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This report was sent to KBC today, July 25, 2004 by a reader regarding July 23, 2004 wilderness report:


July 23, 2004

A bi-weekly update on the happenings in the Wilderness movement
brought to you by the Wilderness Society's Wilderness Support

Please let us know about the recent activities and
accomplishments of your Wilderness campaign. Keep in mind that
this is a Wilderness specific update. Contact the Wilderness
Support Center at 970-247-8788, wsc@tws.org or visit us on the
web at: http://www.wilderness.org/OurIssues/Wilderness/wsc.cfm


1. Five Bills Designating Wilderness In the Spotlight On Capitol
Hill This Week
a. Nevada - Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation And
Development Act
b. New Mexico - Ojito Wilderness Act
c. California - Northern California Costal Wild Heritage
Wilderness Act
d. Puerto Rico - Caribbean National Forest Wilderness Act
e. Washington - Wild Sky Wilderness Act
2. Senator Wyden Introduces Mount Hood Wilderness Proposal -
Measure Contains Controversial Provisions


This week, the House Resources Committee and the Senate Energy
and Natural Resources Committee held hearings on several pieces
of pending legislation that include wilderness designations.
These included the Lincoln County (Nevada) Conservation,
Recreation and Development Act, Ojito Wilderness Act (New
Mexico), Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act, the
Caribbean National Forest Wilderness Act, and the Wild Sky
(Washington) Wilderness Act. The Nevada, New Mexico and
Washington bills all had hearings in the appropriate House
Resources Subcommittees while testimony on the California and
Puerto Rico bills were heard by the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. Below is
summary of the hearings each of these measures.


Note: See Wilderness Report #119 for more background.

The House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation
and Public Lands heard testimony on H.R. 4593, the Lincoln
County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2004. To
read the bill, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and type in the bill
number (H.R. 4593)

H.R. 4594 was introduced by Reps. Jim Gibbons (R-NV), Jon Porter
(R-NV) and Shelly Berkley (D-NV). Nevada Senators John Ensign
(R) and Harry Reid (D) introduced companion legislation in the
Senate. This omnibus public lands bill contains six separate
titles. The titles deal with wilderness designation and release,
land disposal, utility corridors, the designation of an
off-highway vehicle trail, conveyances for county and state
parks, and a transfer of jurisdiction of two 8,000-acre parcels
of land to and from the Fish and Wildlife Service. The
wilderness title designates several significant wilderness areas
in Lincoln County and also removes some land from Wilderness
Study Area status.

H.R. 4593 designates 14 Wilderness areas totaling approximately
770,000 acres and releases approximately 245,000 acres from
Wilderness Study Area Status.

There are several controversial public land issues in various
titles of the bill. For example, the environmental community is
united in opposition to provisions in the bill that grant rights
of way for pipelines that could transport rural Nevada's water
to Las Vegas.

The Nevada Wilderness Coalition testified against several
provisions in the bill and in favor of additional wilderness
protections. To read the coalition's testimony, click here:

The Bush Administration testified in favor of the bill and
offered some suggested changes. To read their testimony, click

The Coalition represented at the hearing by Brian O'Donnell of
the Wilderness Society's Wilderness Support Center, specifically
advocated for wilderness protection for the Badger Peak area of
the Pahranagat Range. This rugged mountain range just 90 miles
from Las Vegas boasts the "Shooting Gallery," a remarkable
series of petroglyph panels.

The Las Vegas Review Journal ran an article last week on this
incredible area. To read the article click:


Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign along with Reps. Gibbons and
Porter spoke in favor of the bill. In opening remarks, Resources
Committee Chairman Pombo raised concerns that the bill would be
designate Wilderness areas that were not recommended for
wilderness protection by the Bureau of Land Management.

To read articles on the Nevada hearing go to:

Shaaron Netherton, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, 775-324-7667,
John Wallin, Nevada Wilderness Project, 775-746-7850,
Brian O'Donnell, The Wilderness Society, 970-247-8788,


Note: See Wilderness Report #111 for more background.

On July 20, the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks,
Recreation and Public Lands also heard testimony on H.R. 3176 -
the Ojito Wilderness Act. The hearing showcased the broad local
support that exists for the bill, which is sponsored by
Representatives Tom Udall and Heather Wilson. Senators Jeff
Bingaman and Pete Domenici have sponsored companion legislation
in the Senate and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee held a hearing on the Senate bill in February.

New Mexico Representatives Tom Udall and Heather Wilson spoke in
favor of the bill during the hearing. Both spoke strongly
against inserting outside issues in the bill that were raised by
the Administration. These included broad Indian Land Trust
reform and a denial of federal water rights. Peter Pino,
Governor of the Pueblo of Zia and Jim Scarnatino, Chair of the
Coalition for New Mexico Wilderness testified in favor of the
measure. Rebecca Watson, testifying for the Administration, said
there were still technical concerns with the bill but she
pledged to work with all interested parties to resolve them.

