The Oregon Land Battle Goes On

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to close 164 miles of logging roads by using heavy machinery to re-contour some, decommissioning another 109 miles, and allowing 55 miles to return to a natural state on their own in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument area east of Ashland, Oregon.

The BLM claims culverts and drainage ditches are failing, allowing sediment and other debris to wash into the local watersheds. The agency also says that many of the roads proposed for closure are all dead-end logging spurs that branch off from more-traveled routes.

The 2014 Oregon Gulch fire burned more than 35,000 acres in Oregon and California, including part of the area. Over the years, many of the roads have been kept open so firefighters would have access to battle blazes and because they serve as fire breaks.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument area was created by President Bill Clinton in 2000 to protect the Cascade, Klamath and Siskiyou mountain ranges convergence. Pilot Rock is inside this area, as is as a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Meanwhile, the BLM has added thousands of acres to the area since its creation by acquiring (and not necessarily purchasing) private lands though it doesn’t have the budgetary finances to maintain what acreage it does have in its holdings.

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