A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 117 - 7/16/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Desert survival:
   - Stranded teen dies in OHV area
   - Desert safety information
- Photo Album - "Coastal critters"
- Coast-related: Trail, National Monument, sites
- Bookstore Feature: Gold Panners Manual
- West Mojave Plan
- National/Department of Interior News, including:
   - Secretary Norton: $70 million in grants for endangered species
   - Senate approves $314 million in emergency wildfire funds
   - Gains predicted against Western fires
   - New land appraisal team

- Headlines and Highlights, including:
   - More than 100 "orphan" oil wells closed
   - State joins city in Cemex gravel fight
   - Wild horses and burros: Thousand Oaks
   - Off-roaders facing new noise limits
   - Mining area deal sought
- Selected Upcoming Events, including:
   - Draft West Mojave Plan public meetings
   - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument meeting
   - Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo and Show
   - Northwest California Advisory Council


"A father-and-son desert trip ends in death" (Los Angeles Times, 07/15/2003)
The teen "wanted to introduce his father to his new hobby: off-roading. Packed with three days of food, 35 water bottles, a shovel, a cell phone, camcorder, directions and camping gear, they set out in Al's 1986 Nissan 200SX with oversized tires." They got stuck twice and passersby helped them out - but then got stuck a third time and tried to walk out. The teen died - probably because of scorching temperatures and lack of water - in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area.,1,7343466.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Related: "Teen dies after being stranded with father in SoCal desert" (Associated Press, in San Jose Mercury News, 07/15/2003)

"Desert Survival Tips" (BLM California Web site)
Desert Survival Tips graphicMany people each year have mishaps in the Mojave Desert which could have been avoided or made less serious with some preplanning. This Web page includes: a list of preparations to be made before your trip to the desert, a basic list of supplies, and suggestions for what to do if you become stranded.

"Safety" (BLM California Web site - Needles Field Office)
Includes other important desert safety tips you may not have thought of -- such as avoiding desert drug labs (a growing problem) and explosives.

"Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (Bureau of Land Management Web site - Barstow Field Office)
This BLM-managed area is very popular with visitors during the cooler months - but visitors are urged to read the "Desert Survival" information linked from this page! Most visitors tour the area in four-wheel drive vehicles. One area is used extensively for competitive racing events and OHV free play. There are opportunities for hiking, rock hounding, and wildlife watching.

a sea starPHOTO ALBUM - "Coastal critters (and other organisms)"
BLM California manages 15,000 million acres of land - but it also includes the California Coastal National Monument, several coastal recreation areas, and a lighthouse undergoing renovations. See a few of the organisms seen and photographed at BLM-managed locations along the coast.

Related: "They want a single trail from Oregon to Baja; Trekkers stump California coast to promote access for all" (San Francisco Chronicle, 07/16/2003)
"It's a lot of steps for a bunch of 50- and 60-year-olds, but that hasn't deterred a small band of hikers from walking 1,134 miles this summer to call attention to a spectacular public work: a continuous hiking trail along the California coast." Proposed trail is 60 percent complete, but has no access across some private lands. BLM is working with others to gain public access across one such section: the Stornetta Brothers Coastal Ranch in Mendocino County.

Related: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California Web site)

Related: "Samoa Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM California Web site)
Watchable Wildlife Site graphicOne of several BLM-managed coastal recreation sites in northern California, Samoa Dunes Recreation Area was designated several years ago as one of the state's "Watchable Wildlife Sites".

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Gold Panners Manual"
"Gold Panners Manual"

"This book covers gold throughout the ages, some facts about gold, how to locate placer gold, the ABC's of gold panning, how to recover fine gold, and the equipment needed and used."


"Public comment sought on West Mojave Plan" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 07/15/2003)
"The faltering progress of the West Mojave Plan, a sweeping road map for environmental conservation and for slashing through red tape for development on 9 million acres of public land, will be the subject of a series of public meetings conducted by the Bureau of Land Management.",14381,

"Desert Plan 'Comprehensive'; Hearing in Victorville draws many critics of proposed management" (Victorville Daily Press, 07/16/2003)
"The West Mojave Plan, a sweeping blueprint for the management of 9 million acres of public and private land, is staggering toward completion, battered from all sides by sundry groups defending their particular interests.",44414,


"Secretary Norton announces 70 million in grants to support land acquisition and conservation planning for endangered species" (Department of Interior news release, 07/14/2003)
Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants and/or Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants will go to areas including the following California counties: Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Mateo, San Diego, Contra Costa, Kern, Placer, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, Yuba and Sutter.

