Bauer goes to Washington by wpr1947


									8                                                                                                  MAMMOTH TIMES • March 19-25, 2009

Recreation access points to be                                                       Bauer goes to Washington
culled into central database                                                         Mono County
By Stacey Powells                         there is a point of departure, an access   Supervisor’s main
Mammoth Times Staff Writer                point where one leaves the everyday
                                          world behind,” their proposal states.
                                                                                     mission is transit
   Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public            Recreation access points may be        By Stacey Powells
Access (MLTPA) and Friends of the         developed infrastructure, like the         Mammoth Times Staff Writer
Inyo have developed a proposal for        well-signed trailhead with parking
Mono County to take first steps in        and bathroom facilities at South              The National Association of
developing a comprehensive inventory      Tufa at Mono Lake, or the Twin             Counties       (NACO)        Legislative
of recreational points of access.         Lakes Campground and trailhead             Conference officially opened Monday,
   The proposal, known as MCRAT           up Robinson Creek; or they may be          Mar. 9 in Washington, D.C. and even
(Mono County Recreation Access            unmarked and even anecdotal, like          though much of the day’s attention
Tool), was put together by John           the entrance to the Bodie Hills along                                                  Telephone cameras aren’t the best, but this
                                                                                     was focused on the implementation           shot taken with Vikki Bauer’s phonecam
Wentworth of MLTPA, Paul McFarland        State Highway 270, or the numerous         of the just-passed stimulus package,        captures Senator Boxer’s surprise at the
of Friends of the Inyo and Bill Taylor.   fishing pull-outs along the East Walker    Mono County Supervisor Vikki Magee          Lands Bill falling short of two votes to move it
   “For every recreation opportunity,     River.”                                    Bauer was there on a mission.               on the fast track.
                                              Whatever their level of development,      “My main mission is transit,” Bauer
                                          Mono County’s recreation access            said. “I’m working on a proposal for
                                          points share a common distinction:         transit on federal land.”
                                          They do not exist as a comprehensive,         A theme for the conference is
                                          well organized, easily represented and     NACO’s Restore the Partnership
                                          easily shared database.                    campaign, which seeks to reestablish
                                               “The first step is to get the data    a working partnership between the           get people to the wilderness,” Bauer
                                          from the other places and then do an       federal and county governments.             said. “It’s one thing to have wilderness,
                                          analysis of what we have,” Wentworth          Representatives from President           it’s another to make it accessible to
                                          said.                                      Obama’s administration addressed            everyone... The piece that makes that
                                              Wentworth        and      McFarland    the NACO board of directors at its          available to everyone is transit.”
                                          explained the MCRAT goals to the           morning meeting and the Opening                 Bauer has been on the ESTA board
                                          Mono County Supervisors at their           General Session. They emphasized            and is the chairman for YARTS.
                                          Mar. 10 meeting.                           the administration’s commitment                 “I know where the problem is.
                                              “By getting all the information        to working with county government           Maybe they’ll listen,” Bauer said.
                                          gathered in one place, it gives an         and its need to have county officials           When Bauer isn’t spending her
                                          opportunity for the decision makers to     engage with them.                           time lobbying for transit funding
                                          preserve and enhance all of the things        “We need to hear from you. We            she is meeting with Senator Barbara
                                          that make Mono County special.”            need your guidance, your wisdom,”           Boxer, Senator Diane Feinstein and
                                              The first phase is to do a projected   said Cecilia Munoz, director, White         U.S. Congressman “Buck” McKeon as
                                          outline of the existing conditions,        House Inter-governmental Affairs            well as Congressman Dennis Cardoza
                                          the second phase will be to collect        Office. In her remarks she stressed         from California’s 18th Congressional
                                          and verify all the data collected          the critical need for governments at all    District, which includes Merced
                                          and the third phase will be the final      levels to work well during this time of     County, and Congressman George
                                          integration of the first two phases. It    economic crisis. To not do so, she said,    Radanovich of the 19th Congressional
                                          will include the field procedures and      risks losing the trust of the American      District, which includes Yosemite
                                          data control documentation, digital        people in their governments for years       National Park. All have an interest in
                                          photographs and all verified field data    to come.                                    transit funding.
                                          with appropriate maps.                        Bauer is trying to add an                    The Transportation Reauthorization
                                              “This is a great opportunity to        operational stream of funding for           Bill will be finished in September,
                                          look at things differently than we         transit in the area, including Mono,        so Bauer is working to make sure all
                                          have in the past,” said Supervisor         Inyo and Merced counties.                   appropriate government officials are
                                          Hap Hazard. Hazard said this process          “Rural areas get money for transit       on board.
                                          stemmed from a CPT (Collaborative          from the gas tax but that is based on           “Everyone is allowed input on this
                                          Planning Team) meeting several             population,” Bauer said. “We have           bill,” Bauer said. “We all want a piece
                                          months ago when it became apparent         over a million visitors a year to our       of the funding.”
                                          that there was a disjointed planning       areas. If they base what we get on              She is also on the committee for the
                                          effort among agencies with an interest     the permanent populations of our            Public Lands Steering Committee.
                                          in Mono County, such as CalTrans,          counties, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s       “I’m working with committee on
                                          the Bureau of Land Management              difficult for both ESTA and YARTS           wildland urban interface funding. The
                                          (BLM), U.S. Forest Service, The Town       (Eastern Sierra Transit Authority and       Stimulus Bill has put money into this
                                          of Mammoth Lakes and the LADWP.            Yosemite Area Rapid Transit) to keep        grant and we could use some of that
                                              “We need to support each other,”       up with their operations on what they       money for rural fire assistance and
                                          Hazard said.                               get. Something else has to be done.”        education.”
                                                                                        Bauer has been collecting the                Bauer is also going to various
                                                                                     support of transit agencies, including      hearings and watching how decisions
                                                                                     Marin Transit, which services the           are made at the D.C. level.
                                                                                     John Muir Woods area, and Visalia               “This money from the Stimulus
                                                                                     Transit.                                    Package is coming out so fast that
                                                                                        “Many transit agencies have jumped       the government is having a hard time
                                                                                     in and are lobbying for more transit        figuring out where to spend it.”
                                                                                     money,” Bauer said. “We have to
                                                                                     lobby now because the Transportation
                                                                                     Reauthorization Bill opens every
                                                                                     seven years and this is the year. It’s
                                                                                     where the federal government figures
                                                                                     out where they are going to spend
                                                                                     their transportation funds.”
                                                                                        Bauer is meeting with U.S. Senator
                                                                                     Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is the
                                                                                     Chairman of the Environment and
                                                                                     Public Works Committee (EPW).
                                                                                        “By my accounting we just helped
                                                                                     her get wilderness through, so perhaps
                                                                                     she can help us with transit so we can

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