Sunday, November 30, 2008

BLM Selling Oregon Trees

Money growing on Oregon trees

by Tom Partin, guest opinion

Sunday November 30, 2008, 1:02 PM
The economic news facing Oregon is grim. Governor Ted Kulongoski and the state's legislative leaders face an anticipated $1 billion budget shortfall and an unemployment rate that has shot up to 7.3 percent. Meanwhile, Oregon's forest products industry is struggling mightily and is estimated to lose another 7 percent of its jobs in 2009 on top of the 7.5 percent reduction experienced this year. The Governor has an opportunity to aid Oregon's economy and the struggling wood products sector by supporting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Western Oregon Plan Revision.

The BLM's plan would help put rural Oregonians back to work and improve forest health conditions for the 2.1 million acres of O&C County timberlands in southwest Oregon. The plan calls for the sustainable harvest of 502 million board feet annually, which is less than half of the annual growth of these forests. The plan also sets aside over half of those lands for endangered species. It is a balanced plan that would also help idle plants reopen and improve the dire economic conditions the Governor must now address.

Harvests from Oregon's federal forests are less than 10 percent of levels experienced in the early 1990s. A more sustainable level of harvest is needed to help the industry access reasonably priced local timber to remain economically viable in the face of intense domestic and international competition. Our federal forests are also in a dire need of increased management to address a growing forest health crisis.

Earlier this summer, the Governor toured federal and private forests in Klamath and Lake Counties and witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by insects, disease and overcrowding which are direct results of a lack of forest management. Afterwards he stated, "These poor forest conditions are present throughout much of Oregon's federal forests and greatly increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires" and called for action to restore forest health, reduce fire risk and provide a sustainable resource for Oregon's long-term economic viability.

Now is the time for the Governor to take action to address Oregon's forest health problems and the economic woes that are currently plaguing our state. The Governor received the plan in early October and was given 60 days for review. He must support the BLM's plan to restore sustainable management to the O&C County timberlands in order to prevent disastrous effects, not only to our forest lands, but also to our air quality, drinking water, and our state's struggling economy.

Tom Partin
Portland, Oregon

Tom Partin is the President of the American Forest Resource Council. AFRC represents forest product manufacturers and landowners throughout the west and is based in Portland, Oregon.

Nevada BLM / NFS Selling Christmas Trees!

Nothing like selling BACK to us something that is ours to begin with! I say BAH! Humbug! Leave the tree-cutting to the professionals the Govt has leased to logging-interests.

BLM / NFS Selling Christmas Trees

For the holidays, you can’t beat the festive aroma of a fresh-cut tree that you harvested yourself.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management offer tree cutting permits for $10 and $5 respectively.

In addition to saving money, an added benefit to cutting your own tree is that, if you follow the rules, you'll be improving the forest.

By cutting a tree that is within 10 feet of another green tree, you help thin the forest for its health. Make sure the trunk is no larger than 6 inches at the base.

Shelly Schaff, Christmas tree program manager at the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Carson City Ranger station, and Anne Thomas, an administrator at the station, took a walk shortly after the Christmas tree program started at one of the official sites at Spooner Summit, where a dirt road leads into the forest.

“We have 4,000 permits to be sold and already we’ve sold 600,” said Schniff.

The permits are good for four Forest Service areas:
Dog Valley by Verdi
Mount Rose off Highway 431
Spooner Summit, off Highway 50
A large area by Markleeville

All are marked by boundary signs. Maps are available at the Forest Service and BLM offices. Tree hunters should make sure their yellow tags are visible at all times.
“You don't want to cut outside the area,” said Thomas. “That's a $250 fine and you don’t get to keep the tree.”

Clambering up the hillside off the dirt road, Schniff paused at a tall stump.
“This is very bad for the forest; people should cut trees no higher than 6 inches above the ground. When they leave a stump like this they leave a tree that will grow ugly and use water and food that a good tree could utilize.”

Farther up the hill, Thomas came to a very tall tree stump.

“This is an example of 'topping' a tree. The people here wanted a nicely formed tree so they cut it up high rather than low as they should have. That way they don't have to trim the bottom half, but it sure hurts the woods.”

"We recommend people cut their trees as early as possible. When snow closes the roads the only way in is by snowshoe, fine for those who enjoy it," said Schniff. "No refunds if you can't get to the trees."

The Forest Service and BLM suggest that tree seekers carry emergency supplies, tire chains, flares and extra clothing. A cell phone is also a good take-along. Thomas will be on duty much of the tree cutting period, patrolling the areas.


U.S. Forest Service: 882-2766.
Permit: $10 per tree; limit two
Available at Carson Ranger District office, 1536 S. Carson St., from 8 a.m-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday throug Dec. 24.

BLM: 885-6000.
Permit: $5 per tree; no limit
Available at the District Office in Carson City, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through Dec 24.

Bring with you: saws, warm clothing, a first aid kit, extra food and water, heavy rope or chain, shovel and tire chains in the event of bad road conditions or inclement weather.

Keeping your tree green
Forest Service tips:
* Re-cut the trunk at an angle 1 to 3 inches above the original cut.
* Store the tree outside in a container of water, out of direct sunlight.
* Add a few tablets of aspirin to the water, about two per gallon. Don't be concerned if the water freezes.
* When you bring the tree inside, re-cut the base about an inch above the earlier cut.
* Be sure to keep the tree stand filled at all times with water and aspirin mixture.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

ShoShone, Others, File Suit Against Nevada Mining, Plan Resistance Day

As the holidays approach and the world watches President-elect Obama and the bailouts; back in Nevada, home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it's business as usual. Late yesterday, attorneys for several Western Shoshone tribes and non-profit indigenous and environmental organizations filed a request in the federal District Court in Reno, NV seeking a restraining order against the construction of one of the country's largest open pit gold mines on the flank of spiritual Mt. Tenabo.

Click on title above to see full article;

WildEarth Group ask Mrs. Pickens for Help Preserving Federal Rangeland

Group seeks Pickens' wife's help to save rangeland

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN – 11 hours ago

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Conservationists are looking to the wife of Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens to help push for federal reforms that they say will help thousands of wild horses and save rangeland in the West.

Madeleine Pickens recently announced plans to create a refuge for wild horses. She came up with the idea after hearing that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management was considering euthanizing some of the animals to control the herds and protect the range.

WildEarth Guardians wants to take Pickens' plan further by proposing a solution the group believes would resolve public land grazing conflicts that have resulted in the horses needing a home.

"Our proposal will not only benefit these animals where they currently live, but also enhance wildlife and watershed protection on federal public land," the group told Pickens in a letter sent Wednesday.

Pickens, who is negotiating the purchase of the land for her refuge, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

WildEarth Guardians is advocating congressional legislation that would allow ranchers who have grazing permits on federal public land to relinquish the permits in exchange for compensation. The idea is that livestock would be removed from the allotment, leaving a refuge for wild horses and other native animals and plants.

Mark Salvo, director of WildEarth Guardians' campaign to protect the West's sagebrush landscape, said he believes voluntary grazing permit buyouts are catching on with ranchers.

"Public land grazing is a challenging business pursuit," he said. "It's really difficult to raise livestock profitably on arid Western public land, particularly when you're competing against not only feedlots in Kansas, Nebraska and Florida, but also in Brazil and Japan and Argentina. These are changing times on our Western public land, and livestock grazing is a fading economic activity."

Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, disagrees. She noted that agriculture, including ranching, is among the top economic drivers for New Mexico and that outsourcing food production by pushing ranchers from the land could have dangerous consequences.

"If we drive food production out locally, we're going to be depending on foreign food," she said.

Cowan said one concern surrounding the retirement of grazing permits is that wildlife would no longer have access to the supplemental feed and water that ranchers provide for their livestock on public land.

Another concern, she said, is that private land surrounding public grazing allotments would not be protected from development without ranchers who maintain the land for their agricultural operations.

Cowan said conservationists have pushed for years for permit buyout legislation. This time, she said, they are trying to ride a publicity wave created by Pickens' interest in the wild horses.

WildEarth Guardians maintains that voluntary permit buyouts would be "economically rational" and "ecologically imperative."

"It's also politically pragmatic," Salvo said. "It's a way to resolve grazing conflicts in a way that everybody can agree."

He said support by Pickens and other wild horse advocates would be invaluable to any effort to create a national permit buyout program.

The BLM estimates that 33,000 wild horses and burros roam the open range in 10 Western states. The agency wants that population to be about 27,000 to protect the herd, the range and other foraging animals.

Those horses that too old or considered unadoptable are sent to long-term holding facilities, and the BLM has said the cost of keeping animals in the facilities has caused them to consider euthanasia as a last resort.

