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puzzlr
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostWed Dec 12, 2018 3:00 pm 
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There is the possibility of some public land protection legislation being attached to a last minute federal year-end bill. If you're interested please read and use the easy link to send a message to your senators and representative. Permanent LWCF funding would be huge for maintenance of recreation infrastructure in the northwest.

New public lands protection within reach


Some of the things that are in the conversation right now include:
  • Permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
  • Recreation Not Red-Tape Act
  • Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area
  • Wild Olympics
  • Oregon Wildlands
  • Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act
  • Emery County Public Lands Initiative.


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Bernardo
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PostWed Dec 12, 2018 8:24 pm 
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There is a lot on the line over the next few weeks.  That's for sure.
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Ancient Ambler
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PostThu Dec 13, 2018 5:44 am 
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Messages sent.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention, puzzlr.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Dec 20, 2018 1:36 pm 
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The Outdoor Alliance sent this report on the failed effort to get this legislation passed. They will be trying again in January.

Quote:
Thanks so much for writing your elected officials about the end of year public lands package. The package came to the Senate floor last night, where many elected officials spoke passionately in support, including Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Gardner, Sen. Daines, and Sen. Cantwell. If you live in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, or Washington, these folks deserve a lot of thanks.

In the end, the package didn't pass, because Utah Senator Mike Lee stood up and refused to allow a vote unless the Senate was willing to add a provision barring the use of the Antiquities Act (what creates National Monuments) in Utah.


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Brian R
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PostThu Dec 20, 2018 6:49 pm 
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Were all these proposals enjoined into a single bill?
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Dec 20, 2018 11:30 pm 
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I have no idea. I tried searching but like most news, the published reports only go skin deep. I think you have to be on the inside to know what's really going on. I'm not personally involved other than sending messages to my representatives.

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Feb 12, 2019 6:14 pm 
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As promised, this came up again and now it's passed the senate. Without reading deeply, I expect it won't have too much trouble passing the house. If that happens I wonder if the president is willing to sign it.

Outdoor Alliance: Senate passes historic public lands package

Quote:
We are fired up to share that this evening, the Senate passed the public lands package (S.47) 92 to 8, and it’s moving on to the House.

The package includes some priorities we’ve worked on as a community for years. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expired in September 2018, is a key conservation program that provides funding for local, state, and public lands including National Parks and local trails. It’s a program we’ve talked about more times than we can count, and we’ve worked with lawmakers to get it reauthorized since long before its expiration. Outdoor Alliance and its Washington partners have had irons in the fire for five years to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway outside of Seattle as a National Heritage Area. We’d be sounding the bells if any single piece of this package were making progress through Congress, so to have a package comprising dozens of bills we’ve worked for and to have the stars align so it looks like the whole package might actually pass….well, it’s big news.


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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostWed Feb 27, 2019 12:34 am 
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Progress ... Passed the house 363-62.

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This evening, the House passed the public lands package by a margin of 363-62. The Senate passed the bill by a margin of 92-8 just two weeks ago, so now the package will go to the President's desk, where we expect it to become law.

This package will reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and provide new protections for important places like the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area, Emery County, Methow Headwaters, and Oregon Wildlands. Read more about the package on our blog and we'll also share more on social.

Today’s win is an important victory for everyone who loves getting outside on public lands. Legislation in this package will help fund parks and recreation across the country; create new protections for climbing, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreation on public lands; and withdraw the risk of mining from key landscapes, like Washington’s Methow Valley and the gateway to Yellowstone.


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PostThu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 am 
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dizzy.gif  dizzy.gif  dizzy.gif

Here is the summary from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.  My wife and I have paid dues to SUWA for many years, and now we just got paid back.

https://suwa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=fe945411e7684dddab3dc53dac3596b0

Page 2 shows the new wilderness areas in Emery County.  Just last year, I hiked in the San Rafael Swell (SRS) in the area that just became wilderness.  A few years before, I floated Labyrinth Canyon, which just became a Wild and Scenic River.

On the map, it looks like the "National Conservation Area," which by the way means ATVs can go anywhere they want,* takes the heart out of the new Wilderness.  But the map does not really show the situation on the ground.  The new Conservation Area is mostly a windswept plateau with stunted juniper trees and lots of cattle grazing, while the Wilderness encompasses most or all of the scenic areas and canyons.  Those canyons are criss-crossed with ATV and dirt bike tracks, but those will finally begin to heal.

*Maybe you want to tell me that ATVs will have to stay on existing roads.  But that has always been the problem in Utah.  Back in the days of the Wild West, dirt bikes and ATVS cut routes pretty much anywhere and everywhere, and the tracks take decades to heal.  The rural County Commissioners have always held that any track in the sand is a road and can be used as a road.

