View Full Version : Los Padres Forest Plan for Milpitas SIA Includes Hunting Restrictions

Wrangler John
02-08-2012, 2:25 AM
The Milpitas Special Interest Area Management Plan has been finalized after delay of nearly a year. The plan is attached below. The major area of concern is mentioned on page 10:

Opportunity: Minimize the impacts of gunfire on public safety and solitude.
Possible Actions
Use interpretive signs to educate visitors about shooting restrictions;
Evaluate the need for a closure order for ―no target shooting within the SIA;
Consult with California Department of Fish and Game regarding modification to rules on hunting within the SIA.

At the second public meeting the Indian representative complained that gunfire from year around varmint hunting disturbed their spiritual communion with ancestors. My position was that National Forest land open to lawful hunting activities could not be closed for religious purposes without violating the First Amendment Establishment Clause. The draft plan had recommended law enforcement involvement to protect the peace and solitude of the sacred site (encompassing the entire Milpitas SIA) as necessary for Native American religious practice.

The District Ranger made it clear that the California DF&G set rules and regulations regarding hunting regulations with the N.F.. The discussion then involved working with DF&G to limit varmint hunting to the Big Game season only, ignoring that wild pig and other hunting was also a year around season. Hence we find mention of consulting with DF&G to modify rules on hunting within the area.

There is also mention of developing an integrated pest management plan aimed at the ground squirrel population, which may not involve hunting.

Even more ominous is mention of closing many of the existing roads and trails, an idea that was not popular with many of the attendees. This seems to be a popular theme to deny the public access to forest lands.

It should be borne in mind that the Salinan tribe has been embroiled in a contentious plan to obtain federal recognition that would pave the way for their proposed Casino development near San Luis Obispo. The tribe already operates a cultural center near Moss Landing, but recognition by a federal agency as descendents of the original inhabitants of Monterey County would further their claim. How this plays into the Milpitas SIA plan is open to question, but it is interesting that the SIA plan coincides with renewed efforts to establish federal recognition. Another factor is a recent court decision regarding the protection of archaeological artifacts on National Forest land. Complexity is added in a recent a Supreme Court decision against further additions on the post 1934 list of federally recognized tribes, and the recent failure of the Salinan tribe in a venture capital scheme to finance the casino that ended in bankruptcy with the bilking of investors by an unscrupulous attorney. Any future Casino would be partially owned by the Ohio Bankruptcy Court as the outcome, with proceeds set aside to repay the investors.

One concern is that the area may eventually claimed as a tribal reservation through a transfer of title, or management of the area assumed by the tribe to the exclusion of other users.

The email I received with the plan recommended comments. If anyone wants to comment:

Los Padres National Forest
Monterey Ranger District Office
406 South Mildred Ave.
King City, CA 93930-3423
Attn: Bob Strickland, Northern Zone Archaeologist
(831) 385-5434

02-08-2012, 4:24 AM
I've given up on varmint hunting when DFG made illegal, the use of lead bullets because of the Condor. And because of law suits by the Environmental groups, large areas of the LP are closed to OHV's and plain old target shooting. And before anyone says a person should write letters, make phone calls, comment at public hearings, I've done that. Didn't work. So now everyone has to be and outlaw.