McCarthy chops away at wilderness protection

April 16, 2011

Kevin McCarthy

Cong. Kevin McCarthy, whose district includes much of San Luis Obispo County, introduced legislation Friday designed to cut back wilderness protection efforts. [San Francisco Chronicle]

McCarthy, the third ranking Republican in the House proposed a bill that would roll back the Clinton-era rule protecting 60 million acres of roadless Forest Service land and release all wilderness study areas to multiple use. It would also bar future administrations from protecting new wilderness.

The legislation, called  “The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act”  has environmentalists in an uproar, with Paul Spitler of the Wilderness Society calling it the “greatest attack on wilderness in the history of the Wilderness Society.”

McCarthy’s bill is not expected to become law, but the move clearly signals Republican hostility to attempts such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s to expand the California Desert Protection Act.

Spitler said the proposed legislation would wipe out millions of acres from wilderness protection. “Your favorite places where you love to hunt, fish or hike? Gone. Protection for our drinking water and habitat for wildlife? Gone… If passed, this legislation would open wilderness-caliber lands to destructive threats, including oil and gas development, uncontrolled off-road vehicle use and other unchecked development. It would essentially prohibit the Forest Service and BLM from managing pristine lands to protect their wilderness values.”




Oh, the best kind of protection is use and not disuse.

Part of the problem we have with our runaway forest fires is that some time ago a decision was made to leave everything as it is… what a disaster that has turned out to be.

I guess it is better to clear cut the Brazilian and Philippine forests than manage our own resources… this is the right bill at the right time.



Thats not true. The problem with our forestrydepartment fire prevention programs was that they tried to stop every small fire that propped up. This almost instictualy seems like a good idea but after decades of this the undergrowth which nature kept in check by fire had grown so thick that our forrests had become overgrown tinderboxes fueled by deacdes of kinddeling. It wasnt until the massive fires in Yellow Stone close to 20 years ago that we began to realize the sittuation.

This is the right bill at the right time? you gotta be kidding me right? nice talking point


Osos is right on. It was counter intuitive but now accepted science that nature usually takes care of things in a controlled manner. Almost every time we mess with that we screw things up (erosion control, fire suppression, flood aversion programs). Look at the huge estuaries and swamps around New Orleans that USED to take care of ocean surge and so on. We wiped out most of that for crappy little levies that were a near total failure-and of course all this talk is mostly about protecting humans and their gold. What about nature, animals rocks and trees. Our air and water quality that all living things depend on?

Short sighted (and often very profitable for some) ‘solutions’ are old hat, yet the neo cons would send us back to the stone age of MANIFEST DESTINY, wherein all nature is subservient to man.


Lets not forget “Manifest destiny” term was coined by, and also the position of the Democrats dating back to the 1840’s. And although I see your point I believe Neocons feel quite the opposite in that if it was up to the Dems and Libs we’d all be back to the stone age residing in caves with no power,cars,modern anything because its environmentally unfriendly. No doubt energy needs are a problem, however were running out of alternatives that agree to everyone. As far as protecting resources there’s only wrong and right and both Dems and Rep’s can be self righteous hypocrites


IN the 1840’s the Democrats were the conservative party

Besides being historicly disengenous your post is a just a bunch of rambling nonsense. A collection of fragmented half thoughts. The next time you wish to rub one out try not to do it in public no one wants to see the tiny tool you have to work with


“The fire service tried to stop every small fire that propped up was the problem”? Ever occur to you there wouldn’t be a problem if it was managed correctly? So what you’re saying is to let it burn without intervention because nature will take care of things, your upper small tool needs an adjustment bub.


Sure undertow, except I didnt say that. What I said was that our original policy of stamping everything out and trying to let nothing burn was short sighted and led to a larger more dangerous sittuation. when fires happen they create a buffer zone that will keep later fires in check but since none of those fires were allowed to happen there is so much undergrowth theres no place for a fire to stop in the way it would if its lines came up against another place that had already burned.


