To the Editor:

This letter is in response to part of an article in the Jan. 27 Eagle titled, “Natural Resources Advisory Committee elects new chairman.” The article was informative and to the point, but a statement in the latter section of it has caused me some concern: the statement, “If people can get it through their heads…”

The subject was addressing fire hazard fuels and who was responsible for the problem. Just a few simple, and I thought well-known, facts: First, there is a total of 62,963,610 acres in the state of Oregon. The national forests lay claim to 16,000,000 of those acres and the Bureau of Land Management to another 15,700,000 acres. Now simple math, without including all the other federal and state agencies, show that just between these two agencies very near 50% of our great state is under government control.

Now what “people” are we talking about being responsible for over-stocked fuel supplies? Presently, I can look out my window and see 100 acres of juniper, sage brush, toad flax and medusahead, knapweed, surprisingly all on BLM land.

I understand that these agencies are under a mountain of regulations and restrictions. Several years ago, I requested permission to cut a dozen juniper trees on the BLM we border to help with protecting my property from fire. I was told that I could not because that would require an environmental impact study.

This letter is not directed at any one person or even organization, but please let it be known that the “people” are not the sole source of the problem of over-stocked fuels!

In closing I would like to add the BLM mission statement: "The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations."

Richard Smarr



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