Hearing for Monument Expansion


Carpools from…
· ASHLAND: 3:00 p.m. – Meet at the KS Wild office, 3185 E. Main (down the hill east of the Hwy 66/I-5 exit). Please RSVP to Jeanine Moy, jeanine@kswild.org
· THE GREENSPRINGS: 3:30 p.m. – Meet in front of the Oregon Extension on Highway 66 at Lincoln (just past milepost 21 and just before the first mailboxes at 15097 Highway 66 between Ashland and Keno). 15-passenger van will fill with passengers first for those who do not want to drive. Please RSVP to Dave Willis, sodamtn@mind.net
Be sure to bring liquid and food because the drive and hearing will overlap dinner time.

The Klamath County Commissioners, represented by Commissioner Tom Mallums, went on record against Cascade-Siskiyou Monument expansion at Sen. Merkley’s and DOI Deputy Sec’y Connor’s October 14 Monument expansion hearing in Ashland. 80% of attendees were in favor of Monument expansion at that hearing. Commissioner Mallums again went on record against expansion at the Jackson County Commissioners’ October 27 hearing in Medford where speakers split 50/50 for and against Monument expansion.

Now the Klamath County Commissioners are holding their own hearing in Government Center Hearing Room 219 at 305 Main Street in Klamath Falls this coming Tuesday, November 1, at 6 p.m. To repeat, these commissioners are already on record against Monument expansion. We believe the commissioners’ intent for their hearing this Tuesday, November 1, at 6 p.m. – announced on the Klamath County website (see attachment and/or www.klamathcounty.org > “Public Affairs” [lower right] > “Press releases” [top of right-hand column]) – is, as with the Jackson County Commissioners, to attract as many anti-Monument attendees as possible in an attempt to prevent Monument expansion.

The Obama Administration is seriously considering Cascade-Siskiyou Monument expansion via the congressionally vested Antiquities Act that established the original Monument. Scientist after scientist says Monument expansion is necessary to protect and restore this remarkably biodiverse landscape and the important biological pathways it provides. The mayors, city councils, and chamber boards of Ashland and Talent (the two closest towns to the Monument) unanimously support expansion, as do Oregon local state Rep. Peter Buckley, the late state Sen. Alan Bates, his appointed replacement Sen. Kevin Talbert, and Oregon U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The end of the Obama Administration is a rare opportunity for these important and vulnerable public lands. Please don’t let the Klamath County Commissioners claim overwhelming opposition to Monument expansion at their hearing this Tuesday evening.

Though most of the proposed Monument expansion is in Jackson County, county lines are not ecological lines. According to Sen. Merkley’s office, the Klamath County portion of the proposed Monument expansion on Sen. Merkley and Sen. Wyden’s 10-4-16 map is 18,626 acres. Much of this acreage is on the Surveyor Mountain-Buck Mountain ridge in the Jenny Creek and Spencer Creek headwaters. Existing BLM and proposed legislative designations recognize most of the public lands here as having more than commodity values…
· In BLM’s new Western Oregon Plan Revision: Almost all of the acreage is designated for “Recreation Management,” roughly 30% is designated as Late-Successional Reserve to protect old-growth forest, there are two Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (Old Baldy and Tunnel Creek), many miles of Riparian Reserves, and about two miles of Pacific Crest Trail.
· In Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley’s S. 132 (“O&C Bill”): Almost all of the Klamath County acreage in the proposed Monument expansion area is proposed as “Conservation Emphasis Area,” most of the acreage is classified as “Conservation Network Land,” ~20% of the area would protect mature forests 80-120 years old, three “Special Environmental Zones” are proposed, and the two PCT miles would receive a half-mile width buffer as part of a “Pacific Crest Trail Protection Corridor.”

Especially because of heavy commercial logging on adjacent private lands, scientists are especially concerned that this higher elevation public land be included in an expanded Monument in the face of climate change to offer high elevation forest refugia for terrestrial and avian species and clean, cold headwaters for aquatic species. Though helpful, neither BLM’s recent allocations nor the senators’ proposed designations afford sufficient or comprehensive protection for this key BLM link between the existing Monument to the southwest and the generally more benignly managed U.S. Forest Service land to the north.

PLEASE ATTEND THE KLAMATH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 6 P.M. HEARING AT THE GOVERNMENT CENTER IN KLAMATH FALLS (Hearing Room 219, 305 Main Street) AND SPEAK FOR MONUMENT EXPANSION. Please arrive early if you can. Please wear blue. And please – once again – support a science-based Cascade Siskiyou National Monument expansion. (Few good things ever come easy…)

For a bigger, wilder, Monument –
Dave Willis, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council

P.S. Please don’t forget carpool times/locations at the top of this email.