Letters and comments for November 25, 2011

By Observer Upload November 25, 2011 04:44 pm
Letters and comments for November 25, 2011

Provide access

To the Editor:

I wasn’t going to put in my two cents worth on David Mildrexler’s community comment, but I changed my mind.

He states, “When the national forests were established, the guarantee was made that all Americans would have a chance to hunt, fish and roam the wilds.”

He needs to pay more attention to the word “all.” Right now, over half of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest is off limits to motorized vehicles. There are wilderness areas, a national recreation area, natural research areas, wild and scenic areas, areas to protect wildlife and their habitat and numerous other designated areas that don’t allow motorized access. How much more really needs to be locked up?

I believe there is a place for true “wilderness.” But the areas that fit the intent of the “Wilderness Act” are already designated as such, as are some areas that should have lesser restrictions on them. Some areas would be better served with a “Backcountry Recreation Area” designation. This would allow controlled motorized access where appropriate; yet protect the area from development.

The Forest Service’s Travel Management Plan was supposed to control “unregulated” motorized use, not eliminate use on the other 50 percent of the forest. I have little problem with reining in the amount of off road travel by off-highway vehicles.

But I see no need for the wholesale elimination of all non-maintained roads. They provide a place for a form of recreation that is just as important and as appropriate as any other. Many times they also provide access to views of the most beautiful places we have.

Why should 1 percent of the population have access to all the best places on our public lands, while the other 99 percent are locked out, just because of how they choose to get there?

Mark Barber

La Grande

Common sense

To the Editor:

I am an animal lover, and always have been. I believe any rancher that loses livestock to wolves should be compensated.

I have read that there are kids in Oregon that are going hungry and are homeless — some of them right here in La Grande. And there are adults who have the same problem.

And the taxpayers are buying beefsteak for the wolves?

What kind of priority is this? What in the world has happened to just plain common sense?

June Wood

La Grande



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