Greg Walden`s Oregon Congressional Connection
Apr 24 at 6:51am - khsdba
Travel Management Plan
to start over on the Travel Management Plan for the Wallowa-Whitman National
Yesterday, I called Kent Connaughton, the Regional Forester for the USFS'
Pacific Northwest Region, to tell him that the plan is the product of a flawed
public process that failed to protect the public's ability to enjoy their
So, time to scrap it and try again with people in charge who will value the
suggestions of eastern Oregon's citizens. I followed up my phone call with a
letter to the Regional Forester. Here's the full text:
"Dear Regional Forester Connaughton:
"I appreciate you taking my call earlier today. As we discussed, I strongly
urge you to scrap the proposed Travel Management Plan on the Wallowa-Whitman
National Forest and start over with a process that actually takes into
consideration the input of eastern Oregon’s local citizens.
"The plan for the Wallowa-Whitman proposes major changes that will impact
eastern Oregonians’ ability to recreate, hunt, cut wood, pick berries, and
perform other activities that are so important to the region’s rural economy
and lifestyle. Throughout the process, I encouraged communities and user groups
to tell their side of the story. Many volunteers donated their time in Baker,
Union, and Wallowa counties to participate in this process and provide an
accurate inventory of roads to the Forest Service. These inventories formed the
basis of the counties’ submitted comments and recommendations that unused and
overgrown roads be closed, while popular and economically valuable roads remain
open. Unfortunately, I am told by individuals and the counties that most, if
not all, of these key areas of concern were not included in the final plan.
Failure to include local input results in poorly crafted plans and rules that
significantly impact our rural communities.
"Despite their efforts to participate, many groups and communities feel they
were largely, if not entirely, ignored by the U.S. Forest Service. This amounts
to an assault on good process, the public’s ability to enjoy their natural
resources, and rural traditions on public lands. That is unacceptable.
"Furthermore, I understand that the Wallowa-Whitman did not include certain
National Recreation and Wilderness areas in the planning process. As a result,
the planning area reflected an artificially high percentage of land suitable
for motorized recreation than is actually the case over the entire forest. When
the Wallowa-Whitman is taken as a whole, with National Recreation and
Wilderness areas included, more than 70% of USFS lands in Wallowa County are
already dedicated to non-motorized "quiet” recreation.
"Start over. Put people in charge who will value the suggestions of eastern
Oregon’s citizens. And then go meet with the local residents and make sure that
rural Oregon’s voice is reflected in the final plan.”
you posted as this develops.
for now. Have a great rest of the week.
Oregon’s Second District
Filed Under: Uncategorized