To the Editor:

Collaboration: A word I hear often these days from all the governmental land management agencies. Just the other day I heard it mentioned in a letter from the new chief of the Forest Service. A few weeks back in this paper were words from our current Forest Supervisor about opposing sides coming together, which would allow the Forest Service to implement management plans on the Malheur. The current tone seems to be: When all you people come to the middle ground...we will implement.

I have several thoughts on this, First I think this is our public land and for the agencies to ask and take into consideration our (the public's) ideas and concerns seems just and right. On the other hand I feel they are the professionals in land management (the actual stewards of our public lands) and they should just implement the most current management tactics and technologies and actively manage that land.

Overall, it moves the argument in front of management implementation instead of behind it and hopefully avoids a lawsuit to prevent the planned management from happening. Seems this collaborative process is born of excessive lawsuits against the government.

For this process to work, individuals and interest groups need to be able to speak their minds and bring their knowledge to the issues at hand without fear of retaliation. One arena for this ongoing dialogue is the letters to the editor. It takes a brave person (or a fool) to speak up publicly, and if this is to work, issues need to be kept to the issue at hand and NOT the person who said it. I have been told several times in dealing with the Little Canyon Mountain issue that " I support what you are doing, BUT I just cannot afford to get involved" or "I know one of these people and do not want to upset them."

It has not been my intention to single anyone out or cause harm by my words or actions, only to actively help manage this land of ours. I have made an effort to not mention anyone by name and have encouraged the GCORA membership to do the same. If those who speak up will be publicly run down in the opinion section of the local paper and through rumor in the community at large that group willing to speak up will likely shrink. It seems to me the collaborative group should be a little more inclusive than that. Letters to the editor are said to not allow personal attacks; I would like to see that upheld.

Educate yourself, stick to the issue at hand, get involved in the process and attack the issue, not messenger.

Dave Hannibal

John Day

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