It’s Time to Take Action Against the BLM

A while back I wrote about the proposed land swap in Palm Springs by the BLM and the Agua Cliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. You can read it here.

This is a horrible deal for the public. Time is running out. Public input is due by March 29, 2015.

Here is my letter to the BLM.

If you think this is a bad deal, please email the BLM at: AguaCalienteExchange@blm.gov

TO: AguaCalienteExchange@blm.gov
RE: Protest of Proposed BLM and Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Land Swap
Dear Sir/Madam:
The BLM website said to send public input email to you. I don’t know if you are personally for or against the land swap, but I hope you are against it. 
 
You people have made it very difficult to figure out what is going on with this land swap. Your web-site made me click 41 different links to read everything. I guess that is how you confuse the public. I will summarize this travesty with just a few paragraphs and 4 drawings.
 
I have been hiking the trails above Palm Springs in the San Jacinto Mountains for over 40 years. I don’t think the folks at the BLM have done much hiking in the area, because if they had, they would never consider the Land Swap with Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. 
 
I really hate to be negative about the BLM, but you folks have a pitiful record when it comes to protecting California desert lands. As a matter of fact, you people once had jurisdiction over what is now the Mojave National Preserve. Because of the BLM’s poor public record in protecting our public lands, Congress transferred the land in the Mojave Preserve to the National Park Service, because they did not trust you folks to manage it. It looks like history is repeating itself with the BLM’s inability to protect lands in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
 
Any restrictions limiting the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (ACBCI) to prevent access to current public trails will not hold up in court. So you people need to assume the public will no longer have access to trails that currently are located on BLM land. THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM.
 
I am sure you have received many protests over proposed land swap that includes land through which the Skyline Trail passes. I suggest you gather up all the BLM employees and hike the Skyline Trail (if they can complete it). Those who can complete the trail will see the land swap is a travesty. But let’s talk about the rest of the land in the proposed swap.
 
Many of you government folks have said the land to be transferred to the ACBCI, has little economic value. Well as any child who has ever played the board game, Monoply, will tell you; you folks are not in touch with reality! But I will get to that latter.
 
Let’s talk about the other (over nine square miles of the National Monument) you propose to exchange for approximately two square miles.  Land that includes the Garstin, Thielman, Araby, Shannon, Bern, Lykken and Wildhorse Trails. These trails connect to other trails and natural resources that will no longer be accessible to the public. 
 
Regarding the land to be received by the ACBCI, which supposedly has little value. I suggest the BLM people get together and spend a weekend playing Monoply (please don’t do this on the public’s time). As almost any child knows, the title to properties in this board game have little value UNLESS you end up owning contiguous properties, which then enables you to build houses and hotels on your land. When this happens (ownership of contiguous lots), the property values sky-rocket, especially if you develop the land with houses or hotels. This is what the BLM/ ACBCI land swap is all about.
 
Let’s take a look at the current state – see my drawing below:
current state
 
Now let’s take a look at what it looks like after the land swap:
alfet land swap
 
And what happens if the ACBCI buys the private land in the vicinity. Below is that drawing:
indians buy private land
And this is what the land will look like after the ACBCI decides to develop the land, which is a good bet given their past history….
 indiands develop land
 
Now you know why the public is against this.
 
I will be posting this on my website, which gets a fair about of traffic.
 
Regards,
 
Nick Gatel
Palm Springs, CA Resident

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