From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Bush Administration Seizes Private Property

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

Bush Administration Seizes Private Property

Urgent Action Required

Steve Petty, a small business owner of a little resort on Lake Berryessa, has been locked out of his facility that includes hundreds of other private rental users.  The Bureau of Reclamation has taken his private property, including major improvements to the resort, and plans to give them all to another operator.

The Bureau of Reclamation sent armed guards to take possession without the clear authority to do so.  BOR is being a very bad neighbor.

Trailer owners are restricted to their residence. If they choose to leave the resort with any items, those items may not be brought back.  Seasonal residents are trapped.  Nearly 200 other users are locked out with 2,000 more in jeopardy.  The 200 have received notice to vacate by this fall.  This BOR police action cannot be allowed to stand.

***See Action Items Below - - - - - - - -  Plan to make your calls, send your faxes and send those e-mails.  Gale Norton and the Interior Department must hear from you.

Are you a private property owner?

Do you use motorized watercraft?

Are you a water recreationist?

Are you a Federal land user?

Do you have a permit to use Federal land?

Are you a small business owner-operator?

Answer any of these questions yes and you need to pay close attention to this land grab and abuse by the Bureau of Reclamation at Lake Berryessa in Northern California.  It threatens all private and public use of Federal areas.

There is a plague spreading across the Federal lands.  It is a battle for future of recreation access in Federal areas.  What happens at Lake Berryessa will play a role in deciding whether access is allowed and encouraged by the Bureau of Reclamation and other agencies.  Or instead, will it be blockaded and severely limited as it appears to be today?

Gabe Friedman, Napa Register (California) writer said, “the future of the lakeshore has engendered a spirited feud between trailer owners and Berryessa area businesses on one hand, and the Bureau and environmental activists on the other.”

The Bureau of Reclamation is planning to eliminate 1,300 permit home sites (trailer and mobile home sites) and hundreds of docks at Lake Berryessa, California.  Many hundreds of people could be forced to remove their seasonal homes. 

BOR wants to reduce motorized watercraft from over 3,000 to 700. All seven resorts at the lake are in jeopardy.  An entire economic ecosystem around the lake is threatened including lots of small businesses. This man made lake is 26 miles long and 3 miles wide.  Special interest groups want to lock it up selfishly for themselves.

The holders of the 1,300 sites have been given notice they will likely have to get out.  Some by the end of the year.  They all rent space from the seven resort owners.  The resorts are not economically viable without the rental spaces.  No resorts, no real public use, no services, no supplies.

All this is to carry out a BOR plan to reduce access, close trailer and home sites, severely reducing motorized boating to a fraction, remove docks, lock out boats and generally bow to pressure from special interest groups to take the lake back toward a more Wilderness experience.  This process is happening all across the country.  That is because the greens are a very loud and vocal minority.  But Lake Berryessa is a poster child for BOR bad behavior.

Steve Petty, a small business owner of a little resort on Lake Berryessa has been locked out of his facility which includes hundreds of other users.  The BOR sent in armed guards to take possession without the clear authority to do so.

Seventy-three long term recreation site permittees and renters and over 100 dock owners have also been locked out.

The Bureau of Reclamation came in and locked down the entire Pleasure Cove Resort ignoring the law and contractual agreements.  The only barrier to continuation was a disagreement over a bond which was under active negotiation.  The original owner got sick and sold most of his assets to Steve Petty.  He died before he could convey his concession contact.

The BOR got impatient. BOR is using this as a chance to remove Steve Petty and undermine the other resort owners through their aggressive action.  Incredibly, Petty was applauded by BOR just three years ago for spending his own money to clean up a site the BOR said would cost over one million dollars for cleanup.

BOR wanted to teach the resort owner permittee a lesson and send a message to the other six resort owners as well as resort owners nationwide that they better follow the BOR line quickly and without resistance or they will pay the ultimate price.  They better not speak up or complain.

Steve Petty has operated for several years with official BOR temporary
concession contracts until all the details of the new contract could be worked out.

This appears to us to be a deliberate attempt to drive this resort operator off Federal land and take his personal property.

To add insult to injury, the father of Steve Petty and the few other seasonal residents are to some degree trapped.  They can leave the resort, but if they do they cannot bring back anything they take with them.  They are restricted to their home site and are not allowed to go outside or set foot on Federal land beyond the scope of their home site without an armed guard to go with them.  Petty’s father has a golf cart which he needs to get around and he has been prevented from using even that.  No guests are allowed to visit these lake residents.

Believe it or not, all those with private property, or motorized watercraft at the Pleasure Cove Resort are trapped too. They’ve been told they can leave with materials or supplies, but those materials cannot come back.  

If they take a boat on the lake, the boat cannot return. There are six other resorts on Lake Berryessa, all of whom now have to fear that if the BOR is successful getting rid of Steve Petty, owner of the Pleasure Cove Resort, BOR will come after them.  Under the proposed plan for Lake Berryessa, that looks likely.