On the Net:
Madeleine Pickens:
WildEarth Guardians:
New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association:
BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program:

Click on title to see article;

Utah to Hold Geothermal Land Lease Sale

SALT LAKE CITY: The Utah State Office for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) earlier this month posted the proposed list of parcels for the geothermal lease sale scheduled for Dec. 19 in Salt Lake City.

The list includes 47 proposed geothermal parcels totaling 146,339 acres. The 47 proposed parcels for geothermal leasing are located in Iron, Millard and Juab Counties.

This is the first time since June 2007 that BLM Utah has offered geothermal lease parcels for sale. Utah currently has two geothermal electrical generation power plants located in the central and southwestern portions of the state. BLM Utah and the State of Utah are working together to identify viable renewable energy zones in Utah.

None of these parcels are located in federally designated Wilderness Areas or Wilderness Study Areas because these areas are off-limits to new leasing by law.

Click on title above to see article and leave comments;

McCullough Peaks RoundUps Still a Possibility

Cant feed the ones already rounded up, so bring a few thousand more in, duh. What is wrong with this picture?

McCullough Peaks horse roundup still a possibility

Written by Gib Mathers

Friday, 28 November 2008

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is in a bit of a financial jam caring for wild horses that number in the tens of thousands on range land and in long-term holding facilities, but a McCullough Peaks roundup still may happen.

With the proposal to euthanize excess horses put on hold, at least for now, the bureau is tasked with finding a solution.

Some criticize the bureau’s wild horse management, but one official said the BLM is doing a satisfactory job given its financial situation.

Locally, two small herds of wild horses reside in the Pryor Mountains and the McCullough Peaks. There were proposed roundups (gathers) this fall for both herds. The Pryor gather was canceled this year due to personnel issues.

Although the McCullough Peaks roundup has been postponed, Alan Shepherd, BLM Wyoming wild horse specialist in Cheyenne, said it could still occur if BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson gives the local office the go-ahead.

According to the BLM’s 2008 numbers, approximately 33,000 wild horses and burros are living on bureau-managed land in 10 western states. The bureau said 27,300 is an appropriate management level.

Only a fraction of that number exists in Wyoming — about 3,600 wild horses. In northern Wyoming, there are nearly 200 wild horses in the Pryors and 184 in the McCullough Peaks. The Billings BLM, which oversees the Pryor ponies, said 95 adults is the appropriate management level in the 39,000 acre range. Shepherd said 100 is probably a good number to sustain genetic viability in the Peaks.

Whatever the appropriate management number in Wyoming or another western state, the bureau’s horse-management coffers are hurting.

According to an October BLM fact sheet, holding costs exceeded $27 million for wild horses this fiscal year. That is three-fourths of fiscal year 2008’s wild horse budget of $37 million. The bureau has nearly 30,000 wild horses and burros in its short-term and long-term care.

Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation, an organization dedicated to the preservation of wild horses, said since the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which placed wild horses under the protection of the federal government, 19.2 million acres of wild horse land has been removed.

Kathrens said over the last eight years, more than 10,000 horses have been removed from bureau horse management areas across the West each year.

Shepherd said, these days, fewer people are adopting wild horses because they can’t afford to board the animals.

According to the Associated Press, the Government Accountability Office — Congress’ investigative branch — said, at the current rate, it will cost $58 million next year to care for bureau wild horses. The office said if the bureau is uncomfortable with its current management choices, it can ask Congress to change current laws.

Under the 1971 act, the bureau can legally euthanize horses or sell them for slaughter, but the bureau is reluctant to adopt those drastic measures.

Kathrens said last year there was one wild horse auction in New England. Another is scheduled next year in Vermont.

“The marketing is poor and people back there want them,” Kathrens said. “They love them.”

Shepherd said the bureau is conducting the best marketing campaign it can with the funding it has.

The bureau could employ more aggressive techniques to market wild horses. The BLM could expand its wild horse range, or it could accept Medeleine Pickens’ offer, Kathrens said.

Pickens, the wife of a rich Texas oil man, has offered to purchase 1 million acres to place wild horses from BLM holding facilities.

Kathrens said this is a swell idea, but Pickens should demand caveats to ensure that the 1 million acres does not just become extra space to board overflow from the holding facilities or to place horses in order to justify more roundups — and more unwanted horse orphans.

Unless Congress appropriates more funding, the bureau will reduce the number of roundups, Shepherd said.

Shepherd said in the 20 years he has been in bureau wild horse management, the bureau has made great strides in maintaining wild horses and their habitat.

“I think we’re doing the best that we can given the resources we have,” Shepherd said.

Wild Horse Mural Draws Attention to Plight of Wild Horses

NewsLeader.Com; Springfield, Mo.;

It's hard to miss the thundering herd of wild horses that appear to be in a cloud of dust charging right at you across a field just north of the James River Freeway.

Actually, the 22 horses -- so large and vivid they can easily be seen from Campbell Avenue -- are a larger-than-life mural on the side of the Wehrenberg Campbell 16 Cine. As many as 50 of the nearly three-yard high images may eventually gallop along the building, said the mural's creator, Susan Sommer-Luarca.

In a ceremony Wednesday, the mural was dedicated to wild horses around the world.

Sommer-Luarca said murals are very important to her goal of worldwide wildlife habitat preservation. She creates the paintings through her not-for-profit foundation, Susan Sommer-Luarca for Habitat.

"I strive to create images that cannot be ignored, not only by their stunning beauty but by the way they will speak to children and adults about the importance of conservation," she said.

Said Jim Hoffmeister, president and CEO of Wehrenberg Theatres: "When you think of all the buildings all over the city ... all the cities and locations ... that she chose our location, we are truly honored to have her mural on our theatre."

Hoffmeister said Wehrenberg and ssl4habitat -- which share the goal of wildlife and habitat preservation -- have created a partnership.

"We are benefited by sharing what we have with others ... Susan by sharing her paintings and her foundation, and those who have adopted horses sharing with the habitat," he said.

Sommer-Luarca is responsible for several murals in Springfield, including a river-and-lake scene with fish on a building at Grant Avenue and Mount Vernon Street, an 80-foot blue whale and calf at the Musgrave Boys & Girls Club, ocean scenes at the Chesterfield Family Center and ARC of the Ozarks pool areas as well as several scenes in the Bass Pro museum.

Her next project will be a panda bear mural on a downtown wall on Walnut Street, she said.

Sommer-Luarca said many horses live on farms in southwest Missouri, but only one wild horse herd exists near Eminence.

"That herd is unique in that it's mostly white -- a very beautiful herd that is now protected."

Wild horses once roamed North America by the millions.

Sommer-Luarca's foundation's goal is "to keep the herds that we have ... through adoption, rescue horses from kill buyers and return older ones to the wild to live out their lives."

Adopt a horse
Horses in the mural are up for adoption. Proceeds go to the SSL Foundation for Habitat.

"When you adopt a horse you can name it and dedicate it to whomever you want," said Sommer-Luarca.

Each donor receives adoption papers plus a photo signed by the artist. The photo is taken after the caption is placed under the horse, she said.

Karen Krittenbrink's adopted horse is dedicated to her children and grandchildren.

Mary Fran DiGirolamo and her friend Sharon Elaine DeRubis dedicated their adoptee to their two cocker spaniels.

"We dedicated it to our canine kids ... Susan took the patterns of the black and white party cockers and created Thundercloud," said DiGirolamo.

Gwen VanDerhoef, along with family and friends, was there to honor Soaring Eagle.

"He's dedicated to our best friend Robert Plaster, who recently passed away," said VanDerhoef.

Horse adoptions are $2,000 and tax-deductible. Payments can be worked out, Sommer-Luarca said.

To adopt a horse, call Krittenbrink at 830-0899, e-mail or visit the Web site

"When you adopt a horse you never have to feed it and it will always look good and be healthy," Sommer-Luarca said. "You can't ride it ... it's a free-spirited adoption."

The mural took about three weeks of actual painting time, Sommer-Luarca said.

Many passersby, schoolchildren and nursing home residents visited throughout the process. Some were back for the dedication.

Gypsy Rose Blancharde, who is confined to a wheelchair, is a dedicated horse lover.

She wore a jacket covered with horses much like those on the mural.

"It's beautiful... I love it," she said. "I used to go to equestrian therapy and I rode a horse named Lady."

Her mother, DeDe Blancharde, said they visited the mural when it was partly done and came back for the dedication.

Sommer-Luarca's father used to say she was part Indian and only part of what she wanted to be -- a Pottawattamie.

"He passed away in 2005," she said. "The horse in the mural named Pottawattamie -- a word that's pretty special to me -- brings back his memory."

While she was painting that horse, her mother, who has Alzheimer's, came out to visit.

"When she looked up at that horse, she said 'That's my horse.' So that's their horse," said Sommer-Luarca.

