What a year.
We wanted to say thank you to all that participate in Forest Access for All and support the organization both through their service and financial contributions.
A short review of 2015 along with pictures of those that supported us, and the activities.
2015 started out much like every year, with our monthly business meeting in January. You can find the monthly FAFA the first Saturday of each month with the meeting at the Sun Ridge Inn in Baker (Best Western). They have been great to our organization by giving us a room to meet in, and helping us for the last two years with our banquet that has become an annual hit.
We would be remiss if we didn’t again point out the generous donations to our annual banquet. The list of those that donated grew substantially this year and we seen support from nearly every Eastern Oregon County. Please take the time to thank these business for their support to help keep open motorized access to our mountains and support these business that support your right to openly access our mountains, see list below. We have a great auctioneer in Meb Daily, and always a great time for all. This year our key note speaker was Fred Kelly Grant of Nampa Idaho, with our friends from Citizens for Balanced Use (Kerry & Patti White and Ben Erickson) attending, county commissioners, and a large group of locals from around the region. The banquet was held May 16th and was a great time for everyone in attendance.
FAFA completed another summer of outreach thru attending our local parades and discussing motorized access restriction thru both the Forest Plan Revision and Travel Management Planning process. We joined our friends of Citizens for Public Access in Grant County for their first parade run during ’62 days, then hit the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Parade, Haines Stampede, Miners Jubilee, and Grant County Fair. We picked up help from Jerry and Sherry Johnson of Union to help transport and pull our wagon thru the parades and we are appreciative of their support and time to do so.
To close the Summer out the Forest Service started the “re-engagement” process for the rejected forest plan revision. Our key issue with this plan is that it calls for the designation of routes, ie closure of cross country travel, which criminalizes motorized big game retrieval, mining exploration, firewood cutting, and accessing traditional/cultural areas outside of designated route areas via motorized means and calls for increased road decommissioning throughout all of Eastern Oregon on lands administered by the US Forest Service. These meetings have been contentious, and have taken on a very hostile tone from members of the environmental community who have taken the tract that screaming, berating, and talking down to our members and the general public is more effective than common sense answer to issue, and the meeting in La grande showed that all to well.
All told FAFA members volunteered 1000’s hours to organizing events, reviewing document, attending meetings and preparing responses to forest service issues.
We could not name every person that has helped in 2015, but we would like to make sure to again recognize those that donated to our Banquet, to Meb Daily for being our auctioneer, and to our executive board, President – Tork Ballard, Vice president – Marty Stroy, Secretary – Wanda Ballard, Treasure Bobbie Danser, and Public Relations Officer – Carrie Matthews, that give us the foundation to make decisions and keep us moving forward. And finally, John & Ramona Creighton for their work on the donations for the banquet and John’s work on keeping engaged with the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision Team.
Currently the Forest Plan Revision continues thru is development by the Forest Service, outside the view of the local residents and we continue to keep you informed and engaged in that process. Also, on the 16th of December the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest announced the recommendation to destroy 1,261 miles of road in Union, Baker, Wallowa, and Northern Grant Counties after the public had told them numerous time “no more road closures.”
We look forward to serving the people of Eastern Oregon throughout 2016 and keeping you informed and how to deal with the issues that come forward throughout the year. We simply ask that if you can, please take the time to engage in these issues and speak out.
To look at any individual picture simply click on it and then follow the link.