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  1. #1
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    Action Needed: Help Save the Palm Canyon Epic!

    A Draft Environmental Impact Statement addressing environmental effects of a proposed land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Tribe) is now available for public review Agua Caliente-BLM Land Exchange, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office, Bureau of Land Management Californial and comment.

    Several of the proposed exchange scenarios, including the "Preferred" scenario, would remove sections of "The Palm Canyon Epic" The Palm Canyon Epic trail from the public ownership. We need everyone to send in comments in support of keeping trails publicly owned, before March 29th. A sample letter that you can cut-and-paste, add your name and personal experience, then send, is below.

    PLEASE SEND A COMMENT ASAP! Your comments do have an impact. This Draft EIS was motivated by SDMBA and public comments from a 2010 plan: "The public previously commented on the proposed land exchange in response to the BLM’s release in 2010 of Environmental Assessment CA-060-0010-0005. A high level of controversy was stimulated by the proposal; comments were received from 144 individuals, ten organizations, and three governmental entities. Based on public comments and upon further internal review, it was determined that preparation of an environmental impact statement is necessary to address potentially significant effects of the proposed land exchange." Lets aim for over 1000 individual comments this time, WE NEED YOU to help keep one of the best trails in SoCal open to mountain bikes.

    Scenario 1 would keep the Palm Canyon Epic and a popular hiking trail as BLM land and gain a parcel from the Tribe containing trail. On this map, CalTopo - BLM land exchange parcels in red are BLM land up for trade in the other scenarios, but would stay BLM in Scenario 1. Yellow are BLM land that will become Tribe in Scenario 1, and orange is Tribe that will become BLM in Scenario 1. The trails are shown as black/red dashed lines.

    Questions? Post them below.

    Please also send to your Congressperson Find Your Representative · and the Congressman from Palm Springs

    FAX to (760) 833-7199,
    email to
    mail to: National Monument Manager, Bureau of Land Management, 1201 Bird Center Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
    Subject: BLM-Agua Caliente Land Exchange
    Dear National Monument Manager,
    I am submitting comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the proposed land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (ACBCI).  I support Scenario 1, which would keep all the BLM parcels containing popular trails (T.5S. R.4.E. section 36; T.4S. R.4E.  section 16 & 36) as BLM managed land and help reduce the "checkerboard" landownership by consolidating BLM land base.  These trails should remain within public ownership to preserve recreation and access, as the ACBCI has historically not allowed mountain bike access on their trails and charges for hiking/equestrian access.
    To increase the viability of Scenario 1, the appraisal should consider that the ~2 ACBCI parcels lack infrastructure for traditional (dense high monetary value) suburban development and have similar value as the ~6 BLM parcels proposed for exchange in Scenario 1.  All other Scenarios are not in the environments or public's best interest.
    The "Palm Canyon Epic" (Palm Canyon-Indian Poterro-Hahn-Cathedral Canyon-Wild Horse-Goat Trails) is nationally regarded as the best long distance desert mountain bike ride in Southern California.  I strongly support having the entire trail system under BLM management (including a short rerouting of Indian Poterro to not cross ACBCI land) so that future generations can experience the natural beauty and remoteness of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument on their mountain bikes.  Recreation such as mountain biking, hiking, and horse back riding help promote the protection of public lands.
    cc: Congressman Ruiz
          My US Congressman
    Please complete a short survey after submitting your comment.

    Name:  Save The Palm Canyon Epic!.jpg
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  5. #5
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    This link will allow you to add your voice to IMBA's letter:

    Please join me in signing. Allowing the tribe to control a portion of this trail would be a disaster. They have already closed trails that they previously agreed they would keep open to bikes as part of this land swap.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2006

    thanks 406

    Sent to congressman and BLM

    "Potrero" is the proper spelling of the Indian Potrero trail (not Poterro), so may want to revise that if copying or modifying the sample letter.

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  8. #8
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    I am grateful for this eye-opening call to action. But, because I am fond of history books, I have a tendency to react with sympathy for and deference to the native American side of the table whenever issues like these arise.

    That being said, I wanted to gain additional clarity before writing my representative and other relevant public officials. In performing a cursory review, I arrived at this selection of Q&A verbiage from Chapter 1 of the proposal:

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapter 1
    Would bicycles be prohibited on trails in sections 16 and 36 upon acquisition of these sections by the Tribe?

    It is reasonable to assume that bicycle access to segments of the Araby, Garstin, and Shannon Trails where they traverse public lands in section 36, T.4S. R.4E., would be prohibited upon acquisition of these lands by the Tribe, consistent with a decision by the City of Palm Springs’ Parks and Recreation Commission to prohibit bicycles on nonfederal segments of these trails. The BLM decision in this regard is pending, though likely as described in the trails management plan element of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan

    (CVAG 2007). However, bicycle access would continue to be allowed on the Berns, Thielman, and Wild Horse Trails, which also traverse section 36, consistent with the BLM’s current and planned management decisions pertaining to them.
    Page | 1-22
    Perhaps public concerns about trail access on any lands acquired from the BLM are best addressed by the Tribe on a webpage site developed specifically in response to frequently asked questions about the proposed land exchange (ACBCI 2012). In responding to the question, “will access to these trails change once the exchange takes place,” the Tribe commits that it “will manage the trails in the same manner [as the BLM],” and that “changing or curtailing public access to the trails is not feasible or practical.” With respect to fees, the Tribe, while acknowledging that it would have the right to charge access fees, recognizes that “the feasibility of doing so with so many access points would make it difficult.” It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that upon approval of the proposed land exchange, the Tribe would not require a fee for the use of trails on lands acquired from the BLM, would not restrict hours of access to these trails, and would not prohibit bicycles where such access is currently allowed on these lands, except where needed for consistency with restrictions imposed by the City of Palm Springs for trails in section 36, T.4S. R.4E.
    Having never ridden the Palm Canyon Epic, I have no idea what the Berns section of trail is. But, apparently the tribe has informally agreed to keep it open. Should we still be worried?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sponger View Post
    Having never ridden the Palm Canyon Epic, I have no idea what the Berns section of trail is. But, apparently the tribe has informally agreed to keep it open. Should we still be worried?

    An informal agreement means nothing and can be changed as frequently as the wind blows. It is all politics.
    We are being told what we want to hear regardless of the final planned outcome. There are several examples where the tribe has already closed off land to bike riders. The only way to ensure the trails remain open is to oppose the land swap. It is not a fair nor good deal for the general population.

    Please submit you comments soon.
    Apathy will get you exactly what you deserve

  10. #10
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    Mar 2007

    Final day to send comments is tomorrow Sun Mar 29. Please take a moment if you haven't already.

    You can also sign on to IMBA's letter:

    Thanks to all who have sent in letters already

  11. #11
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    Jan 2014
    Sent one.

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