"Pottawattamie is dedicated to my parents, Gerald and Marcia Sommer."

Click on title above for article;

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Last Chance" a Good Name for Pro-Slaughter Wild Horse Rescuer

Below is a post I been sending around from the Animal Angels folk telling about their latest report from info gotten through a Freedom of Information Request to the USDA. Read the blurb and then the reply I got from a Pro-Slaughter "Rescuer" in a wild horse group I belong to. It never ceases to amaze me how someone can call themselves a lover of horses and be ok with their slaughter!
Here is what I posted;

Proof Positive Horse Slaughter CAUSES Abuse, Neglect & Cruelty!

Posted by: "CJ" mulekist

Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:52 am (PST)

The latest report from Animal Angels, derived from USDAs own records;
be sure to find the links on the Animal Angels site at the bottom of
their page where you will find links to the new report, a vid and over 200 new transport, feedlot and auction-house cruelty pics. WARNING: these are some of the most graphic cruelty pics you will ever see, blind horses going to slaughter, open cuts and gapeing wounds, horses with eyeballs gone or hanging out, horses with broken ankels or legs or NO leg or foot! These pics are not for the squeemish but are a true depiction of what life is like for these poor animals being transported
to slaughter.

This horror must end, and soon.



Posted by: "Andi"
Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:06 am (PST)


"Proof positive"??? Oh give me a BREAK! It's just PETA tactics to get
MONEY ... get some bad pictures of injured horses and say ALL horses are treated this way on the way to slaughter and ALL slaughter houses are horrible and ALL kill buyers are evil.

People are people and abuse will happen, period. It is NOT in the slaughter houses best interest to abuse a horse before it is killed. Anyone who has ever hunted knows that an animal pumped full of adrenalin is NOT good to eat.

What we NEED is more slaughter houses that are smaller, with better methods and regulations enforced. We do NOT need to be sending thousands and thousands of horses on horribly long trailer rides to Mexico. That is ALL these bleeding heart animal rights idiots have done is condemn our horses to a HORRIBLE death. Slaughter, done properly, is NOT inhumane nor cruel.Horses live for RIGHT NOW, not for yesterday or tomorrow but for RIGHT NOW.
With the number of horses being abandoned and neglected, left at auction houses, left in fields to slowly die, the prospect of a HUMANE SLAUGHTER HOUSE is a blessing. But NO, we have to ship them to Mexico in overcrowded trucks where there are NO regulations regarding the treatment and manner in which the horses are slaughtered.

Good job. I hope you're proud. Makes me sick to be a member of a
population that cares so little about our animals they put blinders on and think if they can't see it, then it ain't happening. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Sorry folks but I just couldn't take it anymore. Usually I just delete this trumped up propaganda BS but I'm not in the mood to turn the other cheek this morning. Don't worry about an on-going debate on it because Mule Kist never replies to my emails.

Burns, Oregon
Last Chance Ranch
Click on title above to see "Last Chance" website;

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Robert Redford, Defending Our Public Lands

Click on title above for story.

I would think that they will have a clip soon
of Robert Redford talking about this on the Rachel Maddow site. I
just watched it on the Rachel Maddow show. We must stop this lunatic -
please call your Reps and Senators and tell them not to sell OUR land
to the oil industry.

Read between the lines, this is why the "lunatic" is rounding up our
wild horses.

To contact your reps and senators, please go to:



Americans rejected ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’

Bush should respect our choice
By Robert Redford

updated 2:57 p.m. ET, Mon., Nov. 24, 2008

Part of the change Americans just voted for in overwhelming numbers
was to move away from the failed energy philosophy of “drill, baby,
drill” to a more farsighted strategy, emphasized by Barack Obama,
based on clean, renewable energy and efficiency. Yet on the very day
that we raised our voices for change, the Bush administration dragged
us in the opposite direction.

The Bureau of Land Management cynically chose November 4 to announce a
last-minute plan to lease huge swaths of majestic wilderness in
eastern Utah for oil and gas extraction one month before President-
elect Obama takes office.

As its clock runs out, the Bush administration also is trying to open-
up drilling all over the Rockies and Alaska, to green-light oil shale
leasing, and to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Though sad, it’s
no surprise, coming as it does from the same crowd that designed a
misguided national energy policy in secret meetings with the oil, gas
and coal industries.

The BLM didn’t just try to slip the audacious Utah lease maneuver past
the American people on an historic election day, it actually hid the
ball from its sister agency, the National Park Service, and then
rejected the Service’s request for more time to review the scheme.

Among the 360,000 acres to be auctioned for industrial development is
pristine land near Canyonlands National Park, adjacent to Arches
National Park and Dinosaur National Monument. This Christmas gift to
the dirty fuel industry includes parts of Desolation Canyon, named in
1869 by the explorer John Wesley Powell, which has been proposed for
national park status. In fact, the BLM itself described Desolation
Canyon nine years ago as “a place where a visitor can experience true
solitude -- where the forces of nature continue to shape the colorful,
rugged landscape.”

Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty of these places, but they
do capture the absurdity of the Bush plan. Oil and gas drilling in
Desolation Canyon? Industrial development along the meandering Green
River? The thought makes one wince.

The Obama transition team already has signaled its opposition to the
leases, and said that once in office the Obama administration will try
to reverse them. Let’s hope that’s possible. Utah’s eastern expanse
is one of America’s few remaining wilderness treasures. It’s our land,
it’s our legacy, but will it still be here for our children and
grandchildren? We made our wishes about that known loudly and clearly
on election day.

We voted to take control of our own destiny by breaking our addiction
to dirty fuels. We voted to re-power America with clean energy from
wind, solar and geothermal power. We voted to use of our greatest
resource, American ingenuity, to build economic, energy and climate
security, and to preserve our natural heritage. Yes we did. And yes
we can.

Robert Redford, an actor, director and environmental activist, is a
Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is the founder of
Sundance, in Utah.

A Young Girls Poem to a Wild Horse

Written by Laura Beechet, a 14 yr old wild horse lover over in Germany, who says she tried to write this poem "from the horses point of view." I think she did a very good job. Dont you?


The Wild One

I’m a wild horse, a mustang

Roaming the hills of the Nevada range.

I’m free like an eagle,

Runnin’ over long prairies and splashin’ through small rivers.

I’m fast like the wind

And no one can stop me

Except my biggest enemies

- humans.

They’ll never let me return to wilderness

If they ever catch me and take me into one of ther small corrals.

They’ll train me and try to tame me

And they’ll break my heart.

They’ll expect from me to carry heavy saddles and people.

They’ll ride me and let me go after cattle.

They’ll gimme enough of water and food

And they’ll gimme a home.

But they’ll never gimme the home I love,

The home I long for and the home I belong to.

They’ll never gimme the wildness back.

And every night I’ll dream the same dream

- the dream of a world only made for wild horses.

Laura Beechet

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back Country Horsemen Fight to Save Our National Horse Trails

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2008
Contact: Peg Greiwe
Back Country Horsemen of America
_www.backcountryhorse.com_ (

Saving Trails is What They Do - Back Country Horsemen of America
By Sarah Wynne Jackson

When the U.S. Forest Service began to make changes to the trail
classification system that had been in place for nearly 100 years, Back Country Horsemen of America took notice. When they realized the huge impact it would have on
horse users, they made every attempt to resolve the problem. Despite their
efforts, they found in 2005 that litigation was their only choice.
Under the U.S. Forest Service´s proposed plan, as much as 50% of the
Wilderness trail system may not have ultimately accommodated pack and saddle stock.
Because of BCHA´s persistence, this trail use that has been an integral part of
the history of the United States will still be available.
Background of the U.S. Forest Service Trail System
Through much of the twentieth century, pack and saddle stock provided a
primary means of transportation in our nation´s backcountry and wilderness. The
historical three level system - mainline, secondary, and way - had evolved over
the better part of 100 years and served backcountry travelers well.
In the mid to late 1980s, trail specialists from around the U.S. determined
that the three level system wasn´t "visitor friendly" and changed the
classification to "easy, more difficult, and most difficult". But the design
standards remained unchanged until about 1999, when U.S. Forest Service personnel
began overhauling the system.

