Tuesday, March 23, 2004

LWCF and the North Fork: letters needed!

There are letters to write.

Over several years Tahoe National Forest (TNF) has been engaged in acquiring private inholdings in and around the Wild & Scenic River "corridor" of the North Fork American River. Land and Water Conservation Act funds (LWCF) have been used to purchase these lands, principally from Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), a lumber company famed for clearcutting.

Unfortunately, TNF did not receive any LWCF funds for FY 2004. There is competition for these funds between many projects scattered across the United States. To help TNF secure these funds for FY 2005, letters to our representatives in Congress are needed. These letters may be short or long, but one way or another they must ask for LWCF funds for land acquisition in the North Fork American. Addresses are below.

John Moore of the Sierra Club has been working on this project for quite a few years now. He asked that I send the following along to all of you; it may help to write your letters. John and I differ, apparently, on what the scope of future TNF land acquisitions should be; below he writes "The 10-year campaign to buy the North Fork American lands can be finished this year if public support is strong enough." I myself think it is very far from finished. Howsoever, one step at a time, and thank goodness for John Moore!


Acquiring private lands along the North Fork American Wild River is an
essential first step to keep the Wild River pristine and a potential

Only two large parcels along the Wild River in Tahoe NF are still
privately owned: Government Spring and section 21 at the bottom of Big
Granite Creek (1120 acres altogether). The price: $825,000.

The Government Spring parcel is part of the scenic view from the
Mumford Bar Trail at the river. Acquiring the Big Granite parcel is
important because the Big Granite watershed contributes a large volume
of pure water to the North Fork.

The 10-year campaign to buy the North Fork American lands can be
finished this year if public support is strong enough.

Your letters supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
appropriation to buy the North Fork American lands should be sent to
Congressman Doolittle (U.S. House of Representatives, Washington DC
20515) and to Senators Feinstein and Boxer (U.S. Senate, Washington DC

Some reasons for acquiring the Wild River lands worth mentioning in
your letter:

The North Fork is a truly Wild River in a pristine, deep, rugged canyon.

The River supports an excellent trout fishery managed as a Wild Trout

The canyon provides habitat for numerous large mammals, including black
bear and mountain lion, and 150 species of birds, including falcons,
golden eagles, and goshawks.

The canyon offers solitude and outstanding recreational opportunities
for strenuous hikers and fishermen (mention your own experiences!).

Logging or residential development of the private lands would gravely
damage the pristine canyon.

Environmentalists and the Forest Service are also asking for funds to
buy other Sierra Nevada Inholdings. The other inholdings are (1) lands
in the Middle Fork American canyon downstream from French Meadows and
(2) lands at Barker Pass on the west rim of the Lake Tahoe Basin. I
urge you to support LWCF appropriations for all these Sierra Nevada

North Fork American would have first priority for the appropriated

Briefly, the Middle Fork American canyon is wild, deep, and pristine,
like the North Fork canyon, and provides similar wildlife habitat and
fishing and other recreational opportunities. The lands at Barker Pass
are near the Pacific Crest Trail and adjacent to the Granite Chief
Wilderness. These lands are suitable for construction of second homes,
which would significantly degrade the viewshed from the Trail and the
experiences of wilderness users.

If you want more information, contact John Moore at (916)731-7153 or

Thank you all for your consideration of this matter!

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