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Land use action alert

July 30, 2008

BRC ACTION ALERT:

Anti-recreation legislation moving quickly in Congress

This alert concerns a passel of bills currently pending in Congress. Most of the bills we are concerned about have been thrown into an “Omnibus” package of over 90 separate pieces of legislation…

BRC National Legislative Action Alert
IS THIS BRC’S MOST IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT FOR 2008?

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

Everyone at BRC has been talking about this Action Alert, and we think this may be the most important Action Alert BRC has blasted out all year.

BRC staff members, including our Executive Director, Greg Mumm, our General Counsel, Paul Turcke, and our Senior Policy Advisor, Adena Cook, have been in Washington DC quite often in recent months. That’s because the anti-recreation lobby has been very active!

Greg has submitted written testimony in a House Subcommittee hearing on OHV use, and last month he testified in person at a Senate Subcommittee. http://www.sharetrails.org/magazine/article.php?id=1607 BRC has also been involved in a new General Accounting Office (GAO) study on OHV use.

TWO Congressional hearings and a GAO study on OHV use?? It doesn’t require any clairvoyance to realize that the anti-recreation zealots are setting the stage for a very aggressive legislative and regulatory strategy for 2009.

I can’t over emphasize the importance of responding to this Alert. Given the aggressive agenda the anti-recreation zealots have for us after this election cycle, it is absolutely critical our members take action today! Your national, state and local legislators need to know that you and your family value OHV recreation and you are paying attention to what they are doing!

Below is a legislative Action Alert we’ve formulated in the “cut and paste email” style. It concerns both state and national issues, so it is an excellent opportunity for ALL BRC members and supporters to make their voices heard at a critical time.

Please take just a minute and follow the instructions below. We put together some very easy step by step instructions so it won’t be difficult or take a lot of time.

Thank you in advance for your prompt response. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

Brian Hawthorne
(208) 237-1008 ext 102
Ric Foster
(208) 237-1008 ext 107

PS: Please also forward this to your friends, family, neighbors and your riding buddies. Please also alert your local OHV club and let them know that BRC is available to help submit formal testimony on these important bills.

BRC ACTION ALERT
ANTI-RECREATION LEGISLATION MOVING QUICKLY IN CONGRESS

SITUATION:
This alert concerns a passel of bills currently pending in Congress. Most of the bills we are concerned about have been thrown into an “Omnibus” package of over 90 separate pieces of legislation. Last May, President Bush signed a similar “Omnibus” package of 61 bills. This go-round, the package includes bills that could not pass on their own, like the “Owyhee Initiative.” It also includes dangerous legislation such as the National Landscape Conservation System Act, which would formally establish a Clinton/Gore administrative fiat established by Bruce Babbitt.

This could be the most important Action Alert BRC has blasted this year.

INSTRUCTIONS ON SENDING COMMENTS TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS

1. Go to BRC’s Rapid Response Center at http://www.sharetrails.org/rapid_response/, type in your zip code and click GO.

2. Under “Write Your Elected Officials,” click on the “Federal” link.

3. Follow the instructions under “Compose Your Own Letter”

4. Copy and paste “Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008″ into the “subject” box.

5. Copy and paste comments into the “editable text” section of the form. You do not need to put “Dear Whomever” as part of your comments because the system will do it for you.

6. Click the “Send Message” button.

COMMENTS:

My family and I value recreation and access to state and federally managed “public lands” across America. As such, we are extremely concerned about several pending pieces of legislation, including the package of Senate and House bills known as The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008.

I strongly oppose combining many of these so-called “land bills” into one “Omnibus” package. Doing so eliminates careful review and allows special interest groups with large powerful lobbies in Washington DC to outweigh the voice of individual citizens, such as myself, who regularly visit and enjoy our public lands.

I am also very concerned about how specific bills contained within the Omnibus package will eventually eliminate public access to public lands. Specifically, the National Landscape Conservation System (S. 1139 & H.R. 2016), the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (S. 275) and the Owyhee Public Land Management Act of 2008 (S. 2833).

All of these controversial bills will result in loss of public access to millions of acres of public lands across the West. Lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management lands are not National Parks, and should not be managed as though they were. All of these bills give too much latitude to BLM managers to close public access and reduce recreation. History has proven that if given the latitude, federal bureaucrats usually take the latitude. In these times of tight budgets, proper management and public access often loses out.

Another bill that I am concerned about is the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act (HR 6156 and S 3069). Although this bill is not included in the Omnibus package, it contains lands that are not suitable for Wilderness. It would close many popular snowmobile areas, mountain bike trails and 4×4 roads.

Over 40 years ago, when the Wilderness Act was passed (1964), rampant development of America’s wildlands and backcountry was a real threat. The Wilderness Act was passed into law years prior to the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a myriad of other environmental protection laws. As Congress passed laws to protect the environment, and recreation on public lands became more and more important to the American public, the preferred method to “protect” the land, Wilderness, got stuck in the 1960s.

Wilderness designations are out of touch with modern day realities. Public lands are now important recreation venues for mountain bikers, snowmobilers and Off-Highway Vehicle users, all of which are banned in Wilderness. Unfortunately the Wilderness lobby refuses to acknowledge the fact that other alternatives, including National Recreation Areas (NRA) or National Conservation Areas (NCA), provide the exact same level of protection from development that Wilderness carries.

I am asking you to OPPOSE the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008 (S 3213), OPPOSE the National Landscape Conservation System (S. 1139 & H.R. 2016), OPPOSE the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (S. 275), OPPOSE the Owyhee Public Land Management Act of 2008 (S. 2833) and OPPOSE the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act (HR 6156 and S 3069).

As someone who values recreational access, I am asking you to SUPPORT alternatives that do not restrict the public’s ability to view and enjoy our nation’s public lands.

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