The federal Bureau of Land Management intends to double the size of the current 66,000-acre Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by securing an additional 64,000 acres of existing public and some private lands — including some O&C lands (Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands) from Oregon and about 10,000 acres from Northern California — via executive order of President Obama.
This would severely effect the traditional and customary uses of all these acquired lands, and would ultimately affect all recreational sports, including hunting.
Environmentalists at and around Southern Oregon University apparently were given special notice of the meeting ahead of other key stakeholders and opponents to the proposed massive expansion, and the environmentalists organized well in advance, even telling their supporters to wear blue (as seen in photos of the meeting). They are now using the flawed science regarding “climate change” to help justify what amounts to just another public land grab by the BLM.
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An Open Letter
TO: Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden; Oregon and California hunters; other concerned stakeholders
SUBJECT: The Proposed Expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument (Soda Mountain Wilderness)
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First of all, by way of a brief introduction, I grew up in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon (circa 1960s), not far from the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument and the expansion lands in question. I graduated from Grants Pass High School and attended Oregon State University in Corvallis. My father is buried in the Applegate Cemetery and my mother is buried in Gazelle, Calif. (Siskiyou County). I have fished, hunted and logged in and all around the existing monument lands for decades. Today, our family owns land near and bordering the monument and the proposed expansion lands, so our family represents a legitimate stakeholder.
As we have seen time and time again in the news, what some government agencies tell the public is sometimes very far from the truth. And the BLM has seemingly earned a reputation for corruption and misrepresentation. Here is a small sample of the headlines from a simple Google search:
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And it goes as high as the top of the Department of Interior:
For instance, the BLM talks about “doing right” for wild burros and horses in an internal memo yet, as we shown in the link just above, the agency is guilty of rounding them up and killing them every way possible.
Another current example of BLM malfeasance was discovered by KLAS-TV News through its Freedom of Information Act request of the Elko, Nev., BLM office, which KLAS contends proves agency officials intended from the get-go to cheat Mustang Monument founder Madeline Pickens on her $28 million effort (which they encouraged her to do) to save thousands of wild horses from the BLM storage pens and slaughter, and in the end, the BLM is now trying to steal her water and grazing rights, as a “compromise.”
The internal document details the BLM’s claimed designs on public lands to be targeted by what I call “Monumentalism” — which I venture a majority of Americans would consider an abuse of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The original pure spirit and intention of the law was to protect prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts. However, it has metastasized into an environmentalist’s hatchet for the allocation of land that would be reasonably and logically well beyond their reach or control. But as many of us know by following the money, that is merely part of the sales pitch and political activism used to fuel the acquisitions of lands well suited to the ultimate goal of mineral, gas and oil leases.
We’re broke as a country, and looking at $20 trillion in debt today. President Obama once called the addition of $4 trillion to the national debt by President Bush to create an aggregated total of $9 trillion dollars “unpatriotic and irresponsible” in a speech, then he turns around and spends another $16 trillion himself. Americans everywhere are sick to death of this immorality and political corruption as we clearly see today. Integrity seems to be low on the agenda.
Yet, look at the money the BLM is willing to spend to take lands out of the control of average Americans. The last page of the internal document shows proposed spending of nearly $2.4 billion!
Siskiyou County, Calif., is currently running on fumes financially because of government overregulation and loss of lands and related jobs. Yet even knowing this, these federal agencies are happy to take even more land off our tax roles, and then replace property tax revenues with federal money that has all kinds of strings attached — making us into children who don’t get their allowances unless we do as we’re told. This is what is unpatriotic.
The chairwoman of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, Grace Bennett, was given last-minute notice of the meeting in Ashland, Ore., and had little time to prepare. Even worse, she was allowed only three minutes to address this enormous issue. All the while, the environmentalists who filled half the room, who arguably “staged” this meeting at Southern Oregon University, had two large screens positioned on both sides of the meeting hall, each displaying only their pro-expansion talking points. This “public input meeting” was totally rigged.
Hawaii is also being conned by the BLM and its administrators, who are obviously working for special interests and big corporate giants interested in the undersea manganese deposits around that state. I lived there for a decade and taught at the University of Hawaii, Maui campus, and also ran a combination of charter and commercial fishing, diving and research boats that helped scientists there restore the reefs through a program of best practices in anchoring and mooring systems on the heavily used “tourist reefs.”
The agenda for the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument there has nothing to do with pelagic fish preservation, as they allege. It follows the same standard operating procedure: People hear about meetings at the last second, meetings are preceded by mainstream media covering the BLM talking points, opponents are provided with three minutes or less to opine on a complex issue, audience testimony is stacked with proponents selected by the BLM to speak, meetings are located as far away from genuine stakeholders as possible — and during times and days where working-class people cannot attend, especially with the short notices provided by the agency.
It’s a vicious self-perpetuating cycle of gobbling up public lands and then exploiting them (revenues from the lease royalties derived from the lands) and using the licensing royalties to buy even more lands.
Then we have BLM officials with the audacity to tell the public in meetings, like a recent meeting in Ashland, that a significant portion of the access roads to/in the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument have to be closed because the agency cannot afford to maintain them, thus limiting — and in many cases eliminating — public access to lands that were allegedly set aside for the multiple-use enjoyment of the people (hunting, etc.). It’s a bait and switch at the highest levels of government with agencies running amok.
As a result of road closures (“no money for road maintenance,” says the BLM) in the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument (Soda Mountain Wilderness), hunters are no longer able to access the more remote and productive hunting grounds, where vehicles are needed by handicapped and infirm or older hunters. They are subsequently forced to use (trespassing and hunting on) more accessible privately owned lands, creating conflicts with private land owners, which I have seen as a growing trend in Siskiyou County from my on-site observations.
This is just outrageous and intolerable on multiple levels, and it’s a sham that any politician would allow this to occur. Something must be done. This is the kind of problem that will eventually circle around and bite everyone in the backside.
Given the malfeasance and shenanigans that surrounded the so-called public input meeting in Ashland on Oct. 14, I strongly urge Sens. Merkley and Wyden to consider having a more balanced and honest public input meeting in Siskiyou County, with adequate official notice provided to our county officials, since approximately 10,000 acres in our county seem to be under the BLM’s gun as well, including the Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area, a local hunter’s and recreational paradise.
I also urge all readers to immediately contact both senators, who are collecting input on this monument expansion.
Sen. Ron Wyden
More information about the proposed monument expansion is available at HealthyForests.org.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
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