by Judy Bushy
With the Presidential election over next week, and a new president to take office in January there has been concern reviving about all the “No Monument” signs that you see up and down the River and Roads in our area. I really like the suggestion that someone made that we should add a not to the effect that PEOPLE ARE WELCOME to make the signs more friendly. However, there has been a great deal of concern in our area about the possibility that a presidential stroke of a pen could turn our whole area into a National Monument which was the reason for signs. We were asked to express our opinion on that proposed expansion to involve all of our area from Dillon Creek , north of Highway 96 and up to the Cascade National Monument by Ashland Oregon. This new area would be called the Siskiyou Crest National Monument, but there were suggestions that at the very least, the monument should not be expanded without a vote of Congress.
The area around the Oregon Caves just north of us has recently been expanded, which makes more sense as the Caves area is very fragile and any effect on the watershed surrounding it has a n effect on the cave. The 480 acre Oregon Caves National Park will be increased 4,070 acres. That is quite difference from increasing the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument of 86,774 acres with the Siskiyou Crest National Monument to 686,774 acres. Even at that, the Mayor of Cave Junction didn’t expect any economic improvement from the change. In Oregon there is O & C Act that requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)to manage its lands for the benefit of the community which perhaps leads to more input of local residents.
With Southern Oregon and Northern California experiencing catastrophic wildfires, , federally-owned forests need more management, not less, in the opinion of many in our community.. To that end we have seen a great deal of Fire Safe Council work and input in the local Happy Camp District of the Klamath Forest and recent TREX efforts. With Happy Camp surrounded by Federal lands, the residents sporting “No Monument” signs usually believe that these lands should be available for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation that is the hallmark of our community. When the Mill closed, promises of tourism improvements to our economy were presented. Many local businesses are dependant on tourist s, who need the forest to be accessible for recreational use., This leads to the belief that the forest should be actively managed for multiple benefits and values.
Expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument ‘s management under the Antiquities Act would bring about just the opposite to those residents.
Of course Klamath Siskiyou Wilds who originally proposed the idea to the Interior Department, has a large membership who actively writes letters to support locking up the land. Our small population, who may not be as active presenting their view against the proposal except for local signs and meetings, feels greatly disadvantaged even though it is the home of generations of many families in Happy Camp. . In a way, the community’s lack of political action for what they see as the obvious best for the community, is in effect outnumbered by distant vocal strangers who want to see the area changed without concern over devastation of local economy. A www.healthy forest.com website invites participation.