Back Country Horsemen of America heard rumors of the change, but was unable
to learn the specifics until late spring of 2004. After reviewing the
information, BCHA determined that not only could the modifications have profound
effects on traditional pack and saddle stock use, those changes were made without
public input, as is required by the National Forest Management Act.
Proposed Changes and How They Would Have Affected Horse Use

This revision to a century-old trail system reflects a progression we see in
today´s society. When first constructed, these trails served as transportation
routes that would provide "(a) safe and unobstructed passage of loaded
animals and foot travelers at a walking gait and in single file; and (b) durability
designed to meet expected use and liability of damage from natural causes," as
stated in the U.S. Forest Service Trail Handbook, 1935.
Except in fairly rare instances, all U.S. Forest Service trails were
originally designed to standards that would accommodate horses. Mainline (easiest)
trails were designed for a loaded pack string, with an 8´ clearing width and 10´
clearing height. They were common throughout backcountry and in western
wildernesses up through the 1990s, and comprised about a third of the entire

At the other end of the trail design spectrum, the standard for way (most
difficult) trails was a clearing width of 3 to 4´ and a clearing height of 8´.
Although this is recognizably inadequate for fully packed animals, it would
accommodate a saddle animal and rider. Not only do a number of people like to
enjoy undeveloped land by horseback, hunters have also been known to use way
trails to pack out game.
In our modern age, traveling in backcountry has become more of a pastime than
a necessity. In an effort to make available the kind of leisure experiences
the public seems to want, the U.S. Forest Service now views trails in an
entirely different manner - as a recreational facility. Unfortunately, equestrians
seemed to be almost completely disregarded as users of these trails under the
revised plan.

The proposed trail classification system would have categorized trails into
five different classes, trail class 5 being the most developed (sometimes
including such things as interpretive and handicapped trails) and trail class 1
being the most primitive. When compared to the historic trail system, nearly all
classes of trails would be maintained at a narrower width and tread, and a
shorter clearing height, making it unreasonable and/or unsafe to take horses on
those trails.

BCHA found that of the three trail classes that would occur in Wilderness
areas, trail class 1 would not accommodate the use of horses; trail class 2 would
marginally accommodate a horse and rider, but not loaded pack stock; and
trail class 3 would marginally accommodate packers with one to a few pack animals,
but they would be in jeopardy on steep side slopes. The historic tradition of
traveling with a number of pack animals would have been eliminated with these
lower trail standards.

This potentially would have meant that up to 50% of the trail system, which
had historically been available to pack and saddle stock users, would have no
longer been managed to standards that would accommodate that use.
Another concern BCHA had was the decision making power given to land
managers. The proposed classification system gave them the ability to change a trail´s user status or maintenance standard, or even drop it from the system
altogether, at their own discretion and without an appropriate decision process
(including public involvement and effects analysis). There was also concern that the
assignment of new trail classes might be based on current condition, use
level, or budget rather than upon land management plans or history of use.
BCHA´s Attempts to Save Trails for Equestrians

The goal of Back Country Horsemen of America was to get agency decision
makers to step back and take another look at their proposed changes. They went to
great effort to gain an audience with U.S. Forest Service national leadership,
and despite their credibility as the nation´s experts in wilderness horse use,
they were unsuccessful in having their voices heard.

BCHA also requested information and statistics from the U.S. Forest Service
and were refused. Then they invoked the Freedom of Information Act at both the
regional and the national level, but were again rebuffed.
After BCHA hired an attorney, U.S. Forest Service leaders did finally meet
with them. They insisted that these changes were within their discretional
authority and that there was no obligation to involve the public. They also
dismissed the need to consider alternatives or analyze the effects of this change on
historic uses.

But they did assure BCHA that their concerns would be addressed in the final
draft of the proposed trail classification system. However, when that draft
was released, BCHA found that none of their concerns had been incorporated. They
had no alternative but to litigate.

BCHA Achieves Results

Back Country Horsemen of America prevailed in its claim that the U.S. Forest
Service violated provisions of the National Forest Management Act requiring
public involvement. Consequently, in October, 2008, the U.S. Forest Service met
in Clearwater National Forest in Idaho with BCHA and a number of other
wilderness user groups to discuss the impact of their proposed changes.
Having many different user types involved (such as hikers, bikers, and
off-road vehicle users) helped fulfill the U.S. Forest Service´s desire to avoid
unfair bias to one user group. Many of these organizations thanked BCHA for
bringing the changes to their attention and being persistent in seeking resolution.

To comply with the court´s order, the U.S. Forest Service also released an "
interim final rule" in October, 2008, and has invited the public´s comments.
Significant modifications were made to the original proposed classification
system, and BCHA is pleased with the result.

As outlined in the interim final rule, the trail classification system will
not result in fewer miles of trail being managed for pack and saddle stock, or
trails being managed to a lower standard.

The U.S. Forest Service resolved that issue by increasing the parameters of
trail class 2 to those of a secondary trail of the historic system, and the
parameters of trail class 3 to approximate those of a mainline trail. Trail class
1 will not accommodate pack and saddle stock users, but under the interim
final rule, a trail that already has pack and saddle stock use will be classified
as trail class 2 or better. At this time, only about 5% of the national trail
system is identified as trail class 1.

Instead of allowing land managers to make changes at their own discretion,
the interim final rule specifically states, "Trail management and use [are]
based on the management intent for the trail, as determined by the applicable land
management plan, applicable travel management decisions, trail-specific
decisions, and other related direction."

BCHA is very happy to have been able to preserve their solid partnership with
the U.S. Forest Service despite the differences. When they traveled to
Washington, D.C., for a formal meeting with U.S. Forest Service leaders, they were
welcomed and treated graciously. In fact, U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Joel
Holtrop, USDA Forest Service Director RHVR Jim Bedwell, and RHWR Director of
Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Chris Brown have been attending BCHA´s
board meetings.

Get Involved Locally, Regionally, and Nationally

Back Country Horsemen of America encourages horsemen and other public lands
users to stand up and have their say. In an environment where increasingly more
recreationists, and different types of recreationists, are competing for the
same trail system and land base, it is essential we be fully engaged in the
planning processes and in monitoring plan implementation to ensure that trail
management decisions are consistent with those plans.

BCHA encourages horse users to volunteer for their local, regional, and
national land management organizations. Getting your hands dirty doing trail
maintenance and being present at meetings will enable you to stay current with
proposals and potential changes. It´s far easier to prevent those changes than to
try to revert them after the "No Horses" signs are posted at the trail head.

About Back Country Horsemen of America

BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, chapters,
affiliates, and at large members. Their efforts have brought about positive
changes in regards to the use of horses and stock in the wilderness and public

If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a
member, visit their website by clicking on to the title above, or call toll free 888-893-5161, or write PO Box 1367, Graham, WA 98338-1367.

The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!


Eyes in the West Are on Federal Land Sales

By Julie Cart
June 06, 2006

Its mild climate, stunning scenery and proximity to several national parks have helped make Washington County one of the five fastest-growing counties in the nation. But like many rural Western counties, it has little room to expand: 87% of its land is owned by the federal government.

Now, Utah’s congressional delegation has a plan to remedy the problem, one that is being closely watched by nearly a dozen Western counties with similar growing pains. The plan is also being scrutinized by conservationists who warn that it would set a dangerous precedent, making thousands of acres of public land available for private development as well as offering a windfall for local agencies and special deals for politically influential officials and property owners.

The proposed Washington County Growth and Conservation Act would sell up to 40 square miles of federal land and use the proceeds to finance a multimillion-dollar water pipeline and other local projects. Utah Republican Sen. Robert F. Bennett and Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson are expected to introduce the bill in coming weeks. Waiting in the wings are nearly a dozen similar bills for counties in Utah, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico where population pressure is fueling the demand for more developable land.

The Washington County plan and others like it highlight the growing tension between growth advocates and others who fear that the West’s unique legacy of protected public land is in jeopardy along with the wildlife, clean air and water that go with it.

Although the Washington County bill would address conservation by expanding a preserve for the threatened desert tortoise and designating 219,000 acres as wilderness, environmental groups point out that more than half of that acreage is already strictly protected as part of nearby Zion National Park. Most of the remaining acreage is already managed as wilderness.

“As far as wilderness is concerned, this is a miserable piece of legislation,” said Scott Groene, executive director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

The reaction from neighboring counties has been enthusiastic.

“This is, my own opinion, a great model for how to deal with public lands,” said Mark Whitney, chairman of the neighboring Beaver County Commission. “I think it puts a lot of these federal land issues to bed. This is landmark.”

Washington County’s population has grown more than 40% since 2000. Retirees, in particular, have been drawn to southern Utah with its red rock palisades and deep, lush canyons. St. George, moreover, is an easy drive from both Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

But the same scenery that attracts growth can impede it when so much of the countryside is off limits to development, officials say.

“One of the problems in the West is that the federal government owns most of the land,” said James Eardley, who chairs the Washington County Commission. “I say, ‘He who owns the land, holds the power.’ ”

As far as he’s concerned, Eardley said, the Washington County bill is about one thing: “We’re in it for the land.”

The bill is coming at a time when the Bush administration is advocating the sale of hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land in the region. The president’s most recent budget requires the U.S. Forest Service to sell 300,000 acres and the Bureau of Land Management to raise $350 million by auctioning some of its vast holdings.

