A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 162 - 6/23/04
Paul Smith, California Desert District Advisory CouncilPhoto Album: Bradshaw TrailProfile: Sarah TomichTake Pride in America - VolunteerBookstore Feature: "Best Alphabet Book in the Wild West"

- Bookstore Feature: "Best Alphabet Book in the Wild West"
- Photo Album: Bradshaw trail
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Paul Smith
- Profile: Sarah Tomich
- Payments in Lieu of Taxes: California to receive $19.1 million
- Energy
- Off-road recreation: picketers, controversy
- Other recreation on public lands:
      - Information station for the 4th: King Range
      - Desert fun - and survival
      - Fort Ord: new mountain biking trails
- Mines on public lands
- Volunteers:
      - Help at Cow Mountain shooting range
      - Opportunity: monitoring
- Roads across public lands: "RS2477"
- Wildfire
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - Current job openings
      - Rancher uses holistic management
- National and/or Department of the Interior items
- Selected Upcoming Events

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Best Alphabet Book in the Wild West"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Best Alphabet Book in the Wild West"
A fun guide about the West written especially for children. Children will look to LetterBug to help them find the hidden letters in this cleverly constructed and colorful book.

PHOTO ALBUM: Bradshaw TrailPHOTO ALBUM: The Bradshaw Trail
The first road across Riverside County to the Colorado River was blazed by William Bradshaw in 1862 as an overland stage route. Beginning in San Bernardino, the trail was used extensively between 1862 and 1877 to haul miners and other passengers to the gold fields at La Paz, Arizona (now Ehrenberg). The Bradshaw Trail is now a 70-mile dirt road periodically graded by the Riverside County Transportation Department. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended due to stretches of soft sand.


Another view along the Bradshaw Trail - flatter this timeRelated: "The Bradshaw Trail" (BLM California Web site)
This east-west trail - in Southeastern Riverside County, with a small segment in Imperial County - begins about 12 miles east of the community of North Shore near the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Its eastern end is about 14 miles southwest of Blythe near the Colorado River. The trail traverses mostly public land and offers spectacular views of the Chuckwalla Bench and the Orocopia, Chuckwalla and Mule Mountains.

Paul Smith, California Desert District Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Paul Smith
Paul Smith represents the public-at-large on the Californian Desert District Advisory Council. As a longtime desert resident and businessman, he has a high degree of knowledge of BLM and the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Learn more in this weekly News.bytes feature:

Sarah TomichPROFILE: Sarah Tomich
Sarah is an Information Technology Specialist with BLM's Folsom Field Office. Learn more in this weekly News.bytes feature:
Profile: Sarah Tomich


"California to receive 19.1 million from Interior under federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program" (BLM California news release, 06/17/2004)
Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton announced that California will receive 19.1 million dollars to compensate county governments whose jurisdictions contain tax-exempt Federal lands. "This money helps pay for essential services such as firefighting, search-and-rescue operations, and a host of other badly needed on-the-ground services," Norton said.

"County gets surprise money" (Visalia Times-Delta, 06/19/2004)
"For the first time in at least three years, Tulare County will get more than it expected from the Bureau of Land Management."

"Feds send extra money to county" (Hollister Free Lance, 06/21/2004)
"The Bureau of Land Management’s annual property tax payment to San Benito County came in about $40,000 more than the budgeted figure for such federal compensation, an indication the cash-strapped government may get a needed boost."


"New BLM initiative to enhance environmental protection during oil and gas activity on public lands" (BLM National Office news release, 06/22/2004)
"We want to protect wildlife and landscapes while working to develop our badly needed domestic sources of energy," said Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management. "The focus of the new initiative is smart upfront planning and solid implementation of best practices to reduce environmental impacts on public and private lands and resources."

Related: "More sensitive BLM offers paint swatches" (Casper Star-Tribune, 6/23/2004)
"A color like desert tan doesn't blend well against a background of juniper trees and shouldn't be used to paint oil and gas field facilities in vegetated areas, according to a new Bureau of Land Management policy. Paint is one tool in the Best Management Practices (BMP) approach the BLM wants its project managers to consider when reviewing applications for permits to drill, said Rebecca Watson, the assistant secretary of the Interior for Land and Mineral Management." Watson announced the new policy at the National Fluids Mineral Conference.

"Would more drilling in America make a difference?" (New York Times, 6/20/2004)
Some say drilling on public lands would reduce dependence on foreign oil, others that it would damage the environment too much and not work anyway. "Industry analysts take a third view, arguing that lifting drilling prohibitions on federal lands might help, but not right away and ultimately not very much."

