Letters to the Editor for Feb. 21, 2014

By Baker City Herald readers February 21, 2014 09:52 am

We must stand up for our rights to access public land

What defines freedom? Is it an individual’s call to support the “greater good” or is it their ability to live as a sovereign being in the world?

You are going to be told over the next few months that “we are doing this for the greater good” or “we are only following orders.” This my friends is the how bad policy starts, and even worse things begin for the people of our region.

We’ve saw how the greater good works in our region, we’ve seen as a “collaboration group” has sprung from the ashes of the Travel Management Plan. All that’s been collaborated on is more road closures in a project by project means, in a group that we have been told would not deal with such issues. 

We now see the greater good play out in “public meetings” and through an “open and transparent” system. Where the U.S. Forest Service intentionally withholds meeting times, and stonewalls emails so the public cannot participate in meetings.

No my friends, this is not freedom, we are living in something much less. We are currently watching a group of men and women attempt to walk over the top of us. They claim to be civil servants, when they actually practice the tightly guarded secret of “activism thru professionalism.” They mean to see you out of your mountains, what they claim as “public land” and that they are “protecting” is simply a way to frame their position as noble and just.

Right are the people that stand for their God-given right to live their life the way they see fit. 

March is coming, will you be at the meetings they allow you to attend at least?

If you want to keep your access to your mountains, you must tell the USFS you demand that right, or they will take it from you. They will tell you the Forest Plan revision is not the place for that discussion, but it is, and you must be ready to tell them no to anything that denies you access, clearly, loudly, and with as large a voice as you can muster? 

John D. George

Bates

Cattle grazing can sustain the land, and sage grouse

I have a vivid memory from the fifth grade, of my teacher telling the class, “All wealth comes from Mother Earth.” She went on to explain that the money in your pocket, the clothes you wear, your food, housing, transportation and all else has been grown or dug from the ground. Many processes are used to make whichever resource into various products, but the basic provider is always the earth.

Nothing demonstrates this better than grass. The plant, fueled by photosynthesis, water, carbon dioxide and soil nutrients, builds foliage harvested by herbivores. When harvested in a timely manner, the grass regenerates and increases along with sequestering carbon. If the plant is not harvested, it eventually becomes moribund and will die, if not burned.

Many animals of all types work perfectly into this process.  Bureau of Land Management personnel are trained to understand the interaction and balance of species for this ongoing and renewable process. Currently, predators are in oversupply as opposed to other species and need to be reduced. Cattle can be and should be included as a management tool for the sustainability of our natural resources and the animals thereon, including the sage grouse.

Sustainable means: “Providing for the present without taking from the future.”

Dan Warnock

Baker City

You can help spay/neuter local cats and dogs

For every person born in the United States, about 15 puppies and 45 kittens are born. Roughly 90 percent of the animals entering shelters are not fixed. Therefore, without a robust spay/neuter effort, shelters will continue to house animals, many who end up euthanized, and homeless cats and dogs will continue to wander the streets at the mercy of the elements and the kindness of strangers.  

Dogs and cats bring huge benefits to people. Spaying/neutering them increases the likelihood that companion animals will stay in their homes by eliminating the stresses related to unplanned litters and by improving the animal’s health and disposition. It also prevents stray/feral cats from endlessly reproducing. Therefore, a community’s decision to support a spay/neuter program is a low cost but high return investment in the livability and quality of that community.   

Actively working to solve a problem is cheaper and more satisfying than reacting because we can create an approach that fits our community’s personality and circumstances.  With that in mind, Mollie Atwater and Friends Spay/Neuter Fund (MAF) has been helping Baker County and North Powder residents spay/neuter their animals since 2005 by covering a portion of the surgery costs. Assistance request forms are found at the veterinary clinics and vouchers are sent out when funds are available.  MAF is under the non-profit umbrella of Baker County.   

To date, MAF has helped 1,917 companion cats and dogs and feral cats — 1,520 of these were cats. If each cat (male or female) had contributed to only one more litter of four kittens, there would have been another 6,080 cats looking for homes – a huge burden on any community.  Of the 1,917 animals assisted, 1,207 have come from Baker City. Halfway is second with 200 animals.   

Available funds determine what is possible. We recently mailed out 23 vouchers, but 27 animals are on the waiting list.   You can help the spay/neuter effort by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Fund.  And if you’ve been wondering about getting your own animal fixed, take that step and increase the quality of your community and the quality of your animal’s life in a very real and very personal way.

Suzanne Fouty

Baker City

Two sides to the story of managing our lands

Certainly I respect Allan Chase’s right to his opinion (Opinion page, Feb. 12), but hold on for just a minute. Everyone who lives here is not against protecting public lands; in fact, I believe we have a responsibility to leave something besides four-wheeler tracks and cow pies for our children to experience. The so-called “well-funded special interest groups” are not nearly as well-funded as ranchers, miners and some recreational users have been. I suppose these would qualify as “special interest groups” too, wouldn’t they?

Do some environmentalists get carried away with their agenda? Sure, but dare I mention the American livestock industry’s history of politics and land management? I think most would find it in many cases deplorable. Does that mean all ranchers are bad? Of course not. There’s two sides to this issue and we’ve got to get good people on both sides to unite and do what’s right. Maybe, just maybe, leaving a little of what was here before us for those who come after us is right.

Garry Hartz

Haines