Related: "Inland species get protection" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 07/15/2003)
"Inland Southern California will get more than $9 million in federal funds to set aside land for imperiled species such as the desert tortoise, Quino checkerspot butterfly and the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. Under federal grants announced Monday by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, $6.3 million will aid western Riverside County's effort to preserve land for 146 species while building new homes and roads for the population boom." BLM is one of many agencies and groups involved in the area's habitat conservation plan.

"Senate approves $314 million in emergency wildfire funds" (San Francisco Chronicle, 07/11/2003)
Senate votes 85-7 for $314 million in emergency firefighting funding - including $289 million for the Forest Service and BLM to fight wildfires this summer, "on top of more than $2 billion that Congress budgeted for firefighting programs for the current year. Bill "includes $25 million to remove dead, insect-infested trees or excess growth that can pose a fire protect homes adjacent to forest lands and to ensure evacuation and emergency shelters are protected. The funds would be available to states where governors have declared a state of emergency." House and Senate must still work out budget differences.

"Assistant Secretary Scarlett, new Chair of Wildland Fire Leadership Council, predicts more gains in battle against Western fires" (Department of Interior news release, 07/15/2003)
"Now in its third year of implementation, the National Fire Plan has made important strides toward reducing the impacts of catastrophic wildland fire to communities and the environment," Scarlett said..."Hazardous fuels have been reduced through increased firefighting resources and fuel treatment programs...."

"Assistant Secretary Lynn Scarlett welcomes new team charged with implementing historic land appraisal reforms" (Department of Interior news release, 07/15/2003)
Meeting for the first time, the Appraisal Reform Implementation Team will devise an action plan and schedule for consolidating real estate appraisal functions now performed by various agencies within the Department of the Interior - a major reform recommended for several decades.


"Agencies abandon 118 wells in Kern field" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/15/2003)
The BLM and the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources "abandoned" 118 "orphan" wells in the north Kern Front oil field. "Abandoning means ceasing oil and gas operations at a well and closing it up. An orphaned well is a well that has been deserted and has no viable operator or owner....Orphan wells pose environmental and safety hazards." Possibly the largest "abandonment" in state history was completed in just 90 days.

"State joins Santa Clarita in fighting mine" (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/16/2003)
"The state Department of Conservation has agreed to participate in the federal court battle over a massive sand-and-gravel mine planned in Canyon Country, officials said today. The Santa Clarita City Council hopes that conservation officials, along with Attorney General Bill Lockyer, can convince U.S. District Court Judge Dickran Tevrizian to block Cemex Inc. from mining 56.1 million tons of aggregate from the Soledad Canyon hillside." Cemex was winning bidder for BLM gravel mining contract.,1413,200%257E24652%257E1515860,00.html

"Wild Horses and Burros Seek New Homes at Thousand Oaks" (BLM California news release, 07/11/2003)
Wild mustangs and burros are living symbols of America's wild West, and on July 26-27 approximately 80 wild mustangs and 20 wild burros will be offered to qualified adopters at the Conejo Creek Equestrian Park in Thousand Oaks through the BLM's Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program.

"Off-roaders facing new noise limits" (Victorville Daily Press, 07/12/2003)
"[California] is preparing to enforce a law lowering the maximum noise level of off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles from 101 decibels to 96 decibels. The regulations took effect on January 1, 2003, but enforcement was delayed to give motorists a chance to adapt their vehicles." The restrictions will apply to public lands managed by BLM in California.,35458,

"Mining area deal sought" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 07/14/2003)
Evelyn A. "Tonie" Seger acted as caretaker of tourist landmarks Burro Schmidt's Tunnel and Bickel Camp, and conducted tours for the public before she died this year at age 95. "While Seger believed she owned the tunnel and camp mining claim for the last 40 years, the [BLM] says the entire area is public land under its management" and is in talks with the Maturango Museum for cooperative management of the area.

"Rollback of wilderness resources decried" (Los Angeles Times, 07/12/2003)
"In a strongly worded letter to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton sent Thursday, state Resources Secretary Mary Nichols objected to the agency's directive to the [BLM] that only land set aside for wilderness review prior to 1993 would be afforded special protection. Nichols charged that because of the change in policy, 'cherished emblems of California's natural heritage' would be permanently denied wilderness protection."

(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.)

07/17/2003 - Northwest California Advisory Council
Mt. Shasta

07/17/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting

07/18/2003 - Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo and Show

07/22/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting

07/23/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting
Yucca Valley

07/24/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting

07/30/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting

08/02/2003 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Palm Desert

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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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