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Public Will Get Opportunity in October To Comment On Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Plan

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How best to manage wilderness areas in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks will be the topic for public conversation come October, when the parks seek input on preliminary draft alternatives for their Wilderness Stewardship Plan.

At a series of public meetings, the National Park Service will be seeking ideas and feedback about alternatives to address future wilderness management at the two parks.

Topics that may be addressed in the plan include: day and overnight use; permitting and quotas; party sizes; campfires; food storage; camping and campsites; human waste management; pack stock and grazing management; scientific research; natural and cultural resource management; maintenance of signs, trails, bridges, and other recreational infrastructure; administrative infrastructure; education and outreach; the extent to which commercial services are necessary to fulfill the recreational and other purposes of wilderness areas; and front-country support facilities.

Many of these topics were brought forward during the public scoping phase of the planning process that took place from April 11 to August 31 last year. The issue raised its head earlier this year when the lack of a wilderness management plan temporarily derailed the parks' ability to issue permits for pack trips this summer.

The problem was temporarily resolved when Congress intervened and sent legislation to President Obama that would allow the parks to issue permits for this summer's season.

To learn more about the process and how to comment on what the new plan should include, visit the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website and/or consider attending an upcoming workshop during the last two weeks of October to listen to a presentation by the National Park Service and meet with staff to discuss your ideas about alternatives or submit your comments.

The schedule for the meetings is:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

7 p.m.- 9 p.m.

Eastern Sierra Tri-county Fairgrounds

Patio Building

Sierra Street and Fair Street

Bishop, CA 93514

Friday, October 26, 2012

7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Los Angeles River Center

California Building Atrium

570 West Avenue 26

Los Angeles, CA 90065

Monday, October 29, 2012

7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

East Bay Regional Parks

Redwood Regional Park

Richard C. Trudeau Training Center

Main Conference Room

11500 Skyline Blvd

Oakland, CA 94619

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

6 p.m. -- 8 p.m.

Visalia Marriott Hotel

Main Ballroom

300 South Court Street

Visalia, CA 93291

Comments

I've noticed that NPT has for all intents and purposes taken a strong position in favor of closing down the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in Point Reyes NS because it is in a potential wilderness area and because it's a "commercial enterprise" in such an area. At the same time, there have been several articles encouraging people to visit the High Sierra Camps in Yosemite as well as Bearpaw HSC in SEKI, which are in potential wilderness and are clearly money making operations for Delaware North - serviced by helicopters, using commercial cooking facilities, and with many permanent buildings.

Several of the comments in the scoping process are suggestions that the Bearpaw HSC in SEKI be removed and "returned to its natural state".


The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm situation is a great illustration of how our Manichean (i.e., black-and-white, zero-sum) approach to Wilderness produces bizarre and undesirable results. With luck, the oyster farm will remain, given that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) seems to be backing its continued existence.


What is the purpose of scenery if only a very few can see it. Closing Bear Paw meadows would close off backcountry hiking to the middle to older demographic that pay the bulk of the taxes that support the parks. The backcountry would only be available to the twenty something's that make up the largest group of backpackers. If the presence of permanent structures bothers them, then they should also call for the removal of the backcountry ranger stations.


Anonymous:
What is the purpose of scenery if only a very few can see it. Closing Bear Paw meadows would close off backcountry hiking to the middle to older demographic that pay the bulk of the taxes that support the parks. The backcountry would only be available to the twenty something's that make up the largest group of backpackers. If the presence of permanent structures bothers them, then they should also call for the removal of the backcountry ranger stations.

It's incredibly easy for some to paint others as "elitists". I've seen people complaining that the users of such backcountry facilities were "elitists" because of the costs of using such concessions. Of course there is the opposite, where people are described as "elitist" in only supporting use by the most physically fit (i.e. must haul in your own stuff without the use of horses or stock) and bringing in expensive high tech gear such as titanium stoves, expensive water filters, $300 backpacks, etc.

It's easy to hurl insults and describe people as the "other" who is out of touch with the majority.


Y_P_W: Always enjoy your common sense posts avoiding the self centered pitfalls that seem to drive the conversations. There is a conflict free zone surrounding all my trips into the backcountry. Interesting how things work out for everyone when the effort is made. Great times of breakthroughs and shared experiences! A major benefit that carries on in day to day stuff.


But neither of you disagreed with my statement of which groups would be kept out of the backcountry if Bearpaw Meadow were closed. Excluding people who previously enjoyed the experience is not good policy.


Anonymous, why not? Cyclists were kicked out of wilderness in 1986 eventhough we were previously allowed to enjoy it.


Keeper mentions his/her perception that "self-centered pitfalls . . . seem to drive the conversations" on NPT. It wouldn't surprise me if he/she includes we critical mountain bikers, because we are certainly regular complainers.

This is, however, the inevitable result of federal land policy that divides people not necessarily by their impact on the land or on other visitors, but, artifically, on whether their means of conveyance was in use in 1870 or not.

The Harvard Environmental Law Review had an article, "The Problem With Wilderness," that talks about this problem: rigid categorical exclusions inevitably cause the out-groups to raise a furore:

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/elr/vol32_2/Laitos%20Final%20Fi...

It's worth reading.

Good policy would assess environmental and social impacts (i.e., costs) of uses, weigh those costs against the social benefits of those uses, and manage land accordingly. Saying so is not self-centered in my opinion.


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