From: alra@governance.net
Subject: ALERT --  Southern California Forests

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: alra@landrights.org or
alra@governance.net  Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Attention:  Southern Cal Forest User

Forest Plan Revisions Coming To Your Forest
Your Enemies Want To Close And Lock Up The Forests
You Need To Be Vigilant And Active
If You Are Not, You Could Lose Your Rights

National Forests in Southern California
            Angeles National Forest
            Cleveland National Forest
            Los Padres National Forest
            San Bernardino National Forest

Your Forest Plan meeting dates and times are listed below:

Dear Forest User:		 		

ALERT --  Southern California Forests

     The following national forests have plans in revision:  Cleveland, Los Padres, Angeles and San Bernardino.     
     All the National Forests in America will have their Forest Plans revised and amended over the next several years.   If you wish to keep your grazing permit or other special use permit, it is an absolute must for you to be informed and stay informed during this process.  You must be on record as having participated in the process so you don’t lose future rights.  

In law, it is called “laches” or sleeping on your rights.  If you fail to attend at least some forest plan meetings or comment on the plan, you could lose future rights. 
     Your permit and those of your neighbors are NOT automatically included in the plan.  They must be included and considered a long-term appropriate use.  You must work with other special use permittees to attend public meetings and stay current with the planning process.   Please work to make sure your special use permit is included in the Forest Plan in a positive way.   Get any negative comments about permits removed.

     You can be sure that those groups who seek to sanitize the forests of people will be attending those same meetings and working quietly and subtly to remove special use permits over time.  They will do it in little ways you may not notice.

     Right now the Forest Service is revising all four forest plans in Southern California together in one big revision.  It is a big, broad brush planning effort.   Enclosed is a list of the public meetings the agency has scheduled.  These meetings need to be changed.

The big problem is the public involvement and meeting process.   The Forest Service is using a public process called “open houses” for their public involvement.   This means you attend a meeting where the agency has four or five rangers answering questions about alternatives and the forest plan revisions.  Most of the time they do not take public comment at this same meeting.  You can only comment in writing at a later date.

     If they do allow public statements, the agency has no system for recording those comments.  This is a very bad system that deprives you of your rights.  

     The agency has very good alternatives that would work much better and will do a better job of informing the agency and you regarding concerns about the plan.  The New England Town Meeting or public hearing concepts would work better and help you far more.

     Why?  Here are some examples of why the present system is wrong and bad for you:

-----A.  At the Open House the agency has no place to take public testimony that is recorded.  If they do take comments, they don’t write them down and they are not officially included in the process;  

-----B.  You do not hear your neighbors and fellow forest users making comments.  You might think of an important issue, but no one else will hear it.  If they did, they might raise that issue even more and their comment would get others to comment on their statement.  

That is why the New England town meeting or a public hearing concept is so much better.  Frankly, the agency uses the existing system to minimize controversy.  They don’t want people making strong statements in public.  They want it on paper where they can largely hide it.

We’re not suggesting that all Forest Service personnel want this.  Some just go along because that is what they’ve been doing.  Many Forest Service people like ranchers and other types of forest users and want the programs to continue and do a fine job.  But there are a considerable number of others who work tirelessly to eliminate forest uses over time;

-----C.  The press will usually come to an “open house” but they will miss any controversy because they do not hear you or your neighbors speak out since there is no place in the process to speak out for the record.  Again, this is a way for the agency to minimize controversy;

-----D.  No representatives from your Congressman or Senators office will be able to hear your real concerns.   There is no public discussion. It is an antiseptic way to involve the public but not really allowing the public to get truly involved;

-----E.  Many people would rather comment verbally than on paper.  The agency could easily have a court reporter take your comments down with your name.  Some people may rather comment on paper.  They have that opportunity through the public comment process but they would still benefit from the open public discussion of the plan; and

-----F.  Imagine what our country would have been like if the Continental Congress had been run like a Forest Service “open house”.  Ben Franklin might not have met Thomas Jefferson.  John Adams might not have met George Washington.   They might not have heard the great speeches and found their new leaders.