You are right oso, but you’re talking to a table if you’re addressing Roger. It’s very difficult for Baggers to think outside of the box. But you are right, nature will take care of the forest if we let her.

With their line of thought I wonder how they feel that the earth survived prior to industrialization or the stone age for that matter. I wonder how the entire earth without man was able to cope with things such as fire without us. As always they feel that they must conquer everything including nature.

When one visits Yellowstone they will frequently see signs that show appreciation for that huge fire, as you said they’ve learned a lot from it. It’s amazing how it’s come back to life, and it’s come back bigger and better. They thought at the time that Yellowstone was devastated but they now know that Yellowstone needed that fire. You are 100% correct about that, they now know to let nature take it’s place. The powers that be still go back and forth on that topic but one trip to Yellowstone tells us that we need to let forest fires take place and let them burn.


McCarthy was put in office with the clear expectation that he will do everything possible to turn over public property to business, enriching his investors at the expense of the general public. Check his record. He does not veer from this strategy. He is an absolute tool. He does NOT work for you or me. He is a bought and paid for puppet, reading his script exactly as he has been told.

Kevin Rice

Much confusion/distortion going on here. WSA is an effort to take millions of acres and close them to public access. Contrary to the *LIAR*, Paul Spitler, this keeps open your favorite hunting, fishing, and hiking areas.

For danika:

Motorized mobility

Written by Amy Granat

As the motorized access landscape changes throughout the country, the new paradigm that widespread closures have wrought to American society must be examined. Much has been said about the vulnerability of endangered and threatened species, and access to public lands is often limited or prohibited by legal action in attempts to “protect” these species. But the effects of these closures on the human species are rarely, if ever, investigated.

Although we have a great tradition in this country of standing up for those that have little or no voice, and for protecting the rights of the less advantaged in our society, those that depend on motorized vehicles for access, recreation, or any of the many other reasons that one uses motorized vehicles, have not been considered in the closure scenario. This includes the very young, the very old, and all those in between that suffer from one form or another of disability.

Disabled people lose their rights of access completely when it comes to closing vast areas of land to motorized access. Congressional Wilderness designations, Inventoried Roadless Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, or rules such as the Travel Management Rule, particularly Sub-part A, represent land management plans that exclude the needs of a significant section of the population. The ever-increasing restrictions against motorized access by land management agencies constitutes a practice of discrimination that heretofore has been unrecognized.

Discrimination is a strong term, but limiting access to only those that are the fittest and most able is a very real problem that has not only been allowed to persist, but to flourish.

One small level of American society is being clearly favored over another. Wilderness and other large land mass closures have created an elite level of American society. The wants and needs of the very few who are able-bodied and physically fit, are elevated over those who are young, old and disabled. While those that can walk might marvel at the beauty of a desert scene, or the clarity of mountain stream, they do this to the disadvantage of those that lack the physical ability to do so.

It is understood that there are special areas in the country that deserve some form of protection from development, but not protection from the very people who actually own this land — every member of American society. Access can be managed and does not have to include or encompass every square inch of an area, but there has to be a parity between what is able to be accessed by non-motorized means, and what is able to be accessed by motorized means.

Similarly, to insist that “quiet” non-motorized recreation is more important or valuable than “quiet” motorized recreation is to acknowledge a bias and a blatant disregard for the needs of many members of American society.

It is difficult to understand actions that endorse closure over management, and impossible to understand why agencies and organizations, governmental or non-governmental, would endorse or promote these discriminatory actions.

I am not only issuing a condemnation of current land use policies, but I am offering a solution that will consider the needs of all Americans. To create a fair and balanced approach to treasured public land areas, we need a way to measure access that can be used to insure parity of opportunity. In response to this need, I have developed a process called Motorized Mobility to use as a means to fairness and non-discriminatory action when approaching land use plans and management.

