by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

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April 18, 2003
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Pine Nut allotment owners disagree

A meeting with Indian land allotment owners moved the Bureau of Land Management one step closer to a draft plan for the Pine Nuts.

"It went very well," said Tom Crawford, project manager for the BLM Pine Nut Management Plan.

"We are very pleased with the effort the (Washoe) Tribe put into this," he said. "We are now able to understand the issues from the owners and the tribal perspective."

The meeting Tuesday was the first time the BLM met with Washoe Tribe members and allotment owners with the Washoe Indian Pine Nut Allotment Landowners Association (WIPALA) and the non-profit American Indian Hands of Hope and Friendship, represented by Vince Wyatt.

Wyatt has a different take on the meeting.

"We learned a lot from each other, but unfortunately, we didn't agree on much," he said.

"Our position is that we do not need or want any unwarranted intrusion. Those lands are all the Washoes have left."

The WIPALA recently sent a letter to Mimi Moss, planning and economic development manager for Douglas County, in opposition to the proposed Comprehensive Trails Plan, which still includes proposed trails and access routes on Washoe land.

Some sections of the CTP correlate with the Pine Nut Management Plan.

Allotment owner Fritz Smokey said all affected property owners agree on one thing: they don't want motorized vehicles clamoring around the Pine Nut Mountains.

"We don't want none of you guys nowhere," he said.

The BLM plans to release an initial draft plan for the 362,000-acre Pine Nut Mountain Planning Area in June, with a final draft version available late this year, according to Crawford.

Several communities groups have provided input into land use, a buffer zone, land disposal, illegal dumping, public access and funding options for the planning area.

A proposal by the Pine Nuts Planning Partners seeks to ban hunting, shooting, mining, grazing, camping, special events and motorized use, except for access to the interior of the Pine Nuts, in a buffer zone.

The Washoe Tribe, which did not return phone calls for comment by press time, also proposes a buffer zone, a "special management area," according to a letter from the Tribe to the BLM.

Called, Tagêm aÿsa, which translates to "in the Pine Nuts," the area will "address protection of cultural sites, forest health, old growth forest and wildlife habitat." The proposal also prohibits any motorized vehicles.

Wyatt said the tribe does not represent the interest of all Washoes.

"We feel we must fight to protect our lands even if we have to fight against our own tribal leadership," he said. "This totally alarms us, this huge juggernaut.

"The tribe has no jurisdiction over (allotments), if the BLM goes for this buffer zone, the tribe will gain access and parcel it off to gain control.

"They can't handle taking care of the 65,000 acres they have now."

Crawford said there will be plenty of opportunity for public input during workshops near the time the final draft is ready.

"We know the Washoes hold those lands near and dear to their heart," Crawford said. "We want to know how to approach the best management procedures for the area for the next 15 years."

Wyatt said there are more than 160 Indian allotment parcels in the Pine Nuts and some of those are owned by 20 individuals. The land has been handed down through generations of Washoes.

They will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at the Douglas County Library.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 19, 2003 12:00AM Published Apr 18, 2003 08:33PM Copyright 2003 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.