     By depriving forest users of an open public comment process that can be listened to by others, you are being prevented from meeting and discussing key issues with other forest users who share your views.  The open house process is a deliberate divide and conquer method to prevent controversy.  But controversy is good.  You and others learn from it.

Here are some reasons why a New England Town Meeting, public hearing or meeting with recorded verbal comments would be better:

-----1.  You get to hear your neighbors opinions and comment on them;

-----2.  The press and public officials get to know what is going on and they can talk to people who have shared important comments;

-----3.  Everyone in the room learns from the comments of others;

-----4.  You find new leaders when you hear particularly informed statements;

-----5.  The Forest Service would get more informed public comment than with the “open house”;

-----6.  The agency could set up certain hearings or town meetings with one or two key themes so that more people who are concerned about that particular issue could attend those hearings; 

-----7.  The hearing or town meeting could be set up with an “open house” so that the Forest Service still gets the information it wishes to share across, but the public and the Forest Service gain far greater benefit; and

-----8.  If there is controversy about the forest plan revision, the open discussion of it gives the agency the chance to review and change that part of the plan early enough to do a better job later in the process.  It prevents a larger outburst after the plan is final.

Here is what you can do to make the Forest Plan work for you:

/////--- 1.  Attend at least one of the public meetings, more if possible.  Call others to attend;

/////--- 2.  Insist that the meeting be a public hearing and that a record be kept of all comments.  Ask others at the meeting to object to the “open house” only process.  There must be a hearing.  If you are forced to create a little controversy of a fair hearing process, so be it.  Remember the Continental Congress.  No pain, no gain;

/////--- 3.  Make a video tape of the hearing and send a copy to American Land Rights;

/////---4.  Call Chuck at American Land Rights at (360) 687-3087 if you plan to attend a meeting.  ALRA will help you plan for your meeting and prepare if you want to put pressure on the Forest Service to include a real public hearing with their so called “open house”.

/////---5.  Call your forest to get on their Forest Plan mailing list.  Ask that a copy of your Forest Plan revisions be sent to you.  Ask for their mailing address.  Ask what their website is to see the entire Forest Plan;

/////---6.  Send a letter to your Forest Supervisor asking for an official open recorded public comment process like a New England style town meeting or public hearing instead of the current system of “open houses”.  An “open house” can still be part of the larger meeting;  and

/////---7.  Send a copy of your letter to your Congressman and Senators by fax and e-mail with a cover sheet to them from you.   Keep in mind that all regular mail to Congress must go through a chemical process looking for Anthrax so it is often delayed as long as six weeks.   All Congressmen and Senators can be reached at (202) 225-3121.   Ask for their fax number.  You can write them at:  Honorable ________ US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.  All Senators can be addressed at:  Honorable _____ US Senate, Washington, DC 20510.

Special Note:  You can obtain a VHS Video showing how one community in Maine forced the National Park Service to change to a public hearing concept from the old fashioned and non-functional open house concept.  Just call (360) 687-3087.  The tapes are $14.95 plus $3.00 shipping.

     American Land Rights is continuing our effort to reach out to ALL  FOREST  USERS NATIONWIDE.  We want to try to keep you informed about what is going to happen to you in the forest plan revision process.   In addition, you must know about the threat to all forest users from the fire issue.  The agency must not be allowed to terminate your uses because of fire.  

     Why reach out to other special use permittees nationwide?  Because Congress is a game of numbers.  If all users are involved, you have many more writing their Congressmen and building support for fair treatment.  By having all users involved, you don’t allow the Forest Service to divide and conquer you.  You are building a forest user friendly majority in Congress to support you.

    ALRA wants to keep you informed as the process goes along.  That is not possible without your support.  A small contribution will keep you on the mailing list and alerted to key issues affecting you.

