California Wilderness Proposal
Wilderness is coming in many forms. I would recommend that everyone follow the BRC lead. They have a couple of recent alerts referencing the Northern Rockies Ecosystem proposal. More definitive proposals are pending in the coming months; some small, some big. Read the BRC alerts and REACT to those alerts. That means, take action.
At this point in time:
IF YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ROUTE THAT IS NOT DESIGNATED OR LISTED ON ANY MAP, IT IS IN TROUBLE.
The CWC wilderness proposal concerns BLM lands in SoCal. However, their proposal appears to be a new tactic to create wilderness with a number of cherry-stems.
In short, they are willing to add routes to their proposal (and maps) and forward a complete package as part of legislation. Hence, you will see cherry-stem routes with the lands between the routes defined as wilderness.
If we (recreation) do not have routes listed on their maps, we (recreation) are going to be fighting a very tough battle.
The political climate makes for some difficult times.
California wilderness issues are very tentative at this point; but, could become firm direction at any point. There is fast track pressure being asserted.
There are three issues of concern: (okay, there are others involved, but 3 are of real concern).
1. Mother Road National Monument. Sen Feinstein has expressed a desire to create a monument to "protect desert lands from development". At issue are lands SOLD by Catullas Corp to the federal government. The contention is that these lands were "donated" to the federal government for preservation in posterity.
2. Johnson Valley. An idea has been proposed to segment Johnson Valley as a National Recreation Area for OHV activity. On the surface, this has a nice ring. But, there is an underlying issue -- namely, if JV were set aside for OHV recreation, OHV would have no claim on other desert routes. Hence, ALL OHV recreation would be concentrated in Johnson Valley and there would be no opportunity anywhere else in the desert.
3. CWC Wilderness Proposal. The CWC is back after lands that were not included in the 1994 Desert Protection Act. They have a focus of crafting a proposal that incorporates existing routes (that they agree to) and all lands between their approved routes becomes wilderness.
As it stands, the CWC has been working for over 2 years to achieve this goal. Within the past couple of hours, I have received word that Sen. Feinstein is anxious to move forward with crafting legislation within the coming days.
At a meeting today, CWC stated that they are working on their proposal and the monument supporters have a separate proposal. However, there are significant areas of overlap.
Now for some contributing points:
Word has leaked from Sen. Feinstein's office that she is preparing a run for CA governor. As such, she is polishing her environmental credentials to appeal to the money/power brokers in the state.
The Senator has been slammed hard by the solar industry as her proposal will eliminate vast tracts of land from potential solar development. As a result, rumor has it that there are efforts to identify large segments of previously disturbed public lands where solar development can be concentrated in "zones". And, there is a political effort to reduce the time it takes to permit a solar (or other renewable energy) development project.
What does this mean for recreation? Don't know as there are many unknowns.
I do know that we are wasting time while the wilderness proponents are moving forward.
Anyone so inclined to be part of crafting a solution can assist by providing a GPS track of their favorite desert routes. And, time is limited.
I have been working for the past few months to build a GPS database of routes used by recreation.
I will accept GPS track log data. Please, do not show your creative abilities by creating jpg map images. Provide the basic GPS track log data.
Send the data to me: firstname.lastname@example.org