It’s become obvious that we can’t leave it to the goodwill of agencies and organizations to insure fairness in allocating road and trail mileage. History has shown us that they will not consider the needs of the less able. Motorized Mobility gives land use managers a new tool, a new way to reverse the long-standing history of discrimination against the disabled. The first step is the need for a legislative mandate to insure fairness, and we can all work towards this goal.

Motorized Mobility should be incorporated as part of the public NEPA process, alongside the wildlife and hydrology reports, the identification of points or routes of interest will take place using a collaborative method with the public. Use of an expert in disability would be advantageous and recommended.

1. What is Motorized Mobility? Motorized Mobility measures motorized access to identified points of interest in public lands, including open spaces, forests and wild-lands. This type of analysis would become mandatory during land use planning and management.

2. How is Motorized Mobility used as a guideline? Unique points of interest or routes of interest will be identified during a scoping process, then these will be marked and defined either as Primary Access Routes, or Secondary Access Routes. One Primary Access Route constitutes the minimum necessary to be in compliance with the Motorized Mobility guideline. Motorized Mobility routes will be listed specifically on a map, and each land area will be rated for compliance on a scale from 0 to 100.

3. What is the definition of compliance? If it has been determined that an area has 5 points/routes of interest, each point will need a Primary Access Route. The addition of a Secondary Access Route will increase the scoring for that land area.

4. Who will measure and score a land area for Motorized Mobility? Each federal and state agency will need a specialist in Motorized Mobility to determine compliance. Each new land use management plan, amendment or rule, will need to add Motorized Mobility as one of the management criteria.


Thanks, Slorider. My father was a disabled Korean war Vet. and had a lust for adventure but was stiffled by his inability to get to those places reserved only for those “fit” taxpayers. It’s wonderful to see someone stepping up for those who are no less a person because they are in a wheelchair. Much appreciated!


Are you telling me you really are concerned for more disabled access or or do you just want more access to ride your dumbbikes and rip up more wilderness? I’ve got an idea, how about we put up a network of boardwalks in the dunes, limit the speed to 5mph. Two problems solved, less particulates in the air and more handicapped access! You two Kevins are just a couple of annoying Schills.


I haven’t yet seen offroaders turn over any of their OHV trails or OHV areas to disabled riders. Wilderness is already serving visitors with disabilities, who travel by raft, canoe or kayak on river trips and who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids on land trips.


HAHAHAHA!! Listen to the Liberals SCREAM!!!

So typical of ya’ll to blame it on the big corporations. The liberal democrat enviro whacks have been removing access to lands that belong to all of our citizenry for years and years and years. It’s about darned time we get some of it back.

I just gotta love your “sky is falling” approach, too. Yeah, as soon as it becomes non-wilderness, us neo con, tea-bag, gun-totin’, non-tax payin’, land rapists are gonna run right out and start cutting roads through it, building nuclear power plants on it, and anything else we can think of do destroy it.

You’re so short-sighted that you think this could only be possible if it were the Bad Corporate America doing this. What you fail to realize is that this is a response to MILLIONS of concerned citizens that are simply sick and tired of the Liberal Agenda on public lands being crammed down our throats.

Bend over Libs, things are about to get real ugly for you while we take back our country!

See ya in the streets!


Um, let’s see, which president was the one to start our national parks ? Oh yeah, Teddy Roosevelt , a REPUBLICAN. As for MILLIONS of concerned citizens, how about the other 308 million Americans? We, Americans all, want to have our resources protected, clean air and water, and we don’t want to “sell” to the highest bidder which would most likely be not an American corporation, but a multinational corporation. As for bending over, let’s see what happens in 2012. My prediction is an overwhelming sweep of both Houses of Congress and President Obama getting re-elected handily.


Wow, gleeful but disappointing response to a serious topic. The ignorant arrogance evident here is typical of the the current right wing-blame the ‘liberals’ for everything and TAKE BACK YOUR COUNTRY! Take back your country… From who? Take it back from legally elected officials? They didn’t take any ‘country’. Take it back from those commie ‘liberals’? We didn’t take anything, in fact we have lost to your rich benefactors who have seduced you into thinking you are right, different, and better than the rest of us.

