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Sec. Zinke wants your comments on Bears Ears, Grand Staircase, etc.

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Thanks for the link, CJ. I posted a comment, generally because I think that any land designation/usage changes should be able to stand the test of public opinion and should not come from one person, even if it is the President. There is a process in place to create wilderness area--use it.

Here is an interesting link arguing against Monument designation when Obama was in charge:

http://sierranewsonline.com/national-monuments-are-bad-for-forest-health/

National Monuments Are Bad For Forest Health

Posted by: Gina Clugston October 28, 2015 - 10:13 am 0 1,549 Views

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to “Yosemite Audubon Society Supports Sierra National Monument.” This is the area between Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon where there are already many Wilderness Areas along with monuments. A Monument is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Here are some reasons why:

Years of mismanagement have made our forests overgrown, unsustainable and unhealthy. Because of the drought and the bark beetle, our forests have become tinder boxes ready to explode. Research into National Monuments reveals that timber harvest, mechanical and otherwise, will not be allowed. Advocates say that control burns are the only way to manage our forests. Control burns remove understory but not trees.SEO

Scientific studies by Professor Bales Ph.D. and Director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at U.C. Merced states that the reduction of trees will not only create a healthy renewable forest, it will produce more than a million acre feet of water to be stored and used by our farmers to grow our food. Steve Brink, Vice President of Public Resources for Calforests documents that a healthy forest should only have 40-100 trees per acre. We now have 400-600 trees per acre. So Lowell’s statement that protecting the environment will enhance and improve our water supply is a fallacy.

Furthermore, because of the denseness of our forests, control burns not only have the potential to become out of control catastrophic wildfires, they emit tons of particulate matter and carbon into our air which we the taxpayers will ultimately have to pay for. Resurrection of mechanical timber harvest, saw mills, and co-generation plants are one of the last tools in our toolbox to mitigate this huge problem. If something isn’t done very soon our forests will burn, destroying critical habitat for all species, including humans.

He mentions the jobs that will be created through tourism. These jobs are low-paying minimum wage jobs, and they are seasonal, meaning most employees will be collecting unemployment during the off season. There are other ways to create jobs besides tourism.

Forty five years ago the sale of timber provided a steady stream of revenues to the treasury which could be used to further improve, protect and manage the public lands. We also had grazing, mining, and energy development. The elimination of these activities would dry up tax revenue that’s essential for funding schools, firehouses, and community centers. All of these activities are better paying, job creators. Our forest used to be called “The Land of Many Uses;” those signs are gone now.

One of the reasons that the Rough Fire in Sequoia-Kings Canyon was so devastating is because it occurred in a National Park, and a National Monument. The firefighting agencies could not properly fight this fire. Because of restrictions put upon them, they were not able to use the equipment necessary to contain it. 151,623 acres have been incinerated, and it is still not completely contained.

I along with many other concerned citizens do not want this for our National Forests. They have not been forgotten. They have been sorely neglected, and its time to repair the damage that we have done to them in the past. National Monument designation will not allow us to do that. It is a very big step in the wrong direction.

Kevin D. Barry

Sierra Nevada Human Rights Alliance

Edited by mikea 2
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Comments due TODAY!!

Got the below from RWR:

Since we seldom urge OHV riders to submit public comments, you can rest assured that an important opportunity is here, but for only one more day (Friday, May 26th, 2017).

A century ago, presidents used the Antiquities Act to protect the most outstanding parts of the country. Today, all public lands are protected to some degree, yet recent presidents have used the Antiquities Act to largely prohibit responsible recreation across more and larger monuments.

Fortunately Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is reviewing these recent mega-monuments to determine if some of them should be modified. It's a rare chance for a presidential administration to hear the off-highway vehicle (OHV) perspective, and possibly ensure that executive actions are reasonably accommodating of the OHV access that remains on public lands.

Public comment on a new 1.35-million acre "Bears Ears" national monument south of Moab is due today, so please speak up about it here:

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

The government site requires no contact info, and it offers useful tips for submitting effective comments:

https://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effective_Comments.pdf

The BlueRibbon Coalition has some great suggestions for reforming national monuments to be OHV-friendly, although some measures are best suited for legislation which requires Congress:

https://sharetrails.org/alert/national-action-alert-rare-opportunity-for-off-roaders/

The American Motorcyclist Association has a convenient form letter set up, although ideally you would personalize comments:

https://cqrcengage.com/amacycle/app/act-on-a-regulation?2&engagementId=350173

Attached are Ride with Respect's comments, which were made possible in part thanks to the Off-Road Business Association ( http://www.orba.biz/ ). Feel free to use the comments and attached photo's, which are from trails encircled by the Bears Ears boundary.

It's been encouraging to see many OHV riders submitting passionate-yet-reasoned comments, but OHV antagonists are crawling out of the woodwork, so please make a positive case for shared-use recreation now!

NOTE:  PM my your email address and I'll forward RwR's comments. I don't think its a good idea to publish them publicly before the comment period ends.

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