BRC's Recreation News 11.23.11: News from accross the nation - Thanksgiving Edition

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Greetings Rec News Subscribers!

Tomorrow we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving and, naturally, the BRC public lands staff are thinking about the many blessings we enjoy. Among them is the relationship we have with our members, supporters and subscribers.

We want you to know that our members truly are our lifeblood, and that we are grateful for you! Because of BRC's members and supporters, we have enjoyed nearly 25 years of protecting recreational access.

May this special time of year bring you joy and many blessings. And may the New Year be good to us all!

Sincerely,
BRC's Public Lands Staff


Stop it! The Silence is hurting my ears!
The almost total silence from the “lame-stream” media is truly something to behold. What am I talking about? Only the most stunning news regarding the two largest environmental groups in the world is all.

First up, is some very bad news from the Sierra Club. Over the weekend, the Sierra Club announced a significant change in leadership. Carl Pope, SC's Chairman for more than 4 decades is leaving. Taking his place is Michael Brune, formerly with Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace.

The departure of Carl Pope, 66, chairman of the club and a member for more than 40 years, comes as the nonprofit group faces declining membership, internal dissent, well-organized opponents, a weak economy and hostile forces in Congress trying to take the teeth out of environmental regulations.

And if that news wasn't big enough, The Wilderness Society announced the departure of its long time leader, William Meadows. In addition, TWS disclosed massive cutbacks in the face of declining budgets.

According to the group's audited financial statement, expenses outstripped revenue of $23 million by about $2.3 million in fiscal year 2010.

And to top it off, our old friends at Wildlaw are closing up shop. Don Amador's blog has the news:

HQ was also surprised to learn today that a rather famous environmental law-firm had recently closed its doors. Wildlaw, who had hired a former Bush-era cabinet member as their lobbyist in Washington DC, specialized in anti-OHV and anti-timber lawsuits.
http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/mark-rey-resurfaces/Content?oid=1148317
Wildlaw Statement on its Closing
http://www.wildlaw.org/

What is that you say? Nothing on the national news? Nothing in your local paper? Indeed....We could find but two “lamestream” stories on TWS and SC, and nothing at all on the closing of Wildlaw...

Carl Pope steps down as leader of Sierra Club
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/18/MN0C1M19HS.DTL

Wilderness Society cuts staff, citing weak economy
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-wilderness-society-20111120,0,7595357.story

Aside from a bit of schadenfreude, I don't know that we should be all that encouraged at this news. It seems that the “radical fringe,” such as the extremely litigious Center for Biological Diversity, for example, is secure in their foundation funding. I imagine that we won't see much reduction in the anti-recreation initiatives and lawsuits. Let's all hope we're wrong about that.

UPDATE!
While we were completing the commentary, we found another “lame-stream” media story. Amazing!!
Wilderness Society lays off staff; all Montana employees spared
http://helenair.com/wilderness-society-lays-off-staff-all-montana-employees-spared


Credit where credit is due...
We've called BS on Trout Unlimited's claim that they, unlike most environmental groups, eschew litigation in favor of a more reasonable approach. Taken as a whole, TU and their state affiliates are more in line with the radical greenie positions than their rhetoric would lead you to believe, and their litigation portfolio is nothing to sneeze at.

Still....
Conservation Group Departs From Salmon Court Battle
http://earthfix.opb.org/communities/article/conservation-group-decides-to-leave-salmon-managem/

We are not prepared to even guess as to what this means, but it does at least appear to be a good sign. So we'll give TU credit for this small step away from litigation and we'll watch to see if this represents a change to a more “reasonable approach.”


Shoot!
In the last newsclip, we noted that a blog post by Newseek's Paul Bedard was blasting wide on the inner-toobs. Bedard's post picked up on planned elimination of target shooting on BLM lands in Arizona.

National
A blog post by Paul Bedard from U.S. News and World Report got quite a lot of notice on the inner-toobs yesterday...

Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands
http://www.usnews.com/news/washington-whispers/obama-pushing-shooters-off-public-lands

Someone from the administration corrected Bedard's assumption...
Shooters Heard: Interior Will Not Ban Target Practice
http://www.usnews.com/2011/11/17/shooters-heard-interior-will-not-ban-target-practice

Color BRC as “skeptical.” The Department of Interior may be sincere in saying there is no agency -wide prohibition of target shooting, but that doesn't mean a lot of popular shooting areas are arn't being closed.


South Dakota – Update!
Remember we were telling you about the “Rampant Bugs” on the Black Hills National Forest? Here's an update...
Pine beetle battle brews in Black Hills
http://www.argusleader.com/article/20111120/NEWS/311200026/Pine-beetle-battle-brews-Hills

Black Hills forest to use $500K from forest service to fight pine beetles
http://rapidcityjournal.com/black-hills-forest-to-use-k-from-forest-service-to

Forest Service ‘optimistic’ about success against pine beetles
http://www.bhpioneer.com/local_news/article_f39ff250-113a-11e1-add5-001cc4c002e0.html
 

“I'm of the belief — and I will say this is a shared belief among a lot of people who are working on this — that in the Black Hills, we have the ingredients in place to have the best chance of being successful in having a healthy forest, of really any place that I know of in the West that's being threatened right now,” Bobzien said.
The Western Bark Beetle Strategy, published by the Forest Service in July, identifies three main “prongs” or considerations in treating for the beetles: human safety, forest recovery after a devastating infestation, and long-term forest resiliency through thinning and treatment methods.

Apparently, Mr. Van Gerpen from the Black Hills Pioneer will leave it to yours truly to note for the record the role environmental lawsuits have played in tying the USFS hands in implementing any beetle project.

See:
Norbeck project withstands latest legal challenge
http://rapidcityjournal.com/lead-deadwood/norbeck-project-withstands-latest-legal-challenge

More “news” from the Black Hills Pioneer...
Good start for OHV trails
http://www.bhpioneer.com/local_news/article_dfbfe344-1243-11e1-b6cf-001cc4c03286.html

Again, I'll be happy to correct the record. The 11,000 OHV visitors figure cited is from the visitor surveys that even the agency admits are not accurate. Arguably, that 11k figure is less than half of actual OHV visitors.

We don't want to be too hard on the Black Hills NF, but I think its important to point out that it has achieved less than half the existing potential in their “premier year.” That is devastating, by any standard, to the local economies of dependent communities.

We hope the BHNF will do a better job at engaging local OHV enthusiast community in a true partnership effort.


Pennsylvania
PA Hunters Advised to Check Status of State Forest Roads
http://www.prnewswire.com/pa-hunters-advised-to-check-status-of-state-forest-roads


Colorado
New alliance to coordinate trail management in Grand Valley
http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/2011/november/new_alliance_to_coordinate.html

There were two excellent LTE's in the Grand Junction Sentinel (known affectionately by the locals as the Grand Junction Senile!)
John Justman from Fruita and Chad McCune from Grand Junction take Interior Secretary Salazar to the woodshed...
Letters to the Editor
http://www.gjsentinel.com/opinion/articles/email-letters-nov.-18-2011/

Homeless living on public land
http://www.ourcoloradonews.com/tellercounty/news/homeless-living-on-public-land/

Attention Garfield County Recreational Users!
Coalition works on open space program for Garfield County
http://www.postindependent.com/VALLEYNEWS/111119879/1083&ParentProfile=107

CARBONDALE, Colorado — More than 100 area citizens seem to want to help craft an open space program for Garfield County, if turnout at four public-input meetings held by the Garfield Legacy Project is any guide.
The partners behind the GLP include the Aspen Valley Land Trust, the city of Rifle, the Sonoran Institute and the Trust for Public Land, among others.

I have nothing against “Open Space.” But I stood by and watched my old home town of Boulder, Colorado gradually eliminate motorized and then mountain bike use from “public” lands managed as “open space.”

