Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Goats do well without wilderness

To the editor:

Two thoughts about the goats in the Elkhorns andndash; long time biologist Dick Humphreys was instrumental in the establishment of the herd in the Elkhorns; and how perfect a place it turned out to be for the goats.

It was through Dick's efforts that the goat herd was established here, and we all need to thank him for his work as a biologist in the '60's through the early '90s. He was also instrumental in establishing the elk-feeding sites across the face of the Elkhorns that have been so successful in eliminating winter damage to the crop areas. This has led to one of the most healthy elk herds in the state.

It is interesting to ponder why the Elkhorns turned out to be the ideal place for the goats and how they have thrived to become the seed-stock source for transplanting all over the state. It's a perfect area for people to drive and then hike short distances to enjoy viewing them. It sure illustrates to me that we don't need a wilderness designation, or increased road restrictions in the Elkhorns, since wildlife seem to be thriving here without that access-restricting protection.

Wolves will not enhance the Elkhorns either.

Tim L. Kerns

Baker City

Wyden forest bill smells rank

To the editor:

I don't know what to say about John Shelk of Ochoco Lumber Company supporting Ron Wyden's Eastside Forest Plan. One has to wonder what kind of deal was in it for Shelk or OLC. After studying this proposed bill in some detail and talking with others who have studied it in great detail I offer the following comments:

The proposed act is yet another duplicitous overlay on our federal forests which are currently burdened with redundant requirements, nebulous plans, weak legal clarity and cumbersome administrative structure to the point of making quality forest management and the practice of efficient and economic forest harvesting and quality management essentially a thing of the past. The Wyden plan defines "old Growth" in such vague and subjective terms that in essence any tree size under critical scrutiny and appeal could be defined "old growth" and made off limits to harvest. The Wyden Plan relies on logging of only small diameter trees and biomass which, without substantial public subsidy (tax money), are not economically viable practices for the logging operations which remain in Eastern Oregon. The only lands encumbered by the Wyden Plan are in Eastern Oregon yet the key oversight group, the Eastside Forest Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, will be constituted from across the entire state, thus allowing those less affected, more politically motivated and more removed from the lands to make key decisions affecting local economies and jurisdictions. Reminds one of Wyden getting the bulk of his campaign funds from the East Coast to be a Senator in Oregon? Go figure.

How any right-thinking timber or lumber producer could support his act is a true enigma. I guess when you're almost the only game in town you can put anyone on your team - even the eco-wacko Ron Wyden. There seems to an unusually rank smell coming from this pile of lumber.

Tim Smith