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  1. #1
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    Land swap threatens Palm Springs trails - Action needed by Nov 19

    Deadline for public input is Nov 19!

    BLM is in talks with Agua Caliente Indians to swap land in the Palm Springs area. See the link below for a news story with a map of parcels being traded and some good background info.

    The main concern for mountain bikers is that the Indians do not allow mountain biking on their land. This swap would give the band significant control over trailheads and could make several of the Goat trails, Wildhorse Trail, Garstin, Thielman, and Indian Potrero off limits to bikes. The band says they have "no plans at this time" to restrict access, but that sounds suspiciously like they know exactly what they're gonna do and just don't want to stir up opposition.

    This could also have significant impact on hikers and equestrians. The band charges access to hikers and equestrians to access trails in Indian Canyons, and similar access fees and restrictions could be added to these trails as well. The Skyline aka Cactus to Clouds trail which climbs from Palm Springs to the tram on San Jacinto Mountain would also be affected by the land swap, with possible fees and/or limits to access. This is the main concern of the hiking community.

    The land swap agreement states that the band would manage trails and access to trails the same way BLM does now, but they would be able to back out of that part of the agreement with one year’s notice.

    This is not simply having trails classified “no bikes”. Once this land is swapped with the Indians, it is their land and they can do what they want with it.

    http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/...6.2b50c19.html

    Map:

    (note I think the two green parcels should be one square left, looking at MTB Bill’s map which identifies quadrants owned by the band http://www.mountainbikebill.com/imag...2-NorthMap.jpg
    )



    The parcels that BLM will receive have little value from a recreational perspective. I thought perhaps they had some endangered species or other value, but that does not appear to be the case. The parcels the Indians will receive include portions of popular trails, are significantly larger in area, and include land adjacent to expensive homes in Palm Springs which would make the land very valuable. I cannot understand how BLM thinks this is a good deal – BLM has a responsibility to make sure this deal is in the public’s best interest. No one seems to see how this is in the public's best interest except BLM and the Indians.


    I'll post up a sample letter and contact info on Monday. There are a number of points to make including lack of benefit to public, lack of notice to public, significant recreation values which could be lost, etc.

    In the meantime you can google BLM Land swap Palm springs if you want to read up on it more. There is some good info on this forum --> http://www.mtsanjacinto.info/viewtopic.php?t=2569

  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting this evdog. I sumitted a letter a couple weeks ago as this is my backyard. Looking forward to seeing your sample letter and encourage everyone to submit something. Thanks.

  3. #3
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    Here is some more info, plus a sample letter, and all kind of contact info so people can send in comments before the deadline (this Friday Nov 19!!!)

    It is suggested by some to submit comments electronically (email, webpage submittal) so that it is easier to record them, harder to lose them, and to guarantee they are received on time. I've tried to include physical addresses so you can send letters also if you like.

    Ultimately its hard to tell what the true impact will be on users since all the Tribe will say is they have no plans to change the way the trails are managed (except of course, no bikes).

    Links:

    BLM Land Swap Technical Report. The table 406 posted is from this doc. See pages 24-25 and 34-37.
    http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medial...20Exchange.pdf

    Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (CVMSHCP). - This is a planning document under which public land in the valley is to be managed. They will be funded to purchase private land for conservation. See section 7 for info on trails management. This plan will close a few trails to biking but not too bad, and will allow new ones (Hopalong Cassidy trail was built under this plan!). This plan is mainly concerned with Bighorn sheep and their humping season.
    http://www.cvmshcp.org/
    http://www.cvmshcp.org/Plan%20Docume...tion%207.0.pdf (Section 7) See pages 52-75

    Tribal Habitat Conservation Plan (THCP) - this is the document the Tribe uses to manage its land. Scroll down to link for Appendix D, Trails Plan. They actually seem to do a good job of managing land, except of course for the no bikes thing.
    http://www.aguacaliente.org/planning.html

