a Congressional oversight hearing titled "Forest Service Regulatory Roadblocks to Productive Land Use and Recreation; Proposed Planning Rule, Special-use Permits and Travel Management.”
Part of the focus on the hearing is the USFS's revised planning regulations and their importance. The other day, a Wall Street Journal article on the EPA provided an excellent object lesson on why these regulations are so important.
Now, before you start sending me “stick to recreation” emails, I'll note that the EPA has been increasingly inserting itself in land use and recreation planning on public lands. I'll submit for an example, EPA's involvement in Colorado's Roadless Rule.
Flies, and Their Lawyers, Keep Rare Trout From Going Home
This is a big issue for revising Forest Plans. Under the Clinton administration, the USFS required impacts to invertebrates be analyzed before a Forest Plan could be finalized. This level of analysis, or over analysis, as some are arguing, is one of the reasons the agency itself has determined its planning rules are "costly, complex, and procedurally burdensome."
As you might expect, invertebrate analysis in the Forest Planning process is being pushed by the radical greenies. Lets hope this oversight hearing can push the USFS into a more realistic planning framework. If not, it might take them 15 years to revise a Forest Plan that's supposed to be in effect for 10 years!
Anyway... our news-feed sent us a commentary from Hot Air, a well known conservative political blog site that I wanted to pass along. The commentary is by J.E. Dyer and is very worthwhile reading. Dyer, commenting partly on the WSJ article, asks a few pertinent questions:
But there are two other important perspectives on this, one of which is that this is what your tax dollars are doing for you. Some questions to consider:
1. Do you care if the Paiute cutthroat trout, which is already surviving elsewhere, is reintroduced to the 9 miles of lower creek where, over the millennia, it developed its unique markings?
2. Do you care enough to pay for the restoration?
3. Do you care enough to spend all the money spent by the US federal government and the states of California and Nevada to overcome years’ worth of regulatory bureaucracy and lawsuits?
4. Do you think this is a high-priority topic for the US federal courts?
5. Would you care even if the Paiute cutthroat trout had not survived?
6. Since this whole issue has arisen because of fish management activities undertaken by government officials in the past, should we not think twice about continuing to bustle around relocating fish, for abstract, sometimes fanciful reasons that end up competing with each other down the road?
The other important perspective on this is that a burdensome, demosclerotic process of this kind can only be sustained by government. Government doesn’t have to worry about a bottom line – at least not in the short run. You’ve got government’s back.
More on the oversight hearing
BRC News Release on Nov. 15 Hearing
Don Amador's excellent blog (bookmark this site now!)
FOREST SERVICE: House Resources panel to plumb agency's planning rules, permitting
Just a bit more EPA bashing...
Rubbing salt in the wound, I'll submit this not-recreation-related gem, again from the Wall Street Journal.
The EPA's Reliability Cover-Up
Update on The Wilderness Society's new lobbying efforts...
Salazar Highlights 18 Backcountry Areas Deserving Congressional Protection as Conservation Lands or Wilderness
Secretary Salazar’s cover letter for the recommendations:
Secretary Salazar’s backcountry recommendations:
Wyoming absent from Salazar's list of landscapes worthy of protection
Battle brewing over expanding wilderness protections in the West
Interior secretary seeks to protect BLM land near Helena, in other states
Wilderness: 18 BLM parcels ripe for bipartisan support
The report issued by Secretary Salazar includes a preliminary list of areas managed primarily by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) where there is significant local support for Congressional protection, and that Secretary Salazar believes can be at the foundation of a bipartisan public lands bill that should pass under this Congress.
Administration urges new wilderness protections
Polis, DeGette pleased to see Interior include Colorado areas in new wilderness report
Congress Urged to Protect 134,000 Public Acres In and Near the Pass
WILDERNESS: Obama proposes protection for desert, mountains
And in Utah...
Wilderness plan zeroes in on 3 southeastern canyons
Desolation Canyon could be considered wilderness
Even Utah Representative Matheson is asking questions about Secretary Salazar's Wilderness Lobbying efforts...
“I am deeply disappointed that Interior Secretary Salazar continues to be tone deaf about public lands issues in Utah,” Matheson said. “As our success in Washington County shows, wilderness proposals must be the result of a grassroots, stakeholder-driven process, rather than a top-down decree. This is not the way to make progress on public lands decisions and it only ensures that we won’t see a successful outcome on the ground here.”
