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New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

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New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby huts » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:58 pm

There is additional wilderness that has been proposed for the Eastern Sierra. This includes the Hoover Additions that consist of the area from Leavitt Meadow south to Yosemite National Park. I'll bet many of you thought this was wilderness. This area has been administered as wilderness for more than twenty years but now, as its status could be confirmed, many politicos and businesses in Mono County are attempting to have this area open to motor vehicle use.

This is where I went on my second backpacking trip in the early 1970's. I visited again in order to climb Tower, Ernbeck and Hawksbeak peaks in later years. I have spent many glorious days in the upper reaches of the West Fork of the West Walker near Emigrant Pass as well as the area around Pauite Meadow and its tributaries. I spend a good portion of my backpacking days in this area every summer. This is an area worthy of wilderness status. If you would like additional information please feel free to pm me. I would also be happy have you join me on a trip some time this summer.

What I am asking is that anyone using these areas be aware that you are not in designated wilderness. I am also asking that if you patronize any of the businesses in the Eastern Sierra, especially Lee Vining, Bridgeport and Walker, that you ask if they support wilderness and if they do not, I ask that you leave the business after explaining why you will not spend your money there.

I am fully aware that there are several people on this board who will not support what I am suggesting both for political and personal reasons. I strongly suggest that you refrain from blasting me with your ego and anger because this is much more important than either one of us.

Thank You



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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby Matilda » Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:09 pm

Hi--
Full disclosure--I'm a paid contractor for The Wilderness Society and for the past few months have been organizing support for this wilderness bill. I've also lived in the Eastern Sierra for a decade, and spent plenty of time on the ground.
Many businesses in the Eastern Sierra do support the bill, especially inclusion of the areas you mention--places I don't think anyone would argue have wilderness quality. The bill also creates a legal snowmobile area at Leavitt Bowl and a winter PCT crossing for sleds. It also opens another area in the Hoover to snowmobiling.
The bill includes much more wilderness--Owens River Headwaters/Glass Creek Meadow; a big, wild chunk of the Whites; Granite Mountain. These places are much-needed additions to the National Wilderness Preservation System.
No legal roads will be closed because of the bill (in fact, the top part of the Laurel Lakes Rd, near Mammoth, is "saved" in this legislation). It's a great compromise between non-motorized and motorized recreation groups. The bill shows incredible foresight on the part of our lawmakers, especially Congressman McKeon (not exactly your stereotypical tree hugger).
At a recent hearing of the Mono Co. Board of Supervisors regarding this bill, nearly 300 people showed up and most were there to show support. The few that didn't (except for one guy who just hates the feds, period) had specific concerns about boundaries that are being addressed by congressional representatives who attended the meeting.
You can check out maps and read the bill at Congressman McKeon's website: http://www.mckeon.hous.gov
There is information about the wilderness areas at http://www.easternsierrawild.org.
And please, by all means--if you plan on spending time in the Eastern Sierra this summer, let businesses and even our local officials know if you think this legislation is a good idea. While you're at it, write a letter to the Mammoth Times or the Inyo Register! Feel free to pm me for more information.
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby langenbacher » Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:24 pm

Yay! I for one would be glad to see the northern White Mountains bestowed with wilderness status. It seemed a shame that the Boundary Peak wilderness stopped at the California boundary.

Granite mountain is a fine little wild place, too.

The maps are at http://mckeon.house.gov/eastern_sierra_maps.aspx
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby hikerduane » Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:15 pm

I will gladly patronize the small towns of the Eastern Sierra, no matter what there stand is. I am glad they are there when I need them. When I ruined a tire on my car, on a Friday afternoon late, the then Chevron station owner in Bridgeport came down after his dinner and mounted a new tire for me so I could continue my trip to that evenings destination and next day week long bp trip.
Piece of cake.
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:04 pm

A friend sent this:

The Wilderness meeting date is incorrect in the paper and on the radio. The correct dates and times are:

Independence - June 24th, 2008 at the American Legion Hall 4pm

Bishop - June 25th, 2008 at the Fairgrounds 4pm

If you cannot make it to the meeting PLEASE give your written comments to those that can! Or you can mail them to Inyo County Board of Supervisors, PO BOX Drawer N, Independence, CA 93526.

