Letter from Legaliaison 9/1/88

PO Box 27217 - Washington, DC 20038

PO Box 6625 - Chicago, IL 60680

12 April 1995
PCU // Freedom of Assembly Project

Mr. Jack Ward Thomas, Chief
USDA Forest Service / Room 4-NW
201 14th & Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250

RE: USFS Proposed Rules --
Update Info, Senate Ag Appeal

Dear Chief Thomas:

You may recall our brief meeting at the 'Town Hall' in St. Paul, almost a year ago: We shared our concerns over USFS policies toward free assembly on Public Land, with some facts that alarmed you. If you took any offense at our candor, please accept our apologies again, and understand that it comes from seeing real harms.

Enclosed is an 'Update' package on the proposed 'Group Use' and 'Law Enforcement' regulations, and how they impact the Bill of Rights in the National Forests.

This information has gone out to the incoming leadership in several Congressional committees, calling for bipartisan action to redirect these Forest Service policies. Our dialogues were especially productive with Senator Craig, now Chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization:

His staff asked that we follow up with focused ideas on the issues raised by these rulemakings, and what steps to take.

Our 2/14/95 response is also presented here: It speaks directly to the Constitutional costs of this regulatory scheme, and the situation we now face.

Please give this position letter your careful review, with a sense of urgency...

The USFS "Unified Agenda" published in November, and the "Forest Service Reinvention" report released in December failed to respond to public critique. Since then OGC and RCRWM Staff have confirmed that the final 'Group Use' rules will come out this Spring -- Federal Register publication is imminent, and time is short.

Why is the Forest Service proceeding with these unconstitutional policies?

The Senate Committee also heard about some recent incidents-- the Fire at the Gathering in Wyoming, and the contining pattern of law enforcement abuses -- with deep concerns over how Forest Service authority has been exercised.

Senator Craig's office asked for the details, and they are forthcoming. These issues warrant special inquiry... especially as they reflect on the intent of the proposed rules, and amplify our sense of alarm over what is at stake:

The outcome will define the future of Citizen Rights and Stewardship on Public Land.

When you withdrew the 'Law Enforcement' proposal last May, it was a good first step. You should now intervene decisively to stop the 'Group Use' rulemaking and set a mandate for new policies of Consensus and Cooperation.

Thanks & Respects,

The PCU Volunteers / S.C. Addison

Certified Mail # P 111 370 750

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