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Help Save the Chumash Wind Caves

by AIM Santa Barbara Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 at 1:19 AM

The Los Padres Forest Service is accepting public comments on the 20 yr permit of the Winchester Gun Club (WCGC) opposed by the Coalition to Save Husahkiw-Chumash Windcaves and Sierra Club, with many supporters in the fields of Archeology, Anthropology, Rock Art Specialists, Natives and Non-Natives.

The Los Padres Forest Service is accepting public comments on the 20 yr permit of the Winchester Gun Club (WCGC) opposed by the Coalition to Save Husahkiw-Chumash Windcaves and Sierra Club, with many supporters in the fields of Archeology, Anthropology, Rock Art Specialists, Natives and Non-Natives.

Your assistance is requested to support the RELOCATION of the WCGC to a non culturally and environmentally sensitive location.
The information below is intended for a Cut and Paste letter to the Los Padres Forest Service.
Included in this email is:

1) a sample letter that you may cut and paste and send by email or snail mail if you would like to:

Los Padres National Forest, 6755 Hollister Avenue, Suite 150, Goleta, CA 93117; or by telephone at (805) 961-5744.

2) a summary of the Chumash Wind Caves,

3)a summary of the LPFS EA (we encourage you to read this document which can be found at and write your own comments/conclusions).

***Please send comments comments TODAY or by Jan 18th, 2007**--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) sample letter to cut and paste and add to Email to:,
To: Jeff Benson,
LPFS 6755 Hollister Ave., Suite 150
Goleta, CA 93177

From: (your name, address, and phone number),

Subject: Chumash Wind Caves/Winchester Canyon Gun Club Environmental Impact Study

Dear Peggy Hernandez, Forest Supervisor,

I am writing in response to the Environmental Impact Report and Special Use Permit for the Winchester Canyon Gun Club located within the Husahkiw and Lizards Mouth Chumash Ceremonial areas. I encourage the Los Padres Forest Service to permanently monitored and preserved the Husahkiw Cultural Traditional Property as a historic and culturally significant site and register it with the the National Register of Historic Places to ensure its protection.

The nature of the a shooting range is incompatible with Husahkiw’s cultural treasures that house a rare and magnificent rock formations, multi-pigment Rock Paintings and Chumash Ceremonial areas still used today, as well as outdoor recreational activities by the Santa Barbara community at large. This area is being destroyed by continued use and abuse of firearms, dumping and graffiti. In addition to significant cultural value, the ecological value (plant, animal and water) in the area cannot continue to be threatened by lead and noise contamination.

I am asking the LPFS to seek an Alternative in the Environmental Impact Report to not issue a new special use permit for the shooting range, remove all improvements, facilities, and target range materials from the National Forest Lands, restore the site to near-natural conditions and relocate the WCGC to a non-culturally or non-environmentally sensitive area. I make this request based on the delayed EA and historic actions of the Gun Club and Forest Service to fail to abide by the EPA's Best Management Policy, the illegal extension of the long ranges, the lack of concern for the sanctity of the ancient Chumash Cave Paintings and Ceremonial Areas, the reversal by the United States Department of Agriculture based on Appeals by the Coalition and its supporters, of the LPFS decision of No Significant Impact, failure to consult with the Coalition and Sierra Club, ineffective mitigation measures and the reputation of the archelologists who support the closing down of the gun club and protection of the Wind and Painted Caves.

The relocation of the gun club is posible, but the reconstruction thousands of years of history of the Chumash, Santa Barbara's Indigenous peoples is not.

Please, do not reissue the special use permit and relocate the WCGC.
(your name)

**Make sure that you recieve the automated confirmation reciept and save it in your files. Please make sure you send us a copy for our records at: thanks for your support.
2) SUMMARY of area and guns CULTURAL RESOURCES AND PROTECTION OF CULTURAL LANDSCAPESThe " Husahkiw" Wind Caves, rock paintings and cultural landscape well documented as CA-SBA-509, commonly known as the Knapp site, or Indian caves. The " Husahkiw" site, like Petroglyph National Monument, is qualified for National Monument designation. It is an internationally recognized archaeological site, known to be one of the most significant in North America due to the unique polychrome images. For thousands of years the Chumash held sacred the cultural landscape, rock shelters and caves in and immediately around the site presently occupied by the gun club shooting range. On the interior walls of these caves are highly decorative and symbolic multi-colored rock paintings.

These images were created from natural pigments and depict the painters visions of their sprit world as reviled during vision quests, ceremonies, cultural trainings, tribal and personal histories. The landscape is known as a sacred place for many reasons beyond the remaining cave paintings such as the gathering place, ceremonial places, natural structures, and the spirit watchers that still look down on the basin. This area is utiliized by many Chumash, and still alive with the presence of our ancestors, and must be protected honored and respected by all. The coalition has been able to bring in specialists in archeology and acoustics to document the cultural significance of this area. Scientific study has found that acoustic influences of echoing at rock paintings sites around the world are a fundamental influence on the selection of such sites by the artists. Attached for your review is a copy of the treatise entitled Psychoacoustic Influences of the Echoing Environments of Prehistoric Art , by Steven Waller, Ph.D. 2002, incorporated herein by this reference. (See also the "Rock Art Acoustics" web page at URL

The Forest Service has failed and refused to listen to previous Forest Archaeologist, The Coalition to Save Husahkiw, and other interested parties. The Gun Club has failed to protect the cultural resource sites, and has failed to prevent the continued desecration of the rock paintings, and has generally trashed the cultural landscape of the entire basin.
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