To the Editor:

The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision may be under fire; it could also be said it’s under water. Fire or water, the so-called proposal needs to be aborted. Baker County Commission Chair Fred Warner, referred to the 1,300-page document as a “tomb of paper.” Countless people will concur.

Is it a misconception that the forest plan closes roads and trails? “Desired Conditions” is the core component in the plan. The forest plan is not a simple four-volume document. It may not say “road closures,” but the desired conditions can only be met by closures. The Forest Service knows that, but continues to sing their song of denial.

Eleven county governments in Eastern Oregon, supported by numerous city governments, organizations, and countless individuals, have voiced strong opposition to the forest plan. Glancing at an Oregon map, 11 counties make up a solid quarter of the state. The word “substantive” aptly applies to the amount of opposition.

Rhetoric coming from the Forest Service in regards to the plan revision is reminiscent of the travel management debate two years ago. Same attack against public resources, under a new term.

Two days after the plan revision comments deadline, (the Wallowa-Whitman Forest) launched the “existing condition road maps.” Once again we are being told, “This request is not about whether a road or motorized trail should be open or closed.” This is simply the Forest Service playing more bait-and-switch word games. I don’t believe it. How can anyone that has been engaged with this process during the past 15 years believe this?

Where is this all going? I see designated routes and trails and entire seasonal closures where we once had free access. I feel much like a white mouse in a laboratory being picked up by the tail and dropped in a maze.

Wanda Ballard

Baker City

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