Kern County Wilderness Meeting

KTM_rad

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> Subject: KERN COUNTY RESOLUTION FOLLOWUP
>
>
> > Well, we did not do as well as we hoped at the Kern County
> > Supervisor's meeting. The vote for the resolution was 3 to1 but because
> > the Kern County Supervisors have a policy of only passing resolutions
with
> > a unanimous vote, the motion did not carry. The sole vote against the
> > resolution opposing the Boxer wilderness bill was Supervisor Barbara
> > Patrick. Her district is located entirely within the Bakersfield city
> > limits. Supervisor Jon McQuiston did an excellent job of laying out the
> > major problems and concerns with the bill to the other supervisors and
> > offered every possible rationale for the other supervisors to support
the
> > resolution. Supervisor McQuiston stated, "In my view, there has been no
> > credible public outreach, public meetings, or comprehensive analysis to
> > justify to a reasonable person why this land should be segregated as
> > wilderness." "It's not untrammeled, undeveloped, it's not primeval, and
> > its got a lot of structures, and the Forest Service has not made any
> > determinations," McQuiston concluded. "They have had five years [in
> > developing this legislation] which is ample time to make their case to
> > justify support for wilderness," he noted. The supervisors did,
however,
> > unanimously approve a motion that authorizes the Chairman of the Kern
> > County Board of Supervisors to send a letter to Senator Boxer and other
> > elected officials outlining their concerns. Among the concerns to be
> > addressed in the letter is a request that the wilderness proposal be
> > referred to the Forest Service to study the area to determine wilderness
> > suitability including public involvement in the process and a strong
> > suggestion that adequate funding be appropriated for the study.
> >
> > In beginning the hearing, Board Chairman Perez asked for a show of
> > hands from supporters and opponents and decided to take statements from
> > wilderness supporters first. In total, 15 people spoke in support of
> > additional wilderness designations in Kern County. Their basic
arguments
> > were the usual generic emotional reasons for preservation with little
> > discussion of site-specific facts or issues. Among the speakers
> supporting
> > more wilderness were Joe Fontaine; local Sierra Club leader, Mark
> > Christopher; Friends of the River, and Tim Allyn; California Wild
Heritage
> > Campaign. Tim's statement was quite different from his statement at the
> > July 30th supervisor's meeting. He did not mention having worked with
any
> > of the OHV representatives and he significantly altered his statements
> that
> > were challenged during the fact-finding meeting with the Kern County
> > Planning Department personnel. He seemed to grope for answers to
respond
> > to questions asked by the supervisor Jon McQuiston regarding the
> > justification for wilderness designations but never did quite make his
> case
> > with any substantive points. The chairman finally cut him off. Other
> > speakers for the bill included hikers, backpackers, canoeists, and a
local
> > property owner.
> >
> > On the other hand, there were 24 speakers in opposition to the
> > wilderness bill before discussion was cut off due to the lack of time.
> > Speakers included a past Kern County Supervisor, a rancher,
firefighters,
> a
> > farm bureau representative, teachers, a chamber of commerce
> representative,
> > a hot springs enthusiast, mountain bicyclists, motorized and
non-motorized
> > recreation organization representatives, an executive director of a
nearby
> > boys camp, miners, and two disabled persons, one in a wheel chair and
> > another having to carry an oxygen bottle. All made excellent points.
Dick
> > Taylor, who represented Kern Off Highway Vehicle Association, showed
> > several recent photographs of roads, cabins, and mining structure taken
in
> > one of the proposed wilderness areas where the proponents insisted that
no
> > roads exist. Several attendees and a reporter later noted they were
> > surprised by the diversity of the opponents of the wilderness bill.
> >
> > Even though the original resolution was not carried, there were a
> > number of resulting benefits for our perspective. First, because the
> > supervisors directed the Planning Department personnel to meet with
> > proponents and opponents of the bill, the supervisors are much more
aware
> > of the real issues and now know the facts. Second, opponents
outnumbered
> > the bill's supporters by at least fifty percent thus demonstrating that
a
> > likely majority of people in Kern County opposes the bill. Third,
because
> > of the print and televised media coverage, the public is now very much
> more
> > aware of the proposal for more wilderness. This will foster more
> > opposition to the bill. Finally, several supervisors noted that some
type
> > of alternate less restrictive land management designation should be
> > available. Obviously, the backcountry designation could provide a basis
> > for the needed alternative.
> >
> > It was noted that the county received 84 letters regarding Boxer's
> > wilderness bill. There were 68 letters opposing the bill and only 16 in
> > support. This is significant because, historically, we have not usually
> > been able to outnumber the environmentalist's letters to such a degree.
> > Considering the number of letters coupled with the low turnout of
> > wilderness supporters, one could conclude that the environmental
> > organizations are losing their public support as their position on land
> > management issues become more and more discriminatory, exclusionary, and
> > extreme.
> >
> >
> > A related article is available online on the Bakersfield
Californian
> > website. The URL is
> > http://www.bakersfield.com/local/story/1837856p-1952685c.html
> >
> >
> > A summary of the proceedings and a list of speakers is located on
the
> > Kern County website. See page 12.
> > http://www.co.kern.ca.us/clerk/minutes/9-24-02.pdf
> >
> >
> >
> > This information is provided by Ron Schiller, Chairman, High Desert
> > Multiple Use Coalition. As usual, please feel free to pass this
> > information on to any other interested parties. Anyone wishing to
receive
> > future information regarding issues related to the management of public
> > lands in the California Desert should send an e-mail to
> > schiller@ridgecrest.ca.us and request to be placed on the distribution
> > list. Please print "PLEASE ADD TO LIST" in the subject line.



Randy
CORVA Field Rep - So. Cal.
AMA, BRC, SDORC
 
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