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FAFA – 2015 – The Year in Review

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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.

OutreachMonthly_meetingsBanquet_DonorsBanquet1Banquet4Banquet3 Banquet6Banquet2Banquet5BanquetOutreach2D_Day_Ride_77_RoadD_Day_Ride_77_Road1Parade_John_DayParade_John_Day2ParadesParade_UnionParade_Union1Parades1Miners_Jubileeparade_generationsOutreach1Reengagment_meeting_BakerReengagement_Wallowa_County Reengagement_meeting_Pendleton Reengagement_meeting_Lagrande Reengagement_meeting_John Reengagement_John_Day_1 Reengagement_John_DayThank-you_FAFA

 

Articles

Recommended Roads for Decommissioning/Destruction

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You were asked – Got the maps were right?

You were NOT ASKED – Do you still use these roads? What do you use these roads for? Do you plan on using these roads into the future?

A group of people that make 60 to 100 K a year sitting behind a desk made these decisions for you, without taking your input, or that of our County Commissioners that have requested numerous times to be a part of this process.

Every road in these maps marked in red are now slated for destruction. Wallowa County, the residents of Sumpter and Unity, as well as users in the Eagle Creek area are probably the hardest hit, but all areas are going to see their access points destroyed in the name of ecological protection of social well being.

Nineteen maps showing the roads the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has recommended for decommissioning, we have listed each map by a geographic point in the area that can help guide you to the correct map for you.

South Fork Burnt River

Map_19_South Fork Burnt River_Eldorado Campground

Dooley Mountain

Map_18_Baker_Dooley Mountain

Phillips Res & Black Mountain

Map_17_Sumpter_Phillips Res_Black MTN_Unity Res

North Fork Burnt River

Map_16_Sumpter_North Fork Burnt River

Halfway

 

 

Map_15_Halfway

Eagle Creek

Map_14_West_Main_and_East_Eagle_Creeks

Medical Springs & Cathrine Creek Summit

 

 

Map_13_Medical Springs_Catherine Creek Summit

Anthony Lake & Granite

 

Map_12_Anthony Lakes_Granite

Upper Imnaha

Map_11_Upper Imnaha

Salt Creek Summit

Map_10_Salt Creek Summit

Lostine, Enterprise, Joseph

Map_9_Lostine_Enterprise_Joseph

Union & Cove

Map_8_Union_Cove

La Grande & Imbler

Map_7_Lagrande_Imbler

Starkey

Map_6_Starkey

Hat Point

Map_5_Hat Point

Thomason Meadow

Map_4_Thomason Meadow

Buckhorn Lookout

Map_3_Buckhorn Lookout

Chesnim & Sled Springs

Map 2 Chesnim_sled_springs

Wallowa

Map_1_Wallowa

Articles

Wallowa-Whitman National forest calls for 1,261 miles of roads to be destroyed.

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Today the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest released its analysis of the roads not needed for forest management or access to our mountains. The report calls for the destruction of 1,261 miles of roads, which equates to 2,656 segments within the boundaries or the forest. These are roads to access wildfires, manage overgrown vegetation, gather firewood from, and provided areas of solitude for our veterans, elderly and families.

By releasing such a report the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has turned a deaf ear to our residents, our culture, and our ways of life to sustain our families from the mountains and continues to ignore their mission to serve the public in Eastern Oregon.

Link to analysis report – http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/wallowa-whitman/landmanagement/projects/?cid=fsbdev7_008909

Very disappointing to see this, and to know that no one at the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest had the integrity to work with even the county commissioners on this issue.

Articles

Forest Service meeting notices

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Notice to Baker County residents and other interested parties –

The Baker County Commission will be having it’s 3rd (as we remember) coordination meeting with the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, on planning efforts going on within the boundaries of Baker County.

The meeting will be Dec. 16th starting at 10:30 am at the county courthouse.

While this is meeting is not a meeting for the general public to speak at, we would strongly encourage you to attend the meeting and show support for the efforts of the Baker County commission to support open motorized access and natural resources use from our public lands.

Also there are additional meetings that will be held throughout Eastern Oregon listed below, these are meetings for the public to speak at.

We would ask that you and your family speak to the fact of how restriction of open motorized access to public lands will negatively impact your family and that your desired condition for the Wallowa Whitman and Malheur National Forest to remain fully open to motorized access.

additional meetings

Please attend if you can.

 

Travel Management

And the lies continue

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For those that follow the development of the Forest Plan Revision we have all been told now that no timeline exists for the Forest Plan Revisions development, and that it will take as long as it takes to get it right, again, another lie.

Here at the meeting minutes from the Blue Mountains Forest Partners meeting on Nov. 19th, 2015 (yesterday).

Full Group Meeting Minutes – November 19 2015

“RO expects new forest plans to be in place by September 2016, which will require more time and energy.” In other words, they fully plan on having the Forest plan in place in less than a year, and this definitely looks like a defined timeline that will meet the need to close the books on this effort on or before the end of the 2016 Fiscal year.

Do not expect honesty and integrity out of people that have none. Between Iron Triangle and its lobbyist fighting to get to their millions of dollars in service contracts thru the “stewardship contracts” and the Blue Mountains Forest Partners keeping their 2.5 million dollars flowing thru “monitoring efforts”.

See, this has nothing to do with forest health, or community stability, it has to do with a select few lining their pockets at the expense of our motorized access, and ways of life.

Travel Management
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Please forward this on to as many folks as you can, it is important that we have as many people  attend and speak up on this issue as possible.

The US Forest Service will hold a meeting meeting Nov. 9th in Baker, Oregon to discuss a way forward for the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision and specifically. We ask every Man, Woman and Child to attend this meeting and speak out against the restriction of motorized access to our public lands. The message is clear, any forest plan revision that restricts open motorized access to the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forest, and that also does not reinstate open motorized use to the Umatilla National Forest is unacceptable to the local residents of our region. Please, if you are free on Monday night Nov. 9th, please attend this meeting and help us help you defend your right to enjoy you public lands openly and freely. Again, Please forward this on to as many folks as you can, it is important that we have as many people attend and speak up on this issue as possible.

Travel Management

FAFA Meeting today

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FAFA meeting this coming Sat. at the Sunridge Inn Nov. 7th at 3:00 pm. -1 Sunridge Ln, Baker City Or.
Hope to see you all there.

Forest Service meeting on Access and Wilderness coming up on Mon. Nov. 9th from 6 to 9 at the Baker Armory- 1640 Campbell St.
We need everyone that uses the forest to come and express your thoughts on our Access and Wilderness.
Lets fill the Armory!!

Thanks to all of you that traveled to the Forest Service meeting in Lagrande on Mon. 2nd.

Articles

Update on Counties Coordinating on Forest Plan Revision

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After some discussions with County Commissioners we feel it’s time for an update as to where we’re at with county courts/commissioners moving to directly coordinate with the US Forest Service on the Forest Plan Revision.

As of today we know of two counties that are working on directly coordinating on the forest plan revision.

Wallowa County has requested direct coordination.

Baker County is working on coordinating. Commissioner Harvey has been actively engaged with the process through the NRAC committee, however Commissioners Kerns and Bennett have moved in a direction of stalling the process in favor of hiring a recently retired Forest Service Employee from the Malheur National Forest to negotiate away our rights. We are gravely concerned about Mr. Bennett and Kerns selection of this individual and their willingness to allow a non-Baker County resident, who has such close ties and allegiance to the Forest Service to be negotiating on behalf of the residents of Baker County, when he himself doesn’t have to live with the consequences of those decisions.

Union County has now openly stated in a meeting last week with Commissioner Davidson that they will “cooperate” (allow the Forest Service to be lead agency) with forest service on the forest plan revision and then “coordinate” afterwards. This came from a direct face to face meeting with Commissioner Davidson last week and would seem to go against his April 6th, 2012 pledge to the 1500 people in attendance that he stated “Union county supports you in this venture right to the bitter end” https://www.facebook.com/ForestAccessForAll/videos/vb.281919465219299/3342482636671/?type=2&theater .  Not directly coordinating on the Forest Plan Revision allows the forest service to place the baseline restrictions on our public lands that will then allow them to do site specific restrictions in the Travel Management Process, in other words, it’ll be to late for the county to take action. Mr. Davidson was asked to take up the natural resources plan of Baker County, and he stated he would not, and seemed to be angered that people were pushing so hard to move into coordination.

Grant, Harney, Umatilla Counties all refuse to engage in any type of direct coordination process and Grant Counties driving concern seems to be more of how well they did on a local golf tournament than their responsibilities to protect their local residents ability to openly access the forest and the natural resources within, well, those that the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forest haven’t let burn this year.

We wanted to share this information with you so you are knowledgeable about the issues and how your local county officials are engaging in the process.

The Baker County NRAC meets Sept. 10th and County Commission  meetings Sept. 16th, please contact Tork Ballard for more information at 541 523 4209, your attendance and action at these and other meetings throughout the region would be greatly appreciated.

Travel Management

FAFA writes Secretary of Agriculture on access and fire issues

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Thursday Aug. 27, 2015 FAFA submitted a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Undersecretary Robert Bonnie on their concerns of the current fire situation, poor land management practices and failure to maintain proper access to manage those resources.

If you feel these issues are important we would highly recommend you contacting Secretary Vilsack and Undersecretary Bonnie and expressing your desires to them.

Vilsack_Bonnie_8_26_15_letter