Eastern Sierra in trouble (my opinion)

hronk

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At the time of the secret negotiations about Easments for the Owens Valley, other secret negotiations were taking place between Barbara Boxer and The different protectionist groups in the state.  7 or 8 new Wilderness designations for the area between Bodie and Lone Pine, bringing wilderness to the valley floor.....White Mtn Wilderness 375,000 acres fm Bishop to Benton including all of the Whites....  John Muir Wilderness addition 160,700 acres  8 mi. west of hiway 395 thru out Owens Valley....   Owens river Headwaters 20,00 acres June Lake to the North Mammoth Area to the South .  West of 395...    Bodie Hills 76,640 acres Most of area north of Mono Lake to Bridgeport on the north, Nevada on the East and 395 on the west....   Bighorn Addition Wilderness. 17,100 acres from Lee Vining to Lundy Canyon wet to Yosemite....Inyo Mountains.  54,960 acres.  5 miles east of 395 Owens valley...Volcanic tablelands.  58,500 acres 5 miles north of Bishop between Fish Slough and Casa Diablo  (Crowley area).. Granite Mtn Wilderness.  67.200 acres  Everything east of Hiway 120 South to the nevada Border starting at South tufa road.....  The same people that are wanting the Owens valley easements.  ...Roads closed except for maintained or paved roads and roads that end at developed campgrounds....Please read and forward.  We can't sit on ou Butts anymore....I bet most of you see some familiar areas.  Remeber,  NO VEHICLES  ...     hronk
 

jerry d

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hronk,

Is there any way you can give us more details about these secret negotiations such as names of these groups, more detailed info about the negotiations, when this all started, ect. Some facts we can use when contacting Boxer's office to let her know we know about her little plans. Probably won't do any good but at least she should know someone is watching.

Any thing you can post would be appreciated.

We need to let her know her buddy Clinton's gone and there's a new game in town.
 

hronk

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Jerry:  If you've got a fax location that I can send the documents to, I will.  There are 20+ pages and I don't want to take up that much space.  Or I can send them by US mail, just give me your addres.  Some of the players are the Native Plant society and individual members (I can't swear by the whole groups) of the Audabon Society, and the Sierra Club.  These are very vocal members living in Owens Valley and in Mammoth...Thanks for your concern...    hronk
 

Megadeth

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Its an outrage. Certain groups disguise themselves and when nobody is looking,BOOM. The Feds are selling our land, and we dont get a vote. Bull#$%^!
 

gordon

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Hey hronk, can you fax it to me I want to post it on some other sites. And see if my club Mag. will do a write up on it..
Thanks
Gordon
Fax: 760-725-3106
 

Speckmisser

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Hi all,

I know this won't necessarily be taken well, but I have to offer a counterpoint to all this negative response to the wilderness designations.

First of all, this doesn't mean an end to access... only an end to motorized access.  The wilderness areas are not generally being closed to hunting by any means (FHL is a different story right now).  In most cases, roads will be closed.  In others, there will simply be no more maintenance, so when the road is gone it is gone.

As a hunter who is way too often aggravated and interrupted by road hunters and 4-wheelers or dirt bikes, I welcome the opportunity to have large, contiguous areas closed off from vehicular access.  For those who simply cannot hunt any other way due to age or infirmity (and I will probably be among their number soon enough), or for those who simply don't want to make the effort to get away from the road and into the bush, there are still plenty of areas available.  

Otherwise, it's time to get out of the damned vehicles and work for it!  Throw a pack and a bivvy sack on your back and get into the wilderness... real wilderness, without the screaming of two stroke engines or the roar of diesels.  But while road hunting is a pet peeve of mine, I'll not let it sidetrack me from the main point here.  

The simple fact is, most people complaining about this loss of access never have and never will see the majority of the land that is being designated anyway, because to do so would require parking the vehicle and hitting the trail... on FOOT.

The movement to designate wilderness is NOT about anti-hunting.  I know a lot of the folks involved in these movements, and have actually been involved on some levels in similar efforts.  These people do not care about Joe Nimrod killing Bambi.  They care about the vehicles destroying habitat, and about the loggers (an issue I'm ambivalent about) cutting new roads which in turn encourage off-road enthusiasts to grind their way further in.  They care about the loss of wild areas, and I'd recommend that hunters get concerned about the same thing.

