California recreationalists are protesting a deal that would swap land between the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and U.S. Bureau of Land Management within the Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument in California.
According to the Press-Enterprise in California, under the plan, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would exchange 9 square miles in the northern part of the monument for 2.3 square miles belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
Tribal officials argue the land is a part “traditional use area” and contains historic Indian rock art and remnants of Cahuilla villages and campsites, the PE reported.
A coalition of bikers, hikers and land users say they are afraid access will be changed, as the swap could open the space up to development and new regulations.
The tribe would gain 5,799 acres of mostly inaccessible land, except for two key sections with trails, including part of the nationally ranked Skyline Trail, better known as Cactus-to-Clouds, a challenging hike from the Palm Springs Desert Museum to Mount San Jacinto Peak. Tribal members say the land, which contains ancient art and village sites, belonged to their ancestors and should have been part of their holdings all along.
Though the tribe says it won’t make changes, members of the Desert Trails Coalition are campaigning to block the exchange. They say it could result in restrictions on 11.6 miles of trails, including Thielman, Garstin, Araby and Wild Horse, that cross land the tribe will acquire. Mountain biking on 3 miles of trails would be restricted to protect habitat, according to an environmental assessment completed as part of the proposed land exchange.
Tags: aqua caliente band of cahuilla indians, blm, cahuilla indians, california, desert trails coalition, desert trails colation, indian canyons golf resort, santa rosa san jacinto mountains national monument, U.S. bureau of land manag