A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue date: 4/10/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Free Offer: "BLM-California Public Lands" publication
- Not for Educators Only:
     - Bookstore Feature: Half-price closeout - "Beyond the National Parks"
     - Wildlife Trivia of the Week: bigsnake
     - Photo Album: Off-roading
- Off-road recreation:
     - West Mojave
     - Imperial Sand Dunes
     - Events, grants, issues
- Mining on public lands: new California law
- Resources on public lands: more issues
- Disclaimers of Interest agreement in Utah: California impact?
- This Weekend:
     - Wild horse and burro adoption: Ridgecrest
     - Earth Day event: Barstow
     - Postponed by weather: South Cow Mountain Trail Days
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
     - Historic Anza trail
     - Filming near Ridgecrest impacts economy, not public lands
- Selected Upcoming Events

FREE OFFER: "BLM-California Public Lands" publication
FREE OFFER: "BLM-California Public Lands" publicationBLM in California manages about 15 million acres of public lands and administers 44 million acres of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal surface lands. Find out more about BLM in California -- sign up online to receive this free 8 page publication:

Also preview or print the publication online:
(Large PDF file, 4.8 megabytes)


BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Beyond the National Parks"
BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Beyond the National Parks" (half-price closeout)
Guide to the 264 million acres of wild lands administered by the BLM. The new edition of "Beyond the National Park" book will be coming out soon. Our bookstore still has a supply of the current edition -- and has elected to sell the current edition for $10.00 each (half price) until the new edition arrives.
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is the largest rattlesnake found in California?"
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)
PHOTO ALBUM: "Off-roading" PHOTO ALBUM: "Off-roading"
Numerous opportunities for off-highway vehicle recreation exist on BLM managed lands in California. Miles of trails and open areas await all types of OHV enthusiasts. Many of these photos were taken in the popular Stoddard Valley off-roading area, managed by BLM's Barstow Field Office.

OFF-ROAD RECREATION: Imperial Sand Dunes

"Fish & Wildlife Service issues Biological Opinion on BLM's Draft Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Management Plan." (BLM California Web site)
Release of proposed final Management Plan expected in late May. PDF files - see links from BLM California's Home page at:

Related: "BLM opinion on dunes plan faces court challenge" (Imperial Valley Press, 04/08/2003)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completes biological opinion on BLM's recreation management plan for the Imperial Sand Dunes -- "one of the country's most popular off-road areas." Opinion "does not require temporary environmental closures stay closed -- but requires more monitoring and analysis of the endangered desert tortoise and the purple-flowered Peirson's milk-vetch. Environmentalists say the opinion and the soon-to-be-released management plan will be challenged in court."

"Off-roaders file suit against U.S. Department of Interior" (San Bernardino County Sun, 4/9/2003)
"A coalition of off-road groups sued the U.S. Department of Interior, alleging the government hasn't done enough to protect the threatened desert tortoise.
The group argues the government has focused on closing desert lands instead of finding a way to stop or slow the upper respiratory tract disease that has decimated some tortoise populations.",1413,208%257E12588%257E1314537,00.html

Related: "Environmentalists, off-roaders blast dune management plan" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/10/2003)

Related: "Closed dunes may reopen: A federal agency says off-roading in Imperial County won't hurt threatened species" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/10/03)

Related: "Land closed to protect tortoise to be reopened for off-roading" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/10/2003)

Related: "Counting the milk-vetch" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/9/2003)
"The harmless looking Peirson’s milk-vetch is at the center of debates and environmental closures at the Imperial Sand Dunes. How biologists count and survey the endangered purple-flowered plant also has been debated."


"Groups feuding over desert route plan" (San Bernardino County Sun, 04/03/2003)
"Environmentalists and off-highway vehicle users are at odds over a proposed network of back roads in the west Mojave Desert, ensuring a tussle as the plan for desert routes undergoes final review." Says one member of the public: "Off-road recreation is a right and we must protect it." Says another: "With our population growth, wildlife habitat is threatened more and more, and must be protected.",1413,208%257E12588%257E1296929,00.html

Related: "BLM moves meeting on planned off-road network" (San Bernardino County Sun, 04/07/2003)
Proposed West Mojave Route Designation Plan Amendment: Move to coordinate with extension of comment period to May 2, 2003.,1413,208%257E12588%257E1308251,00.html

"BLM extends comment period on proposed West Mojave Route Designation Plan Amendment and reschedules public meetings" (BLM California news release, 04/02/2003)
The BLM has extended the 30-day public comment period on the environmental assessment (EA) and draft plan amendment of the California Desert Conservation Area Plan to designate routes of travel within the West Mojave planning area to Friday, May 2, 2003. Two public meetings have been rescheduled to receive comments on the EA and proposed plan amendment. (Also published in last week's edition of News.bytes.)

