Posted on January 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation plan proposes 12 million acres of new wilderness
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska’s North Slope.
FRISCO — A far-reaching conservation plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska would designate 12 million acres of new wilderness, including critical wildlife habitat along the coastal plains that are home to vast herds of caribou.
On the White House blog, John Podesta and Mike Boots directly addressed the potential threat and disastrous consequences of a major oil spill in the region.
President Obama said he will make an official recommendation to Congress to designate core areas of the refuge – including its Coastal Plain – as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands. Watch the President discuss the announcement here.
If Congress chooses to act, it would be the largest ever wilderness designation since Congress passed the Wilderness Act more than 50 years ago — but that’s highly unlikely with GOP control of Congress. In fact, Alaska’s pro-development lawmakers have already over-reacted by characterizing the announcement as a war on Alaska’s future, according to the Alaska Dispatch News, which has the best coverage of the story. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, Environment, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: ANWR, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Barack Obama, Environment, public lands, wilderness, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Gridlock in Congress prompts request for designation
There’s a new push to create a national monument along the Arkansas River.
FRISCO — Citing gridlock in Congress, Colorado’s U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet have asked President Obama to consider designating Browns Canyon, in Chaffee County, as a national monument under the Antiquities Act.
The request comes as Congress has all but ignored a huge backlog of public lands bills primarily based on ideological opposition to land protection measures by House Republican committee chairs.
According to Udall and Bennet’s Nov. 25 letter to President Obama, community leaders in the Browns Canyon area suggested the Antiquities Act path, recognizing the significant economic benefits of the designation for regional tourism-based businesses. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, economy, Environment, public lands, rivers, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: Antiquities Act, Barack Obama, Browns Canyon, Browns Canyon National Monument, Mark Udall, Michael Bennet, public lands | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will Colorado get a new wilderness area this year?
Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act passed by Senate committee
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In what may become a Christmas miracle, Congress is poised to actually pass a land protection measure before the end of the session. Lawmakers this week said they reached a compromise on a bill to protect the Hermosa Creek watershed near Durango.
As written, the legislation would create a 70,000-acre special management area and a 37,000-acre Wilderness area in the San Juan National Forest. The compromise includes opening a huge section of alpine backcountry around Molas Divide to snowmobiling. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, politics, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, Hermosa Creek, public lands, wilderness | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More wilderness in Southern California?
Roadless lands to be evaluated for wilderness qualities
FRISCO —In a rare administrative reversal, regional U.S. Forest Service officials told the Los Padres National Forest to reconsider its plans for seven roadless areas encompassing more than 220,000 acres in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern counties.
The decision directs forest planners to reevaluate the wilderness characteristics of seven areas and clarify how biologists will monitor and protect imperiled wildlife. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forests, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: Los Padres National Forest, national forests, public lands, roadless areas, wilderness | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Federal lands in the U.S. Courtesy Univ. of Montana.
New website offers glimpse of ongoing efforts to ‘de-federalize’ the West
FRISCO — On and off efforts to force the transfer of federally managed public western lands to individual states have grown beyond campaign rhetoric.
These days, there’s a semi-organized effort on the part of lawmakers in several western states to try and take over millions of acres of forests and rangelands. The history of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, with roots in the Reagan era, is outlined in detail on this University of Colorado website. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, national parks, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: crazy ideas, public lands, sagebrush rebellion, states rights, West | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wildflowers in the Eagles Nest Wilderness area in Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.
Finalizing inventories, planning for climate resilience are high on the agenda
FRISCO — Federal land managers say they want complete wilderness area inventories develop climate-change vulnerability and adaptation studies across 110 million acres of wilderness lands in the U.S. in the next five years as part of an interagency wilderness vision for 2020.
The plan is aimed at ensuring continued preservation of the lands that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System across the jurisdictions of various agencies that manage wilderness lands, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Environment, national parks, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: BLM, Environment, Forest Service, public lands, wilderness | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Sunrise in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, Gore Range, Colorado.
Forest Service chief clarifies proposed directive on commercial permits
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —After a few days of scathing news reports and commentaries, the U.S. Forest Service made it clear that a new policy on wilderness photography and filming won’t apply to journalists or visitors taking snapshots for their own use.
The update came from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, who said in a prepared statement that the agency is committed to the First Amendment.
“To be clear, provisions in the draft directive do not apply to news gathering or activities,” Tidwell said, going on to describe the agency’s effort standardize permitting and to ensure that the public gets fair value for commercial activities in wilderness areas. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: forest service permits, Tom Tidwell, U.S. Forest Service, wilderness, wilderness photography, wilderness photography permits | Leave a comment »