To the Editor:
Concerned citizens need to question the reasons the Forest Service gives for road closures when they deny they are closing roads to meet a road density quota that someone sitting in an office somewhere pulled out of their magical hat. Though it’s doubtful that the closures met all the required government guidelines, including public involvement, skepticism should exist for the generic overused and abused reasons given for such closures: water quality and wildlife issues. There is a strong possibility that folks find the redundant reasons given to be a bit flaky and unsubstantiated.
I recreate in the Silvies area and spent two years surveying and inventorying roads so feel qualified to address here one specific road system that traverses high desert scab flats that grow rocks, sandy soil, some sage brush, and an occasional juniper. One short spur that connects two main roads across these open flats is being closed to prevent wildlife harassment. Really? I take exception to a rock and sand road designated for closure to protect water quality. Also, many roads have already been closed prior to any required environmental or road closure documents at the direction of an overzealous government employee who headed up the planning interdisciplinary team.
A question is raised when six roads embedded in this area of the Silvies watershed are listed for closure under the Marshall Devine Environmental Assessment (EA) 12-17.
Another question waiting to be answered is how many citations were issued by law enforcement agencies representing the Forest Service for folks “violating” forest road closures when those roads were not legally closed. Questions, questions, questions, and not a substantiated answer in sight.