By declaring and creating roadless areas, environmental groups generally enhance wildlife habitat and remove the most destructive elements...namely, human users who don't seem to grasp the concept of Leave no Trace.  I'm not talking solely about hunters, but there are plenty of us out there who are as bad as any other group of users.  

There's a strong correlation between the folks who won't walk more than a hundred yards from a road and attitudes toward throwing garbage on the ground.  In the area where I deer hunt most often, there are several areas along the road where guys sit in their trucks and scope the canyon below.  I filled two kitchen sized garbage bags with crap that these guys tossed out of their trucks onto the ground.  

Trash isn't the only problem.  You have four-wheelers and dirt bikes ripping up forest floor without a thought to the longer term effects.  Hell, wild pigs don't do this much damage, and we're killing them to reduce their impact.  Shouldn't that tell us something?  Does anyone else recognize the irony here?

As hunters, the health of the environment should be our primary concern.  We should study and work with environmentalist organizations to make sure that our interests are addressed, but we must also look at the bigger picture.  Taking a knee-jerk reactionary stance every time an environmental measure is announced is counter-productive to our own goals.  

In California of all places, we should be very supportive of efforts to revive natural habitat.  Look at what's happened to our deer herd.  It's not just mountain lions that have caused the decrease, as much as I hear some hunters complain about that.  It's habitat loss and habitat degradation...such as clear cutting, oil and gas exploration, and mineral extraction.... not to mention rampant development.  

I have mentioned before, and should repeat it now.  Environmentalist does not equal anti-hunter.  Many environmental activists (including yours truly) enjoy hunting.  Most others have no opinion about it, or at least have no desire to stop anyone else from hunting.  These "secret" meetings aren't designed to hide from hunters.  Hunters, as an organized lobby, are really a very weak and minor presence.  The secrecy is usually designed to get under or around the real lobbies...namely extractive use lobbies such as logging and gas/oil.  

So anyway, before folks go exploding all over the place about the "injustice" and how we are being screwed by the politicians and environmentalists, you should consider the big picture.  Some sacrifices may be necessary if we're going to have wild lands and open ground to pursue our game.  If the choice is giving up vehicular access or losing yet more habitat... well, it's an easy choice for me.

I always wonder, what would our environment be like if the antagonism between hunters (stereotypically right wing, conservative) and environmentalists (stereotypically left wing, liberal) could be overcome?  What if, instead of instantly contradicting environmental efforts, hunters would work with environmentalist organizations to solve some problems?  I am constantly amazed at how much support DU or CWA can get for something like CRP easements, but how the same recommendations are shouted down by hunters when the recommendation comes from the Sierra Club.  

Anyway, this is mostly my opinion, and you're welcome to differ.  Many of you are already set in your own opinions, but maybe if one or two folks would open the mind and open a dialog...well, who knows.
 

Scank

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Speck, I hear what you are saying and agree about preserving wild areas. But, I can't trust the person leading the charge, Barbara Boxer. I doubt if she really cares about hunters and second amendment rights. She is not only an embarassment to California but to the entire Country. Let's not get sucked into this idea that the political envirnmentalists bless our hunting heritage. Just watch out and hope the Bush administration stops this land grab.
 

Speckmisser

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Scank,

I appreciate your thoughtful response (I'm expecting to be lambasted at any moment), and don't blame you a bit for your concern.  I think you are correct in thinking that Barbara Boxer doesn't care one way or another about hunters.  There just aren't enough of us around to make a big difference to her.  

I also agree that she doesn't support any second amendment rights, because from what I've seen of her, she doesn't believe the Second Amendment grants the rights that some folks would like to claim.  That's a discussion I won't enter into right now, but suffice it to say that you are probably correct on both counts.

Vigilance is never as important as when you are trying to ally yourself with a perceived enemy (e.g. US and Russia working together on space projects), but closing the mind to opportunities is counter-productive.  Barbara Boxer is a single politician, but the folks driving the wilderness designation around Mono Lake are generally good people with a reasonable agenda (the Native Plants folks could be our biggest allies, if we'd just get over this US or THEM mentality).  As I said once before, I'm not so supportive of what may be happening at Hunter Liggett.  I think that's a different scenario.  

