A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 164 - 7/7/04

- Meet your Advisory Council members: Stanley Leach
- Profile: Stan Bales
- Bookstore feature: "A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking"
- Photo album: Amboy crater
- Our readers write
- Mojave route plan
- Energy and public lands: Oil drilling
- Sundial Bridge: New tourist destination for Redding, North State?
- Law enforcement including:
      - Archaeological artifact removal conviction
      - Sky patrol vs. pot
- Wildfire: Season still heating up
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - Current job openings
      - Mercury from abandoned mines
      - Volunteers: Pull noxious weeds at Red Hills
      - Tule Lake relocation museum proposed
      - "Whooshhh!" at Harper Dry Lake
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:
      - Revised Statute 2477
      - Mining claims fees
      - Partnerships

Stan Leach is an independent contract logger in northwestern California and president of his own timber company. Stan represents commercial timber interests on the Northwest California Resource Advisory Council. Learn more in our weekly News.bytes feature.

Stan BalesPROFILE: Stan Bales
Stan is the Recreation Planner for BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office. He won the coveted 2004 Legends award recently. As you read our weekly News.bytes Profile featuring Stan, you'll easily be able to see why.

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking"
A guide to identifying mammal tracks and droppings. "Animal tracks in the snow of the mountain forest, in the mud along a streambank, or in the sand of the desert are much more than footprints. This book helps you identify and interpret tracks. A track can tell a story."

Amboy crater - from the BLM California photo albumPHOTO ALBUM: Amboy crater
Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, Amboy Crater was recognized for its visual and geological significance. Although Amboy Crater is not unique, it is an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone. The inside of the 250-foot high crater contains two lava dams behind which have formed small lava lakes.

Related: "Amboy crater" (BLM California Web site)
To accommodate more visitors to Amboy Crater, the Needles Field Office established a day use site. The entrance road to the parking area was improved to provide access for all vehicles. Shaded and un-shaded picnic tables and restrooms offer a place to relax while exploring the area. Interpretative and trail information along with desert safety tips are available on-site. Large groups should park in the group parking area. The Needles Field Office encourages educational groups and organizations to contact the office prior to their trip, to ensure parking is available.


"Dear Folks,
Thank you for your wonderful weekly NewsBytes. The format is so easy to use and I learn so much about what is going on around the state."
- J.S., Napa


"Federal officials open up 1,500 miles of desert to off-roaders" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 07/03/2004)
"The Bureau of Land Management substantially increased the amount of public land open to off-road vehicles in Riverside and San Bernardino counties by approving 1,500 miles of roads in the Mojave Desert. The decision made Friday affects 1.3 million acres in the Mojave Desert and covers a large portion of critical habitat for the endangered desert tortoise. But officials said they made efforts to avoid sensitive areas."

"BLM approves Northern and Eastern Mojave Desert Routes of Travel Plan" (BLM California news release, 07/02/2004)
The Routes Plan updates previous route designations in the region and adopts a network of motorized vehicle access routes as a component of the California Desert Conservation Area Plan. The network designates 91 percent of routes open within approximately 1.3 million acres of public lands in the planning area. The NEMO planning area covers 3.3 million acres in parts of San Bernardino and Inyo Counties.


"Drilling on federal land jumps; Drilling on federal land has substantially increased this year, thanks to strong crude oil prices" (Bakersfield Californian, 07/02/2004)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Bakersfield field office, which oversees oil and gas activity on federal land in California, received 168 applications for permits to drill between Oct. 1, 2003 and May 25, according to the bureau's records. 'We're already at our projected number for 2004,' BLM petroleum engineer...said."

"Agencies still in talks on oil-field transfer" (Bakersfield Californian, 07/02/2004)
"A long-awaited proposal to transfer 10,500 acres of federal land near Taft from one government agency to another is still being hammered out. Under the proposal, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would assume management of the land in question -- Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 2, or NPR-2 -- from the U.S. Department of Energy."

SUNDIAL BRIDGE: New tourist attraction for Redding, North State?

"First Crossing" at the new Sundial Bridge in Redding"BLM participates as trails partner in Sundial Bridge dedication" (News.bytes Extra)
The bridge provides an important cross-river connection for the Redding area trail system, which will link to the BLM's Sacramento River Rail Trail and to other BLM public land trails. Civic leaders hope the bridge will become a landmark for trails-oriented tourism in Northern California.

