Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Proposed forest rule threatens local economy

I am opposing the Forest Service proposed rule on "Categorical Exclusion for Restoration Activities." This road and trail category (defined at 36 CFR 212.1) is to be used for areas where non-system roads and trails are located and is a backdoor approach to closing more forest roads.

This rule is designed to target our RS 2477 roads. Many of these old roads are not being maintained because they do not need it. They are healed over and do not contribute to erosion. Yes, they are being used - by every kind of animal. They have a cultural value to us, and most of them are established on ancient Indian trails which also have a cultural value.

I believe it is in our best interest to leave them alone.

In the explanation it covers "removing water control devices such as dikes, ditches, culverts and pipes; restore lands and habitat to pre-disturbance conditions (besides), restore lands occupied by roads and trails to natural conditions." And "remove debris, sediment" following "natural or human-caused events."

Again, we have water-related devices or controls in our local forest which support our agricultural lands that are over a century old. They have never caused any environmental damages and they have seldom needed more than a minimum of maintenance.

Since they use natural ways of operating they meet the standard to restore to a natural state covered by this rule. This will be a tremendous economic loss to Baker County.

This rule is written with no knowledge of our local terrain or local needs.

This rule threatens us with an enormous negative economical impact on a number of local industries, including fishermen, hunters, prospectors, woodcutters and most importantly here in our dry region, water for irrigation.

It is extremely important to respond immediately. The comment period ends Aug. 13.

Submit comments online at www.regulations.gov or write to "Restoration CE Comments," P.O. Box 4208, Logan, UT, 84323.

Identify comments by writing "Categorical Exclusions for Restoration Activities" on the front page. Be sure to sign your name and address.

Carmelita Holland