I'd hesitate to prognosticate at this point, but I have a feeling that hunters as well as environmentalists are going to be let down by the Bush administration.  I'll wait and let history write itself before I get in too deep, but don't get too comfy with this Republican administration.  You have to consider the long term.  I'll let it drop at that, but remember... you heard it here first.  
 

hronk

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Native Plant Society.  Our biggest ally.  I don't think so.  This is the group that is taking the forfront of blocking further wild Turkey transplants in California, especially the Owens Valley.  You stated that most roads would be left to decay or go back to natural with out being closed.  Then why haven't they disappeared in the last 50 yrs.  They state in these proposals that roads except ones specifically mentioned will be closed.  In the case of Mono Lake, they even admit that no eminent danger  exsists.  How many people can and will walk the 8 miles from South Tufa road to warm springs to put out a dozen dekes?  But that's ok because you don't use it in the first place.  What and where is the damage?  Are these people taking inventory of the lands that they want closed or just adding them for no apparent reason..........  I would guess (my opinion) that 90% of the people with your opinion have never seen , except from a highway most of this proposed wilderness or have any desire to go there, horse, bike or motorized vehicle.....hronk      
 

Fubar

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The California Native Plant Protective Society is a very well organized group of activists. When you go to their web page you will see they have action alerts. They tell their members where to write and show sample letters of what to say. Seems like hunters could learn a lesson from their tactics. Hunters better wake up and get involved before it is too late. We are losing places to hunt without a fight. Hunters and fishermen pay for most of the conservation efforts for wildlife and are getting less and less for their money.  Did anybody see Bill Beebes article about where are your Gamebird Heritage money is going in Western Outdoor News? WON says Terry Mansfield, deputy director of the departments Wildlife and Inland Fisheries branch, failed to produce accounting of the expenditures of the Game Bird Stamp funds. This apparently resulted in Mansfields dismissal. He was temporarily replaced by Brian Hunter until a permanent replacement has been chosen.   Fubar
 

Speckmisser

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Hronk,

You are basically correct.  90% (or so) of any user group has never seen and never will see the majority of the lands included in the wilderness designation.  That's because, for lots of reasons, 90% of the folks involved have never even been to Mono Lake, and even less have been into most of the wilderness surrounding it.  For that reason alone, the uproar some folks are creating over this policy is ridiculous and misplaced.  For the relative small percentage, 10% or so, of users, how much damage is occurring or could occur without wilderness designation.

We've become entirely too dependent on technology in our "traditional pursuit of game" and we have this sense of entitlement to some kind of "return on our dollars" when we pay for license and tags.  8 miles?  So find another way in, and you practically have the world to yourself.  Yeah, right.  You and everyone else who really wants to be there.

You'll find a way to overcome this "obstacle", be it bicycle, horse, or boot, and in the meantime the landscape is protected from the folks who would otherwise trash it over time.  Even well-meaning folks.  I've cleaned up behind Sierra Clubbers as often as I've picked up behind hunters and off-roaders.  Maybe it's a personal flaw, but I can't seem to leave other peoples' trash on the ground.  

It's a hot spot for me, but except for handicapped access... I'm all for returning all state and federally owned wild areas to Wilderness and closing all roads that aren't necessary for fire and handicapped access.  That's an extreme that even the native plants folks aren't ready to accept.  So you got me there.  Even if I haven't been there, I recognize the value of wilderness without vehicles.  

I'm drinking a bit of wine after dinner tonight, so I'll stop now.  Maybe I'll mellow a bit tomorrow.  But whining about carrying decoys 8 miles sure doesn't find a soft spot here...compared to the value of getting the damned four wheelers and dirt bikes out of the woods.
 

hronk

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Speck:  Whining?  Because I don't agree with you, I'm whining?    How about all the people that don't like livestock in the wilderness..ie. Sierra Club.  Bikes, in most Wildernes areas  are not allowed.  So we are upsetting someone in anything that we do.  So close it all down and keep everyone out.  That isn't the answer.  You never answered my question about the Native Plant Society.  I'm really curious about this one.  You never answered my questions about the roads that are going to dis appear without being closed down.  Hows that going to happen.  And finally, Are you really serious in your belief that all roads that do not serve a specific purpose in our National Forests and BLM land should be shut down?  Please explain what those specific purposes should be!......Thanks......hronk
 

