A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 429 - 4/30/10

Ahiker enters the mouth of  a rocky canyon Rusting abandoned tank atop a desert hill Close-up of a black snake with light yellow stripes, coiled onto itself A group of people stand near large mirrors on the desert floor A young lady digs a hole with a small shovel


- America's Great Outdoors
- Recreation issues
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Mojave Max, law enforcement issues, cultural sites, jobs
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Cache Creek Discovery Day celebrates local ecology on May 1" (Woodland Daily Democrat, 4/25/10)
Tomorrow: A "free, family-friendly outdoor event ... at a beautiful location that overlooks meadows and wildflowers ... geared toward all ages, with special emphasis on youth outdoor-learning about a broad range of topics relevant to the watershed. Planned activities include guided hikes along Bear Creek, wildlife viewing, Native American basketry, and displays highlighting stream ecology, local fish, wildlife tracks and signs, native plants, habitat restoration, native pollinators and local agriculture." The BLM is a partner in the event.

Volunteers stand between a partially-filled dumpster and a large pile of tires"Earth Day cleanup a success in Coachella Valley" (News.bytes Extra)
Nearly 50 people assembled on Earth Day morning, April 22, to cleanup tires, trash, refuse and graffiti that has accumulated in the fragile and scenic desert area of Berdoo Canyon in Coachella Valley. Several groups and agencies made the event possible.

A young lady digs a hole with a small shovelA young man sorts items from a backpack onto a blue plastic tarpaulin"Students learn outdoor skills and ethics" (News.bytes Extra)
Last weekend (April 23-24), Pomona School District high school students beefed up their future resumes with skills suited to public lands.  Students in the California Technical Education Center were certified as Leave No Trace Trainers by LNT Master Educator JoAnn Schiffer-Burdett of the BLM's California Desert District.

"BLM designates 2010 fee-free days" (BLM news release, 4/22/10)
The Bureau of Land Management and other agencies within the Department of the Interior will waive recreation-related fees for visitors on June 5-6, August 14-15, September 25 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day) on many of the public lands managed by the BLM, including areas within the National Landscape Conservation System, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Ahiker enters the mouth of  a rocky canyon"On Foot: Rainbow Basin is colorful spot on Barstow map" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 4/25/10)
"To geologists and fossil lovers Rainbow Basin is a paradise of rock formations and eroded sedimentary layers. To those who seek a more glamorous getaway, it's a letdown of rocks, sand and Joshua trees ...I found it interesting, in that so many fossils have been found in this Bureau of Land Management area, but, holy smokes the place is desolate. We were drawn to it for its colorful layers of rock and winding canyon trails. The big draw, though, was the Barstow Syncline ... It was a must-see for my geology-loving husband."

RELATED: "Rainbow Basin Natural Area"(BLM Barstow Field Office)
Rainbow Basin is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern due to landscape features and paleontological resources in the area.

"King Range outings will focus on Lost Coast natural resources" (BLM news release, 4/22/10)
Outdoor enthusiasts can learn about the fascinating natural resources of the Lost Coast, from giant redwoods to tiny insects, in a series of free guided hikes to be offered over the next five months by the Bureau of Land Management and Sanctuary Forest (see news release for a list of more outings). For detailed information about each outing, directions to meeting areas, and to reserve space (reservations are required), participants should call the Hike Line: (707) 986-5415.

"Invasive weeds topic for free King Range outing" (BLM news release, 4/29/10)
Outdoor enthusiasts can learn about the impacts of non-native plants on California's Lost Coast and then spend some time tackling the problem, in a free presentation and hike offered by the Bureau of Land Management, Saturday, May 8.


Rusting abandoned tank atop a desert hillClose-up of a shiny metal bomb with fins"Navy officials continue to warn of danger on bomb ranges" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/29/10)
"The U.S. Navy continues to warn people of the danger of being on a bombing range after a truck came within 2,000 feet of one of the targets and was hit with a practice bomb Saturday." Public lands near the bombing range are open to off-road vehicle use, but "the driver was at least a mile and a half within the bombing range on all sides, which was a problem not only for him, but also for many who drive through the range during big holiday weekends."

RELATED: "Superstition Mountain OHV Open Area" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
This 13,000-acre open area presents an array of challenging OHV riding opportunities from sand dunes to mud hills. Limited use areas and military practice bombing targets are immediately adjacent to the open area. Please observe all posted signs and do not enter the bombing ranges.

"South Cow Mountain OHV Area to be temporarily closed for public safety"(BLM news release, 4/27/10)
This weekend: The Bureau of Land Management will close the South Cow Mountain off-highway vehicle area to general recreation use and through traffic from 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 30, through Sunday, May 2, for public safety during a motorcycle race.

"BLM plans public meetings on San Joaquin River Gorge fee proposal" (BLM news release, 4/29/10)
In order to accommodate growing public interest in the San Joaquin River Gorge, the Bureau of Land Management is considering charging fees for certain uses of the area. The BLM will hold public meetings to discuss the fee proposals on May 18 and 19.

"BLM Bishop Field Office asks public for help in stopping graffiti" (BLM news release, 4/22/10)
Each year, BLM staff spends significant amounts of time removing graffiti from scenic areas, including the Alabama Hills. Twelve locations along Tuttle Creek Road in the Alabama Hills were recently tagged with graffiti, that took hours to remove. "The tags detracted from the beauty of the spring wildflower display," said Scott Justham, BLM park ranger.


