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Access could be lost, H&N letter to editor 2/19/04

In a recent commentary by Allen Foreman, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, he states: "Access to private property within the proposed reservation boundary would be allowed, hunting and fishing would be allowed, wood cutting would be allowed, and recreation would be allowed."

First, many property owners surrounded by national forest already have direct access from existing municipal or county roads, but there are just as many who do not and must travel several miles over existing Forest Service roads to reach their property. Once the land is transferred as proposed by the Tribes, then those roads would be under the jurisdiction of the Tribes.

Second, the public would be allowed to hunt, fish, cut wood and recreate only under the laws and regulations of the Tribes.

Third, the restoration of species, which is an important aspect of any land management practice, would be subject to the regulations set forth by the Tribes. While advised to follow the Endangered Species Act regarding sensitive and endangered species, this is only a guideline that does not need to be followed.

Fourth, mismanagement of the Fremont-Winema National Forests as stated by the Tribe couldn't be further from the truth. Many projects proposed by the Forest Service have either been appealed or denied for cultural reasons. The Tribes should shoulder some of the blame for their criticism because they work directly with the Forest Service in the management of the forestlands.

According to the Tribes' own information, control and use of the land by non-Indians would be subject to the laws and regulations of the tribal council. Also, in a recent survey of a sampling of tribal members, the majority voted for the public to have access to the proposed reservation only in accordance with those same laws and regulations.

While the Tribes state they will allow for public discourse for land management practices, the process of litigation through the court system would not only be lengthy, but costly.

In conclusion, the Fremont-Winema National Forests is a heritage that all Americans share. The forest should continue as publicly owned land without the exclusion of one race or another. To transfer the land so that one entity has control over another would devastate this community.

Jerry and Averil Anderson

Klamath Falls

 

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