Marty

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After all, that road in the forest may be the one used to save your life - someday.
 

hronk

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Hey Speck.  I know that this is nit-picking, but how much wildlife habitatat was destroyed so you could enjoy that bottle of wine.....hronk
 

Speckmisser

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Hi Hronk,

Your previous post was fair, and right on.  Shouldn't have tried to respond while drinking.  Bad call, my fault...moving on...  

The Native Plant Society, to the best of my understanding, opposed the wild turkey transplants for the same reason they would oppose the transplant of other non-native species.  The turkeys compete with native species, which unfortunately for hunters, aren't game animals.  It's got nothing to do with an anti-hunting stance.  Understand the source, and you'll understand their motivations.  

The Native Plants folks could be allies because they also believe in maintaining an ecological balance.  This includes management practices such as big game hunting.  They recognize the value of hunting in controlling game populations.

I'm not saying I'm completely in agreement with all their positions, by the way.  In fact, I have some serious doubts about how realistic their agenda is.  But then, I haven't found an organization yet that I agree with completely, including DU and CWA, both of whom get a fair amount of my money, in spite of occasional disagreement with certain positions.  

As to roads being closed vs. not maintained...  I think you misunderstood me.  Or maybe I wasn't clear.  Both are possibilities.  The most likely case is the closure of most non-maintained roads.  Some others will continue to exist as long as they are usable, but no funds will be expended to repair them when they wash out.  At some point, most of those roads will become impassible, unless individuals take the initiative to keep them up.  But mostly, the roads will be blocked and reverted to foot, bike, and horse trails.  

If I still have not answered your questions, let me know and I'll try again.  

As to my belief/wish that all non-necessary roads be closed...I'm half serious.  Understand that I'm speaking purely from my own little daydream world, and that I recognize that it has little relation to reality... but yes, I would like to see the majority of wild areas removed from vehicular access.  I have a very strong conviction that removing motor vehicles from these areas would result in a greatly enhanced wilderness experience for those users willing to get out there the hard way, not to mention the benefits to wildlife and habitat.  Individuals willing to make the effort deserve that much.  Those who aren't willing to give up their vehicles can have what's left, and they're welcome to it.  

The realistic side of me, of course, recognizes how unfair this kind of arrangement would be.  I also hesitate to judge other people, even if I don't agree with their idea of fun (road hunting, four wheeling for the sake of spitting dirt and cutting donuts).  But there needs to be a balance both ways... for the sake of people who want a different wilderness experience, as well as for the habitat.  

It's obvious that we don't have enough law enforcement to keep people from tracking offroad in areas where that kind of thing is prohibited.  The damage done by these folks in many cases is irreparable.  How else to keep them "off the grass", than by closing the access altogether?  

It's also clearly shown that road access precedes development in almost every case.  Whether that development is logging, mineral extraction, park concessions (parking lots, snack bars, interpretive centers) or house building...  it always starts with a road into a previously pristine area.  In case no one has noticed, we're rapidly running out of pristine areas in this country.  Go back east, and try to find open space like we have here in CA.  Look at what has happened to the wild lands of states like North Carolina and Georgia.  Is that future you want for this state?  Tiny blocks of forest, segregated by housing developments and heavy industry?  

I can guarantee that if some serious measures to protect wild places are not enacted, such as wilderness designation, our hunting heritage is going to be right behind it. .. if only because user density makes firing a gun unsafe.   That's why you can't hunt at National Monuments...too much risk of injuring a tourist.  

I won't bother to give much response to the nitpicking post, and will consider it sour humor.  I've long since made peace with my impact on the planet, and minimize where I can.  Wineries, for example, have been a major part of Napa Valley since the 1850s.  That's 110 years before I even showed up on the scene... my decision to drink a bottle of wine or not really doesn't make bit of difference to that industry or its impact on the environment.  As far as that goes, the fact that I am cognizant that there is an impact probably puts me one step ahead of most of the sheep with whom I share this planet.

