SACRAMENTO, CA (February 12, 2014) — The Bureau of Land Management California State Director announced that yesterday he signed the Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan for the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) in central California. BLM manages over eighty percent of the 75,000 CCMA, which has been subject to massive closures to all human access based on alleged health and safety fears over naturally-occurring asbestos found in the CCMA. Yesterday’s decision, which concludes a process started in 2009, adopts the “preferred alternative” which would continue the closures that were originally imposed by BLM on a “temporary” basis in 2005. BLM’s announcement was published in today’s Federal Register, and can be viewed online HERE.
“This is an unfortunate but perhaps anticlimactic step in a ‘planning’ process that has dragged on for years,” said Don Amador, Western Representative of the BlueRibbon Coalition, a group which has long advocated for greater public access to the CCMA. “Despites decades of regular use, there are virtually no cases of death or injury attributable to exposure to the CCMA’s chrysotile asbestos, but BLM made it clear long ago that at the CCMA it will close in fear rather than actively manage,” Amador noted. “We will continue to pursue our administrative, judicial, and legislative strategies designed to restore balanced management to the CCMA,” Amador concluded.
BLM’s announcement indicates that “several decisions” are appealable to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. In addition, Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced on April 26, 2013 the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act (113th Congress, HR 1776) which would designate wilderness, new components of the national wild and scenic rivers system, and restore portions of previously-designated motorized and nonmotorized recreational access to the CCMA. Representative Farr’s bill is supported by both wilderness supporters and pro-access advocates such as BlueRibbon. The bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. Its text may be viewed online HERE.
The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well — all sports; all trails. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB – www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org.