A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 112 - 6/11/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- West Mojave Plan released for comment
- This weekend: Folsom wild horse and burro adoption
- Landmark lighthouse goes public
- Going coastal:
   - Coast Dairies
   - Mendocino ranch
- Special Feature: Driving the Eastern Sierra
- Photo Album: "Mineral materials"
- Cemex gravel mine
- Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: What Age is it?
- Wildfire, including:
   - "Taking the heat"
   - Cutting fire risk
   - New policy to speed fire reduction
   - Fire prevention debate
- Energy: power lines = controversy
   - Valley Rainbow
   - Mexico power plants

- National news, including:
   - Trying for balance at Interior Dept.
   - Conservancy from the grass roots
   - RS 2477 precedents? Utah, Colorado
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
   - Imperial sand dunes opinions
   - Rock climbers battle over bolts
   - Route 66, the "Mother Road"

   - Outdoor industry on eco-issues
- Upcoming Congressional Hearings relevant to BLM California
- Selected Upcoming Events


West Mojave Draft Plan Amendment/Habitat Conservation Plan Released for Public Comment" (BLM California news release, 6/10/2003)
Based on years of local collaborative efforts, the West Mojave Plan, the largest habitat conservation plan (HCP) ever developed in the U.S., covering 9.3 million acres in San Bernardino, Kern, Los Angeles and Inyo counties, is now available for public comment. If the plan is ultimately adopted by local county and city governments, it will affect nearly 3 million acres of private land.

Related: An executive summary of the draft plan/HCP and draft EIS/EIR is currently online (this is a PDF document, about 133 kilobytes) and the full document will be available online at the same web address in the near future:


"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Folsom" (BLM California news release, 5/27/2003)
They once grazed on the wide-open ranges of the West, but now, a more domestic life awaits a group of wild horses and burros. A total of 60 horses and 20 burros will be available to qualified adopters starting 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Folsom Rodeo Grounds. You can get a preview look at the animals when they arrive at the rodeo grounds Friday at about 2 p.m. (Repeated from an earlier News.bytes)

Related: "Don't try this at home..." (Online version of poster for this wild horse and burro event)


"Landmark lighthouse goes public" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 06/05/2003)
View of Piedras Blancas light station from Route 1"People who have waited for decades to tour the Piedras Blancas Light Station north of San Simeon will have their chance. In the lighthouse's 128-year history, it has never been formally open to the public, according to research done by the [BLM], which has owned the light station for a year and is restoring it.

"Piedras Blancas Light Station Open to Limited Public Tours" (BLM California news release, 06/05/2003)
For the first time since it was built in 1875, the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station, near San Simeon on California's scenic central coast, is being opened to limited public tours.

"Piedras Blancas Light Station" (BLM California Web site)
Much more information on this historical site: Photos, history, volunteer opportunities, research projects at the U.S. Geological Survey station that shares the parcel.


"North Edgy" (Metro Santa Cruz, 06/04/2003)
"It was a hard-won, costly battle to preserve the Coast Dairies property a few years ago. Now, the federal government [BLM] is coming in to help manage the 7,500 undeveloped acres north of Santa Cruz. Some say the land is well-protected, but others worry about loopholes in the terms of preservation and the idea of entrusting the Bush administration with some of Santa Cruz County's most beautiful open space." (Cover/feature story: "Meet your new neighbor")

"Coast Dairies property, Santa Cruz County California" (BLM California Issue Update)
The BLM has agreed to co-manage, with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks), 7,000 acres of the Central Coast in northwestern Santa Cruz County near Davenport. This unique parcel of land, referred to as the "Coast Dairies Property," has remained intact as a privately owned land unit for more than a century. (This is on the secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

"Mendocino ranch preserved" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 06/05/2003)
In one of the largest undertakings yet to protect the Mendocino Coast from development, the state Coastal Conservancy voted unanimously Wednesday to move ahead with a $7.8 million deal to acquire the historic Stornetta Brothers Coastal Ranch, a dairy near Point Arena. Under the joint state-federal plan, a 2-mile stretch of stunningly rugged coastal bluffs, sand dunes and wildfowl habitat that includes a small offshore island will be acquired and turned over to the [BLM]."

SPECIAL FEATURE: Eastern Sierra drive

Detail from cover of "Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra including Death Valley""Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra including Death Valley"
NOW ONLINE! From the canyons of Death Valley to the tree line in the High Sierra, Inyo County has some of the most rugged and varied terrain in the nation. Most of is open to exploring by vehicle - as long as you stay on established roads. Preview this popular guide and download the routes, maps, and driving tips. (The guide was a cooperative project of many partners, including BLM California.)