OFF-ROAD RECREATION: Events, grants, issues

"Friends of Jawbone Canyon gear up for 7th Annual Moose Anderson Days" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 04/03/2003)
Many groups including BLM involved in off-roading gathering. "Sponsored by the Friends of Jawbone Canyon, the focus of Moose Anderson Days is a big Saturday clean up of the off-highway vehicle areas in and around Jawbone Canyon."

Related: "Top 10 Points of Interest, Ridgecrest Field Office" (BLM California Web site)
Orient yourself to sites near Jawbone OHV Area and Visitor Center, with this overview map.

"Input Sought for Proposed Off-Highway Vehicle Grants" (BLM California news release, 04/03/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Inyo National Forest have scheduled an open house meeting on April 24, 2003 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the BLM conference room at 787 North Main Street, Bishop, CA to discuss the proposed off-highway vehicle grant request being submit to the state of California Off-Highway Vehicle Commission for funding consideration during the current grant cycle.

"BLM incorporating use of sound machines to enforce vehicle noise level compliance" (Imperial Valley Press, 04/03/2003)
BLM rangers in California learning to use sound level machines -- to enforce new state law reducing acceptable noise levels for motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Law became effective Jan. 1, but funds for equipment recently available. Focus is on educating riders and voluntary compliance, says BLM ranger at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Off-roaders say most machines will meet limits.

Related: "Sheriff's department to seek grants" (Napa Valley Register, 04/06/2003)
Napa County Sheriff's Department applies for grants for off-road vehicles and costs of deputies to patrol popular recreation areas -- including BLM-managed lands around Lake Berryessa and Knoxvville -- during summer tourist season.


"Davis signs law to deter gold mining at site sacred to Indians" (Los Angeles Times, 04/08/2003)
Governor signs legislation Monday "aimed at blocking proposed Imperial Valley gold mine in an area claimed by the Quechan Indian tribe as a sacred site." Bill "would require Glamis Gold Ltd. to fill and restore the proposed open-pit mine, a process that would make the project too expensive, industry and state officials said." BLM has responsibility for mining permits on the public lands.

Related: "Law shields Quechan sites" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 04/08/2003)

Related: "Davis inks bill protecting Quechan site" (Imperial Valley Press, 04/08/2003)

"Battle lines drawn over proposal for mine near Death Valley Park" (Los Angeles Times, 04/09/2003)
Dispute over plan to open second gold-pit mine in Panamint Mountains, near where it has been mining since 1996. Cecil R. Jackson mine site project is supported by Inyo County officials, who say company is its fifth-largest taxpayer. Opponents fear damage to wildlife, water and sacred Indian site. Company officials say new state regulations endanger their plans. BLM issued permit for drilling exploration at the site.,1,6790269.story

Related: "Cecil R. Jackson Exploration EA" (BLM California Web site)
"Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared in response to the C.R. Briggs Corporation's application to explore the Cecil R - Jackson property located in the southern Panamint Mountains of Inyo County."


"BLM vows to protect rights of surface owners on split-estate lands" (BLM National news release, 04/02/2003)
"Split-estate lands are those on which the surface of the land has been patented, that is, transferred to private ownership, while the mineral interests are retained by the United States....The BLM said it is issuing a new directive to its State and field offices to ensure that agency procedures on split-estate mineral development are consistently applied and that they protect the rights of surface owners."

"Lobbyist pact is extended and expanded" (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/8/2003)
Santa Clarita City Council "extended and expanded its contract with a well-connected Washington lobbyist in its continuing effort to reduce the size and scope of a massive sand and gravel mine." City will pay former BLM official, a maximum of $80,000 over the next six months to draft a strategy that would block Cemex Inc.'s plan to mine 56.1 million tons of sand and gravel, city officials said.,1413,200%257E20949%257E1311292,00.html

RS 2477 "DISCLAIMERS OF INTEREST" - National news, potential California impact

"Interior and State of Utah reach landmark agreement on RS 2477 rights of way issue" (Department of Interior News Release, 4/7/03)
"The Interior Department and the state of Utah signed a landmark agreement aimed at resolving the uncertainty about existing rights-of-way claims on federal land." Other "States and counties...may submit proposed ... agreement to DOI ... generally consistent with the principles of the department's MOU with Utah."

