I would like to provide you with my concerns regarding the Ellis [Integrated Vegetation] Project [in the Umatilla National Forest].
My name is Ladd Dick and I was born and raised in Heppner (class of 1962). I am a business owner (1967-1972) and a part owner of a family cabin on Lake Penland, where I spend as much of my time as possible.
The information I received indicates that 30 to 100 miles of roads would be closed. This should be an exact number and the roads to be closed listed and shown on a map. I will never be comfortable with allowing an unknown number and miles of roads to be closed. Who makes this decision and why hasn’t it already been made? This is like a blank check with no limit on the amount.
This is national forest, not a national park. It is publicly owned and road closures limit my access to areas that I have enjoyed since I was a child (born in 1944). I protested new logging roads (1960s and 1970s) that were being built within yards of existing roads, but now the pendulum has moved way too far in the other direction.
I am an avid hunter and fisherman but am now limited to a short distance from my vehicle. I am not handicapped but this could be seen as a violation of Americans With Disabilities rights. Is this an attempt to make certain areas available only to private hunting groups on our public land? That is the result of road closures in other areas of the national forest where I have hunted in the past. These road closures were the result of washouts that were never repaired due to a lack of funds (a convenient way to achieve road closures), not a planned road closure.
When I have requested projects for the Forest Service to consider, the response has always been no funds are available. How do funds for a project that will limit my access to areas I love become available? Why are funds available to close roads but are not available repair damaged roads? Road closures will only benefit special interest groups.
Thank you for this opportunity to express my concerns with the Ellis Project.
Ladd E. Dick
Oak Harbor, Wash.