Jim Scarantino read a letter from the Sandoval County Commission
(the county in which the proposed Wilderness is located), which
said "The Ojito Wilderness Act would benefit Sandoval County in
a number of important ways. It protects and preserves an
incredibly interesting wilderness area that is a valuable
resource for our people. The Ojito Wilderness would provide
Sandoval County with a place where our citizens and their
families can enjoy a dramatic and wild western landscape in
peace and quiet. It offers us a valuable educational resource, a
place to study native plants, archaeology and paleontology. And
it serves to help us attract businesses who are seeking
communities that demonstrate a commitment to providing a high
quality of life, with opportunities such as those offered by
Ojito. Protecting unique places in Sandoval County like the
Ojito serves our long term economic development plans while also
enhancing the quality of our natural environment."

 "The Ojito Wilderness Act represents a homegrown, locally
developed and locally supported proposal that builds on New
Mexico's long and proud tradition of community collaboration and
bipartisan support for open space and wilderness protection,"
Scarantino concluded.

The Albuquerque Journal editorialized in favor of the measure on
Sunday July 18, saying, "The bill has broad support from a
bipartisan cross-section of groups and individuals, including
the governor, state land commissioner, both of the state's U.S.
Senators and Reps. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Heather Wilson, R-N.M.
This bill merits passage, and any moves to bog it down with
extraneous issues should be opposed."

"We applaud Representatives Udall and Wilson for working in
partnership with a range of stakeholders to move this popular
proposal forward. If approved, the bill would create the first
new wilderness area in New Mexico since 1987 and we look forward
to working with the members of the Congressional delegation to
pass the measure this year," said Stephen Capra of the New
Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

Martin Heinrich, Coalition for New Mexico Wilderness,
505-980-8671, mailto:MTHeinrich@aol.com
Stephen Capra, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance 505-843-8696,
Melyssa Watson, The Wilderness Society's Wilderness Support
Center, 970-247-8788, mailto:mwatson@tws.org


Note: See Wilderness Report #112 for more background.

On July 21, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee
on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing on S. 738, the
Northern California Costal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act. The
bill, which is sponsored by California Senators Barbara Boxer
and Diane Feinstein won praise from federal agencies and
committee members of both parties, including subcommittee
Chairman Larry Craig (R-ID), for the exhaustively inclusive
process and the "due diligence" employed in adjusting the bill
to address local concerns. A House companion bill has been
introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson.

"I applaud the inclusive process that went into crafting this
bill. This bill is a mosaic of fine-tuned adjustments to address
local concerns," said Humboldt County Supervisor John Woolley,
who testified at the hearing. "These wild places are the most
valuable legacy we can leave to our children and grandchildren.
They provide clean water, scenic beauty and unmatched outdoor
recreation opportunities that ensure our high quality of life
here in Humboldt County." Supervisor Woolley was joined by Napa
County Supervisor Mike Rippey, Willits, California Mayor Karen
Oslund and local hunter and horse packer Peter Windrem.

The bill's sponsors, federal agency representatives, Chairman
Craig and members of the committee each expressed enthusiasm to
work together and resolve any remaining outstanding issues.
Chairman Craig praised Senators Boxer and Feinstein and
Representative Thompson for addressing local concerns and for
their intent to seek out and talk to local citizens. He said
they had employed "due diligence" and that "it appears you have
made every effort to do that (seek out local input)."

Testimony at the hearing included discussion on impacts to
existing roads, trail use and wildfire management -- all of
which were carefully considered when crafting the legislation.
In all, Thompson, Boxer and Feinstein scaled back the initial
wilderness proposal by nearly 21,000 acres in order to address
local concerns, including fire, public access and manageability

Dan Smuts, The Wilderness Society, 415-561-6641,
Traci Van Thull, California Wild Heritage Campaign,
916-442-3155, mailto:tsheehan@californiawild.org
Jon Owen, Campaign for America's Wilderness, 202-266-0432,


Note: See Wilderness Report #115 for more background.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public
Lands and Forests heard testimony on S. 2334, the Caribbean
National Forest Act on July 21. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
introduced the bill in April with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
as an original co-sponsor. The measure is nearly identical to
the House version of the bill introduced last year by
Representative Acevedo-Vilá (PR). The House Resources Committee
held a hearing on the House bill last summer. The bill would
create the El Toro Wilderness area which would be the country's
first tropical forest wilderness.

Mark Rey testified on behalf of the Administration and said, "We
believe the designation of the El Toro Wilderness would enhance
the areas solitude, scenery and pristine qualities of the area.
The El Toro Wilderness would become the only tropical forest in
the National Forest Wilderness System and the only wilderness
area in Puerto Rico."

Senators Clinton and Schumer and Rep. Acevedo-Vilá submitted
statements of support for the hearing record.

Larry Romans, The Wilderness Society/Wilderness Support Center,
202-547-0538, mailto:ljromans@aol.com


Note: See Wilderness Report # 114 and #117 for more background.