Related: "Interior, Utah approve pact on control of disputed roads" (Washington Post, 4/10/2003)

Related: "Deal struck on control of roads on public lands" (Salt Lake Tribune, 4/10/2003)


"Our Town: Earth Day Garden Party" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/9/2003)
"Barstow will be celebrating Earth Day with a 'Garden Party' on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m....The public is invited and there is no charge. The City of Barstow, Bureau of Land Management, Barstow Park and Recreation District, Mojave Desert & Mountain Recycling Management JPA and the Mojave Desert Resource Conservation District are partnering to bring this community 'Together for the Earth,' the theme of this year's Earth Day event."

Related: "Earth Day plans include interactive gardening exhibit" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/10/2003),27488,

"BLM Schedules Special Wild Horse and Burro Adoption for Easter weekend" (BLM California news release, 03/21/2003)
Choose from about 150 wild Mustangs and 80 wild burros for adoption this Saturday, April 12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at BLM's Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corral Facility near Ridgecrest.

Postponed by weather: "South Cow Mountain Trails Day"
Volunteer work day had been scheduled for this Saturday, April 12. Watch upcoming issues of News.bytes for new date, or check back later on the Web page:

See more items under "Selected Upcoming Events" at the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Take a detour and explore the historic Anza trail" (Imperial Valley Press, 04/07/2003)
Historic Trail roughly traces 1775 expedition from Mexico - with about 200 people and 1,000 head of livestock - to colonize the San Francisco Bay area. BLM is trying to make its section of the trail (in Imperial County) user-friendly and accessible to as many visitors as possible: "We don't suggest doing a cross-country trek through here because the weather is harsh, even in the winter....But people who drive in can easily park and take exploratory hikes."

"Disney's 'Hidalgo' gallops into town" (Ridgecrest News Review, 4/9/2003)
Ridgecrest-area economy pumped up as crews film for 36 days at BLM-managed Cuddeback Lakebed. BLM resource management specialist says crew "left Cuddeback in better shape than before they arrived.”

"County still fighting feds for $6 million in payments" (Eureka Times-Standard, 04/04/2003)
"Faced with severe budget cuts next year, Humboldt County officials say it would be nice if the federal government forked over the $6.1 million in payments associated with a 1979 Redwood National Park expansion." BLM administers the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act of 1976, meant to make up for public lands taken off property tax rolls. "Bureau officials have said while they sympathize with the county's position," but amount of payments not what county expected.,1413,127%257E2896%257E1298052,00.html

"On their land, tribe's law is the last word" (Sacramento Bee, 04/08/2003)
Rulings on Indian tribal sovereignty lead to disputes - including eviction from formerly BLM-managed land transferred to tribe.

Western diamondback rattlesnake - photo credit: Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences ANSWER TO WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is the largest rattlesnake found in California?"
Western diamondback rattlesnakes are the largest rattlesnakes found in California -- and in the western United States. They occur in areas managed by BLM California's Palm Springs and Redding field offices.
Wildlife Trivia Question Mark of the Week
Learn more about these and other wildlife with BLM California's online Wildlife Database:
(Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

(Note: the Upcoming Events database is on a secure Web server, and your browser may state "You are about to view pages over a secure connection" and ask you to "Trust a Security Certificate" from the Department of Interior that hosts this site. To view the pages, you must select "Yes" or "OK" for both questions.)

04/12/2003 - Barstow Earth Day Event

04/12/2003 - Redding Trails Day/Earth Day event

04/12/2003 - Cache Creek wildflower hike
Lake County

04/12/2003 - Wild Horse and Burro Adoption

04/15/2003 - West Mojave proposed plan amendment for routes of travel public meeting

04/15/2003 - West Mojave proposed plan amendment for routes of travel public meeting

04/14/2003 - Fort Sage OHV grant funds public meeting

04/17/2003 - Grazing Policy public meeting

04/19/2003 - Cache Creek wildflower hike
Lake County

Upcoming events for later dates on our "Events" database, at:
- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links
to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's
"Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication.
If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites,
or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

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