For conservationists, however, the bill is part of a dangerous trend.

“People hoorah these projects on the local level, saying, ‘We are going to do this for our people,’ ” said Janine Blaeloch, director of the Western Lands Project, a Seattle-based group that monitors the sale of federal lands. “But small groups benefit, and those are developers, paving companies and golf course developers. Where federal land has been taken over for development, it ends up being used for second homes and high-end development.”

The Washington County bill follows a precedent set by 2004 legislation in Nevada, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, that not only ordered the sale of federal land but allowed local governments to reap the proceeds, rather than sending the money to the federal Treasury.

Under the Washington County bill, up to 25,000 acres of federal land would be auctioned off. Fifteen percent of the total proceeds, which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, would be doled out to county agencies, with the remaining 85% earmarked for local conservation projects, such as adding land to the tortoise preserve.

Most of the land ordered for sale has not been identified, but according to Jim Crisp, manager of the BLM’s St. George field office, finding 25,000 acres of agency land without disturbing either an endangered species or an archeological or cultural site would be challenging.

More than 50% of the federal land in the region contains artifacts that make it unsuitable for sale, Crisp said.

The bill would help the Washington County Water Conservancy District fund a $500-million pipeline that would convey water from Lake Powell 120 miles to St. George, a city of about 70,000 where the per capita consumption of water is already twice the national average.

Additionally, the water district would be guaranteed rights of way, easements and the right to put reservoirs, storage sites, flood-control projects and pump sites on 14 squares miles of public land, free of charge.

The most controversial part of the bill involves the 66,000-acre tortoise preserve and the people who stand to benefit from it. The bill would establish a fund that would allow James Doyle, a developer, to realize a multimillion-dollar profit on land he owns in the tortoise preserve. Among the priority projects to be funded by the land auction would be buying out private landowners within the preserve boundaries.

Shortly after Doyle bought the property in 1990, the land was designated as critical habitat for the endangered desert tortoise. The BLM began to acquire land from private property owners to consolidate into a tortoise preserve.

During that period, Doyle refused to accept the BLM’s appraisal of $28 million, 25 times more than he had paid for his property. Doyle hired his own appraiser, who set a value of about $70 million. Years of wrangling ensued, including a 2001 inspector general’s report that found successive federal appraisals of Doyle’s land had been excessively high.

Doyle hired a succession of Washington lobbyists, including former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, to lobby both the Clinton and Bush administrations to resolve the impasse.

Twice, Bennett introduced unsuccessful bills to pay Doyle market value for his land. Additionally, former U.S. Rep. James Hansen of Utah helped Doyle by attaching a rider to a 1996 parks bill that specifically allowed land within the Washington County desert tortoise preserve to be appraised as if it could be fully developed, unencumbered by the restrictions of the Endangered Species Act.

Although applauding the effort and expense to enlarge the tortoise preserve, critics wonder why the legislation calls for a highway to run through the newly protected area. The bypass would enhance the value of high-end housing developments on the preserve’s edge by reducing driving time into St. George.

Among those owning property affected by the new road: Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner and his brother, Larry, a St. George city councilman.

Randy Johnson, a former Utah county commissioner who acted as the mediator during the bill’s negotiations, said conflicts of interest were inevitable in a small county.

“I don’t know how to tell you a way for us to do a comprehensive, complex countywide land-use bill without finding some complications,” he said. “You are going to have people who own land here and there; you are going to have people who benefit one way or another. But there was never an effort to structure the bill that any one person would benefit.”

Soon after finishing his stint as the bill’s facilitator, Johnson went on Washington County’s payroll as a consultant.

Although Washington County officials denied they had undue influence on the bill’s outcome, County Commissioner Gardner added: “If there was no benefit for the county in the bill, why go to all that effort?”


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U.S. slashes funds for parkland Apr 09, 2008
More articles by Julie Cart

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More from the "Way-Back" Machine; 2004, "Drill Baby Drill" OR ELSE!

"Drill Baby Drill" we are warned, or else lose our National Parks and Public Lands!

Click on title above for article;

We say, "Chill Baby Chill" and explore ALTERNATIVE energy & fuels!

The Selling of Our National Parks: Back to the "Way Back" Machine, 2003

Selling of Our World -- National Parks, etc.


In the 1980's the then Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, wanted to sell outright US public lands; now the threat of private take over of our public lands is more subtle, but just as serious.

The following are excerpts from an important paper presented last week in Germany at the "Tourism: Unfair Practices" Symposium. It is about industrial tourism and is subtitled: "The Disturbing Implications of Privatization in the Tourism Trade." This FoYV writer has added a few comments specifically relevant to Yosemite enclosed in brackets [ ]. We will provide a link to the entire paper when it becomes available. Or to get a copy of the paper, send a message to with the Subject Line: Send Tourism Paper (10 page attachment).

Also see FoYV Update, "Park Service Markets Yosemite as Tour Package (7/1/02)" at

[While this article is international in range, it begins by focusing upon the privatization/ commercialization now taking place within the US National Park System and by explaining how what is now happening within the USA is serving as a world model.]

Click on title above for full article;

Goodbye Idaho Public Lands & Parks as Prez Makes Ready to Exit


A new state policy that recently went into effect has removed nearly all protection to over 400,000 acres of national forest, and has opened millions of acres of roadless forests to construction, logging and mining across Idaho. The policy has been denounced by the Wilderness Society, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and other regional and national conservation groups. The policy leaves a vital national forest vulnerable to a host of environmentally damaging activities.

The new policy was enabled by the Bush administration, which pushed for a new Idaho-specific rule that now replaces the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule—an act that protected over 58 million acres in 44 states.

Click on title above for full article;

For Sale: Americas National Heritages

The Selling of Americas Public Lands & National Parks

In 1964, Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to "conserve, develop, and utilize" the great outdoors for the "benefit and enjoyment of the American people." Its purpose, in essence, was to serve as the primary source of funding for the land acquisition needs of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service.

Yet, over the course of its 4-decades old history, Congress has consistently failed to approve the entirety of the LWCF's available funds -- typically $900 million per year from revenue generated from oil and gas leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf. From 1965 to 2006, for example, only $14.3 billion (out of $29 billion) was appropriated for use by the Fund; to make matters worse, any "unused" money is diverted to other federal programs or budget priorities.

The amount appropriated for use in fiscal year 2009 now stands at a record low of $100 million. Fortunately, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCS) has organized a campaign (and released a thorough report), entitled "America's Heritage: For Sale," to raise awareness about the LWCF's lackluster financials -- and urge people to contact their local congressmen.

They've created a neat Google Map mash-up that allows you to see the 10 most affected parks and the parcels of land that are privately-owned and those that have been put up for sale.

See also: ::Our (Not So) Pristine National Parks: 70 Contaminants and Counting, ::Go Play Outside; Nobody Else is

Click on title above to see article and maps and a link to an excellent report from
The National Parks Conservation Association;

A Plea to Mrs. Pickens

November 21, 2008

Dear Mrs. Pickens:

I am writing to you today to address an issue that is very near and dear to both our hearts; the preservation and protection of America’s wild horses and burros.

You have graciously and generously stepped up to the plate to attempt negotiating a rescue for over 30,000 animals BLM has deemed “excessive”; the aftermath and consequence of aggressive management tactics strategically targeted at America’s herds that have now placed their very lives in peril.

While I commend your willingness and commitment to finding creative and humane solutions for those now captured and waiting to die, after deep contemplation of your proposal, conscience compels me to ask you to re-think your plan.

I was at the National Wild Horse & Burro Summit when you entered the room and announced your stunning proposal. You said you had just “jotted it down on the plane flight over” and from here, your idea has taken root.

Since then, newspaper articles have reported on your progress and details have begun to emerge as to where our wild horses may be headed under your wing.

They have reported you:

“want to create a permanent retirement ranch for the horses that could be open to the public.”

“[you are] negotiating to win control of more than a million acres of grassland in the West….”

“[planning] to acquire part of the land through private sale and the rest through a lease with the federal government”

“[looking at] several pieces of land costing $10 million to $50 million”

Retirement Ranch Planned for Wild Horses
Washington Post
November 19, 2008

“plan[s] to sterilize the horses on [your] land and will take any additional horses the federal government wants to cull from the wild herd”
New York Times ~ Editorial
November 20, 2008

Since your concern has focused so strongly on helping save our wild ones, perhaps there are some issues you have failed to consider.

Therefore, as a member of the public these majestic icons are held in trust for and who has been intimately involved in many of BLMs proposals that landed these wild horses and burros on “death row”, I am humbly asking you to expand your considerations to include very important issues that effect us and the continuation of our wild herds on public lands.

*Over the years, the herds and their lands have been stolen from us. Your generosity is legitimizing their theft and bailing BLM out from accountability.

