When it comes to talking about closing roads on the national forest, everyone has an opinion. And numerous opinions have been expressed since the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest announced nearly three years ago that it would be developing a travel management plan for the forest and that the road system would be undergoing scrutiny. After seeking input and developing alternatives, the Wallowa-Whitman is ready to move to the next phase in the process.
Beginning this evening at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise, the WWNF will hold a series of public workshops to let the public see the alternatives that make up the Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan. In addition to tonight’s workshop in Enterprise, one is planned Wednesday night at the Blue Mountain Conference Center in La Grande and Thursday night at the Baker City Armory. Each of the workshops runs from 5 to 9 p.m.
Later in the month and into August the WWNF will hold a series of drop-in sessions where citizens can find out more about the alternatives.
Citizens then are invited to submit comments on the alternatives. Comments are due by Aug. 18. In early 2010 WWNF Supervisor Steve Ellis will issue a final environmental impact statement and decision, with maps for the new plan to be released in summer 2010.
Ellis and his associates at the WWNF have taken a lot of heat since the process was first announced. But they persevered, sought the input of local counties and came up with a mix of options. Now it’s up to the public to study them and weigh in.
Check out the alternatives online at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w/projects/travel-management-plan/index.shtml and plan to attend the workshops. Then be sure to submit your comments by Aug. 18. The process provides an opportunity for everyone to be heard.