Letters to the Editor for April 18, 2012

Written by Baker City Herald readers April 18, 2012 08:33 am

Locking us out of our land

To the editor:

Of the people, by the people and for the people?

What is it about that statement that the Forest Service doesn’t understand?

Years ago, the F.S. made many, many acres of wilderness ground in the forest. Wilderness is used by less than 1 percent of the population of our country. Now they are determining that over half of the roads in the forest should be closed. Approximately 15 percent of the population utilize the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, and 14 percent of those that use the forest live within twenty miles of the forest.

Mother nature will close roads that are no longer in use. 

I worked in the woods for over 30 years and believe me, roads do not have anything to do with saving wildlife. I have seen them bedding in roads, eating moss off of the tree’s after the log cutters shut down in the evening, and never going very far from man or machine, and returning as soon as everybody went home for the evening.

If Ms. Schwalbach is allowed to carry out this closure, it will just force all of the people off of the roadless area and onto the other 40 or 45 percent of the forest causing overuse of the remaining forest still accessible to the public.

When that occurs, they will do another study, and shut down that portion because of overuse.

Soon, we will be able to use the freeway and go to Ontario or La Grande, as all other roads will be closed.

I have lived and worked in the woods for many years and enjoy nothing more than a day spent exploring old logging roads and just driving around in the forest.

I am 65 now and disabled, I still enjoy hunting, getting wood, picking berries and mushrooms and just being in the woods.

If the F.S. closes any roads, it will be too many.

I agree with the person that wrote in from La Grande, if you work for the Forest Service and had anything to do with these closures, “shame on you.” You are taking land that is ours and locking us out.

Larry Smith

Baker City