Action Needed: Help Save the Palm Canyon Epic!

Discussion in 'Trail Advocacy' started by sdmoondogg, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. sdmoondogg

    sdmoondogg Newbie

    Hi. I am cross posting this from the SDMBA forums in San Diego in hopes of reaching a wider Southern California audience.

    A Draft Environmental Impact Statement addressing environmental effects of a proposed land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Tribe) is now available for public review Agua Caliente-BLM Land Exchange, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office, Bureau of Land Management Californial and comment.

    Several of the proposed exchange scenarios, including the "Preferred" scenario, would remove sections of "The Palm Canyon Epic" The Palm Canyon Epic trail from the public ownership. We need everyone to send in comments in support of keeping trails publicly owned, before March 29th. A sample letter that you can cut-and-paste, add your name and personal experience, then send, is below.

    PLEASE SEND A COMMENT ASAP! Your comments do have an impact. This Draft EIS was motivated by SDMBA and public comments from a 2010 plan: "The public previously commented on the proposed land exchange in response to the BLM’s release in 2010 of Environmental Assessment CA-060-0010-0005. A high level of controversy was stimulated by the proposal; comments were received from 144 individuals, ten organizations, and three governmental entities. Based on public comments and upon further internal review, it was determined that preparation of an environmental impact statement is necessary to address potentially significant effects of the proposed land exchange." Lets aim for over 1000 individual comments this time, WE NEED YOU to help keep one of the best trails in SoCal open to mountain bikes.

    Scenario 1 would keep the Palm Canyon Epic and a popular hiking trail as BLM land and gain a parcel from the Tribe containing trail. On this map, CalTopo - BLM land exchange parcels in red are BLM land up for trade in the other scenarios, but would stay BLM in Scenario 1. Yellow are BLM land that will become Tribe in Scenario 1, and orange is Tribe that will become BLM in Scenario 1. The trails are shown as black/red dashed lines.

    Questions? Post them below.

    Please also send to your Congressperson Find Your Representative · and the Congressman from Palm Springs

    FAX to (760) 833-7199,
    email to
    mail to: National Monument Manager, Bureau of Land Management, 1201 Bird Center Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
    Subject: BLM-Agua Caliente Land Exchange
    Dear National Monument Manager,
    I am submitting comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the proposed land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (ACBCI).  I support Scenario 1, which would keep all the BLM parcels containing popular trails (T.5S. R.4.E. section 36; T.4S. R.4E.  section 16 & 36) as BLM managed land and help reduce the "checkerboard" landownership by consolidating BLM land base.  These trails should remain within public ownership to preserve recreation and access, as the ACBCI has historically not allowed mountain bike access on their trails and charges for hiking/equestrian access.
    To increase the viability of Scenario 1, the appraisal should consider that the ~2 ACBCI parcels lack infrastructure for traditional (dense high monetary value) suburban development and have similar value as the ~6 BLM parcels proposed for exchange in Scenario 1.  All other Scenarios are not in the environments or public's best interest.
    The "Palm Canyon Epic" (Palm Canyon-Indian Poterro-Hahn-Cathedral Canyon-Wild Horse-Goat Trails) is nationally regarded as the best long distance desert mountain bike ride in Southern California.  I strongly support having the entire trail system under BLM management (including a short rerouting of Indian Poterro to not cross ACBCI land) so that future generations can experience the natural beauty and remoteness of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument on their mountain bikes.  Recreation such as mountain biking, hiking, and horse back riding help promote the protection of public lands.
    cc: Congressman Ruiz
          My US Congressman
    Please complete a short survey after submitting your comment.

  2. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    East Sacramento
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    This seems to come up every couple of years. I think the land managers are hoping for some inaction/inattentiveness in order to push this through. Good job looking out for us!
    That said, get out there and ride it asap-you never know when access will change.
    I sent the letter too!
    DangerDirtyD likes this.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Lebec, California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    THANK YOU sdmoondogg! For taking the time to post this.

    One of the things I have ALWAYS found powerful out of STR, was its participation in letter writing petition signing, etc, etc, etc...
    I'm asking the imtbtrails family to step and do that as well. We talk about trail advocacy, I know it can be time away from family, riding bikes, and sometimes just a plain hassle. Some of us think we don't have the writing skills to articulate what we are trying to say.

    None the less...
    Write letters showing logical concerns, don't drop "F" Bombs, don't swear, don't attack other user groups. Simply state that you enjoy having access and that you would wish to continue to have access. Talk about being a tax payer, a voter, a wilderness pass obtainer, about the efforts you put forth to maintain trails. The fact that you are a member of this web site and other web sites that believe in trail advocacy.

    If there are petitions out there . . . sign them! It takes all of us to keep our trails open.
    If you need help, or we need a form letter so you can copy and paste your signature at the bottom...let me know. I'll write it if need be.
    Just don't do nothing.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing..." ~Edmund Burke

    Bike On!
    DangerDirtyD likes this.
  4. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Western US
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    GG Smash
    Thanks for posting this, SDmoom. A good situation to keep tabs on and be vigilant of.

    I like the look of Scenario 1. What will be the fate of the Indian Potrero section before the sand wash? Not a deal breaker to lose it, but the short alternate route is sandy and not bike friendly.

    Thanks again...
    DangerDirtyD likes this.
  5. 406

    406 Member

    San Diego
    Current Bike:
    Got the email blast from the BLM yesterday with the final plan...GOOD NEWS! None of the parcels BLM is letting go include trails of interest.

    I updated the labels on the map I put together for the call to action from several years ago (2015!) to reflect the final plan:

    4 of the yellow ones are going to the tribe, plus $50k. BLM gets the two orange ones. BLM keeps all the red ones, plus 1 of the yellow...parcels that were considered but not included in the final transfer. I think safe to assume BLM receiving around 500 emails from mountain bikers objecting helped keep access to the Palm Canyon Epic. Thanks to everyone that sent in a comment.
    ~JB~, Rumpled, rossage and 9 others like this.
  6. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    San diego
    Evan S
    Next step once this is all with BLM to re-route the tiny bit of Indian potrero that crosses into parcel #26!
    ~JB~, Rumpled and mtnbikej like this.