Italian Bar update, Stanislaus NF, Stanislaus County CA:
As you know, we brought forth a significant problem on Italian Bar Road to the attention of the Stanislaus NF. The area of interest is a federally withdrawn and designated “Recreation Area” passed in the 1940’s and 50’s. You cannot file a mining claim on withdrawn lands and you cannot occupy them for years at a time. You also cannot physically threaten the public for trying to use the rec area. That is precisely what is happening.
As you also know, the USFS utterly ignored our certified letter we sent a few months ago (enjoined with Blue Ribbon Coalition) demanding an explanations of how they justify this illegal occupation of a federally designated recreation area for the public, threatening people who try and camp there, cutting trees down, dumping toxic waste into the Stanislaus River and illegally claiming they have a mining claim on this withdrawn land. We specifically asked what federal rule, guideline, regulation or law allows them to ignore this illegal activity for nearly a year. They ignored the first letter entirely.
The USFS finally sent us a letter after we sent a second one demanding answers. Here is their response (below/pictured). Note that they again completely ignore our questions about how they justify what is now almost a full year since we brought it to their attention. They state in the letter that 2 of the three are now gone. No, that is not accurate or true. There are now two more people down there living in a U-Haul.
We have exhausted all “administrative remedies” with the “acting” Supervisor and the former Supervisor.
The sad part of this is, we offered to clean this entire area up, at no cost to the USFS if they just removed the illegal occupiers of the rec area. They obviously are not patrolling the area as they state or they would know there are additional occupants down there now. They have failed to provide justification for denying the public the use of their own rec area. They have failed you and will use your tax money (that’s what pays them) to defend any litigation brought forward against them.
We believe we gave the USFS every chance to correct this. They ignored us, you and ignored the public request for why.
And yes, we are contacting our attorney today to ___________.