June 1, 2012 |
Do we really need a day set aside to remind us to take a walk in the woods? Apparently so. National parks and forests across the country will waive entrance fees June 9 to mark National Get Outdoors Day, or GO Day, as it's called. The deal: GO Day visitors to Grand Canyon National Park save the $25 entrance fee. There are also free ranger-led activities, such as a three- to four-hour hike down the South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge; an easy walk to see marine fossils; and a guided bicycle ride on the South Rim. When: Fees will be waived June 9. Details: The fee-free day in Southern California means you won't need to display a $5 Adventure Pass to visit the Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland and San Bernardino national forests.
May 15, 2012 |
Active U.S. servicemen and women and their families will receive a new perk come Saturday: free passes to more than 2,000 public lands nationwide. The Department of the Interior and the Joining Forces initiative announced Tuesday that passes would be available starting on Armed Forces Day on Saturday. "Just 1% of Americans are fighting our wars, but we need 100% to support our troops and their families," Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar said in a news conference Monday.
April 12, 2012
From the start, there were indications that the U.S. Forest Service didn't respond aggressively enough during the 2009 Station fire in the Angeles National Forest. Now there are signs that it moved too aggressively to plant a million seedlings in an attempt at post-fire reforestation. As Times staff writer Louis Sahagun reports, only about a fourth of the pine and fir seedlings have survived so far, less than a third of the hoped-for number. Dry conditions this year would have made things difficult in any event, but many mistakes were surprisingly avoidable: planting in areas that experts now agree are too steep and rocky for tree survival; planting species that either aren't native to the area or weren't growing in those specific areas before; planting at too low an elevation; and planting more trees than typically grow in these areas.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 2012 |
By all accounts, the 400-pound black bear, now synonymous with Glendale, is very, very smart. Smarter, authorities say, than the average bear. After he discovered Costco meatballs in a resident's refrigerator about a month ago, authorities say, the bear has returned to the same house in the 3800 block of Cedarbend Drive three times seeking the same dinner. He even monitored trash schedules in multiple neighborhoods, nailing down the days when he could nab free food. But on Tuesday, the meatball-lovingbear'sgood fortune ran out. He was felled by multiple tranquilizer darts in a drama that unfolded on morning television, then was carted deep into the Angeles National Forest with what California Department of Fish and Game officials described as a "heck of a hangover.
March 7, 2012 |
Like much else in government, U.S. public land policy is a vestige of the past, established in 1910 when America's population was just 92.2 million and a Western state such as Nevada had only 81,000 residents. Today our needs are much different and much greater. The United States can no longer afford to keep tens of millions of acres of "public" land locked up and out of service. Some of these lands have great commercial value; others are environmental treasures. We need policies capable of distinguishing between the two. Few Easterners realize the immense magnitude of the public lands.
March 1, 2012
Does a hiker go to the bathroom in the woods? It might matter, under a recent federal court ruling. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled correctly last month that parking fees were being wrongly levied in many areas of America's national forests. A 2004 law is quite specific that it is impermissible to charge fees for parking or for "general use" of the forests. But while the court's ruling was perfectly in line with the law, the real problem is with the law itself.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 29, 2012 |
The U.S. Forest Service plans to grant free access to nearly all national forest lands, scaling back unpopular recreation fees that have raised the ire of hikers but also sent millions of dollars to Southern California's heavily used forests. The agency proposes eliminating fees for three-quarters of the forest areas where they are now imposed, including 19 in Southern California. The charges in the Southland take the form of the regional Adventure Pass, which costs $5 a day or $30 annually.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2012 |
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a controversial blueprint for managing national forests in the Sierra Nevada was flawed because the U.S. Forest Service didn't adequately assess how fish would be affected by increases in logging and road building. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision is the latest step in a legal battle over changes the Bush administration made to guidelines for the 11 national forests that run the length of the range. Amendments to a Clinton-era plan ramped up logging levels in the Sierra, allowed more road construction and weakened restrictions on grazing — all practices that affect water quality and fish habitat.
January 26, 2012 |
Collaboration and a greater reliance on science are the keys to the Obama administration's new guidelines in managing about 193 million acres of national forest and juggling the competing interests of industry and conservation groups. Known as the forest planning rule, the guidelines unveiled Thursday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell aim to protect the environment and reduce the time for approval of development projects. It will replace the old framework, which has been the center of legal battles for years.
December 18, 2011 |
During my long career with the U.S. Forest Service, people frequently expressed their concerns about the management of public lands to me when I'd run into them at the grocery store or on a hiking trail. One of the main issues they brought up had to do with the relationship between timber harvests and county budgets. Here's the dilemma. Counties traditionally rely on property taxes to fund basic services and education. But local governments cannot tax national forest land, and many Western states have a high percentage of their land in federal ownership.