Salazar's wilderness proposal met with criticism
Northern Rockies Protection Act introduced, details still pending
Twenty nine Democrats have signed on to the support the bill, which has been introduced to the House Natural Resources Committee. None of the co-sponsors are from the Northern Rockies or Northwest states. Republican Representative Doc Hastings from Eastern Washington chairs the committee. That's where some of the proposed wilderness has been located in past bills.
At this point, the text of the legislation hasn't been released yet. But past versions of NREPA have included land in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Eastern Washington and Oregon. The most recent version, which failed to get out of committee two years ago, would have protected 24-million acres, with 7.5 million acres of that in Montana.
Here's a bit of good news...
Yamaha GRANTs Support 4,500 Miles of OHV Trails in 3rd Quarter 2011
North of the Border
Proposed ban on off-road vehicles within city limits supported
Survey shows support for ban of use of off-road vehicles inside Winnipeg city limits
Snowmobilers not affected by lawsuit
Forest Service seeks public comment on Fallen Leaf Lake plan
Shasta County moves to open roads; Forest Service to study plan
Shasta-Trinity moves slowly — for good reason
Crapo: Collaboration Taking Higher Profile in U.S. Forest Service
Washington, D.C. – The use of collaboration and increased public involvement to address contentious federal land management issues is a welcome development, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo noted the promotion of Region 1 Forester Leslie Weldon to become the new Deputy Chief for the U.S. Forest Service.
It's true, and BRC has been involved in several successful collaborative efforts that, among other things, have managed to get greenie buy-off on motorized trail maintenance, mountain bike trails and even commercial timber projects.
There is a big however, however...
Those of us who participated in Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's Owyhee Initiative are waiting to see what Idaho BLM's Jarbidge Field Office is going to do with WSAs released by the Owyhee compromise.
In a hard fought local compromise, the Owhyee legislation released several Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) in exchange for about 1 million acres of Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness.
But the BLM is updating its Resource Management Plan for the Jarbidge Field Office, and in what can only be called a slap in the face to local compromise, the BLM has proposed making these former WSAs into Wildlands, a management designation that, if you can believe it, is actually MORE restrictive than WSAs.
If BLM designates any portion of these Wildlands, it will cast serious doubt on future collaborative efforts and it will place a much higher burden insofar as whether BRC will continue our participation.
What to do when your constituents won't support your massive Wilderness bill? Well, if you take Cecil Andrus's advice, you simply wait till nobody's looking and ask the President to snatch the land with a whisk of a pen!
And people are wondering why the support for federally managed lands is waning... sheesh!
Andrus tells Obama to designate Boulder-White Clouds as national monument
Boadle Road closure near Choteau prompts contempt of court complaint
Baucus to sponsor RMF Heritage Act legislation
Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness Protection Inches Closer to Law
The Seattle Times chimes in with an oped in support of the latest Wilderness proposal for Alpine Lakes and the San Juans.
Congress can protect two of Washington's treasures
Outdoor enthusiasts protest creation of new wilderness areas in Arizona
Mountain bike group: Disheartened, staying positive
BLM plan addresses valley biking, drilling, conservation
ORV supporters say Michigan plan to raise trail fees for riders derailed
Organized off-road-vehicle enthusiasts are hoping to see Michigan legislation developed that raises trail fees for riders and provides liability protection for clubs that maintain trails, but progress has been hampered by political barriers in the state capital, according to riding club representatives.
Shoshone forest supervisor looks to end dispute with county
Here's an update on the ongoing fight over RS 2477 roads in Utah
State, counties file for control of So. Utah roads
With the deadline speedily approaching for comments on the BLM's EA that could affect the future of the Bonneville Salt Flats, we thought it would be a great time to take a look back at Speedweek 2011 and some total awesome pics.
We also want to send congratulations out to George Poteet and Ron Main whose Speed Demon Race Car received Hot Rod Magazine Trophy for Fastest Speed at 416.539 mph Mile 5 [Exit speed 426.910 mph] and a look at their 462 mph run along with some other great videos.
Also, don't forget to check out Save the Salt Coalition's website, they have been at the forefront in the fight to protect the Bonneville Salt Flats from continued deterioration and ensure that the Bonneville Salt Flats is still here for future generations of speed demons.