The fundamental issue is the attempt by the Bureau of Reclamation to cut the number of boats and mobile home sites on Lake Berryessa down to a few hundred from the present thousands that are allowed.  They plan to do that by cutting off access to services and supplies which all come from seven resort owners.

Public access is going to be reduced.

1,300 trailer and mobile home sites will ultimately be eliminated.

Recreation access is being reduced or eliminated.

Motorized watercraft will be drastically reduced.

People are going to be locked out.

This is an attempt by the BOR to outdo what the National Park Service is doing in Yosemite -- drive the people out.  In Yosemite, thousands of campgrounds have been closed, parking spaces lost, and soon, visitors will have to see the park in busses.  The Park Service says it is crowded.  You bet.  They made the crowding much worse.

Now other agencies are following the special interest dogma by trying to reduce access of people to their natural resources.  These are the same people who want to remove Forest Service permit cabins, close all the Forest Service roads, cut off access to your forests, drive rural people into the cities and are trying to gain control over the nations recreation lakes and other Federal lands.

If the Bureau of Reclamation gets away with this atrocity, then everyone who uses a recreation lake or has a permit on other Federal lands will be far less safe.

What all this means is by standing up for Steve Petty and the hundreds of other affected families and small businesses at Lake Berryessa, you stand up for private property, recreation, access, boating, docks and public use where you live.

Here’s your message:

-----  Insist that the following officials get involved and take action to save Steve Petty and other users at Lake Berryessa.  This land grab and police action must be stopped.

-----  No private property should be taken without compensation.

-----  The BOR must follow Public Law 96-375. (see below)

-----  BOR must return management of the Resort to Steve Petty / Pleasure Cove Resort Asset Management Group.

-----  BOR must stop the removal of long-term tenants.

-----  BOR must stop the discrimination against long-term users and motorized watercraft.

-----BOR must throw out the present plan to cut down or eliminate public use and access by long-term site permittees, boaters, dock owners and the general public.

-----Bush Administration officials must require the Bureau of Reclamation be good neighbors at Lake Berryessa.

*** Action Items***  (bury these officials in calls, faxes and e-mails.)

***Please carry out at least one action item each day beginning Tuesday, May 17th.  Continue through the entire week.  Your calls, faxes and e-mails really make a difference. We’ll follow up with more e-mails giving you updates. Remember, by standing up for the victims at Lake Berryessa today, they will be there to fight for you tomorrow.

-----1.  Call, Fax and E-mail -- Secretary of Interior Gale Norton
(202) 208-7351 – FAX: (202) 219-2100 - gale_norton@ios.doi.gov

-----2.  Call, Fax and E-mail – Deputy Lynn Scarlett
(202) 208-4203  -- FAX: (202) 208-1873 – lynn_scarlet@ios.doi.gov

-----3.  Commissioner of Bureau of Reclamation – John Keyes
(202) 513-0501 – FAX:  (202) 513-0309 – jkeys@usbr.gov

-----4.  Mark Limbaugh – Deputy Commissioner of Reclamation
(202) 513-0540 – FAX: (202) 513-0309 – mlimbaugh@usbr.gov

-----5.  Call, fax and e-mail your local congressman.  Call any 
Congressman or Senator at (202) 225-3121.  Ask for their fax and e-mail.

-----6.  Call and fax the Resources Committee –Water and Power Subcommittee – Kiel Weaver -- (202) 225-8331 – FAX: (202) 226-6953

-----7.  Call and fax Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – Water and Power Subcommittee -- Kelly Donnelly -- (202) 224-4971 – FAX: (202) 228-0541 

It’s possible the Bush Administration does not know the BOR is out of
control at Lake Berryessa.  You need to make them hear you.  This kind of abuse of private property and private citizens cannot be allowed to continue.  This is not what the Red States and Red Counties voted for.

Please forward this message as widely as possible.

Public Law 96-375 October 3, 1980 - 96th Congress - An Act
Portion appropriate to Lake Berryessa

Sec. 5 	(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to enter into new negotiated concession agreements with the present concessionaires at Lake Berryessa, California. Such agreements shall be for a term ending not later than May 26, 1989, and may be renewed at the request of the concessionaires with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior for no more than two consecutive terms of 10 years each. Concession agreements may be renegotiated preceding renewal. Such agreements must comply with the 1959 National Park Service Public Use Plan for Lake Berryessa, as amended, and with the Water and Power Resources Service Reservoir Area Management Plan: Provided, That the authority to enter into contracts or agreements to incur obligations or to make payments under this section shall be effective only to the extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriation Acts. 

	(b) Notwithstanding any other laws to the contrary, all permanent facilities placed by the concessionaires in the seven resorts at Lake Berryessa shall be considered the property of the respective current concessionaires. Further, any permanent additions or modifications to these facilities shall remain the property of said concessionaires: Provided, That at the option of the Secretary of the Interior, the United States may require that the permanent facilities mentioned herein not be removed from the concession areas, and instead, pay fair value for the permanent facilities or, if a new concessionaire assumes operation of the concession, require that new concessionaire pay fair value for the permanent facilities to the existing concessionaire.

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