    Contacts: If time is limited I'd suggest writing Kalish, Salizar, Bono-Mack, Boxxer and Feinstein

    BLM Contacts: (be sure to include reference number below for BLM and government contacts)

    Reference:
    CACA-42965
    2200
    (CA-066.62)


    John R. Kalish
    Field Manager
    Bureau of Land Management
    1201 Bird Center Drive
    Palm Springs, California 92262
    John_Kalish@blm.gov

    Diane Gomez, a realty specialist who works for John Kalish
    Bureau of Land Management
    1201 Bird Center Drive
    Palm Springs, California 92262
    Diane_Gomez@blm.gov

    JIM ABBOTT , ACTING STATE DIRECTOR
    BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT JURISDICTION
    2800 COTTAGE WAY, SUITE W-1834
    SACRAMENTO, CA 95825
    Director@blm.gov

    TERI RAML, DISTRICT MGR.
    BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
    CALIFORNIA DESERT DISTRICT
    22835 CALLE SAN JUAN DE LOS LAGOS
    MORENO VALLEY, CA 992553
    http://www.blm.gov/ca/forms/feedback/index.php?fo=6

    MR. BOB ABBEY, BLM DIRECTOR
    DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR
    1849 C. ST., NW
    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
    Director@blm.gov

    Other key government contacts:

    Mary Bono-Mack - she's involved, and concerned

    CONGRESSWOMAN MARY BONO MACK
    707 E. TAHQUITZ CYN WY., STE 9
    PALM SPRINGS, CA 92262

    CONGRESSWOMAN MARY BONO MACK
    104 CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BLDG.
    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515

    https://bono.house.gov/Contact_Mary/ContactForm.htm


    Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
    Department of the Interior
    1849 C Street, N.W.
    Washington DC 20240
    feedback@ios.doi.gov
    kensalazar@ios.doi.gov

    Senator Dianne Feinstein, United States Senate, 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
    http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/i...tactUs.EmailMe
    Re: CACA-42965 2200 (CA-066.62)


    Senator Barbara Boxer, 112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
    http://boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm
    Re: CACA-42965 2200 (CA-066.62)


    Other people worth writing to:

    Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet
    Steve.Pougnet@palmsprings-ca.gov

    City of Palm Springs Planning:
    3200 E Tahquitz Canyon WayStaff conducting a final site inspection
    Palm Springs, CA 92262
    Phone: (760) 323-8245
    Fax: (760) 322-8360
    http://www.palmspringsca.gov/index.a...nning+Services

    Desert Sun newspaper address: mydesert.com/letters Remember to keep letters under 200 words.


    Sample Letter: (please personalize as you see fit and update depending on who the comment is being sent to).

    November 16, 2010

    Re: CACA-42965
    2200
    (CA-066.62)

    Palm Springs BLM Land Swap


    Dear Mr. Kalish,

    I am writing to express my opposition to the Palm Springs BLM & Indian land swap referenced above. This is simply a bad deal for the American public. The BLM is not meeting its two key obligations in this deal, which are to ensure meaningful public participation, and to ensure there is public gain from the deal and that land swapped is of equal value. As neither of these have been met I demand that the land swap be cancelled.

    Despite being in talks since 1999, the BLM has provided little notice to the public that this deal is in the works. It has not explained to the public what the benefits are, and it has not provided adequate forums or sufficient time for the public to respond. This land swap is of such importance that it should receive widespread publication, public meetings, and further extension of the public comment period to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to participate. However, this is not happening.

    There has been no discussion with the people most affected by this deal--the people of Palm Springs, and the Southern California hiking and mountain bike communities. Many people are learning of this swap at the last minute, from home-made signs posted at trailheads. The lack of notice and public participation afforded by the BLM is totally unacceptable. The BLM has the legal responsibility to do more to involve the public.