So who is it you wish to take the country back from? And what constitution do your worship? I wonder if you are one of those people that feel the Bill of Rights is a commie conspiracy- to take your country from you.


Why? What does he hope to gain? Why do the tea bags hate the environment so much? There’s plenty of places that they can drive on why do they have to have it all? Typical greedy right wing nonsense. They don’t want to pay their fair share in taxes, they want to take away the small amount of wilderness that’s left. They are just selfish, they want it all. Divide and conquer whether it be the environment or people that disagree with them. They are looking at the liberals and the independent minded people and saying ‘scr@w you, give it all to me and do everything my way’. They are like spoiled little children that don’t appreciate what they have.


Why? What do the environmentalists hope to gain? Why do they hate recreation and access to our public lands so much? They are like spoiled children who want all of our public lands to themselves and can’t abide by sharing what we have.

Two can play at this game. It’s all great fun, but it doesn’t really address the opponent’s arguments, does it? I’m a moderate Republican who identifies with some of the values of the Tea Partiers. And, I like the environment. I certainly don’t want to see all of my favorite four-wheeling and mountain biking spots paved over and developed or trashed by people who don’t give a damn. So, what does that make me?


The GOP, party of the top 1% and greed.


Absolutely, a perfect example is Obama the Dems and GE’s Jeffery Immelt, the Dem’s Job creation boy. Who’s screwing who there bruddah?


Yes, yes, yes, Congressman McCarthy is simply responding to his “constituents”, that is big business, the oil, gas, mineral and logging companies that want “OUR” national natural resources without regulation, without paying fair share for them, and absolutely no concern for the environmental damage that would be done in “harvesting” those resources. Is anyone honestly surprised at this? Really? And like beachrat wrote, ” …. doing everything in their power to see that President Obama is re-elected.” Absolutely. Of course one has to remember that occasionally one “has to dance with who brought ya'”, meaning he is attempting to repay his corporate donors with proposed legislation like this. I do hope all of the people that voted for him do remember in 2012 that he has voted to eliminate Medicare once and for all.


Well, McCarthy is just following the party line, being a good soldier. This is local, but they are trying to do the same and worse all over our country. Environment, Social Security, Medicare, education, aid to the most unfortunate in our society, and doing everything in ther power to see that President Obama is re-elected. Good job Kevin , keep it up,



Do you know who he is? This isn’t local, he is a federal official. Jeez.

The neo cons and their modern brain dead surrogates the tea party flip outs will stop at nothing until they have ruined the country for the benefit of their corporate masters. These efforts will even damage and kill rank and file tea baggies-how they get those dupes to vote for them is political mastery.


The roadless ban completely prevents disabled people enjoy the wilderness areas. Why isn’t the American Disabilities Act pertinent to this ban? Who is speaking up for them???


Um, they are. Just not EVERYWHERE. Ever go to state or national parks? Plenty of handicap access.

This is just another way the CONservatives are trying to destroy US and our environment!


And why not “everywhere”? The American Disabilities Act pretty much has defined everywhere as, well, everywhere….are you saying those who are disabled have less right to everywhere than you do?


Plenty of handicapped access you say. I’ll make you a deal there JohnnyB. I’ll buy you a ultralight wheelchair and see if you make it thru a place like the Mojave trail before its closed again by greenines. I’ll sponsor you $500 a mile and supply all the water you can drink but you’ll need to complete all 100+ miles, we got a deal?

Fact is some of us don’t like the tourist traps you call parks and prefer going far off the beaten path,there is no handicapped access in the real outdoors and motorized access is the only way to survive a crossing or visit. There isnt a teabagger as Typoqueen call us who wants our public land destroyed with development,just reopened like PUBLIC lands should be for everybody.


