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April 2007 - Wilderness Watch

South San Juan Wilderness, COAppealing Sheep - In December 2006 Wilderness Watchjoined with the San Juan Citizens Alliance and three othergroups in filing an administrative appeal of a Forest Servicedecision to re-open eight sheep allotments for grazing in theSouth San Juan Wilderness. The grazing permits had beenwaived 12 years ago and the allotments have been vacant eversince. The Forest Service plans to issue permits to two newlivestock permittees and resume sheep grazing in the highelevation lake basins along the Continental Divide. Althoughthe Wilderness Act allows livestock grazing to continue in Wildernesswhere it was an established use prior to Wildernessdesignation, we argued that the Act does not allow grazing toresume once it has ceased for a significant period of time. Unfortunately,the Forest Supervisor recently upheld the districtranger’s decision so we are considering our options.A Mountain Yellow-legged Frog. Photo by Gary Nafis.decline throughout the High Sierra, in part due to predationby non-native fish. While we support fish removal we havenot supported poison as the means. We’ve urged that doingthe least harm in the process should be the top priority, nottime or convenience. The poisons would kill all gill-breathingspecies, including macro-invertebrates upon which MYLFdepend for food, and MYLF tadpoles, which remain in tadpolestage for up to four years. We continue to follow this proposalclosely.California Desert WildernessesSequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness, CAMajor Trails, Minimum Wilderness - In December WildernessWatch sent a letter to the NPS describing several problemswith Sequoia-Kings Canyon new general managementplan (GMP) and requesting that the National Park Service(NPS) not sign the plan until those issues are resolved. Oneproblem is that the new plan would zone the Wilderness intothree zones and in the new Major Trails Zone an unlimitednumber of visitor use facilities can be constructed, includingtoilets, ranger cabins, and food storage lockers. To date, NPShas not signed off on the plan so we hope that means publiccomment has stirred some continued internal discussion.Of Frogs & Fishes - In January Wilderness Watch providedNPS with written comments on a proposal to poison85 high-elevation lakes in wilderness to remove non-nativetrout that had previously been stocked in the naturally fishlesslakes. The purpose of the project is to protect the MountainYellow-legged Frog (MYLF), whose populations are in steepGuzzlers Galore! In 2001 Wilderness Watch submittedour first comment letter on a proposal to allow the CaliforniaDepartment of Fish & Game (CDFG) to construct a newartificial water development, called a “guzzler,” within theSheephole Valley Wilderness. In 2003, after BLM issued asecond environmental assessment on this guzzler, we workedin a coalition with several other groups to successfully haltthe project on appeal. Now, in 2007, BLM has issued a thirdenvironmental assessment on this very same guzzler and weA water truck fills a guzzler in the Cabeza-Prieta Wilderness.6Wilderness Watcher, April 2007

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