Speak out to keep a destructive road out of California's White Mountains

Furnace Creek is a rare desert stream that drains America's largest desert mountain range, the White Mountains of California's eastern Sierra. The creek's surrounding ecosystem of cottonwoods and willows provides habitat to endangered species such as the southwestern willow flycatcher and the western sage grouse.

The Bureau of Land Management has proposed constructing a new
(and unnecessary) road through the heart of Furnace Creek that would cut across the White Mountains Wilderness Study Area and invite motorized vehicles into other fragile lands of the White Mountains. The road also would lead to illegal off-road vehicle activity, resulting in habitat damage and conflicts with hikers, equestrians, hunters, anglers and other visitors.

The BLM is accepting comments on its road proposal through December 11th.

== What to do == Send a message, before the December 11th comment deadline, urging the BLM not to build the road through Furnace Creek and the surrounding wilderness of the White Mountains.

== Contact information == You can send an official comment to the BLM directly from NRDC's Earth Action Center at //www.nrdc.org/action or use the contact information and sample letter below to send your own message.

Hector Villalobos, Field Office Manager BLM Ridgecrest Field Office
300 South Richmond Road Ridgecrest, CA 93555 Fax: 760-384-5499 Email: hector_villalobos@ca.blm.gov

== Sample letter ==

Subject: Adopt Alternative 2 for Furnace Creek

Dear Field Manager Villalobos,

I urge you to protect the rare desert riparian ecosystem of Furnace Creek and the White Mountains Wilderness Study Area. I oppose any new road construction in this endangered riparian wetland.

I urge you to adopt Alternative 2 of the Furnace Creek Environmental Assessment. This alternative offers the best management, follows the law and would advance the public's interest in conservation and sustainable recreation for these lands. I strongly oppose Alternative 4 because building a road along Furnace Creek is unjustifiable, harmful and illegal.

Current laws clearly prohibit motorized vehicles and new road construction in wilderness study areas, and require a full environmental impact statement before approving any road through such an area. The proposal also fails to demonstrate a sufficient need for a road through Furnace Creek, where there are no private lands or other driving access needs. In addition, building a road through Furnace Creek would lead to unauthorized off-road vehicle use throughout these wilderness lands, resulting in more habitat damage and conflicts with hikers, equestrians, hunters, anglers and other visitors. The proposal also fails to demonstrate how the BLM would effectively monitor and enforce motorized use in this fragile area and the wild lands that surround it.

Again, I urge the BLM to live up to its stewardship responsibilities for Furnace Creek and the White Mountains by halting this ill-conceived and illegal proposal.


[Your name and address]

From California Activist Network Action Alert, 12/4/06


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