Forest Supervisor Stops the Clock on Wallowa-Whitman Travel
National Forest supervisor has received enough heat from the bonfire of public
outrage received, that she's backpeddling, but not really 'stopping the clock,'
only resetting it. She continues to employ language deception in her attempts to
placate a veryaware and not-to-be-steamrollered public. Don't let her get
away with this mealy-mouthed, I'm-pretending-to-listen-to-you letter!Keep
up the great work! Keep on telling her that this Trojan horse is NOT NEEDED in
ANY form! Stop the clock on ALL "Travel Management Plans" in ALL
April 17, 2012
Burks, Public Affairs Specialist, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 1550 Dewey,
Baker City, Oregon 97814. firstname.lastname@example.org 541-523-1364
Schwalbach, Forest Supervisor, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, P.O. Box 907,
Baker City, Oregon 97814. email@example.com 541-523-1201 (office) or 541-519-0277 (cell) http://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/Contact information source: http://gacc.nifc.gov/nrcc/administrative/policy_reports/SnakeSalmonAnnualOperatingPlan.pdf(Page 12 of 36 pages; 12.42 MB)
It has been one month since the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest released its
travel management decision. Since then, there has been considerable public
interest and debate over various aspects of the plan.
As I have
listened to the many people who are commenting on the plan, it has become
apparent that there is a good bit of confusion, as well as some concerns that
would benefit from more discussion.
these concerns I have decided to withdraw the travel management decision, and
stop the clock on the appeal process that is underway.
needs to develop a travel management plan for public motorized recreation, but
I want to be sure the various options for moving forward are considered in a
that by taking the time now to allow for further dialogue and consideration
regarding the concerns that have been raised; we will develop a better outcome
in the long run.
Some of the
key concerns include the following:
concern is there have been significantly different numbers bantered about
regarding how many miles of roads would be designated open for public motorized
recreational use, and how many are being closed to motor vehicles.
question is a challenging one, because there are different ways of looking at
there currently are over 9,000 miles of roads on the Wallowa-Whitman national
forest landscape, but only about 4,700 miles are
considered open to the public.
Many of the
others are impassable because they are overgrown with vegetation.
the project area included in the travel management decision is focused on 1.3
million of the 2.4 million acres on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
for the project area are therefore less than those for the entire forest.
the roads question, is a concern that the maps provided to the public do not
offer enough detail for people to adequately consider the potential
implications of the decision.
I have heard several people suggest that the agency
provide more information on these maps, such as road numbers, landmarks, and watershed boundaries.
more detailed information, it is difficult to provide specific responses back
to the agency about the decision, and what people might like to see changed.
issue is that many people are concerned about access for firewood.
travel plan decision provides for identification of additional firewood cutting
areas across the forest, many people are concerned that this approach may not be [is NOT] adequate to meet the need for
fuelwood in our northeast Oregon communities.
I have met
with quite a few people to discuss this concern and appreciate the various
suggestions that have been offered regarding ways to address the issue.
concern involves access to private lands and permitted uses such as grazing and
mining on the forest.
Access to private land and permitted uses is fully allowed by the
travel management plan.
Private land owners would still have access to their cabins, miners
would continue to have access to their claims, and grazing permit holders will
retain access in allotments to administer their permits.
These are all
important concerns and I appreciate the people who are raising them.
I also think
the agency has a responsibility to address these concerns, including clarifying misinformation, providing
more specific information to the public as requested, and engaging
in further dialogue.
appreciate the passion that has been shown in response to this decision, and
want to encourage everyone to direct this passion in a
positive, productive and respectful way.
anyone who has additional suggestions to share them with me or one of our local
district rangers. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is treasured by all, so
let’s be sure we develop a plan that is reasonable, responsible, and makes
sense now and for the future.
Monica J. Schwalbach, April 17, 2012.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (WWNF) http://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman