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  1. #1
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    Congressional Hearing Today in Sac - Live Webcast at 10AM PST

    Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight Field Hearing on "Restoring Public Access to the Public’s Lands: Issues Impacting Multiple-use on Our National Forests"
    Monday, September 19, 2011 1:00 PM




    SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS
    Unruh Hearing Room, California State Capitol Building
    Monday, September 19, 2011
    10:00 a.m. PT
    • Committee Action - Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to Hold California Field Hearing on Restoring Access to Our Public Lands (9/8/2011)

    OVERSIGHT FIELD HEARING ON:

    • "Restoring Public Access to the Public’s Lands: Issues Impacting Multiple-use on Our National Forests"


    OPENING STATEMENT:



    The Honorable Rob Bishop
    Chairman

    The Honorable Tom McClintock
    Subcommittee Member

    The Honorable Wally Herger
    Member of Congress



    WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:



    Panel I



    Randy Moore
    Regional Forester
    Pacific Southwest Region
    U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture


    Mike Wood
    The United Brotherhood Of Carpenters And Joiners Of America
    Local 3074


    Charles Hirst
    President
    California Enduro Riders Association


    Tom Leavell
    Diamond L Ranch


    Michael Jackson
    Quincy Library Group


    Panel II



    Sheriff Greg Hagwood
    Plumas County, CA


    Nick Haris
    Western States Representative
    American Motorcyclist Association


    Jack Sweeney
    El Dorado County Supervisor


    Sam Davidson
    California Field Director
    Trout Unlimited


    Karen Schambach
    California Field Director
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility


    If you have time to watch this, I can guarantee you this will be one of the most educational hearings you will ever see.



    Watch Archived Webcast Here!
    Last edited by bebe; 09-19-2011 at 04:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Bald Tire
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    Archive is up. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17378935

    Don't have time to watch it all now, but just wanted to say that is some of the worst camera work, ever.

  3. #3
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    Great. Thanks Sewie. No way I was going to be able to watch it this morning. i'll catch it this evening sometime.
    1998 H1 Open Top
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Sewie - I have also updated the links to the Congressional Testimony. You can click on their names to read the individual Testimony.

    Thanks for taking the time to do this, it's very important, because in short order we will be taking this to the next level and will need everyone's help.

    Bebe

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    Here is the Official Press Release

    Press Release

    Witnesses Call for Increased Public Access, Proper Management of Forest Service Land



    Sacramento, CA, September 19, 2011 - Today, the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a field hearing in Sacramento, California entitled, “Restoring Public Access to the Public’s Lands: Issues Impacting Multiple-use on Our National Forests.” Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Representatives Tom McClintock (CA-04) and Wally Herger (CA-02) attended the hearing to identify specific issues and potential administrative or legislative remedies to address multiple-use barriers on Forest Service land. Witnesses included the Forest Service, state officials and impacted citizens who spoke of the land-use regulations, policies and actions that are preventing activities and limiting access on Forest Service land. “Given the federal government’s ownership of over 600 million acres of the land containing these resources and incredible natural sights, much of this debate is centered on how to best balance the many competing and worthy uses of public lands and resources,” said Chairman Bishop (UT-01). “National forests are an important and necessary source of economic activity and recreation for local communities and the public. This resource needs to be managed for the benefit of all users and I strongly believe that there is plenty of it to go around. ... During a time when certain activists are all too eager to exercise the full force of the law to attack multiple-use, we need our federal land managers working with us to keep the public’s lands open for the use and enjoyment of all.”

    The preservation of our forests for future generations does not mean closing them to the current generation. I believe that the vast timber, land and recreational assets administered by the U. S. Forest Service represent a limitless and renewable source of prosperity for our nation and for our local economies, a portion of which can then be redirected to assure the maintenance and preservation of the national forest lands for the use, enjoyment and prosperity of the American people in perpetuity. But, that will require a significant change in policy within the current Administration, said Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04).

    “Today’s hearing highlighted the fact that poor federal land management practices have significantly harmed rural communities. These are the people’s lands and I believe that we can protect our federal lands while ensuring Americans have multiple-use access to them, which would help restore recreation, timber and many other essential rural industries. Unfortunately, burdensome, unnecessary regulations combined with frivolous lawsuits by fringe groups have helped to create a cycle of high unemployment, underfunded schools, and forests that are consistently threatened by catastrophic wildfires. At a time of great economic hardship it is essential that we bring restore public access to our federal lands and allow local communities, not bureaucracy, to decide what is best to get themselves back on their feet. If we put local communities back in charge of their own destinies, I believe that we will see renewed job creation and greater stability for the rural economies that truly need it,” said Rep. Wally Herger (CA-02).

    The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of land comprising 155 National Forests, totaling eight percent of the United States’ total land mass. In California, eighteen national forests cover nearly twenty percent of the State. Decades of increased regulation, environmental litigation and reduced forest management have diminished multiple-use access of these public lands. On Forest Service land, timber harvests have declined nearly eighty percent over the last thirty years and productivity has nearly come to a standstill. Overcrowding and mismanagement of the forests contributes to wildfires, disease and insect infestation. Growing volume and unhealthy forest conditions have led to wildfire suppression costs consuming nearly half of the Forest Service’s annual budget.