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Mar 12, 2019 6:50 pm 
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All done, Passed  party.gif

Quote:
We are fired up to share that Congress just passed the biggest public lands bill in recent history, and it now heads to the President’s desk to become law.

S.47, the Natural Resources Management Act, passed the Senate on February 12 by a margin of 92-8 and today, it passed the House by 363-62.

The package has a little something for everyone, but central piece of the legislation is the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF has been called “America’s best conservation program,” and it provides funding for local, state, and federal public lands. LWCF redirects a portion of revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling into conservation and has helped to create trails, parks, and recreation destinations in all 50 states. The program expired on September 30, 2018.

Some other highlights include:
  • The Emery County Public Lands Management Act
  • Methow Valley Mineral Withdrawal
  • Emigrant Crevice Withdrawal – Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act
  • Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act
  • Oregon Wildlands Act
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation
  • The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act
  • Every Kid Outdoors
  • 21st Century Service Corps Act

Other stuff in the bill

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timberghost
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PostWed Mar 13, 2019 5:34 am 
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This is awesome!!
Bow hunters would be allowed to bring their weapons through national parks when trying to reach areas where it is legal to hunt. More important, it makes all federal lands open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless otherwise specified.

Jesse Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said in an interview that expanding wilderness in his state will be a powerful lure for hunters seeking bighorn sheep, mule deer, quail and other animals. “People will travel to these places to pursue game in this wild, untamed habitat.”
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RodF
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PostThu Mar 14, 2019 4:03 pm 
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Provisions of local relevance in the “John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act” (link to full text):

Section 1203 (Methow headwaters) withdraws mining claims within 340,000 acres.

Section 2410 "Wildlife Management in Parks" authorizes National Parks to use "qualified volunteers" (sharpshooters, hunters) to reduce wildlife populations (mountain goats in Olympic NP).

Section 4105 "Identifying opportunities for recreation, hunting, and fishing on Federal land" may improve public access to "landlocked" areas of Federal land, to which there is now no public right-of-way.  This is a major problem in WY and MT, and a minor problem in WA affecting access to national forest lands in the southern Olympics and south Cascades (and might help preserve access to the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail in the Okanogan and Kettle River range and to scattered Federal parcels on the shorelines of the Pacific, San Juans, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and Hood Canal?).

"Wild Olympics" (19 Wild and Scenic River designations and 14 wilderness additions totaling ~124,000 acres in Olympic National Forest) was NOT included in this law.  The "Wild Olympics" bill (introduced in 4 past sessions by Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer) has not yet been reintroduced in this session of Congress.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Sculpin
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PostSun Mar 17, 2019 4:06 pm 
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RodF wrote:
Section 4105 "Identifying opportunities for recreation, hunting, and fishing on Federal land" may improve public access to "landlocked" areas of Federal land, to which there is now no public right-of-way.  This is a major problem in WY and MT, and a minor problem in WA affecting access to national forest lands in the southern Olympics and south Cascades (and might help preserve access to the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail in the Okanogan and Kettle River range and to scattered Federal parcels on the shorelines of the Pacific, San Juans, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and Hood Canal?).

Thanks Rod, that is good news!  There are plenty of problem areas along the east slope of the Cascades as well.  Not to mention "No Trespassing" signs on public right-of-ways.

I'm not sure where the law currently stands on railroad land grand checkerboards.  Can you go from one public parcel to another across a checkerboard corner?  I think the law has gone back and forth.

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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Brian R
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PostMon Mar 18, 2019 9:14 pm 
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"Wild Olympics" (19 Wild and Scenic River designations and 14 wilderness additions totaling ~124,000 acres in Olympic National Forest) was NOT included in this law.  The "Wild Olympics" bill (introduced in 4 past sessions by Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer) has not yet been reintroduced in this session of Congress.

Let's hope it stays "not" for a long, long time.
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OwenT
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PostWed Mar 20, 2019 12:46 pm 
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As much as I like wilderness, I'm not only a hiker and I'd like to start seeing lands protected for the public instead of protected from the public. I'm also a rockhound and gold prospector. There is a war on mining going on and a lot of lands that have been, in this legislation and others, or will be designated as "protected" are designated as such specifically to prohibit mineral exploration. Mostly, people get up in arms about the "big" mines, but it hurts the little guy just as much. That's one of the freedoms that we have that I enjoy and I don't like to see it get squashed everywhere. I'm not an ORVer but I'm sure they feel the same way. Agreed, they've got to be kept off certain areas but I wouldn't want to see them kicked off all the cool places I get to enjoy. We've got to keep things in control, but I feel like the land grabbing, it to certain interest groups is getting out of control. For example, SUWA's red rock wilderness act would withdraw a huge amount of land in Utah including many areas of interest with important minerals deposits where there are currently active mining claims. Everyone wants the public lands to be regulated in a way that is best for their enjoyment, but it's public after all, there are certain conflicts. I'm not sure what the answer is.
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