*There are serious, serious questions that must be addressed nationally about the Wild Horse & Burro Program. Your proposal will allow long-standing management issues to continue to be postponed, ignored and buried that may very well decimate the long-term viability of America’s free-roaming herds if they are allowed to continue unchallenged.

*In this deal, you want to gain control of over 1 million acres of lands you may allow the public on. In other words, you become the “middle man” for what once use to be ours anyway. Have you considered how this may not help the American people or our children who were suppose to have the right to experience them wild and free too?

*The Washington Post reported your ranch could be open to the public. Could be? Are you negotiating the right to operate your ranch and their lives behind closed doors?

*Your proposal to take all the wild horses BLM “culls” forevermore will allow them to continue to take off an endless stream without question. When you take them in, do you plan to question or challenge why BLM authorized taking them from us to begin with?

*You plan to sterilize every single wild horse that comes through your gates. What will you do with your million acres when these non-reproducing herds grow old and die and cannot be replenished? Now BLM is planning on sterilizing almost every wild horse still left standing on public lands after their recent full-scale assaults to remove them. In ten years, how many wild horses do you think are going to be left to cull to add to your collection?

*How is it you plan to sterilize the mares? A lifetime contract with the United States Humane Society for their PZP? About how much would that be worth on an annual basis to them? Or are you planning to attempt to spay the mares instead? Do you know how invasive, traumatic, and expensive that is per mare? Do you know the percentage of mares that die from this procedure? If you don’t, you should look into what this would do to those in your care before rushing into this “option”?

*As time passes and the “Pickens Trust Fund” passes to other hands, will their new custodians choose to save them too or will the temptation to lease it back out to ranchers, oil, gas, mining or selling it to developers be their primary concern?

*Where are the wild burros in all this? Their populations and habitat have been decimated over the years under BLMs “care” who openly posts a population management objective that qualifies them for Threatened and Endangered Species Status. Will they be forsaken again? How will you sterilize them as PZP does not apply?

*Have you considered investing in public lands instead of moving our resources to your sole control? With the money you are willing to shell out for this project, have you looked into how many wells, water developments, grazing leases in already publicly established Herd Management Areas this could buy and be returned back to the American people instead?

*Do you know how many successful lawsuits could be filed against the BLM if there were only money available for good lawyers, money the average citizen does not have – but you do.

Do you really want to help the American people and our wild horses and burros? Do you really want to save them, to preserve them and protect them for future generations? To leave a truly philanthropic American legacy for years to come?

If so, PLEASE do not take your involvement lightly! Let more than your heart rule your actions by carefully considering what you may be doing ~ as once done, it cannot be undone.

There is no doubt you have the power to make a profound difference at this critical crossroads for our wild herds. Please use your power wisely.

Preserve The Herds

Click on title above to see original post on American Herds BlogSpot;

BLM Hoarding 57. 6 Million

For years, Southern Nevada has developed its expansive parks with proceeds from the sale of federal land to developers hungry to build sprawling housing tracts.

The more we expanded into the desert, the more money from government land sales was set aside for parks.

But with the real estate market tanking, developers are no longer asking the government to put its land up for top-dollar auction. There’s just no demand for it.

And as a result, the stream of money for parks has turned to a trickle.

Look at what’s happened over the past two years.

In early 2006 more than $461 million was awarded to municipalities for major park projects, in accordance with the Southern Nevada Land Management Act, which governs land sales by the Bureau of Land Management.

Next year that amount will likely be less than $10 million.

The act allows counties and cities to ask the BLM to sell parcels at public auction if developers are waiting in the wings. The proceeds are then used to fund parks and trails projects. Since 1998, the process has funded more than $3.2 billion in major public projects, including $1 billion for parks.

In anticipation of the next round of BLM funding next year, municipalities nominated their projects in October — without knowing how much money will be available.

“The BLM is very vague,” said Connie Diso, a Las Vegas project engineer. “They said as high as $10 million and as low as $5 million.”

The four major local governments — Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson — have nominated $11.2 million worth of projects for the next round of funding.

The local projects will compete for funding with projects in Lincoln and White Pine counties.

The BLM has stowed $57.6 million for future allocations. But it’s unclear how much of that will be used for parks and trails.

The money is also used for the acquisition of protected land, capital improvements, conservation initiatives, Lake Tahoe restoration projects, the proposed Ivanpah Airport and an education fund.

Local governments have revaluated which projects to focus on, aiming mostly to renovate existing parks.

See Post "BLM Land Sales Down in Nevada,"

Madeleine Pickens ABC's "Person of the Week" for Wild Horse Save

Above all, Madeleine Pickens, wife of oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, is an animal lover. As a horse breeder and a philanthropist, she has always considered that people must be responsible for the care of animals.

Animal lover and philanthropist rescues thousands of wild horses.
"Animals don't have a voice, and as long as man is their protectorate, we have a responsibility to take care of them," she said. "We cannot abandon them."

After her husband gave $7 million to the Red cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims, she wanted to help the animal victims, too.

"I managed to hire an airliner, a cargo airliner and I went on my first trip down to Baton Rouge and we picked up 200 dogs," she said. "I think we got about 800 dogs and cats out to California and Colorado and got them adopted out."

So when Pickens heard that thousands of wild mustangs might be euthanized, she wouldn't sit still for it.

Click on title above for story and vid;

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Selling, Leasing & Giving Away of Americas Public Lands & The "Ultimate" Excuse

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of
1976 (FLPMA)made a final legislative recognition
as to the future status of (these) public lands by declaring that "the
public lands be retained in Federal ownership unless, as a result of
the land use planning procedures provided for in the Act, it is
determined that disposal of a particular tract will serve the
national interest."

"Interest," "Security," Whats the diff?

An Oldie But a Goodie: IG's Report on USID; 9/08 : "NOT Good,..NOT Good at All"

I see its business as usual in "Dc circles," & drugs & rock n' roll!

"Sex & Drugs for Oil Contracts & Royalties at US Interior Dept"
Sept. 11, 2008

The findings are the latest sign of trouble at the Minerals Management Service, which has already been accused of mismanaging the collection of fees from oil companies and writing faulty contracts for drilling on government land and offshore. The charges also come as lawmakers and both presidential candidates weigh giving oil companies more access to federal lands, which would bring in more money to the federal government.

The investigative report was released a day after President Bush had a private lunch with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the man in charge of the agency at the heart of the scandal.

That was behind closed doors. Wednesday's embarrassment was very public, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

"The government employees who oversee offshore oil drilling are literally and figuratively in bed with big oil," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The allegations of bad behavior involve about a dozen government employees in Denver and Washington - workers who sell U.S. mineral rights to oil companies, which is one of the government's biggest sources of revenue besides taxes.

They're supposed to be looking out for the taxpayers' interest.

But according to the inspector general, they rigged contracts, and engaged in illegal moonlighting, drugs, sex and gift-taking from oil company representatives.

Two reports revealed startling allegations including:

An employee who attended a so-called "treasure hunt" in the desert with all expenses paid by an oil producer.

A former supervisor who bought cocaine from a colleague, then boosted her performance award, had sex with subordinates and steered government contracts to an outside business where he also worked.

No one - from the oil companies to the workers allegedly involved - provided a response today other than to say they cooperated with the investigation, or appropriate action will be taken.

With mineral rights bringing in $8 billion in revenue a year, reporters today asked the head of government mineral management, off camera, whether taxpayers suffered a loss due to the cozy relationships. He said there's no indication they did.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Click title above to see full article;

Keep Our Public Lands in Public Hands!

Over the years, there have been numerous proposals to transfer public
lands (those administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)) to
the states in which the lands are located and some suggestions
to "privatize" all or some of these lands. Such proposals involve the
transfer of tremendous national assets and revenues to a small number
of fortunate states or individuals
. While the public lands belong to
all citizens, their location primarily in western states results in
many citizens in other parts of the country being unaware of their
existence or their value as national assets.


The federal government holds public lands in trust so that this
generation and those who will follow us can enjoy both their beauty
and their bounty. Congress has long recognized the national interest
in preserving and conserving the public lands for present and future
generations of Americans. In 1891 Congress created the first national
forest reserves in the Pacific Northwest to protect them from the
fate of the eastern forests, which had been denuded by unrestrained
logging. During the 1930's the Garfield Committee recommended
transferring public lands to the states, but this was not acceptable
to the American public; and in 1934 Congress passed the Taylor
Grazing Act to strengthen the concept of Federal management.