"Walking bridge that soars: Backers see stardom for Sundial Bridge" (San Francisco Chronicle, 06/30/2004)
"World-famous architect Santiago Calatrava's new Sundial suspension bridge -- his first project on the West Coast -- seems like a piece of public art built to grace San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles or another of the state's urban centers. Instead, the bridge's slanted 20-story pylon rises above pine trees just off the intersection of Highway 299 and Interstate 5 near the heart of Redding..." Includes photos.

"Sundial Bridge is 217-foot feather in Redding's cap" (Redding Record Searchlight, 07/04/2004)
"What's a bridge like that doing in a town like this?" Foundation bets that bridge will "cause people to 'revise their views of Redding'." With photos taken at dusk.,2232,REDD_17533_3007277,00.html

A scenic view along the Sacramento River, south of Redding"Sacramento River" (BLM California Web site)
Recreation along the BLM-managed stretch of the Sacramento River from Jellys Ferry south to Turtle Creek includes hiking, picnicking, camping and wildlife watching. There's great shoreline fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout. Contributing to the wildlife are river otters, ringtail cats, blacktail deer, red-tailed hawks and bobcats.

"Nation's media turn spotlight on Redding" (Redding Record Searchlight, 07/04/2004)
Redding officials "tend to dismiss early stories in such publications as the New York Times, Time magazine and Boston Globe as largely irrelevant. Instead, they're pinning their hopes on exposure like the July-August issue of VIA magazine, the bimonthly publication of the California State Automobile Association. The bridge graces the cover and is featured in the magazine's first foldout display.",2232,REDD_17533_3008854,00.html

"Here's a look at Redding's new Sundial Bridge, at-a-glance" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 07/03/2004)
"The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay is the only cantilevered cable-stayed bridge in the United States. The bridge was built into thin air, with neither bridge nor construction equipment ever touching the environmentally sensitive Sacramento River below...."


"Air tankers OK'd for service" (Los Angeles Daily News, 07/05/2004)
"Five large air tankers that were grounded over safety concerns were scheduled to be back fighting that their private operator has demonstrated they are safe to fly, federal officials said.",1413,200%257E20949%257E2254582,00.html

Related: "Limited number of large airtankers recalled to service" (National Interagency Fire Center - NIFC - news release, 07/02/2004)
U.S.D.A. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth and U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke today announced five airtankers would return to firefighting service. The decision is the result of a safety analysis performed on eight aircraft, and inspections are continuing on the other three.

"Grand jury emphasizes technology" (San Bernardino County Sun, 06/30/2004)
"A special committee for the San Bernardino County grand jury investigating last fall's wildfires found a need for better technology. But that's the largest issue the ad hoc committee addressed in the annual grand jury report released Wednesday.",1413,208%257E12588%257E2245127,00.html

"Agency: Marines didn't pay $10 million bill for 2002 Sierra fire" (Sacramento Bee, 07/02/2004)
Bill for 2002 fire is from U.S. Forest Service, for fire started from campfires set by Marine trainees. Another bill may be sent out for a 940-acre fire that broke out last week near Marine housing on BLM-managed land, about 20 miles north of the 2002 fire." BLM's Bishop Field Office manager said "the federal agency will follow a review process to determine whether reimbursement should be sought."

"Severe fire conditions abound; Officials warn of potentially hazardous season; precautions and careful action urged" (Inyo Register, 07/06/2004)
"In the summer, this weather watch reaches new heights of importance, and as a look to either Sierra Nevada or White Mountains this month can attest, local fire officials have especially good reason to be on their toes....Getting a head start, Inyo National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management have both passed Special Orders banning certain activities on the local landscape."

"Fallbrook residents to develop community plan for disasters" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 07/03/2004)
"Most of the people who went to a meeting sponsored by the Fire Safe Council thought they had gone there to learn how the town's community protection and evacuation plan would work should a disaster occur. 'What you found out is that we have to develop (a plan),' said the fire chief...." Committees preparing the plan will work with agencies including BLM, other federal, state and local agencies and the Red Cross.


"BLM wins first archaeological artifact removal case" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 07/02/2004)
"An Imperial County resident has pleaded guilty to collecting archaeological artifacts from public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management." Said a BLM archaeologist, "Theft of artifacts removes information about our historic and prehistoric past and diminishes our ability to learn about the past."

"Sky patrol searches for post" (Redding Record Searchlight, 07/01/2004)
"Using a helicopter instead of hiking, officers are expected to be able to raid more marijuana gardens per day while reducing the risk of injuries." Training on BLM-managed land near Red Bluff was hosted by the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (C.A.M.P.) in which many agencies including BLM take part. "In 2003, about 87,000 marijuana plants were eradicated in Shasta County, up about 30,000 from the year before....",2232,REDD_17533_3004359,00.html


Current job openings - BLM California
Listings on USAJOBS Web site. Jobs this week include positions in visitor services, natural resources and firefighting.

