Letters to the Editor for March 2, 2012

Written by Baker City Herald readers March 02, 2012 08:44 am

Forest travel management plan out soon 

By MONICA SCHWALBACH

I am always pleased to see the public getting involved in matters affecting their community, and even more so when that passion surrounds the use, management and enjoyment of our national forests. In the next couple of weeks we will publish the long anticipated Record of Decision for Travel Management on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The most important question raised in regard to this decision was “what is the appropriate amount of motor vehicle-based recreation, in relation to natural resource protection needs across the forest?"

The new travel management plan strikes a balance between providing motor vehicle-based recreation opportunities in areas of high interest to the public and reducing damaging effects to natural resources in areas of concern.

I recognize that development of the new travel management plan has been a long process involving many people with varying perspectives. We received a wide range of comments – some people advocated for the majority of roads being open to motor vehicle use, while others wanted the majority closed.  Many people expressed the desire to provide continued access for camping, driving to enjoy the scenery, and hunting. Many also expressed a desire to protect the forest’s waters, wildlife, and beauty for themselves and future generations. We all agree the forest offers wonderful opportunities, both motorized and non-motorized, which need to be managed in a responsible way.

There will be changes in the way people access the forest as a result of the new travel management plan. We want to help people understand what those changes are and how they will affect you.  Our focus will be on public education regarding the new plan. In particular, motor vehicle use maps will be developed showing all the motorized roads and trails available for recreational use across the forest. These maps will be available free of charge at U.S. Forest Service Ranger District offices, as well as other locations in our communities. We expect these maps to be available by June. 

I want to specifically thank all the people who provided comments regarding the proposed travel management plan and alternatives considered along the way. Your input was invaluable in helping to develop the final decision. I also know that many individuals, groups, and organizations have offered to assist in implementing the new plan. I appreciate your ongoing interest in ensuring the success of this plan and stewardship of our national forests. 

Monica Schwalbach is supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

 

 By KYLE KNIGHT

During the February 5J School Board meeting, Chair Lynne Burroughs said she had to appoint two former board members/budget committee members to the budget board because of the lack of interest from the community. However, the school district gave the public less than two weeks to turn in an application or express an interest in becoming a budget committee member.

I explained my frustrations with this issue back in January with the district superintendent and board secretary. The timing and length the district notice was given to the local news and public with less than two weeks before the Jan. 17 deadline with some readers receiving one day notice was insufficient. I asked for an extension. We agreed to extend the date from the Jan. 17 deadline to Feb. 16. 

The new date was posted frequently in the local newspaper, applications were handed out and the district received four applicants back, three businessman and a mother. However, during the meeting the district denied extending the date, stating they only have to give two weeks’ notice and said that is how we always have done things. 

If that was the case why did the district accept and give away applications along with posting a new date in the paper? I think it was dishonest to wrongfully inform the public and I will not put up this dishonest behavior.

I think it would be beneficial to have some fresh faces along with new ideals on the budget board.

These budget board members were wrongfully appointed by the Chair, Lynne Burroughs, without authority of the board. The Chairman has the power to appoint committees, not the members of the committees.

The budget committee shall consist of the members of the governing body and a number, equal to the number of members of the governing body, of electors of the municipal corporation appointed by the governing body; if there are electors fewer than the number required, the governing body and the electors who are willing to serve shall be the budget committee; and if there are no electors willing to serve, the governing body shall be the budget committee. (ORS 294.336 Budget committee) [Board Policy DBEA]

I also have deep concerns with Andrew Bryan, owner of Baker City Realty, heading the negotiation on the possible sale of the Central Middle School Property. The deed and negotiation process could turn into a conflict of interest, especially when Bryan said in a previous school board meeting he had been “approached” by people who wanted to buy the Central Middle School Property.

Some people feel the board has become uncivil and hostile, and this is very concerning to me as a board member. I think we all need to recognize we all have differences of opinion and that should be respected. We have a right to criticize and ask tough questions along working together for the common good of this school district.

Kyle Knight is a member of the Baker 5J School Board. 

 

 Daughter’s doing better, thanks to all

To the editor:

Dear family and friends of Rita Gutierrez Mason: Thank you so much from all of my family, for your thoughts and prayers during the past few months of rough roads and turbulent times. My daughter and her family would like to also thank you all and especially God. Her tumor has shrunk to less than a centimeter from four centimeters!

Thank you to all the caring doctors and hospital staff for an exceptionally hard and long journey with my daughter.

Manny Gutierrez Jr.

Baker City