     Mailing to all 105,000 forest special use permittees in the next few months will require over $50,000.  Postage, envelopes and paper are substantial when sending to 105,000 people.  In addition, thousands of e-mails and faxes must be sent.   When you send your membership, please consider sending an extra contribution to help keep all forest users informed and get them into the process.

Why you should be a Member of American Land Rights.
-----ALRA can keep you informed about threats to your forest use;

-----ALRA is your political insurance policy; 

-----ALRA has a powerful record of accomplishment in Congress;

-----Through ALRA, your voice is loudly heard in Washington, DC;

-----ALRA is known for its aggressive protection of members’ rights; 

-----You can use the landrights.org website for latest up-to-date information;

-----You have access to our full time office and staff in Washington, DC;

-----ALRA Washington DC Representative Mike Hardiman is one of the best;

-----You have a full time Headquarters in Battle Ground, Washington to help you;

-----Tens of thousands of allies in ALRA e-mail, fax and mail lists to help you win;

-----ALRA offers crisis management services to members and allies;

-----Grassroots organizing and coalition building to help you save your cabin or interest;

-----Day-to-day consulting on land use and environmental issues is available;  and

-----The Private Property Congressional Vote Index to make Congress accountable.

Here is what you should do now:

Xxxxx  Please consider a contribution to help our effort to keep you informed about important threats to your future.    You will also help alert all cabin owners, ranchers, miners, forestry users and other special use permittees to the danger and get them into action.  Any amount is appropriate.

Xxxxx  If you are a new member and send at least $25, you will receive a full membership in American Land Rights for a year.  That is $10 off our regular rate of $35. Help build a nationwide constituency to protect your use of our forests.

Xxxxx  Mail an extra contribution to help continue the mailings.   $50,000 is needed to generate the mass action necessary and the only way to get all forest special use permittees involved is to send letters to all of them.  They must be informed about the Forest Plan revisions and the threat to their long term future. Help build a special use permit friendly majority in Congress.  

Xxxxx  Please mail your check for $15, $30, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000 or other amount as an extra contribution.  This will allow ALRA to mail the necessary to alerts to tens of thousands of your allies. Help keep the forests open.  Don’t let certain groups lock them up.  Help build support in Congress. 

      The Forest Plan revisions will determine the future of your forest use.  You must be part of the process to protect your future rights.    Please make sure you attend one or more of the meetings (hopefully hearings) listed on the enclosed sheet.


Chuck Cushman

PS.  The coming Forest Plan revision process can make or break you and the future of your use in a national forest.   Insist on a real town meeting or public hearing process.   Insist that your comments be recorded.  Ask that a recorded comment period be added to the “open house” schedule the Forest Service already has.  

Make sure your are kept informed about threats to your use in the forests.  Over $50,000 must be raised quickly to get the letters out to every special use permittee nationwide.   Please do what you can to help us get as many forest users as possible informed and working together.  If you are a new member and send at least $25, you’ll receive a full years membership at $10 off the regular rate.  If you are in a position, please consider an extra contribution to help build a nationwide team to stop the land grabbers.  Our forests must be kept available for traditional users.  You can help.   Please mail it by Friday, June 4th.   Thank you.

Forest Service Forest Plan Meeting List

      National Forests in Southern California
            Angeles National Forest
            Cleveland National Forest
            Los Padres National Forest
            San Bernardino National Forest

            Mail Comments To:
            Southern California 
            Forest Plan Revisions
            Name of National Forest
            (if applicable)
            USDA Forest Service 
            Content Analysis Center
            P.O. Box 22777
            Salt Lake City, UT 84122


+++++  Attending the open houses (hopefully public hearings during the comment period will offer you  opportunity to find out more about: 
+++++  The six management alternatives evaluated in the DEIS and land use 
 zoning maps (as revised to reflect feedback from community open houses 
 in February-March 2003); 
+++++  Each forest's "preferred alternative" that is reflected in its draft 
Forest Plan; 
+++++  The new approach and organization of the draft Forest Plans; 
+++++   How the documents address special designations such as wilderness and 
 Wild and Scenic Rivers; and 
Commenting on the draft Forest Plans or DEIS.   (Not recorded or paid attention to.)
Written comments will be accepted at the open house.  You need to demand that the agency accept and record verbal comments as well.       

