Monday, February 7, 2005

BLM Planning Process

The Folsom Area Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is engaged in revising its management plan. Below please find a letter to

John Scull

with regard to this plan, in which I used a "comment form" devised by the BLM.

I hope all of you will send similar letters (emails). The BLM needs to hear from us! Please copy me if possible.

Dear Mr. Scull,

I have heard that Folsom BLM will be forming a new Resource Management Plan for the lands it administers. I wish to make some comments and suggestions, in this email, and will use your "Comment Form" as a template. I understand that I should limit myself to one topic per Comment Form; so here is one topic.

I also wish to be added to your mailing list.

Here then, are my comments:

(***begin Comment Form***)

Topic/Issue: North Fork American River

Watershed: American

I think the BLM ought to:

The BLM ought to protect the wildness, beauty, and public access to the North Fork American Wild & Scenic River, including the entire canyon and canyon rim. Use land acquisition as a principal tool. That is, continue the BLM's past efforts to purchase private inholdings in the North Fork canyon, but expand the scope of these efforts, and increase the pace of the acquisitions.

In particular, in 1978 Congress created the Gold Run Addition (GRA) to the NF W&SR. The BLM was ordered to pursue land acquisitions in the GRA. No lands have been purchased. Private lands within the GRA are currently for sale, making some 250 acres, part of 800 acres which extend through the Diggings, north, to I-80.

The BLM ought to *buy all 800 acres for sale at Gold Run*.
The BLM ought to *close BLM lands in and around the GRA to mineral entry and quiet all existing claims*. That would include the 800 acres mentioned above.
The BLM ought to *post an OHV closure on the GRA*.
The BLM ought to *restore public access, if only by foot, horse, and bicycle, to the Fords Bar Trail at Gold Run*.
The BLM ought to *restore public access to the Paleobotanist Trail, near Garrett Road, within the GRA*.
The BLM ought to *seek to acquire every private parcel on both canyon rims, from Lovers Leap on the east to (at least) Secret Canyon on the west, to protect the viewshed, maintain open space, and preserve public access to old trails and scenic overlooks*.
The BLM ought to *acquire private inholdings on the Blue Wing Trail, northeast of Iowa Hill*.
The BLM ought to *employ a full-time resident Ranger at Gold Run*.
The BLM ought to *perform a Wilderness Study on the North Fork canyon from Green Valley on the east to Fords Bar on the west, and seek Wilderness designation*.
The BLM ought to *close the Truro Mine Road to motorized access*. This road could be used as a mountain bike trail.
The BLM ought to *restore public access to the Roach Hill Road, through to Giant Gap Ridge, if only by foot, horse, and bicycle*.


The North Fork American River is quite rarely wild and beautiful, and should stay that way for the enjoyment of future generations. Already a W&SR, it could well become a National Park. Folsom BLM has done some wonderful things to preserve the North Fork, and should do more. It was frankly realized in the W&SR studies of the 1970s that the North Fork is in a rapidly growing area, and that special care would be needed to preserve the viewshed and protect public access. What was true then is only so much more true now, with millions and millions more people in California. There was urgency then, there should be even more urgency, now. Public access to our historic trails is a critical part of the future of the North Fork. Scenic values are exceptional and irreplaceable. Wild lands and open spaces are of great importance to our quality of life in California.

Optional (in order to be added to the BLM mailing list):

Russell Towle
P.O. Box 141
Dutch Flat, CA 95714

(***end Comment Form***)

Thanks for your consideration of these matters.



Russell Towle

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