Bottom line is, I want to keep hunting.  In order to do that, we need to preserve habitat.  As the population continues to grow, that preservation is going to require some stringent regulations and some big changes in the things many of us have taken for granted.  It's also going to require some folks to rethink the lines of demarcation separating "THEM" from "US" in the discussion about environmental issues.  It's all tied together, and if we can't work out some differences, we're all going to lose.

I'm getting preachy now, so I'll bail out.  I don't have much left to say anyway.  Only trying to interject a different viewpoint in what has so far been a very one-sided forum.
 

Fubar

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I think all hunters would agree that if you removed all the vehicles from the Forest or BLM land the habitat would be better off. However some of the land that is now closed in the desert where I used to hunt Chukar is no longer available. It is just too far to walk. I think most of us would like to see an end to road hunters. In a perfect world everyone would hike in miles to get their game. This is not practical however. Some people are too old or may be too handicapped to hike miles. Do we tell these people they can no longer hunt just because they are not as young as others? I think there needs to be opportunities for all that want to use the outdoors.    Dave
 

BigDog

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Some excellent exchanges guys. I am glad to see that things have not mellowed out without me here stirring it up...lol
I have to say that I have had the same daydream that Speckmisser describes. However, I know in reality that there has to be a line of compromise so that everyone has some place to participate in their own selected recreation. But that line HAS to take into consideration the amount of damage those different activities do to the environment.
I also believe that we do need to start trying to team up with some of these other groups if our particular activities are going to survive. Fishers/Hunters as a group are very passive. Yes, we pay our fees and taxes and most of us donate extra money to our pet groups. But most then just go about our daily things expecting our rights to be honored. That isn't going to work for much longer. The groups that want to take our activities away from us are very organized and very vocal. This is a perfect example of the squeaky wheel theory. If they are vocal for long enough and loud enough, without anybody rising up and countering them, they will eventually convince that silent majority of the public that their point of view is the correct one.
So, I guess I am just trying to say that we need to investigate these topics and groups to see if they are actually in our favor or against. And then maybe join forces where the goals are to our benefit.
 

Scank

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Speckmisser, this is not North Carolina. You have lived in California for six years and you have bought into the envirnmental propaganda. When the extreme environs like Boxer etc. get a foot in the door they will eventually regulate hunting on these areas. They ask for a Wilderness designation then wait for a Democratic Adminisatration and then seek Monument status. This means no hunting. Know the ropes before trying to brainwash the rest of us. You are probably "one of them" playing with us.
 

Jay

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Okay I'm in........

I say tear down the barb wire fences and let the buffalo roam!

Designate cattle as game animals and see how long they last. Let the tule elk and antelope overrun the central valley again.

You want meat? Go kill it and get a clue what it's about. No more of this mercenary killing where somebody far away kills your meat, removes the nasty guts, skin and bones and wraps it in nice clean plastic so you can toss it in your shopping cart.

By the way that will allow a lot of hay and alfalfa fields to return to fallow land (that means roosters) and would reduce fresh water diversions by about 25% (that means ducks).

It should be illegal to move water out of the drainage system in which it originated.

As far as access goes, you need all types. But I'm a firm believer that the more effort you put in to access a spot the better the rewards should be. If I'm willing to hump decoys 8 miles, I don't want to see a barren alkali pan when I get there. Thats not wilderness, that's a race track.  If we choose to designate a chunk of land as wilderness it should be prime and access should be limited to ensure that it stays that way. No mining, no oil drilling, no snowmobiles chasing game on their winter range, no dynamiting snow banks to prevent avalanches, no cows depositing their stinkin turds, mowing the grass to nubs and denuding the streambeds with their wallowing.

I don't want no freeway plowed through the wilderness to stop a fire. As far as saving my life with a road, no thanks. Fly in a helicopter if there's an emergency. The fact is that 90% of the time that road will be used by knuckleheads who dump their trash, hot rod their dirt bikes and don't bother to bury their feces.

I be rad.    
 

Scank

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Jay, lets do it all. Add to all of your "ands" the words NO HUNTING. That's what the environs want in California and it only takes a ballot measure. National Monument is the next step from Wilderness. Remember this is California, not Utah or Wyoming.
 

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