Oregon BHA News

2014 Highlights from Oregon BHA

Check out this great video highlighting the work of Oregon BHA in 2014.

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge Conservation Weekend

BHA-OregonHere’s an update on Oregon’s BHA conservation work weekend.  We had a small group of volunteers who did some big things.  In all, we cleared over 650 acres from junipers invading some core wildlife habitat.  Check out our short video of this event here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd1OMDHNIdc

We want to thank several BHA members for their hard work.  Nick Dobric instigated this conservation effort on behalf of BHA.  Nick works in the Hart-Sheldon regions and knows them intimately.  Also, a big thank you to co-chair, Ed Putnam for not only working his tail off, but cooking Friday night’s dinner.  Ed has the Dutch oven thing down!  I’d also like to thank long-time member Karl Findling and his significant friend Renee along with Karl’s two daughters Maris and Libby.  Also, thanks to Sara Domek for her hard work and for keeping Nick pointed in the right direction.  And, special thanks to Jeff Mackay, Manager of the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.  Jeff not only hosted the event, but worked side-by-side clearing junipers and was a fun addition to our campfire. 

The Wallowa-Whitman: A National Forest Begging for a Travel Management Plan

By Brian JenningsMudding-3

When the U.S. Forest Service was formed in 1905, it was charged with managing our public forests for the greater good of all.  We all own them and have a right to use them.  But the Forest Service is also charged with protecting the natural resources in our forests, and sometimes that means policy decisions don’t square with the wishes of everyone.  A prime example concerns off-road travel on public lands in Northeast Oregon.  Those who prefer OHV travel in the forests often clash with those who don’t, and in 2014 the USFS finds itself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing travel in Oregon’s largest national forest – the Wallowa Whitman.  When forest supervisors rolled out a plan to close nearly half of the forest’s 9,100 miles of roads in 2012, local citizens objected so strongly the plan was rescinded.  So, it’s back to square one, and a new process to develop a travel management plan is underway.  In the meantime, cross - country travel is basically unrestricted in the Wallowa Whitman.  Such travel often leads to habitat degradation.  I saw it firsthand in a weeklong trip through the Blue Mountains while touring both the Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman National Forests.  

Oregon BHA Radio Interview

Listen to this great two-part radio interview from KBND, with Oregon BHA's Sportsmen's Outreach Coordinator, Brian Jennings.  Brian discusses BHA's focus on protecting backcountry habitat and access, legislation regarding the management of O&C lands, and a public access project along the Crooked River that would benefit from LWCF.

Part 1 - What BHA's all about and the Crooked River project

Part 2: O&C Legislation

Letter: Crooked River Canyon land transfer good for Central Oregon

The following Op-Ed by Brian Jennings was orginally published in the Bend Bulletin on February 2, 2014.

Crooked River-2 2Since 2008, the Trust for Public Land has been quietly working to transfer a privately held 101-acre parcel of land along the Crooked River Canyon to the Bureau of Land Management. The transfer, using money from the Land & Water Conservation Fund, would provide a seamless access point for outdoor enthusiasts, thus allowing greater public access to this Central Oregon treasure. For anglers, hunters, hikers and all outdoor enthusiasts, this is a big win if approved.

The cost of the land transfer to the BLM would be approximately $1 million. But, it’s important to know that using LWCF funds does not use taxpayer money. LWCF is funded by offshore oil and mineral exploration fees. Now in its 50th year, LWCF was set up to protect public lands throughout America. In Oregon alone, the fund has fueled more than $300 million in public lands investment. The funds have been used to help protect an impressive list of public lands in Oregon, including projects on the upper John Day River, the Blue Mountains, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the Rogue River and others. Now, the Crooked River Canyon project has become the BLM’s top priority in Oregon to fund this private land transfer to the public domain. There are other benefits making this transfer worthy of approval.