Wow. Been a very long week. Hard not to talk about the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan, with all the terrible misinformation going around. Reminds me of the saying that a lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on.
Truth and facts seem to be badly outnumbered by imagined outrages and fictional claims.
For the record:
No, logging will not be shut down by the Travel Plan - it will not be hampered by this Decision.
No, the forest will not be locked away - over 4,000 miles of roads will remain open.
No, the process of reaching this Decision did not shut out the public - it involved years of public participation and comments.
No, the process does not ignore different viewpoints - the Travel Plan includes new trails for off road vehicles (as much as I don't want that).
No, not all "locals" are against it. I'm local and I'm for an even stronger Travel Management Plan.
No, the Wallowa-Whitman is not a county or even a state forest - it is a National forest, held in trust not just for us locals, but for the nation; not just for this generation, but for the future as well.
The Travel Plan Decision is a compromise that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders with a moderate response to the need for travel management. It will close down some roads - mostly old, overgrown, eroded, or duplicate roads that would be too expensive to repair. It does include some protection for much-needed wildlife "security habitat" and some protection for streams with runs of native fish.
The Travel Plan doesn't go nearly as far as it needs to for wildlife, fisheries, and native plants. Still, I accept that both science and politics are at play, and the Forest Service has done the best it can to respond to all interests.
What I do not accept is the false portrayals of the issues that I see and hear in almost all venues, from town halls to local papers to neighborhood gossip.
Lies, even unintentional ones, do not make a good basis for decisions.
Now, on to the news that the seasonal progression of wildflowers is starting to unroll, bluebirds are back on Cricket Flats, and a sandhill crane was spotted out in the fields by Indian Creek (south of Elgin). Ospreys are back on the nest by Willow Creek and on Woodell Road, and curlews are in the fields north of La Grande.
Back to enjoying this wonderful place where we live -