Star thistle noxious weed graphicVolunteer Event - Red Hills (BLM California on Website)
Control Star Thistle in the Red Hills, July 17, 2004, near Sonora, CA. This is a moderate activity for teens and adults. Call Kim Bunn at (916) 985-4474 or email for more information and to RSVP.

Related: For more about the noxious weed management program see:

"Speakers support facility at Tule Lake Relocation Camp" (Klamath Falls (Oregon) Herald and News, 07/06/2004)
"Creation of a 'museum of conscience' at the site of the Tule Lake War Relocation Camp near Newell is moving closer to reality." The site is in Modoc County, California. "More than 350 Japanese-Americans, including several who were interned at the camp during World War II, were updated on efforts to create a museum, visitor center and rest stop on a part of the site....Caltrans owns the buildings, but the U.S. Bureau of Land Management [manages] about half the land planned for a museum and rest stop...."

"Feds studying mercury poisoning in area above Putah creek" (Napa News, 07/06/2004)
"Scientists are studying the section of upper Putah Creek that drains into Lake Berryessa to determine its contribution to the problem of mercury poisoning in regional wildlife...In the study, commissioned by the United States Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management" scientists will analyze fish tissue "to determine the amount of mercury that has accumulated in the food chain." Mercury is a legacy of Gold-Rush mines throughout Northern California.

Related: "Abandoned mine lands: California sites" (BLM California Web site)
BLM California information and actions on abandoned mine lands.

"Hunting with a bow offers real challenge" (Lake County Record-Bee, 07/07/2004)
"The Zone A deer archery season opens Saturday and hunters can expect typically hot and dry Lake County....In addition to the national forest, there are also thousands of acres of BLM land open to hunters." including parts of Lake County's Cache Creek area.,1413,255%257E26902%257E2257139,00.html

"Whooshhh!" (Popular Science, 07/01/2004)
"Flying 30,000 feet above Harper Dry Lake and traveling at 920 mph, the airplanes would be trailing long sonic booms - the distinctive aural signatures of supersonic flight that ordinarily make high-speed passages over land impossible." This was a test to see whether supersonic booms could be "shaped" to allow flights over land. If only the desert tortoise will move so the ground vehicle with test equipment can get to its staging area.,12543,660142,00.html

Related: "Harper Dry Lake Watchable Wildlife Site" (Bureau of Land Management Web site)
Marsh at Harper Dry LakeMost of Harper Lake is a dry lake bed that lies under the flight area of Edwards Air Force Base. But in its southwest corner, water runoff from nearby farms has created what is probably the largest marsh in the Mojave Desert. This oasis attracts resident wildlife and thousands of migratory waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds, making this a prime birdwatching spot.

Related: "Harper Dry Lake" (Bureau of Land Management Web site)
Harper Dry Lake Marsh is an important resting site for thousands of migrating birds. The marsh is not the size it was a century ago. Nonetheless, this small desert oasis consistently attracts resident wetland birds, migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and many birds of prey. This Watchable Wildlife viewing area is also an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.


"Statement of Jim Hughes, Deputy Director BLM...Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands...Oversight Hearing on Impact of Revised Statute 2477" (BLM national office news release, 06/28/2004)
R.S. 2477 states in its entirety: "the right-of-way for the construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted." Adressing the issue of who owns roads across public lands - the Federal Government, the State, or the counties - has been a high priority for the Department.

"BLM revises mining claim location and annual maintenance fees" (BLM national office news release, 06/30/2004)
The Bureau of Land Management is giving notice that it is increasing mining claim fees, which by law must be adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. The increase affects mining claim location and maintenance fees for mining claims located on federal lands subject to the 1872 Mining Law. The one-time location fee is now $30 for each new mining claim or site. The annual maintenance fee for each claim or site is now $125.

"Interior highlights partnerships on its Homepage" (Department of the Interior news release, 07/01/2004)
"We cannot ‘go it alone’ in meeting the daunting natural resource challenges that are part of our Department’s mission, nor should we," said Lynn Scarlett, assistant secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget. "Our best work is done when we engage a nation of 'citizen stewards.' They can enrich our perspectives and expand the possibilities for resource protection and use."

(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.)

07/10/2004 - Family Days at Mount San Jacinto

07/15/2004 - Healthy Walks and Hikes
Palm Springs

07/17/2004 - Volunteer Event - Red Hills

07/25/2004 - Point Sal Field Trip

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Bureau of Land Management
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