Monument Continued

October 14, 2016


Senator Jeffery Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, Dpty. Secretary Conner


I grew up in a publishers family so words and their meanings are very important to me.

And I am concerned when I see all these words, that sound good, but it is pretty hard to see how they justify the potential impact on the resources and the land of this proposed additional monument withdrawl.

Your August 25, 2016 letter mentions, “Given the short time left in the year, we ask you to come as soon as practicable.” What’s the hurry? The land has been there for a long time, and, saving some major tectonic event, will be here for the foreseeable future. Haste would just arbitrarily limit the public’s ability to comment.

“Protecting the entity of the Cascade-Siskiyou region” sounds like an admirable aim but how does monument status achieve this?
Some of the other phrases are even more puzzling and less specific – “climate change” or “ecological integrity” – just how would monument status significantly affect either of these subjects.

And most important – how could monument status protect it from wildfire – the most likely risk. Actually rapid response time is the best fire protection. Roads – as firebreaks – have proven to be effective in fires such as the 2015 National fire in Crater Lake Park and the Rogue River Forest.
Monument status could limit road construction or even maintenance.

Currently the Oregon State Forestry is the fire protection agency for the proposed area – would there be added restrictions, such as MIST, under monument status? If this resulted in larger, more expensive fires that exceeded the State’s backup insurance limit, wouldn’t that result in costs to the taxpayers of Oregon?

Since these BLM lands are O&C, and included in the 1937 Act mandate, monument status would restrict their participation in the timber program.
At one time Secure Rural Schools compensated for the loss of timber revenue, but this has been fading, so we would be left with neither.

Aside from buzzwords is there much serious support for this expansion?
And how should it be measured? In the Owyhee Canyon lands area it was voted on by the local people – who were 90% opposed.
In this area there are several groups in favor, but is that a good criteria?

In 2010, when the Siskiyou Crest was proposed, there were several public meetings, and the main message was that adequate public hearings should be held. One comment was that a “business plan” should be part of any
monument, and this seems like a reasonable request.

In this context of unanticipated results of actions, I am reminded of a situation in the Kalmiopsis / Biscuit Fire area – where there appeared to be little or no funding for reopening the trails thru the burn. This left it to a group of volunteers doing the work with unpowered hand tools!


Trenor Scott;

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