Letter to the Editor for May 28, 2014
Forest Service ‘designates’ where you can go
The U.S. Forest Service is currently taking comments on the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision (BMFPR). This plan will serve as the “zoning ordinance” for the three national forests found within the Blue Mountains. One particular phrase should be of grave concern for any member of the public that enjoys motorize access into “The Blues,” as most locals lovingly refer to them. That phrase is “Designated routes.”
Designated routes sounds like a harmless enough phrase that you simply designate uses of current roads and move on. Unfortunately it’s not that harmless. Designated routes are the cornerstone of how the Forest Service has successfully closed hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands throughout the West, and it has also been successfully stopped in regions where the public has actively engaged in the process and acted against it.
To understand designated routes one need look no further than their home. Envision your home as it is now, with the freedom to move through it as needed, accessing every resource you need to have a complete home.
Now let’s “designate routes” through your home and see how that works. Lay a piece of tape down the middle of all your floors, you are only allowed to be 3 feet from the tape at any time. You may not touch any items outside that 3 foot buffer.
You now have “designated routes” — fun, isn’t it?
Your yard has been deemed needed as a “wildlife corridor” area and now is off limits to any big wheel, tricycle or lawnmower activity. You may walk into your yard, however, you may not utilize any motorized tools.
Does this make the picture clearer as to what the BMFPR really is? It’s Travel Management (road closures) with a different spin on it.
The USFS will tell you it’s not about road closures, and that is a true statement. This document is even more sinister, as it sets the foundation for the USFS to close roads as it states it is YOUR DESIRED CONDITION to see routes designated.
Do you really want your access “designated” away? If no, you had better get to commenting on the BMFPR.
John D. George