The House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health
held a hearing on H.R. 822, the Wild Sky Wilderness Act. The
bill is sponsored by Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA). Senator Patty
Murray is the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, which
was passed by the full Senate in November 2003.

At the hearing, Rep. Larsen and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) defended
a compromise package for the Wild Sky that was worked out just a
few weeks ago thanks to the commitment of Larsen, Rep. George
Nethercutt (R-WA) and Sen. Murray. Despite criticism by
Resources Committee Chair Richard Pombo (R-CA), Larsen and
Inslee held firm and told the committee that their compromise
was the best solution for the Wild Sky and that the House should
pass the measure quickly.

The compromise which was crafted by Congressman Nethercutt and
Larsen along with Senator Murray would protect 103,000 acres of
the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest including the core
elements of Murray and Larsen's original proposal -- the low
elevation old-growth forest.

Conservationists also acknowledged the on-going interest of
Congressman Nethercutt in the issue and thanked him for
attending the hearing.

"It was great to see Congressman Nethercutt is still interested
in the issue. We hope he will fight to support the bi-partisan
agreement and get the bill passed," said John Leary, Director of
the Wild Washington Campaign. "We'll have to wait and see if
Congressman Nethercutt can live up to his promise and convince
the House leadership to make this happen before Congress goes
home. Time is running out and we need strong bi-partisan
leadership for the bill to get this done."

Snohomish County Executive Aarron Reardon testified at the
hearing and spoke eloquently about the unprecedented support
from local citizens, elected officials, businesses and
organizations. Mike Town, testifying on behalf of Friends of the
Wild Sky, explained in detail why the low-elevation lands and
old-growth forests are the "heart and soul" of the proposal.

Despite the concerns raised by some Republican members, the
legislation was once again bolstered by the testimony of the
Bush Administration. Mark Rey, Undersecretary of Agriculture
said the President would sign the Wild Sky Wilderness bill if it
came to his desk.

Rep. Larsen said he would continue to push for the compromise
Wild Sky plan after the August congressional recess. While there
was discussion of alternative designations for areas in the Wild
Sky bill by some members at the hearing, Larsen and Murray
firmly rejected this idea and vowed to fight for their proposal.

To read articles on the Wild Sky hearing go to:

John Leary, Wild Washington Campaign, 206-633-1992,
Tom Uniack, Washington Wilderness Coalition, 206-633-1992,
Michael Carroll, The Wilderness Society Wilderness Support
Center, 970-247-8788, mailto:mcarroll@tws.org



In March, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden announced his intention to
introduce legislation to designate approximately 160,000 acres
of additional wilderness in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge and in
areas surrounding Mount Hood as well as designate four new
segments of Wild and Scenic rivers. Lewis and Clark traversed
the areas proposed for protection during their famous journey to
the Pacific.

The last time wilderness was preserved around Mount Hood was in
1984. Since then, the population in local counties has increased
by 20 percent or more thereby creating additional demands and
pressures on open space and public lands.

See Wilderness Reports #113 and #116 for more background.


On July 22, Senator Ron Wyden introduced S. 2723, the Lewis and
Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act would designate approximately
177,000 acres of Wilderness. The Wilderness designated under the
bill would come in the form of additions to the existing
Salmon-Huckleberry, Mark O. Hatfield, Badger Creek and Mount
Hood wilderness areas. The bill would also designated segments
of Wild and Scenic River on the Hood River, Zigzag River, Eagle
Creek and Fifteen Mile Creek.

While Oregonians welcomed the prospect of new Wilderness
protections in the Mount Hood region, some of the bill's
provisions drew criticism. Top among those is a section in the
bill that would create the "Mount Hood Pedaler's Demonstration
Experiment" - a 13,000 acre area which would be managed
similarly to a congressionally designated wilderness but would
allow non-conforming uses such as mountain biking and the
regular use of chain saws to clear trails.

To read the Oregonian article on the bill introduction go to:

Jay Ward, Oregon Natural Resources Council, 503-283-6343,
Michael Lang, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, 503-241-3762,
Paul Shively, Sierra Club, 503-243-6656,
Bob Freimark, The Wilderness Society, 206-624-6430,
Ken Rait, Campaign for America's Wilderness, 503-460-9453,

FEEDBACK: If you ever need to get in contact with the owner of
the list, (if you have trouble unsubscribing, or have questions
about the list itself) send email to wsc@tws.org.

GENERAL INFORMATION: The Wilderness Support Center is a program
of The Wilderness Society. The Center seeks to help people
protect wild places by working in collaboration with grassroots
wilderness groups to build effective, successful wilderness
campaigns that will ultimately lead to the addition of millions
of acres of our public lands to the National Wilderness
Preservation System.

Founded in 1935, The Wilderness Society works to protect
America's wilderness and to develop a nation-wide network of
wild lands through public education, scientific analysis and
advocacy. Our goal is to ensure that future generations will
enjoy the clean air and water, wildlife, beauty and
opportunities for recreation and renewal that pristine forests,
rivers, deserts and mountains provide. To take action on behalf
of wildlands today, visit our website at


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