Thursday, October 08, 2015

Commissioners: No to Owyhee Canyonlands Monument effort

Wednesday morning, Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, John Lindsey and Will Tucker signed a letter destined for Oregon’s elected officials, opposing plans by the federal government to designate 2.5 million acres in Malheur County — known as the Owyhee Canyonlands Monument — as wilderness and national monument areas.

Proponents of the plan say it will protect 2.5 million acres of land that is rich in geography, has numerous archaeological treasures and would ensure activities such as fishing, boating, hunting and hiking could continue.

“We do not support a federal designation of public lands without the concurrence of affected local governments or local public participation,” the letter read in part. “A special federal land designation, such as a monument, will have a negative economic impact to those living in the area. Ranching operations throughout southeastern Oregon will be reduced as the majority of ranchers are tied to federal grazing.”

The commissioners’ resolution opposed the federal proposal due to the following concerns:

• All mining and natural gas exploration efforts will cease.
• MalheurCounty will lose its number one ranking in cattle production in the state.
• Hunting and fishing will be severely limited due to no motorized access.
• The cost of search and rescue operations will increase due to limited access.
• The county will lose property tax revenue to the county and state.
• Rural school numbers will decrease.
• Loss of direct and ancillary ag jobs in an already economically depressed area.
• Wildfire dangers could increase due to more dry vegetation and local of best management practices in rangelands.
• Decreased wildlife.

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