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Williamson Rock Update, CA

By Troy Mayr, Friends of Williamson Rock

As you may be aware, the Angeles National Forest has requested public comments on a proposal, which were due June 6th. The proposal is to construct a trail from the Angeles Crest Highway to Williamson Rock, located in the upper reaches of Little Rock Creek within the Angeles National Forest. The proposal will analyze reopening the popular recreation site and rock climbing area to the public, while protecting the mountain yellow-legged frog (MYLF) and its critical habitat.

The information can be found at: www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/news/2007/news-2007-05-10-comments-on-williamson-rock-access.shtml and www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/documents/final-williamson-rock-scoping-ltr.pdf

Curious of how our (your) response to the USFS Scoping Letter / proposal was received?

Troy Mayr spoke with their primary contact at the USFS and asked him how the climber response was going. His response, "I give up. There are 100's, they are pouring in like rain!"

So a huge thank you to all who took the time to write!

The USFS did receive a letter that could have a negative affect for climbers (which was expected). While the group who wrote doesn't appear to be against climbing in any way, they are adamant about protecting endangered species above all else (recreation etc.).

In short they will push for a full E.I.S. as opposed to an E.A. Here are the pertinent definitions.

EA: Environmental Assessment - Generally, an EA includes brief discussions of the following: the need for the proposal; alternatives (when there is an unresolved conflict concerning alternative uses of available resources); the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives; and a listing of agencies and persons consulted.

EIS: Environmental Impact Assessment (Study) - A National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) document. An EIS, should include discussions of the purpose of and need for the action, alternatives, the affected environment, the environmental consequences of the proposed action, lists of preparers, agencies, organizations and persons to whom the statement is sent, an index, and an appendix (if any).

The USFS I.D. Team will review the letters received and make a decision as to how to proceed. In all its off to a great start but the process is cumbersome and slow, so please continue be patient.

Friends of Williamson Rock will keep all up to date as details continue to unfold.

Background: The Williamson Rock area is a well-known recreation site used predominately for rock climbing. It has been used by climbers since the 1960's and is widely regarded as a unique rock climbing resource for the entire Southern California region.

The Williamson Rock area has been temporarily closed since December 2005 to protect the frog, which is an endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Populations of the frog are known to exist within the closure area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated approximately 615 acres along Little Rock Creek within the closure area as critical habitat for the MYLF in October 2006.

For more information, please visit www.williamsonrock.org or email troy@williamsonrock.org

 

Date: 11/16/2007