PHOTO ALBUM: "Mineral materials"

Trucking out "mineral materials" such as gravelAlso known as "salable minerals" - these differ from mining claims, "solid leasable minerals" and other mining activities on BLM-managed lands. Companies actually buy these types of mineral materials, rather than pay through a mining claim fee or royalty arrangement common in removal of other types of minerals from public lands.

Related: "Mineral materials in California" (BLM California Web pages)
The Materials Act of 1947, as amended, separates petrified wood, common varieties of sand, stone, gravel, pumice, pumicite, cinders, and some clay from "location and leasing" programs on public lands.. These materials may be acquired by purchase only and are referred to as "salable" minerals.


"Cemex gaining ground" (Los Angeles Daily News, 06/10/2003)
"[Santa Clarita] City leaders are concerned that Los Angeles County officials are poised to settle a lawsuit filed by mining company Cemex Inc. and will allow a massive sand-and-gravel quarry to be built in Soledad Canyon." The company has a mining permit from BLM.,1413,200%257E20949%257E1440376,00.html

"County, Cemex deal may be near" (The Signal, 06/10/2003)
"County officials refused to confirm Monday whether they have reached an out-of-court deal with Cemex S.A. de C.V., the Mexican cement giant that hopes to mine sand and gravel in Soledad Canyon."


Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the WeekWhat period is known as the "Age of Amphibians?"
(a) Carboniferous
(b) Permian
(c) Silurian
(d) Cambrian
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)


A fire crew training on a helicopter - from the BLM California photo database"Taking the heat ... and proud of it" (Bakersfield Californian, 06/04/2003)
"The Kern Valley Hotshots are a firefighting machine made of human muscle. For 24-hour shifts, the Bakersfield-based crew can run on water, fuel and the steel tools they carry with 40-pound packs. They call the work 'rough.' They say it's 'miserable.' They also gush about it like lovestruck poets." Interested in signing up? See the next item.

"Bakersfield fire program" (BLM Web pages)
Learn what the firefighters in this area do, see photos, learn how to sign up.

"How Circle Oaks cuts its fire risk" (Napa News, 06/04/2003)
"The conditions this fire season...seem dramatically similar to those which existed over 20 years ago, when Napa County experienced a major catastrophic wildfire..." One homeowner group trying to prevent a repeat, "was one of two homes associations, state-wide, to receive a grant award from the community-based wildfire prevention fund of the Sacramento Regional Foundation. The grant funds are provided to the Sacramento Regional Foundation by the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management as a part of the National Fire Plan."

"Rule Change to Federal Regulations Will Streamline BLM Wildfire Management Decisions" (BLM national news release, 06/05/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management may now implement wildfire management decisions on rangelands and forest lands with a minimum of delay, thanks to changes in federal regulations governing hearings and appeals. The final changes are effective July 7, 2003.

"The thin red line: Debate rages over best way to curb forest fires" (The Christian Science Monitor, 6/12/2003)
Last year's Biscuit Fire burned four months in Oregon and California, involved 7,000 firefighters, cost $153 million and eventually stopped only with December rains. Scars from that fire serve as backdrop for this story on plans to manage wildfires on public lands. "It's more than just partisan politics...These questions could affect millions of Westerners living in or near potential fire zones...[an] insurance company recently told customers in wildfire-prone areas of six Western states that they have two years to remove excess brush and trees from around their properties or risk losing coverage."

ENERGY: Rights of way = controversy

"Power lines rejected again" (Riverside Press Enterprise, 06/06/2003)
"State regulators dealt the death blow plan to build a high-voltage line through southwestern Riverside County. The California Public Utilities Commission refused to alter its December decision to kill San Diego Gas & Electric's proposed 500,000-volt Valley Rainbow Interconnect. It was the third time the commission struck down the proposal, and the last time SDG&E could bring it before the panel." BLM was tasked with rights-of-way permits for the power line.

"U.S. judge refuses to halt Mexican electricity imports" (Ventura County Star, 06/04/2003)
"A federal judge on Wednesday rejected an environmental group's petition to halt imports of Mexican electricity from two new plants whose environmental practices are under review." BLM California involved through issuance of rights-or-way permits for power lines across public lands.,1375,VCS_122_2012673,00.html


"Trying for balance at Interior Dept." (New York Times, 06/08/2003)
Various groups evaluate how Interior Secretary Gale Norton has implemented policies of "free-market environmentalism" and "the four C's: communication, consultation and cooperation, all in the service of conservation" that "are the basis of what she and President Bush call the new environmentalism, which emphasizes cooperation at the local level rather than federal edicts." (This newspaper requires registration to view articles. Registration is free.)

