Letters to the Editor for Feb. 27, 2012

By Baker City Herald readers February 27, 2012 08:38 am

BLM road proposal unfair

To the editor:

The Baker BLM draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) states in the preferred alternative, No. 1, and in alternatives 3, 4, 5, 5a under the heading Land Use Allocation: “Congressionally mandated areas (wilderness, wild section of WSRs and WSAs) Oregon Trail ... and public lands with no legal public access, ... would be closed to motorized use." This statement is buried in a lot of other stuff. This little statement, if adopted, will adversely affect all landowners within the RMP area who have these little landlocked parcels within their private land.

I was told by BLM that this closure was included because BLM wanted to be fair to all the public; if the public cannot access landlocked BLM parcels, the landowner cannot use these roads either. Landowners in their daily travels on their own ground would be prohibited from driving across these established roads if they fail to get BLM’s permission first. If BLM decides they do not want the landowner to use the road for some reason, the landowner has no appeal rights. And, there is no affordable or practical process whereby the landowner can buy these landlocked parcels. The only alternative is to build new roads around the landlocked parcels, but on steep ground even this may not be an option. 

This road closure proposal on public lands with no legal public access is a completely negative, unworkable, and largely unenforceable idea. The result will be that every landowner is a criminal every time that landowner, a family member or an employee needs to go from point A to point B on one of these inholding roads. BLM has the administrative authority to access these inholdings, and if they drive in through the locked gate and see wheel tracks on the road, the landowner can be cited.

There is no other BLM RMP in the nation that contains this onerous access prohibition on landowners with public lands within their private lands. I would urge everyone to write the Baker BLM at P.O. Box 947, and tell them to drop this ill-conceived idea from the RMP alternative selected. 

Jan Alexander

Unity