Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

National forests are for the people

To the editor:

Baker County was formed in 1862. Thirty-five years later, Congress passed the 1897 Organic Act. This Act created the Forest Service and allowed the federal government to manage hundreds of thousands of acres of Baker County as national forest. A couple of quotes from The Use of the National Forest Reserves (1905 Use Book), illustrates how the Forest Service was supposed to manage these lands:

"The timber, water, pasture, mineral, and other resources of the forest reserves are for the use of the people; They may be obtained under reasonable conditions, without delay; Legitimate improvements and business enterprises will be encouraged. Forest reserves are open to all persons for all lawful purposes."

"The administration of forest reserves is not for the benefit of the Government, but of the people. The revenue derived from them goes, not into the general fund of the United States, but toward maintaining upon the reserves a force of men organized to serve the public interests. This force has three chief duties: To protect the reserves against fire, to assist the people in their use, and to see that they are properly used. Forest Officers, therefore, are servants of the people."

"In the administration of the forest reserves it must be clearly borne in mind that all land is to be devoted to its most productive use for the permanent good of the whole people, and not for the temporary benefit of individuals or companies. All the resources of the forest reserves are for use, and this use must be brought about in a thoroughly prompt and businesslike manner, under such restrictions only as will insure the permanence of these resources."

The Forest Service still has to operate under the terms of the Organic Act. Apparently, the federal government has decided that "properly" using the forest means basically "non-use." Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has already limited or prohibited motor vehicle use on over half of the forest. The new Travel Management Plan restricts motorized travel on the rest. It is time Baker County took a stand against locking up more of Baker County. These national forests are for the "use of the people."

Ken Alexander


Don't let them lock up our forests

To the editor:

This is my comment to the Wallowa-Whitman that your travel management plan and record of decision needs to be appealed and I and many other citizens that live next to OUR forest are demanding to be given motorized access to ALL of our national lands. You should be trying to get the taxpayers (we the people) turned in favor of keeping the FS on the payroll, like working to keep our forest's accessible for ALL.

I was the front desk (of the Forest Service office) at Unity for 20 years and the FS took that away, I won't sit back and let you lock me out of my forest now as well. You can't just lock up the forest because you don't have budgets to manage it or hire the employees to put out on the ground. And you can't manage wildlife decisions based on elk locked behind New Zealand wire fencing and shoved through pens like cattle in your Starkey Experimental Forest. That's harassment you won't see any citizens in the forest doing to wildlife, hunting at least has sportsmanship involved. Even as FS employees you should stand up for what you know is right and don't let the folks in Washington, D.C., shove this down all our throats.

Betty Duncan


Pull you head out of the sand

To the editor:

Myself and a vast majority of the people who live in Eastern Oregon are outraged at the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan (TMP) proposal. It appears as if it does not matter if you live in Union County or Broward County, Fla., you are going to be denied access to our national forests. I have enjoyed and loved the flora and fauna in these woods for almost 65 years. I have enjoyed our national forests, doing everything from hunting, fishing, mushrooming, picking huckleberries, camping, cutting firewood, and raising a productive, tax-paying family.

Now a few communistic technocrats (appointed not elected) from our locale and abroad want to take it all away from me and all Americans who are either ignorant, apathetic or physically incapable to avail themselves of the proposed restraints to our liberties. Not only will this TMP be a great impedance of any American citizen's freedom of travel, it is also discrimination against seniors and the disabled. Not everyone is physically capable of walking miles to their favorite camping site, huckleberry patch, hunting ground, etc.

Our forests can provide jobs, fuel for homes and enjoyment by all if properly managed. Isn't that the mandate of the USFS? This organization is infected with left-minded dreamers and leeches feeding off the sweat and blood of the middle class. It is inconceivable to me that a few appointed technocrats can negate freedom from those who pay their bills. We want the USFS to do their jobs. We want them to preserve our forests for all Americans but manage them productively. It appears those making these decisions are imposing their personal bias on the populace, counting on the ever-present apathetic American to bury their collective heads in the sand.

So I say, shame on Forest Service policymakers, bending to like-minded politicians and lobbyists who are pushing for these road closures. I would beg this question to those reading this: Will you lift your heads from the sand and write and call your elected officials and demand a call to action?

Ron and Laura Van Dusen