NEWS

Budget Windfall or Media Posturing?

The announcement this past Friday, the 20th, had activists across the board angry at Sacramento. After the much contested cuts to OHV, and the year-long threat of State Park closures, the discovery of $50 million in unaccounted for funds at the Department of Parks and Recreation has had everyone wondering why we were asked to jump into emergency action mode when it seems like the money was available all along.

But, as many of these things often are, it is more complicated than it is being reported as in the press. First, the $50 million is not free-and-clear money. $33.5 million of it is part of the OHV trust fund, meaning that it can only (and could only have ever) been used for the Department's OHV program. Even had this $33.5 million been discovered earlier, it could not have been used to save any of the 70 State Parks that were on the closure list.

Read more: Budget Windfall or Media Posturing?

BLM Announces Fire Restrictions for Lands Managed by Bakersfield Field Office

Effective Saturday, July 14, the Bureau of Land Management is implementing fire restrictions on public lands managed by the Bakersfield Field Office in Eastern Kern County, including recreational areas at Lake Isabella and Walker Pass. The fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. These restrictions join restrictions already in place in the California Desert District.

Field Office Manager Tim Smith said the restrictions are needed due to dry fuels and high fire danger throughout Central California. “A wildfire under these conditions could pose a serious threat to the public, resources, and adjacent private lands and communities,” he said.

Read more: BLM Announces Fire Restrictions for Lands Managed by Bakersfield Field Office

Bickel Camp Needs You!

Since 2006 Friends of Jawbone has actively supported the caretakers, and the non-profit organization Friends of Last Chance Canyon, in their efforts to preserve Bickel Camp, including donating a quad to the camp which was recently used to help clear the area of trash. So many of these historic, depression-era mining camps have been looted over the years that it feels important to help provide a way to protect Bickel Camp from suffering the same fate as the Burro Schmidt camp.

If you have long loved visiting Bickel Camp and often wondered what it would be like to live and work in that scenic and isolated area then we have a special opportunity for you. Caretakers are needed at Bickel Camp and you can help!

Read more: Bickel Camp Needs You!

Governor Restores Most of OHV Budget Cuts!

It passed the California Senate. It passed the California House.  But when the budget bill to cut the entire $21 million OHV Grants program landed on his desk, Governor Brown heard you and agreed it had gone too far.

Despite cutting an additional $195 million in spending from the budget, the Governor managed to restore $14 million to the OHV Grants Program through a line-item veto. 

Read more: Governor Restores Most of OHV Budget Cuts!

OHV Grant Awards Announced

The California State Parks Off-highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) has posted their Intent to Award lists for grants for the 2011/2012 grant cycle.

Applications will now move into a 30 day period during which the awards may be appealed.

To view the lists, click here.

Keep an eye out for Hikers in the Canyon

With May now upon us and June fast approaching, the first of the Pacific Crest National Trail (PCT) hikers are starting to filter through Jawbone Canyon on their way to Kennedy Meadows. No section of the PCT is easy, but the section that runs from highway 58 to Walker Pass presents some difficult logistical problems: namely that water is hard to find in regular supply in the desert.

In fact, the longest section of the PCT without any reliable water happens just north of 58 and has just a little over 38 miles between water sources. Other parts of the PCT cross and re-cross streams and rivers that run with fresh snowmelt year-round, but the section in our backyard doesn’t have any springs directly on the trail and some of the more reliable water-sources are up to three miles off the main trail. Thus, at key points, hikers must step off the trail and head down the local dirt roads in search of springs or the water caches that were left for them.

Read more: Keep an eye out for Hikers in the Canyon

Jawbone Canyon Plays Host to the Desert Advisory Council

About forty members of the public, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) representatives, and Desert Advisory Council (DAC) members met early on Friday morning, the 20th of April, to take a tour of the El Paso Mountains and Jawbone Canyon. The Desert Advisory Council advises the BLM on the management of the nearly 11 million acres which comprise the California Desert District. To be sure that they have an accurate knowledge of the areas on which they are advising the DAC periodically takes tours of various areas of interest, in this case with the BLM leading the tour in conjunction with Friends of Jawbone. For DAC Members it was a chance to see the backroads of the El Paso Mountains and Jawbone Canyon regions. For the public it was a unique opportunity to see the DAC and BLM in action and witness first hand the areas being affected by the WEMO act and various conservation projects.

Read more: Jawbone Canyon Plays Host to the Desert Advisory Council

FOJ Randsburg Site Gets Two New Interpretive Panels

On March 21 a group of nine Friends of Jawbone volunteers, organized by longtime volunteer George Baland, installed two new desert tortoise information panels in the OHV parking area in Randsburg. It took about two hours of digging and hard work under the already-hot California sun to get the holes positioned and dug deep enough to secure the displays. The new panels give information on tortoise habitat and habits and are now located in front of the FOJ OHV information kiosk.

Read more: FOJ Randsburg Site Gets Two New Interpretive Panels