Letter: Public silenced?
To the Editor:
Aug. 15, 2014, was truly a sad day, as it was the day the U.S .Forest Service leadership attempted to kill the voice of the people of Eastern Oregon.
Through all of the “your comments are wanted” and “we want your input” the Forest Service leadership turned a deaf ear to the people of Eastern Oregon requesting public comment meetings. They even went as far as to stand in public meetings and tell members of the public additional public comments would be held and now instead of standing by their words the great shuffle takes place and you see folks ducking out of the area so they do not have to live by the words they have spoken.
No great “trust” has been built here. No collaborative effort was born out in this process, we see yet again another example of how the people of a region speak out, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service openly ignore the public and turn their backs on us as if we are just peons beneath them. The beauty is, we are not, and we will be heard, as we have done our jobs and commented on this horrible plan, protected our right to object to the plan, and given ourselves the ability to litigate if needed.
Thank you to every person who took time to comment on the Forest Plan Revision. The Forest Service wants to bring back the discussion of travel management, the $5,000 fines and possible jail time, and this plan gives them the authority to do that, but you’ve stood up again to say NO, and I know you will continue to.
Stay aware of your surroundings, never let anyone tell you something is futile and always voice your concerns on the issue of public access restrictions. By being active you protect that right, and by sitting back and saying nothing you give the Forest Service the only thing they can work with, apathy, which is the greatest tool they can use against you.
John D. George