Tuesday, October 26, 2010

National monument land swap draws protest

Hikers, bikers and horseback riders are protesting a planned 7,269-acre land swap between the federal government and a Palm Springs Indian tribe, saying the trade gives up an irreplaceable public gem and threatens access to popular trails within the Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Under the plan, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would exchange 9 square miles in the northern part of the monument for 2.3 square miles belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The tribe would gain 5,799 acres of mostly inaccessible land, except for two key sections with trails, including part of the nationally ranked Skyline Trail, better known as Cactus-to-Clouds, a challenging hike from the Palm Springs Desert Museum to Mount San Jacinto Peak. Tribal members say the land, which contains ancient art and village sites, belonged to their ancestors and should have been part of their holdings all along. Though the tribe says it won't make changes, members of the Desert Trails Coalition are campaigning to block the exchange. They say it could result in restrictions on 11.6 miles of trails, including Thielman, Garstin, Araby and Wild Horse, that cross land the tribe will acquire...more

No comments: