Politics

Bush Rides Roughshod Over Protected Federal Land

Yesterday, President Bush joked about his difficult bike ride through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument:

I just spent some quality time in [Congresswoman Mary Bono’s] district, and I forgot to tell you that I had the privilege of riding my mountain bike in the desert, as well. The national monument that she helped put together to preserve open spaces – she’s got a lot of humility, she didn’t name the national monument after herself. If I were to name it I would say, Really Hard Bike Ride Monument.

But the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported that by riding through the area, Bush had ignored the “voluntary avoidance” guidelines at the Monument. The guidelines are meant to protect a species of endangered bighorn sheep:

Jim Foote, acting manager of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, said the Clara Burgess trail is also among those monument managers ask people to avoid part of the year to prevent disrupting endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.

The trail is one of about 10 in the monument under a “voluntary avoidance” program. People are asked to stay off the Clara Burgess trail from Jan. 1 to June 30 during the sheep lambing season, he said.

If this latest Bush bike ride was like his others, a “massive entourage,” including a “long convoy of SUVs and off-road vehicles,” came along for the ride.

Apparently the White House isn’t involved in the Bureau of Land Management’s “comprehensive, multi-agency planning effort … to ensure the survival of the sheep.”