"Interior Department announces winners of Fluid Mineral Award" (BLM National Office news release, 06/22/2004)
The two Fluid Mineral Environmental winners include the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, District 4, located in Bakersfield. "Today's award winners have gone beyond established operating standards in providing energy to the nation in an environmentally safe manner," said Patty Morrison, the Interior Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals.

"Public comment period on Mexicali power plants extended" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/17/2004)
Public hearings scheduled for last week "on the impacts related to transmission of power from two U.S.-owned Mexicali plants have been delayed until July 14 while the legal battle over the plants' impacts to the region's environment drags on." The plants would transmit power to Southern California, along BLM rights-of-way.


"Picketers protest dunes closure to offroaders" (North County Times, 06/21/2004)
"Carlsbad - Local politicians joined about 100 people and an almost equal number of Jeeps, 4-wheel-drive pickups, dune buggies and campers Friday to protest a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep a plant on the endangered species list, a decision they believe could shut them out of a huge tract of sand dunes in Imperial County. Picketers carried signs and vehicles were liberally decorated with slogans, including 'Plants Don't Pay Taxes,' 'Preserve Our Offroad Lifestyle' and 'Plants Don't Vote'."

"The fight over public land" (The Pinnacle, 06/17/2004)
"When BLM workers and volunteer plant lovers put a wire fence around five acres of scrubby, rugged federal wilderness in remote San Benito County last December, it re-ignited a 20-year feud between off-road vehicle enthusiasts and environmentalists, two groups with no love lost between them....At stake in this fight is a tiny threatened species of wildflower found only in the serpentine soils of the Clear Creek Management Area in south San Benito County: the Camissonia benitensis, or San Benito Evening Primrose."

Related: "BLM may limit Clear Creek access" (Hollister Freelance, 06/16/2004)
"...[I]in the past 30 years it has become one of the most sought-after destinations for the state’s off-roaders, with 90 percent of the park’s facilities being open for their use. But due to environmental concerns, some of that space could be reduced soon, according to the BLM. Those plans are prompting both environmental and off-road groups to threaten to file lawsuits against the agency.... "


"BLM will staff King Range information station for July 4 holiday" (BLM California news release, 06/18/2004)
The BLM will staff a visitor information station at the Mattole Campground and increase ranger patrols in the King Range National Conservation Area during the July Fourth holiday weekend. "We anticipate a busy time in the King Range, and we want to be sure that visitors know about rules including campground use and fireworks," said Lynda Roush, manager of the BLM’s Arcata Field Office.

"Land transfer creates more bike trails" (Monterey County Herald, 06/17/2004)
"Mountain bikers, prepare to be challenged. A federal agency is adding an additional 3.5 miles of trails to the 83 miles that are already open to bikers and hikers at Fort Ord. And unlike the existing trails, which are mostly smooth and flat, the new ones being opened by the federal Bureau of Land Management will be steep and rocky...."

"Outdoor Tales: Plenty north of Walter's Camp" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/17/2004)
"This whole desert area from Palo Verde back to Glamis is a rock hound's dream, with all types of rocks and specimens. If you explore off the road, though, you need to be sure it is legal for you to be there. Check with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to be sure. Second and most important, you need to be sure you have everything necessary to survive in the harsh environment if something should happen to your vehicle."

Related: "Desert Safety" (BLM California Web page)
This Web page offers more details in surviving the harsh environment, including some expected precautions (lots of water) and some perhaps less expected (possible encounters with desert drug labs or explosives from former military training camps.)


"Alternative mine site may be sought" (Los Angeles Daily News, 06/20/2004)
"The search for an alternative site for the proposed 55 million-ton sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon is in the investigative stage as Santa Clarita's congressman continues to make inquiries, including into San Bernardino County." Proposal calls for Cemex company to mine on other BLM-managed land in his district, "which extends from Valencia to the Nevada border."

Updates: "Mining permit OK'd for Cemex" (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/23/2004)
"On a split vote Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a surface-mining permit to allow a massive sand-and-gravel quarry in Soledad Canyon."

Related: "Supervisors OK Cemex project" (Santa Clarita Signal, 6/23/2004)

"Critics Call for Reform of 1872 Mining Law" (National Public Radio, 6/22/2004)
"The federal government recently sold 155 acres on the top of a landmark mountain in the ski resort town of Crested Butte, Colo., for just $5 per acre under the terms of an 1872 mining law....[T]he law was designed to encourage the settlement of the West. More than a century later, many are calling for the overhaul of an antiquated law that lets mining interests buy prime real estate at dirt-cheap prices, without owing the federal government or taxpayers a penny in royalties." Includes link to online audio files.