    Forest Service land is a vital source of economic activity in states and counties with large amounts of public land. Randy Moore, a Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service, acknowledged the economic benefits of Forest Service land. According to a 2010 study by National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM), the recreation visitation in California National Forests in California helps sustain 38,000 jobs.

    Mike Wood, the Business Agent for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, spoke on behalf of saw mill workers and highlighted the benefits of proper forest management through timbering: “The timber industry will improve forest health by thinning, which improves the trees ability to withstand insects and drought. A thinned forest allows the snow pack to get to the ground instead of melting and vaporizing from the limbs of the trees, providing water later in the season for downstream users. Less trees also means less transpiration, which will provide more water to metropolitan and agricultural areas. A robust timber industry will diminish the frequency and intensity of wild fires, which will improve air and water quality.” Mr. Wood also stressed the jobs that are supported by a robust timber industry, “Statistics from the Department of Agriculture show that for every $1 million invested in forestry products, 39.7 jobs were created, which is the highest ratio of any industry.”

    Sheriff Greg Hagwood of Plumas County, California addressed the lack of transparency and public participation in the development of Forest Service Management plans. “While the Forest Service has satisfied, minimally, their legal requirements in terms of public comment and input, the reality within the effected population is that any suggestion, request or recommendation fell upon deaf ears within the Forest Service who already decided the course action prior to engaging in the requisite process.” In order to reach a comprehensive management plan that satisfies all parties involved, it is imperative all stakeholders work collaboratively and have a voice in the planning process.

    Access to our national forests is fundamental to achieve multiple-use of these public lands. Sam Davidson, California Field Director for Trout Unlimited, discussed the need for proper maintenance of roads and trails so that motor vehicles, hikers, bikers and sportsmen have unfettered access for their preferred recreation.
    ###

  6. #6
    Bald Tire
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    “The preservation of our forests for future generations does not mean closing them to the current generation. ” -- Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)
    Sig worthy.

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    Editorial: Forest access comes to a head


    Chico Enterprise-Record
    Posted: 09/16/2011 12:41:14 AM PDT

    Our view: The Forest Service isn't hearing off-highway vehicle users, but perhaps Monday's congressional hearing will help.

    It's hard to say what goes on in the minds of those in charge of federal agencies because oftentimes the truth is elusive.

    Here's what we surmise is happening in our national forests: While trying to balance concerns of environmentalists and forest users, the U.S. Forest Service decided to develop a management plan. Worried that they would be sued by environmentalists over such red herrings as the red-legged frog and the spotted owl, the Forest Service went overboard and limited many activities in the forests.

    Now the Forest Service looks like it will get sued anyway. Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts are leading the charge to file a lawsuit over implementation of the new Travel Management Plan on the Plumas National Forest. They asked the Butte County supervisors to sign on as a plaintiff. Other counties have also expressed an interest in joining the suit. Butte County's supervisors are looking into the potential costs and purposes of the suit.

    The lawsuit is being spearheaded by the Sierra Access Coalition, based in Plumas County. The group's mission is to keep national forests open for off-highway vehicle riders, horseback riders, hikers, back-country campers and others.

    The five-year process of trying to develop the access plan looks like it may be unraveling. And that's not a bad thing, because it seems overly restrictive, another case of the government overreaching to fix a minor problem. The minor problem is that bootleg trails have popped up in national forests when motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles ride where they shouldn't. The solution should have been to close the offending trails. Instead, the Forest Service enlisted the help of off-road riders to map every trail in the forest, many of which the Forest Service didn't know existed. In the spirit of cooperation, riding enthusiasts meticulously mapped 1,107 miles of unofficial trails. The Forest Service then declared nearly 90 percent of those trails off limits.

    Riders understandably felt betrayed. They figure the only thing that will get the Forest Service to listen is to file a lawsuit. After all, it was the threat of lawsuits over frogs, owls, mining and grazing that started this whole mess in the first place.

    Another thing that might get the Forest Service to listen is Congress. A federal agency doesn't really need to pay attention to local city and county officials and politicians. They are no threat. But when Congress starts asking questions, the Forest Service had better have answers. Two north state congressmen, Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, and Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Rocklin, are asking questions. In a letter to a Forest Service leader, they said they are strongly concerned about "the continuing trend of diminishing access and multiple use of our federal lands." They called the trend "simply unacceptable."

    McClintock and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, will bring the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to Sacramento for a hearing Monday.

    It's clear where McClintock stands on the issue from reading his remarks in an announcement of the 10 a.m. oversight field hearing at the State Capitol.

    "For generations, the U.S. Forest Service maintained a balanced approach to the management of our forests that assured both healthy forests and a healthy economy," McClintock said. "Now, it seems to be following a very different policy of exclusion, expulsion and benign neglect of our forests. These actions evince an ideologically driven hostility to the public's use of the public land — and a clear intention to deny the public the responsible and sustainable use of that land. This important hearing will examine the damage caused by these policies ..."

    Those who feel they're getting shut out of public land will learn: It helps to have friends in high places.


 

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