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Herald and News: Klamath Falls, Oregon
http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2003/10/06/news/top_stories/top30.txt

Tribes set to release forest plan

Published Oct 3, 2003

Klamath Tribes' plan for former reservation lands key to negotiations for reacquisition

By DYLAN DARLING

The Klamath Tribes are nearing completion of a forest management plan for former reservation lands they hope to reacquire, according to the tribes' most recent newsletter.

The plan will be a key piece of negotiations with the U.S. government to restore lands to the Tribes, according to the September issue of the "Klamath News," the monthly tribal newsletter.

For about two decades, the Tribes have been trying to get land back from the U.S. government. The Tribes' reservation, which had about a million acres, was abolished when the Tribes were terminated in 1954.

The Tribes regained federal recognition in 1986.

The Tribes now hope to gain ownership of about 660,000 acres of former reservation land now owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

A year ago, the Tribes' executive council asked the general membership to help with talks between the Tribes and the government about water issues and "the return of our homeland," according to the newsletter. The talks have been with the White House and the Klamath River Basin Presidential Working Group, set up by President Bush in March 2002.

How to manage the forests is a major part of the negotiations, said Allen Foreman, chairman of the Klamath Tribes in a telephone interview this morning.

He said many people have questions about how the Tribes would manage the lands.

"This plan will lay all of that out," he said.

In the Tribes' September newsletter published this week, Foreman said the negotiations should take another year and the Tribes are getting ready to put out a proposed package.

One of the biggest pieces of the Tribes' proposal will be the restoration of rivers and streams that flow through the forests.

The plan will be out sometime between Oct. 15 and the end of the month.

"The cornerstone of our land return is our Forest Management Plan ...," Foreman said. "It was compiled by the leading foresters in the world and is said to be the gold standard of forest management plans. The work that needs to be done in our forest will provide many more jobs for tribal members."

The text in the newsletter came from a message Foreman delivered at a special meeting of tribal members on Sept. 27.

In the message, Foreman said the talks have been long and difficult, but the Tribes are being taken seriously by the government and progress is being made.

"Today I can reassure each of you that the return of our homelands is for real," Foreman said in the newsletter.

The presidential working group has been working closely with the Tribes, said Carl "Bud" Ullman, attorney for the Tribes in a telephone interview Friday morning. He said the talks are taking a long time because there are many complexities.

"Things are moving ahead, but they are not always moving ahead as fast we would like," he said.

Reporter Dylan Darling covers natural resources. He can be reached at 885-4471, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at ddarling@heraldandnews.com.

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