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ILLEGAL FOREST SERVICE ROAD CLOSURE EIS IS PUBLISHED

- Miner J A
- 07/02/2009

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The new Wallowa-Whitman Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which proposes to close most of the open roads in the Forest has been released. The proposal is not just unfair, making access within the National Forests unavailable to the old, the young and the disabled -- who cannot hike the closed roads, and making it more difficult to cut wood, prospect for minerals, administer range allotments, recreate, camp, hunt or retrieve game -- but it is also illegal.
The Forest Supervisor would like you to believe that this total closure of the National Forest is a 'non-significant' amendment to the 1990 access-friendly Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. But this is not true. Each of the action alternatives in the EIS represents a 'significant amendment' to the Forest Plan. A significant amendment as defined by the Forest Service Manual under 1926.52, 2. equates to 'Changes that may have an important effect on the entire land management plan or affect land and resources throughout a large portion of the planning area during the planning period'.
We believe that this EIS decision will drastically affect the land management plan and affect the land resources. 1.3 million acres of NF land and resources are involved in this amendment. One million acres have already been closed off by previous decisions, such as wilderness, city watersheds, and the previous decisions to close off Bald Angel and the Southfork of the Burnt River areas. The lands left to be closed, still make up a 'large portion of the planning area'.
Write Supervisor Ellis at P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814 and tell him his road closure plan is illegal, since it is not a non-significant amendment to the 1990 Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. Tell him he has the cart before the horse. First he must rewrite the 1990 Forest Plan. Only after years of public involvement in this revision process, can he legally propose a Plan to close the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to access.