Letters and comments for April 10, 2012

By Observer Upload April 10, 2012 12:46 pm
Letters and comments for April 10, 2012

Voice your concerns


To the Editor:

As citizens of Union, Baker and Wallowa counties, or anyone else that uses the forest, the USFS Wallowa-Whitman Forest Travel Plan should be a major concern. 

I worked as a member of the Baker County travel plan committee for four years and my wife and I have travelled over 4,000 miles in the Ruckles Creek and Eagle Creek area inventorying roads (road conditon, uses, travel frequencey, etc.), photographing and GPS locating. 

As a member of the travel plan committee, I submitted my findings to the Baker county commissioners, who submitted those findings to the USFS. I was in constant contact with the former supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman forest, who indicated that data would be considered from all sources. 

When the final record of decision came out, the USFS tendered Alternative Plan 5 modified (the most restrictive plan alternative), then the current USFS Wallowa-Whitman supervisor further altered Alternative Plan 5 with a far more prohibitive plan, the Select Alternative to Alternative Plan 5. 

What this means: instead of 7,000 miles of roads open to the public, now only 3,000 miles will be open. Effectively, what this means, is you will be limited on where you can cut wood, pick berries, camp, ATV, hunt, etc. Motorized vehicles will be excluded from most roads historically used and many roads will be closed forever.

If you are impacted by this Forest Travel Plan, I encourage you to contact Gov. John Kitzhaber, Senators Merkley (541-278-1129) and Wyden (541-962-7691), Congressman Greg Walden (541-624-2400), Mike Simpson, chairman house appropriations subcommittee on interior affairs (208-367-1927), and Tom Tidwell, chief USFS (202-205-8439).

Write to your local newspapers and voice your concerns. 

Part of the new Forest Travel Plan are the announced penalties. Regardless of the levied ticket (driving on a closed road), the federal judge you have to appear before can raise the ticket up to a maximum of $5,000 and or jail time (maximum six months).

I encourage you to ponder how you and your family want to use your National Forest in the years to come.

Let’s let our voices be heard.

Martin W. Stroy

Baker City


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