"County receives grant to plan New Idria mine cleanup" (The Hollister Freelance, 6/18/2004)

Related: "Mercury Mine/Mill site remediation projects within the Pajaro and Panoche-San Luis Reservoir Watersheds, Central California" (BLM California Web site)
The New Idria Mercury Mine was the primary processing center for many of the smaller mines located on surrounding lands. It produced more than 433,000 flasks of liquid mercury (quicksilver) from 1902-1944. Some was used in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Range during the hydraulic gold mining days, and still causes environmental problems there, as well as in San Benito County.

"New Idria mercury mine remedial actions" (BLM California Issue Update)
(Note: the Issue Update database is on a secure Web server - please see explanation under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)


"Volunteers will help BLM spruce up Cow Mountain shooting range" (BLM California news release, 06/18/2004)
Led by an Eagle Scout candidate, a group of local volunteers will help the Bureau of Land Management spruce up the public rifle range in the North Cow Mountain Recreation Area east of Ukiah. The range will be closed Saturday, June 26, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. while the work is underway.

Volunteer"VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY - Monitoring"
Interested in botany-plant monitoring, archaeology site monitoring, and recreation-trail monitoring? We are looking for a volunteer to help on public lands in Imperial County. Apply on-line!


"Nature takes its course in aftermath of Manter Fire" (Bakersfield Californian, 06/21/2004)
"For patient observers, the Manter Fire offers an excellent chance to watch nature heal itself." Because the fire burned in remote wilderness managed by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service, different rehabilitation rules are in effect. "[R]ecovery...could take hundreds of years....Visitors...today will still see lots of standing burned trees, along with a host of new shrubs, grasses and wildflowers that have slowly brought color back to the blackened mountains. But not many new trees will be seen, because the forest must reseed itself."

"SNAPSHOTS: "Highlighting BLM projects that support the National Fire Plan" (PDF file)
California features include:
- "Volunteers help San Diego and Riverside County fire education and readiness"
- "Wildfire fuel breaks - A lengthy and dangerous chess game for the town of Julian"
- "Student Conservation Association work pays off for Shelter Cove"
- "Rural fire assistance funding helps volunteer fire department save the day."
PDF file, 1.2 megabytes: Snapshots california - 6/18/04

"BLM to host meeting on Susan River Rim fuels reduction project" (BLM California news release, 06/17/2004)
The BLM and Lassen Fire Safe Council are seeking public comments on a proposed hazardous fuels reduction project for the North Susan River Rim area near Riverbench Road west of Susanville. BLM staff will discuss the project at a meeting set for Monday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m.

"Fire restrictions go into effect" (BLM California news release, 06/18/2004)
The restrictions cover all lands managed by the BLM's Bishop Field Office and all Inyo National Forest lands.

"BLM sets fire restrictions on Northwest California public lands" (BLM California news release, 6/23/2004)
The restrictions affect lands managed by the BLM Redding, Ukiah and Arcata field offices in the following counties: Butte, Tehama, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Colusa, Glenn, Yolo and Solano.

"Small plane gets a big task" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 06/22/2004)
"Single-engine tanker is part of a strategy to snuff out blazes early....big air tankers were grounded because three of them crashed in recent years....Since nine of the big planes were based in California, officials decided to fill that gap by adding 11 firefighting helicopters and three commercially owned crop duster-size tankers that work for the federal Bureau of Land Management." Story on the single-engine air tanker based in Southern California.

"Insurers' fire policies criticized" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/23/2004)
California Insurance Commissioner "called on lawmakers to prevent carriers from dropping policies or instituting new surcharges for customers who file claims stemming from wildfires or other natural disasters - a practice the commissioner called 'use it and lose it'."

"As fire season ignites, Smokey Bear’s legacy lingers" (High Country News, 6/21/2004)
"Land managers have been talking about letting more wildfires burn, but the recent blowup of the Peppin Fire near Capitan, N.M. – home of Smokey Bear – leads to renewed talk of aggressive fire suppression....The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, is forecasting a potent fire season for New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California" and other parts of the West.


