Recreations Ask Pombo For
Local Hearings on Wilderness
OAKLEY, CA (January 11,
2005) - Representative Mike Thompson (D-Napa) recently introduced the
Northern California Wilderness Act (H.R. 234). This legislation, if
enacted, would greatly impact dispersed recreational opportunities for
off-roaders, mountain bikers, and other outdoorsmen.
Historic and legal access roads and trails used by dispersed
recreationists would be closed such as a major segment of the
Smith-Etter Road in the King Range Wilderness proposal. Also,
mountain-bike use on trails in the Cache Creek Wilderness and in other
areas would be banned.
Don Amador, western representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, said,
"If hearings are going to be held, the Coalition believes that local
interests should be heard. Last year, I testified against a similar
proposal (S.738) before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources on a panel that was stacked with Wilderness advocates. Out of
a grand total of six witnesses, I was the only non-government person
testifying against this legislation."
"Organizations supporting bills such as the Thompson proposal are often
linked to national preservation groups that have multi-million dollar
budgets to promote a Wilderness or anti-access agenda. I think Congress
should hear from the local small business owner or construction worker
who would be affected by Thompson's plan," Amador, a Humboldt County
"Chairman (Congressman Richard) Pombo (R-Tracy) has a history of
holding local hearings in places such
as Yosemite on travel issues, Lake Arrowhead on forest fires, Jackson
on the Sierra Nevada Framework and Fontana on the Endangered Species
Act. These hearings heard from all viewpoints and attracted Congressmen
from both political parties," Amador continued.
"A local hearing is the only way that affected interests can be heard,"
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