In 1964 the Classification and Multiple Use Act provided criteria to
be applied to the lands before determining which should be identified
for retention or disposal. In this process of public involvement,
many public meetings were held with state and local officials
resulting in over 175 million acres being classified for retention in
federal ownership. This began a process for stabilizing the tenure of
retained public lands augmented by the Public Land Law Review
Commission's report in 1970 that led directly to another important
event - enactment of an "Organic Act" for the public lands
administered by BLM, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of
1976 (FLPMA). In FLPMA Congress made a final legislative recognition
as to the future status of these public lands by declaring that "the
public lands be retained in Federal ownership unless, as a result of
the land use planning procedures provided for in the Act, it is
determined that disposal of a particular tract will serve the
national interest." This policy declaration by Congress is the same
as the decisions made regarding the status of public lands
administered by the Forest Service in the Forest and Rangelands
Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 and the National Forest
Management Act of 1976.

At stake in this public land ownership issue is the protection and
management of assets that belong to all citizens and future
generations. The 264 million acres of public lands managed by the BLM
are extraordinarily diverse. They include desert mountain ranges,
alpine tundra, evergreen forests, expanses of rangeland and red rock
canyons. Consistent with FLPMA, these lands are managed for multiple
use: recreation, grazing, forestry, mineral development, watershed
protection, fish and wildlife conservation, wilderness values, air
and water quality and soil conservation. The public lands contain
invaluable scenic, historic, and cultural sites as well.
Archaeological, historic, and paleontological properties on public
lands form the most important body of cultural resources in the
United States.

The use and development of the public lands has been influenced by
the complex relationship between the federal government and states.
Past experience suggests that the public lands are managed most
effectively through federal cooperation with states and local
communities. This is occurring today, with increasing numbers of
collaborative partnerships and shared stewardship among the federal,
state, and local governments, Tribes, and a host of private


The primary reason the public lands should remain in public ownership
is that they do/will provide enormous resources/benefits (both
economic and non-economic) to all citizens and future generations of
this country. The public lands contain resources such as minerals,
rangelands, forests, recreation, cultural resources, etc. worth
billions of dollars. As significantly, these lands offer
environmental values such as clean water, clean air, and proximity to
mountains and rivers. In an increasingly crowded West, the public
lands offer perhaps the most valuable asset of all - open space. As
owners of the public lands, citizens/taxpayers of the United States
have the right to use and enjoy these lands and resources - immensely
valuable national public assets. The quality of these assets would
likely be significantly diminished for the American citizens if the
public lands do not remain in federal ownership.

Transfer of public lands out of federal ownership would present many
significant drawbacks; these are discussed below.

Transfer of resources and revenues owned by all Americans to a
relatively small number of states is unfair to American taxpayers. A
transfer of lands would deprive American taxpayers of tens of
billions of dollars worth of resources contained on the public lands,
including coal, oil and natural gas, other mineral resources,
rangelands, forests, recreation and cultural resources, and many
others. Over the short term, a small net reduction in the annual
federal appropriations customarily required for management of the
public lands might be realized, but this would be offset by nearly an
equal loss to the U.S. Treasury in receipts from these lands.
Taxpayers could lose receipts of more than $1.2 billion each year
that currently are generated from the federal lands by energy and
mineral leasing, grazing of private livestock, recreation and timber
sales. (It is important to note that the federal receipts would be
substantially greater had Congress authorized the collection of fair
market value and/or royalties for the natural resources harvested
from public lands and retention of a greater percentage of these
receipts in the U.S. treasury.)

States and counties where public lands are located currently receive
a significant share of receipts from the public lands managed by the
BLM (50% of mineral receipts in the lower 48 states and 90% of
mineral receipts in Alaska, 75% of the Oregon and California Grant
Lands (timber) receipts) with no responsibility for management,
protection, law enforcement, etc. Since about $640 million was
returned to the states for their use in 1996, one wonders why some
states would support the land transfers. In fact, many states do not
support them.

Transferring ownership would restrict the public's access to public
lands. In 1996, nearly 60 million people visited the public lands for
recreational purposes, an increase of about 15 percent since 1994.
Over 29,000 conservation, recreation and wilderness areas on the
public lands are open to the public, as are sites of cultural,
archaeological, and religious significance. The public lands
administered by the BLM offer more recreational opportunities over a
broader geographical area than lands of any other Federal agency.
There is no guarantee that Americans would continue to enjoy access
to these lands, since state lands in some states are closed to public
access and existing state recreation policies on state-owned lands
vary widely. Hunters, anglers, campers, hikers, and other
recreational users would be limited in their access to vast areas of
the West if the lands were transferred out of federal ownership.

Restricted public access could impact the economic health of local
communities which currently benefit from recreational visits to the
public lands. Since states have limited funds and workforce
capability to manage lands they currently own, it is possible that
states would have to impose new increases in state taxes to pay for
new land management responsibilities. Some states would choose
instead to sell at least some of the current public lands they would
acquire to private parties. In fact, the public land livestock user,
other federal lease holders, and large corporations see transfer of
public lands to states as one step closer to the day when they can
acquire title to these lands. Many states, like Nevada, have already
disposed of much of the lands they received under their Enabling

Transfer to private ownership could severely impact availability of
water resources. It is recognized in the West that water will become
its most scarce natural resource. Much of the water that flows into
the water systems comes from BLM and other federal lands. A key
concern in many western communities at present is the need to protect
the water quality and quantity of the community watersheds which
provide the drinking water, etc. to those small communities as well
as large cities. Both recognize the need to jealously guard their
water sources from all intrusions.

Transfer to state/private ownership could negatively impact
environmental values. The protection of non-market values on the
public lands, for example endangered species or ecosystems such as
the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, is unlikely to occur
outside of Federal government control. These values can be protected
through national control, since the goals of governmental action are
broader than just economic efficiency. Transfer of public lands to
states could shift the focus of management from protection of public
goods and non-market values to a more explicitly profit-maximizing

It is not clear how communities would be compensated for property
taxes if the lands were transferred out of federal ownership. Western
counties depend heavily on the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) they
receive from the BLM to compensate for property taxes they cannot
collect on these lands. PILT payments exceeded $110 million in 1996
and are budgeted at $120 million in 1998. States are not likely to
continue PILT payments if lands are transferred to state ownership.
In addition, the public would lose essential services, such as
firefighting, provided on the public lands by the federal government.

PLF POSITION: The public lands are a national asset, a part of our
heritage, that should remain in public ownership so that current
citizens and future generations can share in their unfettered beauty
and bounty. In the view of the PLF, there is no benefit to justify
transferring public lands from public ownership. It would be fiscally
irresponsible and would squander much of our natural heritage. The
serious consequences associated with such proposals are a bad deal
for the American public.

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Bushs' Energy Plans & Our Public Lands

What is the Bush administration's plan for the public lands of the West?

If the Bush administration has its way, natural gas rigs -- like this one in Wyoming's Upper Green River Valley -- will sprout across the West's open spaces.
Photo © Lloyd Dorsey/Wyoming Wildlife Federation

Since its inception, the Bush administration has been determined to give the energy industry the rights to drill for oil and gas in as many of America's public lands as it can, including our most beautiful, remote and sensitive lands. Now that the administration's end is in sight, federal officials across the West are redoubling their efforts to lease these areas for oil and gas development and to approve permits to drill them, virtually guaranteeing the industrialization of millions of acres of previously wild and open land. Already, almost 26 million acres of these lands have been leased and tens of thousands of wells have been drilled. The dense web of power lines, pipelines, waste pits, roads and processing plants springing up across the West is driving elk, sage grouse, deer and other wildlife from their native ranges. Meanwhile, polluting haze from new industrial activities has significantly impaired visibility in many parts of the West. Things will get even worse if the Bush administration has its way and approves even more drilling in its remaining days -- and the impacts on the wide open spaces of the West are sure to be dramatic and irreversible.

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Wild Horse Special on ABC News

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The BLMs Authority to Sell Our Public Lands for "Community Development & Economic Expansion"

Lands identified as excess to the public's and Government's needs or more suited to private ownership are sometimes offered for sale. This brochure explains the procedures and where to go for more details.

First, it's important to understand the Federal Government has two major categories of property which it makes available for sale: real property and public lands.

Real Property is primarily developed land with buildings, usually acquired by the Federal Government for a specific purpose, such as a military base or office building. If you are interested in real property, contact the General Services Administration (GSA). This Federal agency is responsible for selling developed surplus property. Addresses and telephone numbers for the GSA regional offices are listed in the back of this brochure.

Public Land is undeveloped land with no improvements, usually part of the original public domain established during the western expansion of the United States. Most of this land is in the 11 Western States and Alaska, although some scattered parcels are in the East. This land is the responsibility of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM). (Note: Because of land entitlements to the State of Alaska and to Alaska Natives, no public land sales will be conducted in Alaska in the foreseeable future.)

The BLM does not offer much land for sale because of a congressional mandate in 1976 to generally retain these lands in public ownership. The BLM does, however, occasionally sell parcels of land where our land use planning finds disposal is appropriate.

