The Argus Observer Nov 17, 2015
Push back against land grab in Owyhee Canyon Lands
I’m becoming increasingly concerned we are going to end up visitors to areas our families have freely accessed since settling in Eastern Oregon.
Coming away from the public meeting in Adrian, on the latest threat of over 2 million acres being signed into a monument, I’ve switched my attention to a coalition between the green machine Oregon Natural Desert Association, Pew Charitable Trust and Sierra Club joining with recreation-based businesses such as Keen Footwear. These are some of the principles, but not all, pushing the Owyhee monument. Is it about saving the canyon lands or selling more sandals to fill the coffers of private companies? Self-serving coalitions with no interests to the negative impacts imposed on the local population that will result in families being displaced. No recreators are being held back from enjoying the Owyhee Canyonlands at the present time.
If you were to believe the presentation from Oregon Natural Desert Association everyone comes out a winner. Access would remain, but failed to mention closing the scores of spur roads locals have historically used for sustenance. Failed to mention grazing will be negatively affected. Economic values from the mineral resources would be lost. Urbanites all decked out in their subtle,”look at me attire” could breeze in, spend a few days and dollars, and be gone just as they are free to do presently. Is it hard to understand, we are not for sale, our historical cultural access is not for sale. We are doing just fine without your money.
A new Presidential Memorandum “mitigating impacts on natural resources from development and encouraging related private investment.” Encouraging related private investment, what in the world does this mean? The term “invest” means putting money in business etc., in order to get a profit, this implies our public lands are for sale. This is a general term that can and will be used to implement more redundant regulations from out of control bureaucratic agencies.
Will people push back, I hope so. Nothing has worked to stop the land grabs swirling around us. We desperately need representatives to serve the people they represent, be our voice at the table. Playing politics, has not been a winning hand, time to quit bargaining away the very items you are entrusted to protect.
Wanda Ballard, Baker City