Thursday, July 7, 2011

Algore Roadless Chief Behind Closure Agenda at Oregon Dunes?

Being all to aware of the historic loss of motorized access to ocean beaches in California, HQ has been particularly troubled by a similar loss of beach and dune access at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (NRA).

For the last two years BRC member, Jody Phillips, has been part of a dune working group (there were other OHVers there too). As part of that group, he has championed well-managed and continued motorized dune-based recreation on the unit.

Unfortunately, it appears the NRA is going to continue down the path of more closures (and poor management) if OHV users don’t stand up and fight back.

In June 2011, the Forest Service issued a Notice of Intent that started a public comment period for a proposed action related to OHV recreation. The comment period ends July 25, 2011.

FS NOI/Proposed Action

Jody and a number of other OHV recreationists have contacted HQ and the BRC about reviewing the proposal and helping craft comments and take other actions to protect OHV recreation at the Dunes.

Although HQ and BRC are still in the process of reviewing the documents, HQ took some time to review the ongoing and tragic loss of motorized access to the NRA. Here is what I have found.

In 1972, about 28K acres of the 32K acre ODNRA was open for OHV/motorized use. In 1979, that was reduced to 15K acres. In 1994, that was reduced to less than 6K acres for open riding. Even though the FS states there are an additional 4,500 acres open for motorized use on designated trails, the actual land footprint for the few miles of trails is less than a couple of acres.

The staggering loss of access, which was most notably realized in the 1994 Dunes Management Plan, caused HQ to see what Forest Service Supervisor presided over, crafted, and authorized that loss. It was not really surprising for HQ to find that it was, Jim Furnish, one of Algore’s chief architects behind the now infamous (circa 1997-2001) Clinton/Dombeck/Algore Roadless Plan. Today, Furnish is a board member of one of the most anti motorized trail/road groups in the country.

2004 Article on Jim Furnish and his anti-access agenda

Furnish at 2010 Wildlands Center for the Prevention of Roads Board Meeting

If we stay on this track, I strongly believe that motorized use on the ODNRA will cease to exist in any substantive manner. I hope our collective effort is not too late.

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  1. Don, I was there, having grown up in North Bend, when U.S. Rep. Jim Weaver(D) and his puppet masters from Sierra Club showed up in the mid 70's and got this whole deal started. We didn't know them what we sadly know now, and you can see how it's turning out! Hindsight and all. Sadly, life took me in other directions, and I lost track of things until recently, and now I very much regret not staying in tune. I'm glad to see you involved, and will do what little I can by remote control, so to speak.


    Dave Walters
    Kennewick, WA

  2. Dave, I think a lot of us let things slip in the 70s/80s. Good to have you back in tune!
    Thanks, Don