    While the BLM has authority under the National Monument Act to enter into a land deal, it does not have the authority to make an unequal exchange or to eliminate an important public benefit. In fact, the BLM is required by federal law to execute this deal only if it represents a public gain, and only if the lands exchanged have equal value. The lands which will transfer to the BLM under this deal are not an equal value – in fact, we are receiving substantially less in terms physical area, in terms of monetary land value, and in terms of recreational value, than we are giving up to the Tribe.

    The BLM will receive 2.3 square miles of beautiful but remote land, but is giving up over 9 square miles. The land transferring to the Tribe includes many popular hiking and mountain biking trails. The Tribe restricts access to its land by limiting operating hours and by charging fees. This could shut down the iconic Skyline (Cactus to Clouds) Trail, because hikers must start early in the morning to safely complete the hike, and this would no longer be possible. Furthermore, the Tribe prohibits mountain biking on its land, meaning there will be significant loss of access to that user group as well. Many hikers and mountain bikers travel from all over Southern California to use these trails, and restrictions or loss of access will keep many of them away. Despite the promise of continued access to trails, the management plan signed with the Tribe is of little value because it can be cancelled at any time with one year’s notice. The BLM should not accept any deal where there is restricted access for hikers or loss of trails to mountain bikers. This is a matter of significant public interest.

    The National Monument land being given up by the BLM has great value to the public: value to its health, to its enjoyment of life, and to its concern for the preservation of wilderness. For many people, these areas are the jewels of the National Monument and it is unthinkable that the BLM would give them up. They are irreplaceable.

    This appears to be little more than a lopsided, unfair exchange of public land that shrinks the size of a National Monument by seven square miles. People currently enjoy free and simple access to these trails. Why, at a time when fewer Americans than ever before recreate outside, would we want to make it harder for people to take a hike or bike ride? Why, at a time when Palm Springs is hurting for tourist dollars and its downtown is struggling, would we restrict access to the area’s most famous trail? What possible public good comes from this exchange? There is no public good. This land swap is bad for the American public. Please do the right thing, and cancel it.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,

  4. #4
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    Thanks for posting. Apparently it's a done deal. The land swap is taking place. At this time the Indians have no intention of limiting or charging for access.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LncNuvue
    Thanks for posting. Apparently it's a done deal. The land swap is taking place. At this time the Indians have no intention of limiting or charging for access.
    Wow, nice of them to give us a chance to continue commenting even after they've made their decision . Still worthwhile sending comments in, though. Someone on the hiking forum pointed out that the volume and contents of public comments can be used against BLM if they get sued over not following their rules (which is likely in CA), as it shows they did not take into account any feedback. So a lot of comments "against" is a good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog
    So a lot of comments "against" is a good thing.
    Yep, I agree. Plus we need the BLM to know that there is a viable demand for mtb access on existing trails and new ones.

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    i saw this a few weeks ago on the san jac hiking forum. it stinks...

    emails sent--thanks.

  8. #8
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    Bump! Today is the last day folks! This only takes a moment. Ctrl A + Ctrl C + Ctrl V, change name, SEND!

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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog
    Bump! Today is the last day folks! This only takes a moment. Ctrl A + Ctrl C + Ctrl V, change name, SEND!
    Do it folks! There is language in the Land Swap PDF that does ban bikes on all new Tribal Land. This includes parts of Skyline, Palm Canyon, Indian Potrero, and Wildhorse. It's buried but is in there.

  10. #10
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    One day I was hiking with my family in lower Palm Canyon (the lush Oasis where no bikes are allowed) and I ran into a Tribal Ranger. I told him I discovered Palm Canyon because of mountain biking.

    He gave me this surprising looked and asked me "You rode your bike through here?"

    I said "No", I rode my bike on the upper Canyon but I would never have thought of coming here if it wasn't because of that.....now I am here with my family, I paid a fee to hike here and I spent money in the gift shop.......all that because of mountain biking and I can't even ride my bike here....

    I sent the letter and everyone should too......it would be a shame if the only way to ride these trails would be to poach them.....: )

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