Forest Access for All (FAFA) is a group of volunteer board members dedicated to preserving the historic access to this land. Half of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (WWNF) is wilderness and now the new proposed Travel Management Plan (TMP) will make thousands of more acres of land off limits to the elderly, the physically challenged, and families wishing to camp and recreate in this forest.
FAFA has spent thousands of hours inventorying WWNF roads and provided over 6,000 comments on the WWNF Travel Management Plan. The Forest Service (FS) released their final Record of Decision March 16, 2012. In the Record of Decision, the FS ignored the citizens input. This decision will have devastating affects on our local, cultural, and our historic uses of the WWNF. The WWNF is a vacation hub for campers, hunters, fisherman, bird watchers, photographing, miners, and loggers to name a few. Our counties economies are agricultural based and rely on the waters that flow from the WWF. Under the TMP the access necessary to maintain many of the head gate and infrastructures that carry water from the WWNF are proposed to be closed. They did not listen to the people and are pursuing to shut down our local economies!
Communities around Eastern Oregon and those far away that were told about this plan stood up and said enough is enough. The people who enjoy having access to their forests have given and given as the environmentalists keep pushing the Forest Service to take away the very freedom that thousands of our friends and family are fighting for over seas.
We spoke up as a community and were able to engage people from all around this great region to send in appeal after appeal urging the Forest Service to remand this insidious plan until a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is completed. Our congressman and senators put pressure on them as well. On April 17, 2012, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Supervisor Monica Schwalbach announced that she has withdrawn her decision while she engages in further dialog.
We are gearing up for the next round of attacks on access to our Federally managed land. Environmental groups are at it again pushing for a more De Facto wilderness.