>Baker City Herald | Baker County Oregon's News Leader

Baker news NE Oregon Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Follow BakerCityHerald.com

Baker City Herald print edition

view all Baker City Herald print publications »

The Baker City Herald is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

View Paper

If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access.


Recent article comments

Powered by Disqus

Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow No new wilderness areas


No new wilderness areas

The last time Congress created new wilderness in Northeast Oregon was 1984.

Wilderness advocates may be hungry for new victories — not to mention causes for fund-raising campaigns.

But a lot has changed in 21 years that should lessen the perceived urgency of wilderness designation even among its supporters.

Appeals and court decisions and species concerns have all but crippled the extractive industries in our region.

So for lack of means or an extractive management strategy, much of the non-wilderness land in Northeast Oregon is essentially wild.

There's no need to take that additional step and ask Congress to establish new wilderness, tying land managers' hands forever.

Regardless, the Wallowa-Whitman and the two other Blue Mountain forests are presently undergoing a routine forest plan review.

As part of that review, the agency is conducting a wilderness inventory.

It's cause for public interest, yes. But it's no reason for exaggerated hysterics or crying wolf on the part of wilderness foes.

The wilderness inventory in a forest plan is a little like a middle manager in a business sorting through resumes for a job that may or may not be created by upper management.

You look for likely candidates, sorting the qualified applicants from the unqualified.

Then you make a recommendation to your boss on whether to hire someone or not.

For the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the last forest plan review included recommending to its boss, the U.S. Congress, no new hires in the wilderness department.

We expect the same out of this review.

Conditions on the forest have not changed to put in peril any of the lands likely to be found to have "wilderness" character. If anything, there is less pressure to extract resources or develop facilities on the forest's wildest areas than there was 21 years ago, when more lumber mills remained in operation and the last of Northeast Oregon's wilderness was established.

Today, roughly one in five acres of Blue Mountain forest is officially reserved as wilderness. That's plenty to fulfill the intent of the Wilderness Act.


blog comments powered by Disqus
Local / Sports / Business / State / National / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters / Columns / Submit a letter
Outdoors / Go Magazine / Milestones / Living Well
Baker Herald
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Privacy Policy / Commenting Policy / Site Map
Also Online
Photo Reprints / Videos / Local Business Links / Community Links / Weather and Road Cams / RSS Feed

Follow Baker City Herald headlines on Follow Baker City Herald headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2016 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use