It doesn't have to happen! Citizens of Garfield County need to step up and insist “Equality of Access  - Recreational Diversity” be the management rule on any open space. If you don't, you might be sorry.

See: Boulder mountain bike advocate revokes, then gives back award to open space 'hero'
http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_19343594


Nevada
U.S. Forest Service plans progress to overhaul campgrounds
http://www.lvrj.com/view/u-s-forest-service-plans-progress-to-overhaul-campgrounds


Montana
Media and acemedia do their part for Salazar's grand vision...
Speaker: Private landowners in West hold key to saving wildlife
http://missoulian.com/speaker-private-landowners-in-west-hold-key-to-saving-wildlife


Virginia/West Virginia/Kentucky
Rep discusses George Washington forest plan revision
http://www.newsleader.com/article/20111118/SPORTS/111117018


Oregon
Rep. Peter DeFazio introduces bill to create Rogue River wilderness in southwest Oregon
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/11/rep_peter_defazio_introduces_b.html


Washington State
Ironic Photograph of the YEAR!
Obama administration urges new wilderness protections
http://www.spokesman.com/obama-administration-urges-new-wilderness-protections/


Utah
Talisker Act
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/52947556-82/canyons-bill-ski-cottonwood.html.csp

“The bill would remove protection... “

The big lie. Whenever you read something like that your BS-O-Meter should be pegged in the red zone. Environmental activists use this old saw all the time. To them, any acre that isn't designated as a  federal Wilderness area is open for destruction. But don't worry... the general public is catching on.


California
El Centro, Palm Desert Public Meetings Scheduled for Draft Supplement to Solar Energy Development Study
http://www.blm.gov/ca/CDD1212_elcentromtgdraftsupplementsolarenergydevelopmentstudy.html

Editorial: BLM chief blazed trail through brush and bureaucracy
http://www.redding.com/news/2011/nov/22/editorial-blm-chief-blazed-trail-through-brush/


Montana
BLM studies the visual impact of wind turbines on the landscape
http://billingsgazette.com/wyoming/blm-studies-the-visual-impact-of-wind-turbines-on-the

Why aren't public lands handicapped-accessible?
http://billingsgazette.comwhy-aren-t-public-lands-handicapped-accessible


Washington State
A Must Read!
Feel-good report on Gifford Pinchot premature
http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/nov/20/feel-good-report-on-gifford-pinchot-premature/

Beyond the timber data, there was a kind of optimism about the condition and treatment of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the Columbian article that is unwarranted. Drastic road decommissioning techniques, speculative and expensive river stabilization schemes, gradual elimination of dispersed camping sites, purposeful reduction of the few venues for off-road vehicle use and of grazing opportunities — all of these make large segments of the public hostile to the Forest Service.

State scrambles to fight massive tree die-offs
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016814224_deadforest21m.html

December 8, 2011 2:36 PM

Greetings Rec News Subscribers!
National
This land is my land  - Current wilderness legislation is underlining an ideological conflict over public land use
http://scienceline.org/2011/12/this-land-is-my-land/

Read more...
December 6, 2011 4:35 PM

Greetings Rec News Subscribers!
Alabama
Off-road haven coming to Talladega County?
http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/16661643/article-Off-road-ha...
Alabama’s Cheaha Trail Riders win award
http://www.cleburnenews.com/Cheaha-Trail-Riders-win-award

Oregon
County to feds: Let us know before land-use decisions
http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111205/NEWS02/1...
Before Uncle Sam makes a land-use decision in Washington, D.C., affecting Jackson Count

Read more...
December 1, 2011 3:29 PM

Greetings Rec News Subscribers!
BS-O-Meter
Over the years, most longtime BRC members develop a well-honed BS-O-Meter. Well, you're meter needs no adjustment if the needle pegged in the red zone when you saw any of the headlines on this next story. The Montana based Headwaters Economics, a well known preservation activist think tank, has released a new study.
To free up more jobs in the West, government should “lock away” more — not fewer — public lands in parks, monuments and wilderness.
That th

Read more...