Wyden, Merkley Urge Feds to Support Three Eastern Oregon Forests

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to take steps that ensure three national forests in Eastern Oregon each can support timber harvest, recreation, ranching, wildlife habitat and protection.

The senators’ letter to USFS seeking separate planning processes for the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forests comes in response to the agency’s recent decision to withdraw a comprehensive Blue Mountain Forest Plan covering that trio of forests.

“Finding the right balance for multi-use public lands is always a challenge, but this work is too important and should move forward in a positive and effective way that strengthens relationships and supports these rural communities, on a forest-by-forest basis,” Wyden and Merkley wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.

“These forests span three states, multiple counties and a number of rural communities with varied landscapes, economies and uses of these public lands,” Wyden and Merkley wrote. “Clearly, the complexity of this three-forest planning effort, which covers such a large landscape, has not been efficient. Despite 15 years of work, efforts to establish these forest plans have not resulted in solid and balanced plans that support timber harvest, recreation, ranching, wildlife habitat and protection of these public treasures.” 

The text of the letter is here.

A web version of this release is here.