A lot of riders, OHV media, federal agents, and others are watching the ongoing struggle or battle of wills between the Shasta County Board of Supervisors and the Shasta Trinity National Forest.
As you know, the BOS held a hearing on June 4 regarding the County’s appeal of the ROD and to have the informal disposition in a public forum as required by law.
June 6 Blog with info, archived news articles, etc.
Based on direction by the BOS, the county counsel prepared and sent a letter on June 8 about the Forest‘s failure to appear. This letter was sent to Region 5, the Department of Agriculture, and Congress. The letter asked for a response by the Forest before the close of business on June 9. No response as of today.
June 8 BOS/Counsel Letter to Congress and USDA
The letter while respectful does rightfully convey the board’s frustration with the Forest’s lack of communication and cooperation. The General does not believe the Forest has any excuse for not showing up. Some of you remember the OHV Commission meetings (circa 2000-2007) where the environmentalists who were running the commission often excoriated and made every effort to humiliate FS and BLM representatives in public. I think a lot of credit should go to those federal representatives who showed up and took the verbal abuse. I don’t know why the Shasta T decided to basically ignore the county’s request for a public forum. I don’t think it would have been near as hostile as the old OHV commission meetings.
Federal line officers should be able to take the heat. Their job today is really more political than resource oriented. Historically, District Rangers and Forest Supervisors integrated themselves into the community. They attended BBQs, fishing derbies, and turkey shoots. It seems that sort of camaraderie is sadly missing on the Shasta T.
Is there a growing rural county movement to challenge arbitrary land closures? We have seen the San Bento County BOS reopen county roads at Clear Creek. Del Norte County has joined recreation groups to challenge illegal road ripping. Shasta County seems to have joined in.
See WND Article on Counties Fighting Back
In the absence of the Forest Service using “BBQ diplomacy” in rural areas such as Shasta County, the local government has only two options when faced with arbitrary federal actions and those are lawsuits or asking for the line officer to be replaced.
I know recreation groups such as BRC, ROC, et al are committed to working with the agency, but that relationship has to be a two-way street.
Stay tuned as the Shasta saga continues.