"Conservancy from the grass roots" (Washington Post, 06/07/2003)
Department of the Interior Secretary Gale Norton describes private-landowner alternative to government-bought wildlife conservation areas.

"Little old law, big new conflicts" (Denver Post, 06/08/2003)
Columnist: "For such a little old federal law, RS-2477 can sure cause some big controversies. It's an old law because Revised Statute 2477 was passed in 1866. It's a little law because it's only 19 words long: 'The right of way for construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted.'",1413,36%257E150%257E1438219,00.html


"Off-roaders call new dunes plan 'slight improvement'" (Yuma Sun, 06/10/2003)
"By the time off-roaders are ready to spin their wheels in the sand in the fall, the [BLM] hopes to have in place a new management plan for the Imperial Sand Dunes that will reopen tens of thousand of previously closed acres to motorized vehicles." "It's a slight improvement over what the draft version contained, but it still needs a lot of work," says the president of one off-road group.

"Groups protest BLM's Horseshoe Ranch changes" (Mt. Shasta Live, 6/10/2003)
"A proposal by the Bureau of Land Management to change the size and use of the Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area is the result of political meddling, according to a pair of environmental organizations that are formally protesting the changes."

"Under-served youths explore Eastern Sierra" (Mammoth Times, 06/05/2003)
"The goals of Sierra Adventures are to break down ethnic cliques that exist in the middle school and demonstrate to the students that in real life, all different types of people can work and play together." The group uses outdoor group activities in the Eastern Sierra to reach its goals. A BLM volunteer says in the last 10 years, he has "seen the program grow and become meaningful to the community."

"Third anniversary of Barstow's Route 66 Museum" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 6/11/2003)
BLM will participate in July 5 event at museum of "the Mother Road." Highlights include a classic car show open to all pre-1973 American cars and trucks. More volunteers are needed.

"Bolts in rocks have climbers screaming from top" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 6/11/2003)
Newcomer rock climbers install permanent "bolts" in rock faces during rock-climbing - and leave them for others to take the same climbs - versus "traditionalists" who use temporary pitons that are removed by the last climber of a group. How much impact do bolts in cliffs have on public lands and wilderness? The BLM has drafted a regulation that will allow new bolts - but only with permits.

"Outdoor rec industry makes stand for wilderness; Utah deal to drop protections provokes response" (San Francisco Chronicle, 06/07/2003)
"The outdoor recreation industry, a timid but potentially powerful political force, has suddenly vaulted into the fray over the fate of the nation's wildlands." Reaction of various recreation companies to deal between Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Utah governor, to settle lawsuit by Utah to open more wilderness areas.

Related: "Outdoor industry taking on eco-issues" (USA Today, 06/08/2003)

  • June 12, Hearing HR 762, Reasonable Right-of-Way Fees Act of 2003, by Senate Energy Subcommittee on Public Lands & Forests. Tom Thompson, Deputy Chief, FS, is the Witness. Ray Brady, BLM Lands & Realty Group Manager, is the Technical Backup.
  • June 12, Hearing HR 1472, Don’t Feed the Bears Act of 2003, by House Resources Subcommittee on Conservation, Wildlife & Oceans. Matt Hogan, Deputy Director, FWS, is the Witness.
  • June 18, Oversight Hearing on Native American Sacred Places by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Chris Kearney, DOI Deputy AS, Policy/International Affairs, is the Witness.
  • June 19, Oversight Hearing on Grazing by the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Public Land and Forests. Jim Hughes is the Witness.
  • June 24, Hearing on EPCA/Energy Access by the House Resources Subcommittee on Energy & Minerals. Rebecca Watson is the Witness.
  • June 24, Hearing HR 1658 on California Railroad Right-of-Way Conveyance by the House Resources Subcommittee on Parks, Recreation and Public Lands. Bob Anderson is the Witness.
  • June 26, Hearing on Healthy Forest Initiative by the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. Lynn Scarlett is the Witness.

Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the WeekANSWER TO WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What period is known as the "Age of Amphibians?"
(a) Carboniferous, about 360 to 290 million years ago The name "Carboniferous" comes from deposits of coal that formed as a result of the vast swamps of the period, and...

Frog invader - photo credit: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences...speaking of swamps - they attract this amphibian, familiar to many Eastern U.S. residents. But this creature has also invaded the West - and threatens several of our own California frogs. In fact, some face a threat to their very existence. Learn more about this invader on our BLM California Wildlife Database. (photo credit: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences)
(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.).

06/14/2003 - Folsom wild horse and burro adoption

6/27/2003 - California Desert District Advisory Council

- 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

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: