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BLM - California State Office

Preliminary Application Comments

 The following is my comment for the OHV Grant Request, G08-01-07-P04, Planning, Meccacopia Soil Survey. I wish to advise against funding this project until an expense entry can be clarified.

On the Project Cost Estimate for Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program - 2008/2009 sheet, under DIRECT EXPENSES, Program Expenses, #1 Staff, there are 5 entries for “Other NRCS” . And then in the next section, #2 Contracts, there is an entry for “Other-Contract with the USDA NRCS”. I find it suspicious that there are two separate entries for payment to NRCS. Please clarify the need for the two entries.

Thank you for considering my comment. [Bruce Brazil - 4/6/09]

 I am writing in support of the above mentioned grant that will provide funds necessary to help with the protection of archaeological sites.

The California Desert has hundreds of thousands of fragile historic and prehistoric sites which are being damaged by off road vehicles and visitors on foot or horseback. Most people I meet are truly interested in these sites and would not knowingly damage them. However, I also find numerous people who want to protect the bits of pottery, flakes and other small items by taking them away! They figure that the items will just get more damaged or someone else will take them. Since my first CASSP Site Steward training I have been able to effectively discourage this kind of thinking and activity. I believe that more people can really benefit from the Site Steward Training provided by CASSP and more sites can then be monitored and protected, and more people will be discouraged from removing pieces of the archaeological puzzle.

The training provided by CASSP is very well presented and interesting. In addition, as mentioned in the grant application, they bring together people from all types of recreational groups who may otherwise disagree! I am a member of the Sierra Club and enjoy hiking and I found myself in a room full of people with diverse interests. Most of us use OHVs for our explorations of the desert and for the site monitoring activities. Some belong to equestrian groups and others to OHV groups or are members of Native American Tribes.

Site stewards provide valuable information so that the archaeologist and BLM can make decisions about appropriate levels and kind of vehicle access. In addition, the site steward program provides a reason for some folks to regularly visit a favorite site and so notice changes that may otherwise go unnoticed by an archaeologist who only has time for infrequent visits. Just by being at the site, others my be deterred from looting the site.

Given the size of our vast desert and the sheer number of sites, both known and probably not yet known, the need for more site stewards is huge. By attending additional trainings the site steward is rewarded with yet another diverse group of people and a change in the field location, which results in more experience. I really appreciate the fact that Jim Shearer has helped to bring the Site Steward program to the Barstow Field Office.

I fully support the use of OHV funds from my gas tax dollars to help with providing valuable training for Site Stewards and helping to spread the word about responsible recreation on public lands. [Jenny Wilder - 3/22/09]

 I am writing a letter in support of grant G08-01-07-S01 requesting funding for the California Archeological Site Stewardship Program. I am a life long off road vehicle user and explorer of our public lands here in California. My wife and I have taken the time to join this wonderful program and have benefited greatly by volunteering as site stewards of the BLM Barstow Field office. Not only do we have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, we also are able to help protect and preserve our historic an pre historic sites or future generations to enjoy. Or training was provided by a grant from the California OHV Parks and recreation division and we fully support more funding to enable the continuation of this valuable program. Thank you for the opportunity to comment and participate as volunteers. [David and Linda Van Voorhis - 3/22/09]