We receive numerous questions about land sales and have prepared page to answer the most common ones. You may also obtain more detailed information from one of the BLM state offices.

Where are these public lands?

Almost all are in the Western States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
There are also small amounts in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

There are no public lands managed by the BLM in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Is any of this land available free through homesteading?

No. Congress has repealed the Homestead Act.

What lands are available?

Although homesteading is a thing of the past, the BLM does have some lands suitable for purchase by private citizens. These are lands that have been identified as unneeded by the Federal Government or as better utilized in private ownership. By law, these lands are made available for sale at no less than fair market value.

How are these lands selected for sale?

The law states that the BLM can select lands for sale if, through land use planning, they are found to meet one of three criteria: 1) they are scattered, isolated tracts, difficult or uneconomic to manage; 2) they were acquired for a specific purpose and are no longer needed for that purpose; or 3) disposal of the land will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.

What do the lands look like?

Land types vary widely. Some may be desert; some are rural. Some are small parcels of just a few acres; some are several hundred acres in size.

Is any land suitable for farming?

Any lands with agricultural potential will be clearly identified in the sale notice. However, most public lands have little or no agricultural potential.

On the average, what would public land cost per acre?
There is no "average" cost. Each parcel is evaluated separately through established appraisal procedures, based on the value of surrounding parcels. Fair market value is determined for each parcel. No parcel can be sold for less than fair market value.

How is the land actually sold?

The BLM has three options for selling land: modified competitive bidding where some preferences to adjoining landowners are recognized, direct sale to one party where circumstances warrant, and competitive bidding at public auction. The sale method is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances of each particular parcel or sale.

Are there any preferences for veterans?

No laws currently exist allowing the BLM to give veterans any preference for land purchases.

Where can find out about land that is going to be sold?
Your best source is the BLM office with jurisdiction over the area you're interested in. The BLM State Offices and their jurisdictions are noted in the back of this brochure. They can send you sale information. Sale information will also be published and broadcast in local news media.

Where are land sales held?

They are held near the area to be sold, either at the local BLM office or in a suitable public location. Sales by the BLM are not held in Washington, D.C.

Are there any restrictions on who can bid on these parcels?

Federal law states that the BLM can sell public land only to U.S. citizens or corporations subject to Federal or State laws.

Must I appear in person to participate at the sale?

Your personal appearance is not required, but it is always to your advantage to examine the parcel and know exactly what you are bidding on.
Sales can be conducted by oral bid, sealed bid, or a combination of both. However, even if only oral bidding is allowed, you can be represented by an agent.

Details on procedures for a particular sale are specified in the sale notice available from the BLM. The notice will specify type of sale, the percentage of the full price that must be deposited with each bid, and the time period allowed for full payment. The highest qualified bidder is eligible to buy the land; the deposits of unsuccessful bidders are returned

Now is payment made? Is there financing available?

A certain minimum percentage of the full price is required with each bid. If you are the successful high bidder,the balance must be paid in full to the BLM within a set period of time before a deed or patent can be issued. Long-term financing must be arranged through private lenders.

Once the BLM issues my deed, can I do anything I want with the land?

Yes, according to the terms of the deed and subject to State or local restrictions. The sale notice will clearly specify any Federal reservations or conditions of sale. These might include reserving mineral rights to the Federal Government, or allowing some currently authorized uses, such as grazing, to continue for a certain period of time, or reserving rights-of-way or easements for powerlines, pipelines, etc.
You are advised to review these conditions carefully so that you fully understand what your deed does and does not include.

What about local taxes, zoning, etc.?

Once you receive title, the land is subject to all applicable State and local taxes, zoning ordinances, etc.

Are water, power, and sewer service available on all parcels?

You should check with the city or county involved to see if such services are available.

Are there roads or easements that guarantee I can get to the property?

The sale notice will explain legal access to the property or any access restrictions. You are advised to check out the parcel before you buy, including finding out if available access meets your needs.

I'd like to find out what parcels the BLM currently has listed for sale. Where can I obtain that information?

The BLM State Offices are your best source. They can tell you what sales are currently scheduled and what prospects are coming up. You can write, call, or visit them periodically for latest details.
If a sale is currently scheduled, information can be requested from the BLM describing the property and method of sale.

More detailed information, such as land reports, environmental assessments, etc., is also available upon request for a small copy fee.


Some local governments sell private land on which taxes have been delinquent to satisfy the tax debt. The Federal Government has no involvement in these sales. The best source for information is the local county tax assessor in the area involved.

State governments sometimes sell state-owned land. Information on these types of sales can be obtained through the State Lands Office in the State capital.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nevada Makes 28.2 Mil in Sale of Public Lands 8/08

Geothermal Development Planned for Western Public Lands

PHOENIX, Arizona, October 22, 2008 (ENS) - More than 190 million acres of federal land in 12 western states will be opened for development of geothermal energy resources, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today.

"Geothermal energy will play a key role in powering America's energy future," Kempthorne said, "and 90 percent of our nation's geothermal resources are found on federal lands."

The plan would identify about 118 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and 79 million acres of National Forest Service lands for future geothermal leasing.

"Facilitating their leasing and development under environmentally sound regulations is crucial to supplying the secure, clean energy American homes and businesses need," the secretary said in Phoenix where he has been attending the annual convention of the National Congress of American Indians.

There are 29 geothermal power plants currently operating on Bureau of Land Management lands in California, Nevada and Utah, with a total generating capacity of 1,250 megawatts, enough to supply the electricity needs of 1.2 million homes.

Calpine geothermal power plant at The Geysers near Calistoga, California. (Photo by Lewis Stewart courtesy NREL)

The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located in The Geysers, a geothermal field in California. Currently, geothermal power supplies less than one percent of the world's energy.

Under the plan announced today, known as the Final Geothermal Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, 5,540 megawatts of new electric generation capacity from geothermal resources could be in place by 2015.

One megawatt of geothermal energy powers more than 1,000 homes, so if the newly announced plan is implemented, new geothermal energy could meet the needs of 5.5 million homes.

In addition, the plan estimates an additional 6,600 megawatts by 2025 for a total of 12,100 megawatts - enough to power more than 12 million homes.

Kempthorne points to growing interest in developing these resources shown by the results of recent Bureau of Land Management geothermal lease sales in areas where current Resource Management Plans already allow geothermal development.

An August 2007 sale drew the highest ever per-acre bid for a lease in The Geysers field. And a sale of leases in Nevada brought a record-breaking $28.2 million in August 2008.

Kempthorne noted the strong interest states, local communities, industry and environmental groups took in the development of this plan.

"This process has benefited greatly from the involvement of both governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, and from the clear direction Congress gave in the 2005 Energy Policy Act," the secretary said.

Geothermal resources range from heat found just under the ground to hot water and rock miles below the Earth's surface. Wells over a mile deep can be drilled into underground reservoirs to tap steam and very hot water that can be brought to the surface to generate electricity.

There are environmental concerns around geothermal energy. Dry steam and flash steam power plants emit low levels of carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, and sulphur, although at roughly five percent of the levels emitted by fossil fuel power plants.

To resolve these concerns, geothermal plants can be built with systems that can inject these substances back into the Earth, reducing carbon emissions to less than 0.1 percent of those from fossil fuel power plants.

Hot water from geothermal sources will contain trace amounts of toxics such as mercury and arsenic, which if discharged into rivers can make the water unsafe to drink.

To protect special resource values, the plan announced today identifies a comprehensive list of stipulations, conditions of approval and best management practices required for approval of future geothermal leases.

Lands closed to geothermal leasing will remain closed. Lands within a unit of the National Park System, such as Yellowstone National Park, for instance,will continue to be unavailable for leasing. The plan also excludes wilderness areas and wilderness study areas from geothermal development.

It will allow discretionary closure of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern where the BLM determines that this is appropriate. The BLM may also implement discretionary closures of units of the National Landscape Conservation System.

The Forest Service will use information in the plan to facilitate leasing analysis to determine whether or not geothermal leasing is appropriate and to evaluate its land use plans and amend them as needed through a separate environmental review process.

The plan also provides site-specific environmental analysis of 19 pending geothermal lease applications in seven locations.

These leases were filed before January 1, 2005 for specific lands in Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington managed by the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Decisions on these 19 leases could proceed as soon as the Record of Decision is signed on the Final Geothermal Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service will publish the final version of the plan in the Federal Register on Friday, October 24, 2008. It will be available online at

The governors of the 12 states in the plan's project area each will have the opportunity to review the final document to ensure consistency with state plans, programs, and policies.

The Bureau of Land Management will wait until the end of the Governor's consistency review period before signing and issuing the Record of Decision approving the land use plan amendments. Kempthorne says any inconsistencies will be resolved before a Record of Decision is issued.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.