April 16, 2005
Medford Mail Tribune
Kulongoski urges Siskiyou protections in BLM proposal
A natural resource policy director cites concerns about grazing and management of older forests and forest health
By Paul Fattig
Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants the U.S. Bureau of Land Management
to include more protection and restoration goals in its final Cascade-Siskiyou
National Monument management plan.
In a long letter dated April 13 to BLM state director
Elaine Marquis-Brong, Michael Carrier, the governor's natural resource policy
director, said the governor supports the plan's approach but believes more is
needed to meet goals outlined in the monument's creation.
"We are very pleased with the management goals of
the proposed plan," Carrier wrote. "Yet, we have specific concerns
about management of older forests and forest health, the extensive nature of
the road system and commercial livestock grazing."
The 52,940-acre monument is in the BLM's Medford District
in the mountainous region immediately east of Ashland where the Cascade, Klamath
and Siskiyou ranges converge.
When it came to the contentious grazing issue, the letter
notes the 2001 proclamation that created the monument clearly states protection
of biological diversity is the primary purpose for its creation.
Moreover, the proclamation further states that grazing
should be stopped if it is shown to be incompatible with monument goals and
that a grazing study is needed, the letter added.
"The (final plan) moves too aggressively toward preservation
of grazing without the benefit of the final results of the livestock grazing
impacts study and a likely buyout of the grazing leases," according to
The latter refers to an announcement late last year by
local ranchers with grazing allotments in the monument that they support a federal
buyout of existing grazing leases. A buyout for a fair price has been supported
by the Jackson County Stockmen's Association, the Oregon Cattlemen's Association
and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
"We recommend that you not move ahead with the 'decision
tree' for grazing management until those two issues are resolved," the