Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Katy Nesbitt

WesCom News Service

ENTERPRISE - Representatives from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association voted Friday in John Day to object to the forest plan out for public comment until Aug. 15.

The draft document, known as The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision, is a guide to managing the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and part of the Ochoco national forests.

"Too many things are wrong, including the basic tenet, and we don't think it's fixable," Wallowa County Commissioner Mike Hayward said.

Hayward said the plan doesn't focus enough on impacts to the public.

"The socioeconomic pieces have taken a huge backseat to ecological pieces," he said.

Hayward said the association, which includes Baker County, meets every other month by phone and about once a year in person. They met Friday to discuss the plan, the impacts of sage grouse and the federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.

The counties have been represented throughout the plan's revision by Roger Lord of Mason Bruce and Girard, a forestry consulting firm in Portland. Hayward said Lord has analyzed the Forest Service's numbers - primarily concerning forest products. As the comment period draws to a close, the counties are looking to Lord to come up with a conclusion on the impacts of the plan to forestry.

"We think his comments are really well done," Hayward said.