Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Congressman Paul Cook's Newsletter: January 12, 2016

Jan 12, 2016

Capitol Update

Congressman Cook Introduces Bill to Empower Local Counties


Congressman Cook introduced HR 4313, the Historic Routes Preservation Act. This bipartisan bill provides an administrative means for the federal government to confirm rights-of-way on public lands administered by the Departments of Interior and Agriculture. Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) are original cosponsors.

One of the only means a county has to confirm a right-of-way is to file a quiet title action in Federal District Court, an expensive and time-consuming process. After 39 years, many county records have been lost, old maps have been thrown away, and witnesses to many roads’ presence and use prior to 1976 are passing on.

The Historic Routes Preservation Act solves this problem by creating an administrative process for counties to resolve these rights of way without going to court. It applies only to existing travel routes and does not create new roads on public lands. Further, it will not apply to Department of Defense installations. The burden of proof to have a right-of-way recognized under this legislation will be with the governmental unit that files and administrative costs to the federal government should be minimal.

Cook said, “This bill empowers local counties and gives the Bureau of Land Management clear administrative responsibility when it comes to confirming rights-of-ways on our public lands. Right now, it’s an expensive and time consuming task for counties to assert existing rights-of-way on roads across federal land. Many small counties can’t afford to go to court to keep public roads open, leading to a loss of public access to public land. This bill changes the way things were done and forces the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to deal with these claims administratively.”

District Update

Transportation Grants Available for School Field Trips to Death Valley


In celebration of the National Park Service's 100th birthday, Death Valley National Park and the Death Valley Natural History Association are offering transportation grants for school groups to participate in field trips in the park. This opportunity was made possible by generous donations from Death Valley National Park education program supporters, including the Branson Family Foundation.

"Death Valley Natural History Association is thrilled to be able to assist school groups in coming to Death Valley National Park," said David Blacker, executive director of the Death Valley Natural History Association, "Death Valley offers a unique learning opportunity and educators should not miss a chance to bring out their school groups."

Students can investigate life on the sand dunes, discover ancient landscapes in a canyon, study unique habitats, and explore the lowest point in North America. "This is an exciting opportunity to invite local students and teachers to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial by learning and exploring in the park as an outdoor classroom," said Mike Reynolds, Death Valley National Park superintendent, "We hope that the students' experiences connecting to Death Valley will inspire continued support of the national parks into the next 100 years."

These grants will help cover transportation costs and other expenses for school groups visiting in spring 2016. These grants are intended to assist students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to visit the park and schools that are limited by transportation and other costs to support a field trip to Death Valley National Park.

The field trip transportation grants are part of the nationwide Every Kid in a Park initiative. The Every Kid in a Park program also provides free admission to national parks and federal lands to all fourth-grade students and their families. Families of 4th-graders should visit to apply for a free pass before they visit a national park.

Teachers and school administrators can request additional information about transportation grants, education programs, and the Every Kid in a Park initiative by contacting the Education Program Coordinator, Brandi Stewart, at (760) 786-3285 or

Free 2016 Community Calendars Available


Get all the information you need, all in one place with the 2016 Apple Valley Community Calendar! This year's edition features a full-color photograph each month depicting the many things that make Apple Valley "A Better Way of Life."

In addition to staff photos by Charlene Engeron and Kenneth Sousa, the calendar features the work of our annual Photo Contest winners who were recognized at a recent Town Council Meeting:

Calendar Cover: Michelle Bongirno
March: Anthony Karbowski
April: Laila Olivares
October: Yvette Dawn
November: Carole Voll

Free copies are available at Town Hall, the Development Services Building, the Animal Shelter, Apple Valley Golf Course and the Chamber of Commerce.

Keep up to date all year long with a complete schedule of town meetings, special events, recreational activities, as well as a resource directory with phone numbers for everything from abandoned vehicles to weed control. For more information please visit or call (760) 240-7000 X 7072.

Important Message From the US Forest Service For Mountain Residents


The first El Nino storms brought plenty of fresh snow to the local mountains in Southern California, creating a winter wonderland.

With the snow, visitors need to plan for heavy traffic this weekend. The US Forest Service, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol are asking visitors to "Know Before You Go" by calling ahead to check on current conditions in the local mountains.

Unlike some of the wildlife that lives within them, America's forests do not hibernate for the winter. Rather, many of these areas are open to a host of recreational opportunities unique to the season. Cross-country and downhill skiing as well as snowshoeing, snowboarding, and snow play are just a few of the activities that you can enjoy on public lands.

"As the lure of the fresh snow appeals to residents across the southland, we're asking folks to be wise and follow safe practices while in snowy conditions across the forest," said Deputy Forest Supervisor John D. Exline. "We want everyone to have safe visit, drive with care, park legally and pack out your trash," Exline added.

Winter Visitor Tips:

Winter weather conditions in the mountains can be extreme and change without notice. An inadequately clothed person can get hypothermia (low internal body temperature).

Hypothermia can be deadly - learn to recognize the early symptoms. Keep warm and dry.

Stay Away from ice covered lakes and streams. Over the past decade several forest
visitors have fallen through thin ice and drown. - Do not attempt to cross any water.

Be extremely careful when walking on ice covered or slippery surfaces like parking areas and trails and especially steep slopes. One slip could result in a serious injury.

Be courteous and remember that you are sharing public lands with other recreational users. Do not recreate on unauthorized areas or private property.

Bring along extra safety items such as extra clothing, blankets, water, flashlights, maps, and your cell phone. Did you remember spare batteries?

"Pack it in, Pack it out" - Do not Litter. Take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash so that you can deposit it in the proper trash receptacle.

The Forest Adventure Pass must be displayed on a visitor's parked vehicle when recreating in Winter Special Recreation Permit areas and certain developed sites like campgrounds, snow play, and picnic areas. A list of designated fee sites and areas is posted on the Fee Program website at:

Motorists Tips:

Snow Chains are required during winter months. Be prepared to show them at chain control, and know how to install them.

When installing tire chains or traction devices, park in a safe location well off the roadway. Never stop in traffic lanes for these purposes, you may cause other motorists to lose control when they spot your vehicle blocking lanes.

Park your vehicle in a safe location and do not double or triple park (blocking in others). Never park in front of closed gates, they may be needed for emergency access, and you could be cited or have your vehicle towed away.

Do not park in restricted or "No Parking" areas. These are posted for the safety of all travelers.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, try to immediately drive your vehicle to the roadside, but only if safe to do so. Getting the obstructing vehicles off the roadway may prevent the accident from getting worse, involving other vehicles. Immediately call 911, or ask other travelers to call 911 for you from the nearest phone.

Current road conditions and chain control are available on-line at:
Forest visitors are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" and call ahead to the local

Ranger Station to check on location conditions and restrictions.

Big Bear Discovery Center 909-382-2790
Front Country Ranger Station 909-382-2851
San Jacinto Ranger Station 909-382-2922
Mill Creek Visitor Center 909-382-2882
Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains Monument Visitor Center 760-862-9984

For additional information about the San Bernardino National Forest, please visit:

Veterans’ Corner

My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at (760) 247-1815.

Inland Empire Women Veterans’ Networking Event


On Thursday, January 21, 2016 from 5:30PM to 7:30PM, join the IE Women Veterans Networking Event at Goodwill Southern California! It’s a great time to mix, mingle and laugh with fellow women Veterans and hear from Dominic Woods about the great work Goodwill is doing for Veterans in the IE.

Goodwill Southern California is located at 8120 Palm Lane in San Bernardino, CA 92410.

Space is limited, so register soon by clicking here.

Resume Workshop

On Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 9AM to 11AM, the High Desert Employment Resource Center will be holding a Resume Workshop. The location of the center is 17310 Bear Valley Road, Suite 109 in Victorville California.

Topics include developing an effective resume and composing cover letter and thank you letters. Prior registration is required. Please register at CALJOBS and

For more information, please call Lena Salas at 760-552-6535.

Yoga for Vets