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Two minutes to help release 43 million acres back to multiple use

Discussion in 'Save the Desert' started by baja619, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. baja619

    baja619 Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2004
    Corona / San Diego
    I know this was mentioned in another thread about these companies supporting the land grab initiative, but I figure this is valid to post.

    Good news about protecting access to your trails and public lands. Last week I was invited to testify before a Congressional House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands in Washington DC. At the conclusion of my testimony I hand delivered a file storage box jammed full of over 3000 letters submitted by Save The Trails members in support of HR1581 to release these unsuitable lands back to multiple use.

    In response those opposing HR1581 hurriedly left the hearing and came back with what looked like a folder containing a few letters. We caught them off guard, but rest assured they will get their spin machines in full gear and try to churn out letters of opposition, so please keep those letters of support coming. (Link to send your letter at bottom of page-but please read on first)


    The purpose of my testimony was to provide facts and information to legislators from the perspective of a volunteer grass roots organization as to why 43 million acres of Wilderness Study and Roadless area public lands should be released back to multiple use under HR 1581 Wilderness and Roadless Release Act of 2011.

    My testimony and others in support of HR1581 were well received by the majority of committee legislators, who not only appreciated hearing the facts, but also my time and expense in traveling across the country in order to meet with them.

    We have the high ground and right now. HR1581 has a good chance of passing the House, but we both know the anti access folks will be pulling out the stops to try to derail this bill so they can lock up more of your public lands.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if HR1581 passes it will shift our public lands programs towards access instead of closure. I think you will agree it is crucial that you and your friends and family all do your part and take action now- After all opportunities to take back 43 million acres for multiple use do not come along every day or even every decade. I need you, your family and friends to take Two Minutes to call your Congressman- even if you called them before, Post a comment on your Congressman's Facebook Page and send a Two Minute letter if you have not already.

    Read on to find out how we can keep the high ground and access to our public lands.

    Perhaps most importantly we need to get more people sending letters and calling/Facebooking their legislators, so please use the link at the bottom of this email to send this alert to all your friends who support keeping their public lands open to everyone.

    I provide details on how you can do this in the yellow boxes at the end of this email.

    Those of you who have been reading recent Save The Trails alerts will know that all of these 43 million acres had been found unsuitable for Wilderness over 20 years ago, but had never been released. I offered extensive written testimony to Congress including maps and documents showing why these lands in one National Forest and surrounding BLM lands are unsuitable for Wilderness. I also provided a five minute verbal testimony and answered questions from Congressman. (Sorry for the poor audio-C Span had technical problems)

    Sequoia National Forest Retired District Ranger Dave Freeland also testified in support of the bill about why multiple use lands are so important. Having Ranger Dave support the bill was extremely powerful as he was in charge of hundreds of thousands of acres contained in the bill and has over 35 years of experience in the Forest Service.

    Others who testified in support of the bill also did a great job including Dan Kleen President of NOHVCC, Melissa Simpson from Safari Club International, as well as elected officials Congressman McCarthy, Congressman Pearce, Senator Barraso, Honorable Mike Noel-UT and Honorable Kent Connelly-WY.

    Here is the list of 85 organizations supporting the bill. Please email Congressman McCarthy's office if you are a board member of an organization not on the list in order to be added and grow this list of supporters.

    While in DC I also met with representatives from ARRA, MIC, AMA, NRA who attended the hearing in support of the bill. This was my first time appearing before a Congressional Subcommittee and they along with Blue Ribbon Coalition provided helpful advice to me on testifying.


    There were also people there to testify in opposition of the bill including Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt , Undersecretary of Agriculture Harris Sherman , Director of the BLM Bob Abbey, and Outdoor Industry Association President Frank Hugelmeyer.

    It was particularly interesting to see that those who opposed the bill often based it on the same misinformation. For example they claimed this bill would release ALL Wilderness Study Areas and Roadless Areas or 62 million acres of land, but this is untrue. This bill only releases those lands found unsuitable for Wilderness in 43 million acres. They also claimed this bill would hurt the environment by handing over these lands to unrestricted timber. oil and gas development. Also untrue, since these lands would still be managed under the strictest regulations in the world which prohibit such wholesale development. You can hear more about that in the video of my testimony, as well as Ranger Freeland's (Sorry about the poor audio quality -CSpan had problems).


    As a trade organization created to promote recreation it was surprising when Frank Hugelmeyer, President and CEO of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), testified in Opposition to HR 1581. A bill that would be good for the environment, good for the economy and good for recreation.

    HR1581 would help ensure the public can continue to be allowed on lands where the majority of the public recreate, so one would think that an Outdoor Recreation organization, like OIA would heartily support HR1581, but not so.

    While OIA claims to represent hundreds of their recreation member companies, in reality perhaps most of the recreation companies are members of OIA in order to attend the OIA trade show to help sell their products. Most of them probably have no idea OIA wants to lock up more lands for those elite few who have the time and physical ability to hike very long distances-the public be damned!

    Are you a customer of any of the following companies? These are just a couple of the member companies from the Outdoor Industry Association member list, which OIA appears to represent as opposing HR1581. These companies need to hear from you expressing your dismay at their trade organization's closure agenda.

    GoPro Camera's
    Cabela Sporting Goods
    Levi Straus & Co

    Char-Broil Grills
    Delorme GPS
    Lowrance GPS
    SPOT Tracker
    Specialized bikes

    You can read more about this problem and see the full list of OIA member companies at

    While in Washington DC I also had very productive meetings with the Chief of the Forest Service and the Deputy DIrector of the BLM, as well as many others, which provided important dialogue and better understanding of the need to keep trails open and disperse use.

    This was an important and very worthwhile trip to testify in Washington DC and meet with decision makers and legislators.

    Micah please consider making a donation to help Save The Trails continue working to help keep your trails open. Save The Trails is funded purely by donations from people like you and so far those few donations do not come close to covering our expenses.

    With your help Save The Trails will accomplish even more to keep your trails open.

    ~Chris Horgan and your friends at Save the Trails

    Read Stewards of the Sequoia testimony here and watch here
    Read Ranger Freeland's testimony here and watch here
    Read Frank Hugelmeyers-Outdoor Industry Association testimony here
    Read McCarthy testimony here and watch here
    Read Barrasso testimony here and watch here
    Read Pearce testimony here and watch here
    See the entire hearing at http://resources.edgeboss.net/wmedia/resources/112/2011_07_26_npfpl.wvx
    Read testimony's by others http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=252577
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