For recorded information about the plan revision including information 
about the open house schedule and comment period, please call the Forest Service toll-free phone number, (866) 252-8846.

Open House Schedule 
            Angeles National Forest
            May 26 ( Wednesday) 
            Santa Clarita Activities Center 
            20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 
            3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 

            May 27 (Thursday) 
            Ramada Inn, Emerald Room
            300 W. Palmdale Blvd.
            Palmdale, CA
            3:00 - 8:00 p.m.

            June 3 ( Thursday) 
            Foothill Christian Center 
            242 West Baseline Avenue, Glendora, CA 
            5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 

            June 4 (Friday) 
            Wrightwood Community Center 
            1275 Highway 2, Wrightwood, CA 
            3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 

            June 5 (Saturday) 
            Pasadena City College 
            Campus Center Lounge 
            1570 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 
            11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

            Cleveland National Forest
            May 10 (Monday) 
            San Diego Natural History Museum 
            Discovery Room 
            1788 El Prado 
            San Diego, CA 
            6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 11 (Tuesday) 
            Corona Public Library 
            650 S. Main Street 
            Corona, CA 
            6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 12 (Wednesday) 
            Ramona Community Center 
            434 Aqua Lane 
            Ramona, CA 
            6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 13 (Thursday) 
            Alpine Community Center 
            1830 Alpine Blvd. 
            Alpine, CA 
            6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 14 (Friday) 
            East Valley Community Center 
            2245 East Valley Parkway 
            Escondido, CA 
            6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 15 (Saturday) 
            City of San Juan Capistrano 
            Community Hall 
            25925 Camino Del Avion 
            San Juan Capistrano, CA 
            10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Los Padres National Forest

            May 17 (Monday) 
            Salinas Community Center 
            Santa Lucia Room 
            940 N. Main Street, Salinas, CA 
            6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 18 (Tuesday) 
            Big Sur Lodge Conference Room 
            Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 
            6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 19 (Wednesday) 
            South County Regional Center 
            800 West Branch Street, 
            Arroyo Grande, CA
            6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 20 (Thursday) 
            Goleta School District 
            Admin. Center Chamber Room 
            401 North Fairview Ave., Goleta, CA 
            6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 24 (Monday) 
            Frazier Park Community Hall 
            300 Park Drive, Frazier Park, CA 
            6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

            May 25 (Tuesday) 
            Soule Park Golf Course Banquet Room 
            1033 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 
            6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

            June 2 (Wednesday) 
            Pacific Valley Station 
            Highway 1, Pacific Valley, CA 
            5:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

            San Bernardino National Forest
            June 8 (Tuesday) 
            Big Bear Municipal Water District 
            40524 Lakeview Drive 
            City of Big Bear Lake, CA 
            7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 

            June 9 (Wednesday) 
            Mountains Community Senior Center 
            675 Grandview Road 
            Twin Peaks, CA 
            7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 

            June 10 (Thursday) 
            Pine Springs Ranch 
            58000 Apple Canyon Road 
            Garner Valley, CA 
            7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 

            June 15 (Tuesday) 
            Best Western Green Tree Inn
            14173 Green Tree Blvd.
            Victorville, CA
            7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

            June 16 (Wednesday) 
            USFS Danny Rhynes Training Center
            4121 Quail Canyon Road
            San Bernardino, CA
            7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

            June 17 (Thursday) **
            Lions Center West — Filippi Room
            9161 Baseline Road
            Rancho Cucamonga, CA
            7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Additional Note:    If you receive this message late for a meeting close by, you can attend other meetings to ask questions and comment about your local forest plan.  Don’t be limited by the Forest Service dividing up the meetings by forest.  Hopefully the agency will have changed to a public hearing format and your comments will be good at any hearing by the agency held anywhere listed on the attached sheet.

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