Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Monument plan will hurt landscape, local economy

Concerning the proposed Siskiyou Crest National Monument, Danielle Linder writes:

Our opposition is based on the history of other monument designations and on professional expertise in natural resources. The proponents of the monument state on their website that the monument needs to be designated in order to protect the environment from the perceived threats from public land sales, road building, private logging, cattle grazing and off-road vehicle use. They have, in a sense, stated that any human influence on the landscape is detrimental to the environment and thus they need to restrict activities that are historical to Siskiyou County and the foundation of our rural economy. The proponents claim jobs will be created by thinning forests and decommissioning roads. However, look at what has happened since the designation of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument just over the Siskiyou County border in Oregon. This national monument encompasses approximately 53,000 acres. The management plan proposes thinning 5,000 acres (none done to date), eliminates grazing, does not allow Christmas tree or firewood cutting and will close or decommission 74 miles of road. This would equal 800 miles of road if the same percentage of roads were closed in the proposed national monument. When one looks to other national monuments in the state, we can see that thinning projects, as were proposed in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, were vehemently opposed by the Sierra Club and these projects are still held up in court to this day. Don't be misled to think that projects would go forth without additional controversy if these lands were given monument status. Since most federal lands within Siskiyou County over the past 20 years have had large areas limited to management, the economy has significantly declined. Unemployment and welfare rates are at all-time highs, currently exceeding 19 percent. Mills have closed. Working families have left the area and schools are suffering steep declines in enrollment and quality of education. The economy of this county certainly is not robust or diversified, and creating the monument will only continue the financial decline...more

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