@rally, there should be all kinds of land use. There should be wilderness that’s open to OHV, there should also be land that is preserved. Why should it be all or nothing. I’m not against having places to take your cars, motorcycles etc. and there are places for that, that’s fine IMO and I believe that most rational people get that. Just let those of us that believe that it’s important to have some real wilderness have that. This earth is getting smaller and smaller as we keep multiplying, we need to save some of it. I enjoy going off the beaten path to explore the great outdoors but I have no problem also having pristine clean and 100% natural habitat.

I don’t like Teabaggers. Not all repubs are Teabaggers, TBs are those selfish extreme righties that want everything their way without compromise, they thrive on hatred. They don’t care at all about the planet or other people just what’s good for them,,,and they’re not too bright. Teabaggers=selfish jerks.


I agree some places should be protected however I believe you have no idea just how much has been closed in recent decades and it never stops, literally. Little by little our families have been squeezed out, or put into areas so small its no longer suitable for safe motorized recreation. If it wasn’t for the likes of the Blue Ribbon coalition and others working in the same capacity Im confident by now literally every OHV area in Ca would be closed down. Left for use by those only in the best physical shape who choose to hike or bike into the areas. Ive used and enjoyed remote desert areas far from anything only to later have it discovered by greens who are fighting their own personal battle and had the area closed off just because they could. The National parks and local are great and again if you like to be shoved into a government controlled box and pay $30 a night to camp out than have at it. There isn’t a public land user I know of who thrives on hatred as you put it,however there are plenty of greenies who do when they don’t get their way in closing us out and that’s a fact.


So your saying beyond doubt the Tea baggers are the ONLY ones with hatred and a personal agenda to fill when it comes to land access or use issues? I hope you don’t really believe that lie. Speaking of hatred? read up and number of posts here clearly not from tea baggers and its obvious from the personal attacks and name calling hatred is plentiful from the other side. To think you guys bitched about the likes of Glenn Beck and his TV show.that’s funny chit. LOL


I wonder what point you are making. Would you like roads carved into our wilderness areas so car bound folks can drive through? No sense. Soon as roads go in so do the dirt bikes, dune buggies, fire starters and so on. These areas are to be LEFT ALONE. Wanna look at them? Charter a plane a do a fly over.

McCarthy is just a whore for the money machine. Those in his district should kick his as on this. The dumb ass neo cons are starting a see-saw government, with each new change of power all the old laws are to be thrown out for new ones, and so on. Just like a banana republic.

I was part of the nation wide process in the 90s when Bill brought these issue to our attention. Neither he nor any politician told us what would be done, instead they set up a long lasting national debate in nearly every town with forest service personnel, recreational vehicle people, hunters, commie tree huggers and everyone else invited to the national debate. After all that the rules were formulated to serve the people and protect much wilderness. Now the money grubbing repos want to wave a pen and take all that away, no consultation with us. I wonder where they get their votes; surely this country is not such a haven for idiots as the numbers seem to indicate.


No, actually the point I am making is the persons with disabilities have a right to go precisely and exactly where YOU are able to go. Their tax dollars are equal to yours; their rights no less important than yours. If YOU can go enjoy this great land, so should they….


Sounds nice in theory, and if you believe in absolute rights. But the reality with wilderness is that the people who are fit and willing to endure discomfort are the ones who gain the benefits, as it should be, IMO, whether they are disabled or not. Please no roads in our wilderness areas. Hunters don’t need roads. Campers don’t need roads. No roads.

By the way, some paraplegics are already enjoying the wilderness:


“Absolute rights” for only those who are not disabled? Is that the kind of country YOU want to live in??? I sure don’t. Absolute equal rights for everyone; disabled, race, origin, nationality, gender, etc. Might be idealistic view but it should be just that…equal for all.

As far as paraplegics enjoying the wilderness, I never said some don’t. I simply feel ALL should benefit from the same rights you do.


For example what is your vision re absolutely equal rights when it comes to wilderness. What does it look like, this ideal wilderness that is fully accessible?