News Release

For Release: May 10, 2007      
Contact:  BLM/George Hill (831) 630-5036 or David Christy (916) 978-4610; EPA/Mark Merchant (415) 947-4297
CA-CC-07-41

BLM to Enforce Dry Season Use Restrictions in the Clear Creek Management Area

The Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office will enforce dry season use restrictions effective June 1 on 30,000 acres in the Clear Creek Management Area to protect public health and safety.

The temporary restrictions, which run through October 15, are in response to concerns and data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about health risks from exposure to naturally occurring asbestos.

The dry season use restrictions will restrict public access to registered street-legal vehicles on county roads and specific primary access routes in the management area to reduce potential public exposure to the asbestos.  All other routes will be closed.

Overnight camping will only be allowed outside the Serpentine Area of Critical Environmental Concern in Oak Flat Campground, Condon Peak, and Wright Mountain. Hiking, rockhounding, hunting and similar activities on foot will be allowed within the Serpentine ACEC during the closure period.  Maps reflecting open routes are posted on-site and are available at the Hollister Field Office, 20 Hamilton Court Hollister, Calif. 95023.

BLM Hollister Field Manager Rick Cooper said the temporary restrictions will affect about half of the 75,000-acre CCMA, within the Serpentine ACEC, an identified hazardous asbestos area. He said the restrictions will apply to all public land users, but exemptions will be granted for those with valid access rights, such as emergency personnel, private property in-holders, and others.

Cooper said BLM will post signs, maps and related information at kiosks and other visitor locations to inform the public of the restrictions. Information also will be provided on potential health risks related to asbestos exposure during the dry season, as identified by EPA in its February 2005 "Human Health Risk Assessment Technical Memorandum." The memorandum, which is available from EPA in San Francisco and BLM in Hollister, is part of an on-going health risk assessment by EPA that could affect future management of the area.

The public is invited to call the Clear Creek Hotline at (831) 630-5060 for up-to-date information or the Hollister Field Office at (831) 630-5000, Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.

-BLM-

Hollister Field Office, 20 Hamilton Court, Hollister, CA 95023