If you cannot make it at the 4pm start time please come by whenever you can, chances are the meeting will still be in progress.

If you care about your recreational future you REALLY need to look at the maps and the bill text at: http://mckeon.house.gov/eastern_sierra_maps.aspx Or just go to mckeon.house.gov and click on EASTERN SIERRA MAPS in the left hand column. To use these maps you need an Adobe reader. The wilderness boundaries are not the white area that the legend alludes to but the area surrounded by the black-white-black line.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby Matilda » Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:26 am

Regarding the Inyo meetings: it's pretty much a given that the Inyo Co. Supervisors will oppose the bill no matter what (that's why the boundary of the proposed White Mtn wilderness magically stops at the Inyo Co. line)--they seem to be categorically opposed to any wilderness designation because of "access" (even though, again, NO LEGAL ROADS will be closed due to this legislation).

There is a lot of misinformation being disseminated, especially in Inyo County (much of it through letters to the editor in the Inyo Register), about wilderness "closing" land, ending hunting and fishing and even trout stocking. As the wilderness visitors on this board know, none of this is true.

This bill doesn't threaten recreation in the Eastern Sierra; if anything, it enhances it.

And while the wilderness meeting in Mono County was well attended and civil, things in Inyo County could get confrontational, probably because of all the misinformation (I'd be mad too if I though the government was closing roads and taking private property...which it is not).

I encourage any brave wilderness supporters (or anyone with specific comments and a few hours to kill) to attend these meetings or send in comments. Your input might not make a difference to those local officials, but could ultimately help shape the legislation.
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby tomcat_rc » Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:17 pm

the issue of roads and access is the very heart of the matter - the term "legal roads" keeps getting thrown out there and that is much disputed and debated. I do not think anyone is worried about loss of "fishing rights" or "huniting". I support Inyo county businneses. Unfortunately I think too many in Sacramento do not care about what local people think or feel. The idea of someone proposing to boycott businesses for not supporting such a bill - well that makes it more political than you could ever hope not to achieve
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby huts » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:20 pm

Hey, Tomcat,
Have you attended any of the meetings in Mono county? Have you noticed the number of law enforcement lining the back of the room? This is where I live. This is my home. I have spent several of the past few years receiving threatening messages on my answering machine because of my support for wilderness. Can you define "blackmail" for me?
So before you start labeling my actions as "blackmail" you might want to understand the facts surrounding this bill and how much influence the businesses have. Do you believe that public land should be managed simply in order to enhance PRIVATE profit? Do you have any knowledge of the real statistics of use concerning motorized vs non-motorized use? Are you aware of the fact that many of the businesses in Mono County believe that the majority of their profits come from motorized users? Are you aware that most of these above mentioned folks are actually motorized users themselves which may be leading to a skewed vision of reality?
Yeah, "Blackmail" , whatever....., this issue is already politicized beyond belief, I have been in the middle of it for more than seven years now, and I know within every cell of my body that the only way to have any influence, to have any "vote" is to hit 'em where they feel it, hit 'em in the wallet. I am guessing you have not spent much time here in northern Mono county and are unaware of how anti- and fully willing to misrepresent the truth these people can be.It may be appropriate for you acquire some additional information before you start passing judgement.

*edit to add that while I was writing this entry Tomcat must have edited out his mention of "blackmail". I just edited this and owned up to it even though it will not state an edit on the bottom of the page......Why did you remove that,Tomcat?

And to Matilda,
"Sled" crossing of the PCT? could you tell me exactly where that is? I have not found that information and have actually found much to the contrary by way of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. I will also point out that opening an additional area to snowmobiling in the Hoover proposed wilderness (I know exactly where it is) will violate a portion of the original proposal that opened Leavitt Bowl....I know this area quite well. This is my home. Please feel free to Pm me.

