In the next few months we anticipate the release of the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision. This revision by the U.S. Forest Service is a rewrite of the 1990 Forest Plan that currently sets policy for management of our lands administered by the Forest Service in Eastern Oregon.
The revision will cover all three national forests and calls for a monumental shift in how East Oregonians enjoy our mountains and access natural resources we have utilized for over 150 years.
That shift will take place in adoption of a “closed unless open” forest model. This new model will adopt motorized access restrictions known as “designated routes” and “closed cross country travel.” When adopted, East Oregonians will no longer be allowed to access natural resources via a motorized means if they are not within a designated route. You will not be allowed to you retrieve your big game with an ATV off a road and, if your private property isn’t on a designated route, you will have to request permission from the Forest Service to access it. These are but a couple of examples.
Any motorized use off a designated route could lead to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in jail.
To be clear, the forest plan revision does not close the forest, as that will happen through the travel management plan. But the plan revision will allow the Forest Service to change current policy cutting off cross country travel, then justify travel management plans that restrict motorized access to public lands.
Please participate in the upcoming objection process and let the Forest Service know these restrictions are unacceptable. You expect your public lands to remain open to full multiple use, not to the segregated system currently being proposed.
John D. George