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Editor’s Note: Shared with our readers directly from BlueRibbon Coalition/  A Column of Smoke on the Horizon – How to Oppose the 30×30 Lockup... Blue Ribbon Coalition Action Alert!

Editor’s Note: Shared with our readers directly from BlueRibbon Coalition/

A Column of Smoke on the Horizon – How to Oppose the 30×30 Lockup of our Land

Last fall, I was driving home on the freeway, and I noticed a large column of smoke on the horizon. Even though it was wildfire season, the smoke didn’t look like the initial column of a wildfire. It was dark black. As I got closer to the smoke the traffic on the freeway stopped, and it became clear that something was on fire on the road miles ahead of us. I ended up stuck on the freeway for hours, and it turns out a lettuce truck and an RV had gotten in an accident and the fire was the result of both vehicles burning. Fortunately, there weren’t serious injuries, and the only fallout was the time that was lost stuck on the freeway for me and thousands of others. But, the sign was there. The smoke column on the horizon was a signal that we should’ve found a different route or delayed our travel.

This experience on the freeway in Utah came to mind this week when we learned some disturbing news that local BLM offices are being told to revisit their travel plans based on directives from the Department of Interior in DC that will require them to close hundreds of miles of roads. This is added to the rumors we’re hearing that BLM is being directed to manage areas that are part of proposed wilderness bills as if they are wilderness. Even though the bills that are proposed to create these wilderness areas have almost no chance of passing in Congress, we are hearing that BLM will be exploring ways to close roads and manage them as wilderness anyway.

The news from Utah is consistent with another case where we’ve seen the Sequoia National Forest in California cancel its Piute Travel Planning process, so they can start over with the goal posts moved decidedly in the direction of closing more roads and trails. BRC, local governments, and other non-profit partners spend countless hours participating in plans like these, and it feels like agency leaders are trying everything they can to subvert the legal requirements to collect and consider relevant feedback.

It will be through hundreds or thousands of small decisions and actions that 30% of our lands and waters will be locked up by 2030. Every day it feels like there’s a new column of smoke on the horizon, and we need to adjust accordingly.

This is why we’ve picked up the pace at BRC. This is why we’ve invested in creating multiple action alerts to make it easy for you to add your voice to these processes. Of course, we’re adding our voice on behalf of our members as well. We are 100% confident that if we don’t show up at all, that we will lose unprecedented amounts of access. So, we have to show up. We are also convinced that if we show up in force with good information, that we can prevent some of worst outcomes on the horizon from becoming reality.

In this update we want to share two new action alerts to enlist your help to contact your members of Congress to oppose two major wilderness proposals that will lock up tens of millions of acres of land in Colorado, California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. We’re here to help you see what’s coming and work together to chart a better path as we try to avoid the 30×30 lockdown of our public lands.

Ben Burr

Executive Director

Action Alert 1: Help Create a Record of Opposition to the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act

The House Natural Resources Committee will be holding a hearing on the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act on February 15. This gargantuan wilderness bill will close 23 million acres of public land to the public In Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington. It was introduced by Representative Maloney from New York, who has no business or mandate from her constituents to lock up 23 million acres of land in states she doesn’t represent. Click the button below to learn more about this bill and find our action alert tool.

Contact Your Member of Congress

Action Alert 2: Contact Your Representative about the PAW (Protecting America’s Wilderness) Act

Colorado Representative Diana Degette is sponsoring the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, also known as the PAW Act. This proposed legislation includes designating 1.3 million acres of land as Wilderness and over 1,000 miles of river as Wild and Scenic. Many of the areas being proposed are currently designated as wilderness study areas or areas with wilderness characteristics. This bill would officially designate them as Wilderness, resulting in lost access forever. This bill has already passed the House when it was snuck into the National Defense Authorization Act. Fortunately the Senate stripped it out, and it’s future in Congress is still uncertain. Now is a good time to make sure your members of Congress know how devastating this bill would be for outdoor recreation access. We have a full briefing of the Act and an action alert you can use to contact your Represtative by simply clicking the button below:

Oppose the PAW Act


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We are incredibly grateful for the support of our members. You are the lifeblood of our organization. You create the foundation of our fundraising. You amplify our voice through public comments. Together we’re educating a growing number of Americans about how to be better stewards of the land, recreate responsibly, and engage meaningfully with land managers. As the smoke columns grow on the horizon, we need to be growing the movement, and one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is by following and sharing our social media content. If you don’t already follow us, we invite you to do so. We especially need followers on Instagram, because once you reach 10,000 followers they activate your account to share links. It’s frustrating to put a lot of effort into action alerts that need to be accessed with a link, but Instagram won’t let us use links until we have a bigger following.

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