Snow Nymph,
(couple of nice runs at Mammoth that day, eh?) And to anyone else.....misstated dates, times, contact info including e-mail, fax and mailing addresses has been quite common through this process over the past seven years......

duane,
I am so glad your tire was repaired and I understand that your personal needs are so much more important than helping to increase the wilderness that you and many others use......You did not disappoint me.
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby tomcat_rc » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:52 pm

I removed the blackmail comment - as I deemed that a possible overreactive statement and was done long before any other posts were put up - I will keep those to myself - although I do think it is wrong to encourage people to boycott businesses via a non-political forum. There is no doubt that this is a hotly contested issue. I have never left any threatening messages to anyone. We are all motorized users who also love the mountains and deserts we call home. But I do not think the answer is more wilderness closure area.
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby Matilda » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:34 am

tomcat_rc,
Wilderness is not closure. This bill doesn't "close" anything that you drive on legally (ORV free-for-all is a different issue--I can only address law-abiding recreation here). That's one of the biggest misperceptions out there, and I'd like to know what it would take to correct this misperception. I'm asking this devoid of snark. Just trying to understand:
What is it, exactly, that you want to do on these lands that you won't be able to do if they are designated wilderness? Where, exactly, is it that you drive/ride now that will somehow be "closed"? Is there something specific, or is it just sort of a general opposition to the concept?


huts,
Those of you that have been involved in this for years certainly do have a right to be suspicious! Kudos to you for sticking your neck out! But from what I've been told, this bill, and the current situation, represents progress by leaps and bounds.
I was standing at the back of the room, next to the sheriff's deputies at the meeting last week--seemed to me like they just stopped in to check it out, then left. There was nothing remotely threatening going on there, and I hope future hearings, meetings, negotiations can have a similarly amicable mood.

We all love these lands, and surely can find common ground. With the exception of the absolutely-no motorized-vehicles-anywhere fringe versus the card carrying-John Birch Society government-hating extremists, the rest of us can make sense of this. And, I'd like to think, support legislation that adds to our amazing wilderness experience in the Eastern Sierra.
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby langenbacher » Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:22 pm

What is it, exactly, that you want to do on these lands that you won't be able to do if they are designated wilderness? Where, exactly, is it that you drive/ride now that will somehow be "closed"? Is there something specific, or is it just sort of a general opposition to the concept?


OK, I'll bite. I think that wilderness designation will close an area to all motorized vehicles, mountain bikes, hang gliders, etc. It should stop any construction of any kind, and might make it difficult to maintain summit registers on summits. It would probably make some things crimes that were not, before. I would expect to see signs going up on wilderness boundaries, especially on obscure jeep roads. Hopefully it will serve as an obstacle to any sort of future encroachment of "civilization" on what are now wild lands.

I base this on what I have heard and seen over the years - no particular single source of information.

I am fond of all the wild places around Benton - northern whites, adobe valley, glass mountain... I have some mixed feelings about not being able to drive my 4x4 up some of the faint jeep trails, having summit registers removed by rangers, etc., but I definitely like the idea of making it wilderness - sort of a general disposition in favor of the concept.

Perhaps it would help if you told us what you think anybody will not be able to do after wilderness designation that they were able to do before ??? What will wilderness designation protect the wilderness against? Why should we bother to support it if it won't stop people from doing what they are doing now?
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Re: New Wilderness for the Eastern Sierra

Postby tomcat_rc » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:52 pm

Protection is a good thing. Noone really wants to see new and random trails being cut across the mountains and deserts. But we also do not want to see our access to the mountains and deserts closed off even more than it has already been with indescrimant trail closures. I do not trust the people that would be responsible for what trails stay open and what trails would be arbitrarily closed - past history tells us that. There have been too many recent reports of private interest groups helping to close trails that were "legally open" already. I will not be able to attend the meeting due to the distance from work but I have taken the time to voice my opinion to the county.
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