Forest plan objectors played a valuable role

To every one of you who attended the first set of meetings on the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision, thank you. It was great to see everyone who had traveled from around the West to have their objections heard or to support those who were speaking out about the plan.

I was impressed with the care each of you took to present your objections to Mr. French and his team, but even more, I was awestruck at the control each of you showed in a matter that is very dear to each of our hearts and that impacts our ability to sustain our families in Northeastern Oregon. While open access to our mountains seems to be such a simple concept when it comes to subsistence use, it eludes those that make decisions who have never had to worry about heating their homes with firewood or had to extract food that supplements our families through the winter.

While we saw a solid turn out of objectors in the meetings from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, I fear a great deal of those who objected missed out on these first meetings and did not have their voices heard. The team from D.C. stated we would hear back from them sometime at the end of January and we should expect additional meetings sometime in March to see what the next steps would be.

If the meetings are held in March, it will be paramount that every objector attend the meetings and participate in the process. I ask each of you that know you are an objector to follow Forest Access For All o n Facebook to get current information on the process and how to participate.

Again, thank you to all that participated.

John George