Close-up of a black snake with light yellow stripes, coiled onto itself
common kingsnake
The Leave No Trace students in the News.bytes Extra above were introduced to a kingsnake. What "unusual" food does a common kingsnake commonly eat?
(a.) cow and deer droppings
(b.) scorpions
(c.) rattlesnakes
(d.) small cacti
(e.) Chicken à la Kingsnake

------> See answer near the end of this issue.


"Horses, burros available for adoption in Livermore" (BLM news releases, 4/24/10)
This weekend:Residents of the Livermore area will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Livermore Rodeo Grounds on Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 3 p.m. on Friday, April 30.

"2 NV men plead not guilty to killing 5 mustangs" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/27/10)
"Two men accused of gunning down five wild mustangs in Nevada last year entered not guilty pleas before a U.S. magistrate Tuesday as horse protection activists outraged by the slaughter watched from the courtroom gallery."


A Native American in costume dances in the desertAn old man leans on a large stick, near a petroglyph on the desert floor"Near Blythe, historian sees solar plants as threat to desert carvings" (Los Angeles Times, 4/24/10)
"Alfredo Figueroa has made it his mission to guard huge carvings known as geoglyphs. His biggest concern was damage from off-roaders. Now he worries that solar energy plants could do even more harm.

"Changing a solar project's footprint in S.B. County would save tortoises, a federal study finds" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/24/10)
"Revising the footprint of a large-scale solar project planned in northwest San Bernardino County would reduce harm to desert tortoises without changing potential electrical output, a federal study has found." The BrightSource Energy Co. development "would cover about 5.7 square miles of public land in the Ivanpah Valley, near Primm, Nev. The environmental group's alternative would put about one-third of the project closer to Interstate 15, where the land has little value as wildlife habitat, according to the Bureau of Land Management report."

A group of people stand near large mirrors on the desert floor"New wave of solar plants could worsen air quality" (Las Vegas Sun, 4/26/10)
"Solar power is the green energy darling of the Southwest. It could create an entirely new economy for downtrodden Southern Nevada, help free the nation from its dependence on foreign oil and allow for the phasing out of power plants that are polluting the air and contributing to climate change. But the most popular type of industrial solar technology has a dirty little secret: Many of these plants are not emission-free."

"SDG&E to hold meetings on Sunrise Powerlink lines"(San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/27/10)
"Four meetings have been scheduled by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to discuss issues related to the utility’s proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission lines ... The transmission line has been approved by the state Public Utilities Commission [and the BLM], but SDG&E is waiting for a decision from the U.S. Forest Service because the line will traverse Cleveland National Forest. Several lawsuits have also been filed opposing the project." Meetings are planned for May 4 in Campo, May 10 in Alpine, May 12 in San Diego and May 18 in Boulevard.

"SB County officials worry about economic impact of environmental bill" (Redlands Daily Facts, 4/29/10)
San Bernardino County officials are concerned about the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, as well as the proposed Mojave Trails National Monument, which would include some BLM-managed lands.


Smiling students in yellow T-shirts"Mojave Max contest winner for L.A. County" (News.bytes Extra)
The winner of the Mojave Max contest for Los Angeles County, Gabrielle Cohn, a first-grader at Beverly Hill’s El Rodeo Elementary, was all smiles as she received recognition before her peers.  Gabrielle had provided the best estimate of when California’s Mojave Max would come out of hibernation at the Living Desert zoo in Palm Desert.

"Fresh vandalism, theft reported at petroglyph site" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/28/10)
"Art older than the Mona Lisa graces the Mojave Desert’s vermillion rocks ... Ancient people once carved animals, humanoid figures and intricate patterns into canyon walls for reasons only they know at thousands of sites throughout the desert." An archaeologist "who works with the Bureau of Land Management ... encouraged witnesses to vandalism and theft to get license plate numbers of the people involved if they can and to report it to the BLM or law enforcement. People involved in the vandalism and theft shouldn’t be approached, he said ... 'because they will hurt you'..."

"Local group to dedicate monument at Piety Hill" (BLM news release, 4/29/10)
Tomorrow: Local groups with join with the Bureau of Land Management to dedicate a monument marking the historic townsite of Piety Hill in the Igo area during a public ceremony Saturday, May 1, at 1 p.m. at the BLM Cloverdale Trailhead.

"Men involved in violent Lassen pot-growing case convicted" (Sacramento Bee, 4/26/10)
"Two men have been convicted in a marijuana growing case that involved a gun battle last year between suspects and law enforcement officers in which one suspect was killed and two Lassen County sheriff's officers were wounded ... The charges stem from an investigation of a large outdoor marijuana garden on federal land in northern Lassen County by two Bureau of Land Management rangers, two Lassen County sheriff's officers and a Susanville police officer."

RELATED: "Pot farmers face lengthy sentences" (Lassen County Times, 4/27/10)
"A pair of armed marijuana growers arrested last June after a gun battle with law enforcement officers in the Dixie Valley left one grower dead and two Lassen County Sheriff’s deputies injured face sentences of 15-years to life and more than $4 million in fines."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)

ind events and details online at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) rattlesnakes

SOURCE: "Common Kingsnake - Lampropeltis getulus" (BLM-California wildlife database)
Kingsnakes have the ability to constrict their prey. They commonly eat other snakes, including poisonous rattlesnakes, lizards, rodents, birds, and bird eggs.

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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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