"Plan for desert upsets environmentalists" (San Bernardino County Sun, 6/22/2004)
"County aims to 'restore' access to land through 1866 mining law, group says....vision statement makes it the county's policy to seek reopening desert lands that have been closed to certain activities, such as mining and off-roading...'Our vision for the future of the county includes ... recovery and maintenance of multi-use access to public lands, including regional parks, national parks, national forests, state parks and Bureau of Land Management areas'."

"Land-use provision blasted" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/23/2004)
"San Bernardino County Supervisors approved a vision statement for a new county general plan Tuesday despite the objections of environmentalists over a provision dealing with roads and access to public lands."

"Utah county looks at nature and sees a way to get there" (Los Angeles Times, 6/19/2004)
"Invoking an obscure 19th century law, officials of a rural Utah county have announced their intention to establish a road to a scenic rock formation through a remote part of Canyonlands National Park...If successful, they could open up vast areas of parks and wilderness to motorized transportation." Such "RS2477" claims for roads across public lands have been cited as potentially precedent-setting for other states - including some counties in California that have expressed interest.


"Rancher uses holistic management" (Klamath Fall Herald and News, 06/21/2004)
Ranchers "have tied two private ranches into 'existing and planned Forest Service and BLM projects'...to make the land more fire safe, more productive and more environmentally sound....[the owner] plans to demonstrate that progressive range management can be integrated with environmental considerations to the benefit of both the forest and commercial ranching....." He hopes environmentalists, ranchers and lawmakers will come for a comprehensive tour Saturday, June 26, of his nearly 4,000-acre property south of Adin, California. BLM is among agencies expected to make presentations.

"Adopting some history" (Paradise, Calif. Post, 6/22/2004)
An adopters view of a recent BLM wild horse and burro adoption event in Chico: "The preview is well organized....The system allows a person seeking a particular age, color and gender to find a horse choice with little difficulty....I've been to many of these BLM adoptions before and, although the stock they gather is always good looking, this year's crop was especially attractive. Most of them had nice confirmation and appeared to be in good health with solid, good hooves and clear, bright eyes."

Current job openings - BLM California (USAJOBS Web site)
New this week: Natural Resource Specialist positions in Ridgecrest Field Office and Bishop Field Office

"BLM to close contaminated site" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 06/18/2004)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management close[d] off more than nine acres of federal land north of Barstow...because it is contaminated with a strong form of bleach."

"The plight of the plover" (North Coast Journal, 6/17/2004)
"A tiny shorebird provokes strong emotions -- both in Humboldt and up and down the California coast....this species' survival has for some time been at risk because of the outsize impact of another creature -- human beings." "Symbolic fencing" marks nesting areas to avoid. At Humboldt County's South Spit, the BLM is "also seeking to restore the once sandy habitat that prevailed out there by bulldozing pesky European beach grass out from a 20-acre area. (By capturing sand and building dunes, the beach grass reduces the amount of flat, sandy beach preferred by the plover.)"

"Species plan wins state, federal OKs" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/23/2004)
"State and federal wildlife agencies on Tuesday approved Riverside County's landmark plan to protect endangered species while allowing development to occur amid the population boom in its fast-growing western half." (Many local and federal agencies including BLM are cooperating in these regional habitat conservation plans.)

"Statement...on H.R. 3954, the Rancho El Cajon Boundary Reconciliation Act" (BLM National Office news release, 6/18/2004)
Based on erroneous 1881 survey, United States government conveyed 23 acres to State of California, which it did not in fact own. The state sold the land and it passed through several owners. This bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to pay cash or exchange other public lands with the current landowner - among other provisions.


"Permanent fees proposed for visitors to national parks, forests" (USA Today, 06/21/2004)
"Fees to hike, swim or camp at national forests or parks could become permanent to pay for repaving access roads, replacing boat docks and other maintenance and improvements....The Park and Forest services, the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management have collected about $1 billion through the pilot program, paying for trail maintenance, replacing fire rings with grills, installing new picnic tables and updating exhibits."

"Groups fight to preserve American Indian sites" (Associated Press on MSNBC, 06/22/2004)
"Mysterious petroglyphs endangered by vandals and collectors....Citizens groups - along with tribes and federal agencies across the West - are stepping up efforts to protect remote archaeological sites from thieves and vandals. Among other measures, the Bureau of Land Management plans to extend a higher level of federal protection to designated sensitive areas, qualifying them for extra law enforcement patrols...."


(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.) 06/25/2004 - Geology & Mining History Field trip
Sierra and Plumas counties

07/10/2004 - Family Days at Mount San Jacinto
- 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:
mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR
visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.ca.blm.gov/caso/getnewsbytes.html.