OUR VIEW: Moraine should be preserved
The old T-shirt slogan couldn’t be more appropriate: “Think Globally, Act Locally.”
With all the environmental issues out there, from urban sprawl to global warming and destruction of the rain forest, from genetic engineering to habitat destruction, it’s easy to get swept away in this or that cause.
Now there is something larger, locally, that deserves full attention. We’re talking about the move under way to find ways to preserve the east moraine at Wallowa Lake from further development.
The east moraine captivates locals and visitors alike. It’s among the crown jewels of Oregon, along with Smith Rock and Cascade Head, and a geologic wonder.
It’s also privately owned.
The biggest chunk is nearly 1,800 acres owned by the Yanke Family Trust.
Wallowa Land Trust, Wallowa Resources, private landowners, Wallowa County and Oregon State Parks are working together to try to buy the property and protect this important part of our natural heritage.
An appraisal of the Yanke land is under way and should be completed by the end of summer. Then the fundraising begins. The drive should attract attention not just locally but nationwide because of the unique characteristics of this geologic wonder. It is not just a local treasure but a national treasure.
Some people are concerned that even more of Wallowa County would be publicly owned. At present, some 64 percent of Wallowa County is already under federal control.
But the moraine is not prime farm or forest land. It is an iconic viewshed and its preservation will contribute to bringing tourists to the county, maintaining this vibrant part of the economy.
So far, the moraine has been protected from willy-nilly development and shameless commercialism.
We think the east moraine should be preserved for current and future generations.
Wallowa County and the Wallowa Lake Moraine Partnership has a big job ahead. But the east moraine wasn’t created in a day and neither will be its preservation.