The Friendly Federation

Founded to Serve

Southeast Federation
of Mineralogical Societies, Inc.

Words of Caution
AFMS Newsletter, Volume 61, Number 5 , APRIL OF 2008

John Wright
Past President of SFMS
Current Member of the AFMS Conservation/Legislation Committee
Current Mississippi State Representative for the American Lands Access Association Inc.


There are two major bills, which at present are    working their way through Congress that you need to be aware of as they could severely restrict access to public owned lands:

 The first one is HR 2016, National Landscape Conservation System.  If passed, this bill will essentially place 26 million acres of public lands controlled by BLM under a “National Park” type system which will eliminate or severely limit any type of recreational mining.  This bill could also open the door for BLM under the influence of special interest groups to add millions of additional acres in years to come.  More information on this bill can be found online at: “Lands Rights Network” (, Subject: House Mark-Up, Wednesday 3–12, On National Landscape Conservation System.

 The second bill that we should be concerned about is HR 5610, Designation of Wilderness Areas, which according to a Blueribbon Coalition Action Alert, dated Wednesday, March 19, 2008, Subject: Shades of things to come?,  (, “the bill would designate just about 500,000 acres of Wilderness in West Virginia, Arizona's Tumacacori Highlands; the Redwood Mountain Grove in California's Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park; the Sabinoso Wilderness in New Mexico; Oregon's Copper Salmon area and the South Fork of the San Jacinto River Canyon in Riverside County, California.”  With these lands being designated as “Wilderness Areas” public access will be almost completely eliminated. 

 Once the 26 million acres of public lands controlled by BLM are placed under a “National Park” type system by HR 2016, it is  very  reasonable to assume that at some date in the not to distant future these sites will also be designated  “Wilderness Areas” by a bill similar to HR5610.   The public may be allowed to visit certain parts of these areas to look but not touch.  The really disturbing part about all of this is that the millions of acres covered by these two bills are only a small portion of a grandiose plan by special interest groups to eventually join numerous areas like these into plots far larger than your wildest dreams. 

 While we rest on our laurels, our adversaries are

very diligently working to have public lands placed “Off Limits”.  They know that this is an election year and “Green” is definitely a popular theme with politicians lately. Who knows, perhaps they think there   could be another Oscar or Nobel Prize waiting out there.    Remember, we also have a vote and should certainly let our desires be known.    


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