A local opinion from a fellow 4x4 enthusiast

Discussion in 'Land Use' started by mudfanatic, May 10, 2000.

  1. mudfanatic

    mudfanatic 1/2 ton status

    Feb 18, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Aloha, Oregon
    *** This is an editorial opinion ***

    Now that we have a firm document to review on the Forest Service's
    roadless areas plan, there seems to be some glimmering evidence that our
    emails, voting, phone calls and letter writing have made headway.
    While I have not reviewed the actual documents yet (they are in the
    mail), in reading details in The Oregonian and MSNBC sites, I note
    the following "surprises":

    - The permanent ban on roads was set at 43 million acres. This
    is down from the 50-60 million they were talking about at
    one point. Most of these roadless areas are in areas of 5,000
    acres or more. Originally they were taling about areas of 1,000
    acres or more.

    - The local U.S. Forest Service officials have authority to
    decide whether to allow, among other things, off-road vehicle
    use. This, I believe, is a surprise to most of us. Now it
    seems, there is some leeway whether we will get to continue our
    activities or not.

    - The fact that environmentals sentiments have turned from whole
    support to "you didn't go far enough" is a good thing. It will
    split their ranks. Some will continue to support the plan as is,
    others will start harping it isn't far enough. Indeed, the MSNBC
    poll now asks for three answers: (1) Yes, it's a fair compromise,
    (2) No, it doesn't go far enough, (3) No, it goes too far.

    I actually find this encouraging. To be perfectly honest, I don't
    care about the road building ban. And in the big scheme of things,
    I don't know enough about timber harvesting to know what a ban on
    this means. But I do care about off road vehicle use in these
    forests. And it seems that having local officials decide, is at
    least better than a mandate of closing it all up.

    I'm not saying I'm happy with the local decision, mind you. We
    have more work to do to remove this barrier. In my opinion, there
    should be no question about our ability to drive in OUR forests.
    But I think we are making some progress and we need to continue
    our agressive campaign to keep our forests open.

    I do see a risk that the National Forest Service is simply trying
    to defer the decision to local regions and thereby defer the issue.
    This is a very real risk. If they say the local regions will decide,
    but then encourage the local regions to lock everything up - that
    isn't good. And they've deferred the issue during this critical
    time when we should be harping on it.

    So let's keep the pressure on between now and September. Keep those
    letters going. Keep responding to polls. Attend the meetings. Make
    our collective voices heard. If we do this, I think we will be heard.

    Just my two cents...

    p.s. - Seems like we need to attack this upon multiple fronts.
    Need to get in bed with the local forest rangers and start convincing
    them that open roads are a good thing. Best start carbon copying
    local forest officials in our emails and letters.

    p.p.s. - It seems the real value to attending the upcoming meetings
    is really understand what our local forest rangers have to say
    about protection of additional areas in their region and what call
    they plan to make on what level of logging, mining and recreational
    activities take place in their areas. Then we need to communicate
    our feelings.

    <font color=red>get involved with land issues or lose the land</font color=red>

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