Dear Mr. Martin, acting W-W Forest Supervisor:
Please let this be a public record letting you know our desire to see an Open Forest System remain in place on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
The government is the people and we are voices to be listened to because you work for US. Leave OUR public lands PUBLIC where EVERYONE can continue to ENJOY the bounties of our great public lands, and not just the fortunate few able to venture out in a non-motorized fashion in restricted areas of restricted use. It is the intent of some national forest’s TMP to take all liberties away, locking out hiking and horseback riding as well as motorized use. Expecting people to be directed to seasonal and special use areas at increased time and expense to the user with huge penalty consequences for non-compliance.
It’s not just about travel access, it’s about taking away our greatest good of the country, OUR renewable natural resources. The sustaining life-blood of small rural communities such as Hereford, Unity, Ironside, Prairie City, Mt. Vernon, John Day, Seneca, Bates, Sumpter, Baker City, La Grande, Union, Joseph, Enterprise, Imnaha, Long Creek to name only a few.
What about our cultural beliefs, what makes Chief Dale Bosworth’s decisions 10 years ago, to ruin millions of lives, killing an already struggling economy in the rural west? All public lands are not under the same stress of mis-use, over-use and abuse and or user-conflicts. You can’t make public lands decisions in the WO and expect them to fit across the entire 150 National Forests from Oregon to Florida and every state in between. Even in Oregon there is what’s referred to as east and west side forests, and we all know prescriptions of treatment are not the same.
If you have a population over-abundance and user conflict around large cities, do you think those same conflicts occur around small rural areas of agriculture use rather than those of tourism and popular recreation trends? What about those small rural ranching heritage families that are on the fringe and not even connected to a community? You would rather lock them out at their expense of hardship in building new access routes around FS lands.
Are any of us as citizens causing harm to such a big bureaucracy as the FS? Yet we are labeled “bullies” because we in the rural west won’t go down without fighting for what we BELIEVE in? The local populace show more passion regarding the lands that YOU manage without a hint of passion, and yet we are referred to as the BULLY for fighting government lands management decisions doled out through biased environmental groups, wildlife protectionists and un-sound science-based decisions.
I’m sure you have a nice home in or outside of Pendleton somewhere and perhaps even a recreation cabin in the woods near the Umatilla or Wallowa-Whitman NFs. Perhaps you live in a rural mini-ranchette with greenhouse, garden plot and you recycle, live green and think you have a light carbon footstep. Are you going to let the bully neighbor next door come in and tell you how to live in your free time? Would you let him take jobs away from your family members and tell them where they can travel and how if at all?
What cost will the taxpayer have to bear in housing your “criminals” that won’t be able to pay a large financial penalty for their grievance of trespassing on CLOSED public lands? Will these poor financially strapped local citizens wandering out to pick berries and other natural edibles to feed their families; or cut and gather wood to warm their homes; be locked up in prison for not affording to pay their fines? Are they to be locked away in over crowded prisons with baby rapists and murderers? Jim’s new recurring nightmare is being slammed into a federal prison cell with convicts, just for “wandering off down the wrong road because he can’t read your map”. He can’t afford to pay a $500-$5000 fine of your choosing. And for that freedom being denied him, as you haul him off to jail, don’t think he won’t have supporters on the outside who will rally to defend him against your unjust civilities.
At what tax-payer cost will your agency be requesting additional budgets for hiring law-enforcement positions and employing drones for policing CLOSED public lands for intended use or non-use of your National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) programs? Next you’ll require tracking devices implanted in the American citizen? Just like ON-STAR, why not call it “IN-STAR”?
Jim won’t be able to pay his fine, because you as leader of the W-W want to take away any and all of his future jobs on your forest, helping folks gather, cut and split their firewood, fixing forest allotment fence for ranching neighbors with grazing permits, metal fabrication jobs at sawmills or other woods jobs. He is only one small number amongst thousands who will be affected in the pocket book as you take away jobs in Oregon instead of creating them.
What is wrong with the FS, a government agency that can’t provide management and service in this 21st century? I worked for the W-W for 21 years, 20 of those in customer service at the front desk in Unity (88-08) until it closed due to W-W downsizing budgets and supporting overhead growth in Baker City vs. field stations like Unity.
I viewed my government job with the FS as continuing to proudly serve my country through the Unity Ranger Station public office when “people serving people” and “public servant” terms and mentality still existed in the agency. I now work of my own free will, raising awareness of you attempting to infringe on our constitutional rights.
Now instead of offering SERVICE the agency cowers their heads, feed us lies, drowns us in analysis-paralysis and sneaks in WO agenda’s that we’re supposed to merely swallow without choking on the mere stupidity of these government concepts? The people making decisions in Washington don’t even come to the country, they couldn’t even live out here in the woods if they had to, under the greatest of conditions. Oh, perhaps they slept under the stars back in the day when they fought fires while working their way through college or happened to take a college camp-out or fishing trip 30 years ago.
No, it’s sad to say the agency is now only pandering to other government agencies and rich political agendas all in the hopes of fostering job security until you get that big fat retirement check as a GS-12 with 30-40 years of transferring across the country from one job to another. I’ll ask you a personal question, in all your years with the agency, do you ever go back to where you started and see how those programs fared? No, probably not since we both know the agency just promotes career climbing by being mobile and not being “tied to the land you manage” or even “hiring local”, instead worrying about balancing pie-chart percentages to meet USDA criteria in minority and under-privileged hiring.
Locking up the national forests to wildfires is cost prohibitive and current FS science mentality has forest fires increasing triple in size since the 80s. Fire behavior prediction models can’t keep up with the recent wildfire trends and huge multi-million dollar homes are now blamed for adding tinder to the fires: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/burning-question/309057/ If you read this article, no where is it even mentioned that previous to the 80s there was something called “logging” renewable resource extraction through selective thinning and other methods were at one time added into that equation. Since it has been taken from the forest management equation, all that timber and dead and diseased wood is obviously adding FUEL to those HUGE mega fires raging across the west, this fire season, as well as the past 20-30 fire seasons.
If the Forest Service won’t use it’s budget to maintain these natural resources in a renewable fashion, helping the local economy with jobs, then perhaps our society needs to change FS government policy and open these public lands as a National Park or National Study Area featuring educational schools to teach good forestry practices and sustainable forest management use of renewable resources. At least that would bring something of significance to the local economy rather than a total shut-out.
The definition of conservation has two listings:
a. To protect from loss or harm; preserve
b. To use carefully or sparingly, avoiding waste
Well you and I both know there isn’t anything big enough to preserve all our national forests in to keep it safe from harm, no mason jar, bell jar or “ideal fantasy bubble” big enough to hold it all. Wouldn’t it be wise to follow the second definition and use our forests carefully, sparingly and avoiding waste.
Sincerely and passionately!!
Betty E Duncan
James H Wood