Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

7/29/2005 6:00:00 AM 
Feds should manage Winema Forest lands

Charlie Whitlatch, Klamath Falls, Ore.

The Klamath Tribes have been trying for several years to have a portion of the Winema National Forest and a portion of the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge given to them to the tune of 730,000 acres. This real estate in Klamath County and a small part of Lake County was a former reservation.

The tribe voted to sell the reservation. A current notion being publicized is that the tribe didn’t know what they were doing, or didn’t understand. They did understand that they were going to receive a lot of money for selling it. It’s nobody’s fault but their own if the money was spent foolishly. The tribal members who invested their money wisely are to be commended.

The tribe is claiming that it can do a better job of managing the Winema National Forest. It has been intimately involved in nearly all aspects of the management for many years. If the tribe feels there has been poor management of the forest, they are as much to blame as anyone.

The Forest Service is broke. Much of its operating funds came from timber sales. If the U.S. Forest Service was allowed to manage the forest without the “help” of the tribe and associated environmental groups, we might see some timber sales that would produce revenue for that agency as well as for Klamath County. Restoration projects that have been stymied could be initiated. The tribe developed a forest plan amazingly similar to that of the Forest Service.

My feeling is that the Winema National Forest should stay under the ownership and management of the federal government (all the people of the United States). The forest is for all Americans. The forest should not become a sovereign nation within the United States. It should not be managed by, given to or sold to the Klamath Tribes.

Charlie Whitlatch, Klamath Falls, Ore.



Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved