Applegate Residents Collect 150+ Signatures for Petition

, Posted: Thu, September 5 2013 at 5:44 PM, Updated: Fri, September 6 2013 at 10:04 AM

Taking matters into their own hands, residents from the Applegate Valley are urging Senator Ron Wyden to protect their way of life.

They've collected more than 150-signatures asking the senator to protect their forest.

"We were talking to representatives of Senator Wyden about the future of life in the Applegate really, how we want to live, how we want to participate," explained Chris Bratt who has been living in the Applegate Valley for almost 40 years.

He and others have come to love the Applegate Valley.

"The trees are just magnificent, the water, the sky, everything," he continued.

"It's amazing. Don't tell a whole lot of people," laughed Nabha Goldfeder, an Applegate resident and petitioner.

"It's very peaceful, except when they start cutting trees all the time," Bratt said.

Concern for a place Bratt calls paradise, brought a group of petitioners with more than 150 signatures, to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden's Medford office on Thursday morning.

"Some of the bills in Congress right now are meant to divide the lands up," said Bratt.

According to Bratt, he's opposed to the plan that's been pushed by  U.S. Representatives Peter Defazio and Greg Walden where roughly half of Oregon's 2.4 million acres of federal timber land would be logged, then handed over for the state to run. Bratt said the state has weaker environmental standards as compared to federal guidelines.

"We definitely don't like the clear cutting, we definitely don't like the herbicide use that goes along with the state forest practices act [...] other items like clean water, clean air might be taken away," Bratt said.

Among other requests, petitioners said counties need to find other ways to pay for services.

"To try to get it out of squeezing out of the forest, enough money to fund counties, that's not going to happen. There's not that many trees," said Bratt.

"I think the impact of a project that was specifically to make money to support our county services would be detrimental to clean water, to the peace that we have, it would impact animal migration, it would destroy a lot of habitat for endangered species," Goldfeder added.

In the end, residents say they're not completely against logging.

"I think there's general support for logging, you know, doing it right," Bratt said as he went on to emphasize sustainable practices.

"I think we need to take time between forestry projects to see what our mistakes are and what we've done really well," said Goldfeder.

In fact, Goldfeder said there should potentially be more work done in the forest.

"We have been mismanaging our forests for so long that we actually need to be in the forests, potentially putting money back into the forests to be helping create a healthier forest to create a diverse ecosystem," she added.

They say they want to be involved in the process and give their input. They're for any policies that will protect their paradise and create long terms solutions for people and the environment.

Text of "Applegate Community Public Lands Vision" Petition

Applegate Community Public Lands Vision

As residents of the Applegate Valley, we value the Bureau of Land Management lands that surround our homes because they are integral to our community. The forests and rivers
managed by the BLM are essential to the clean drinking water, native salmon runs, and the expanding recreation economy of the Applegate Valley. We urge the management of BLM lands in the Applegate Valley to support our community values by:
? Preserving the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA) as a designated area in which the BLM must use a collaborative, community based decision making process that directly involves the community in forest management decisions. As citizens and neighbors we have the right to help guide actions that affect our lives and livelihoods.
? Decoupling logging receipts from providing revenue to county governments and exploring alternative revenues such as valuation of the ecosystem services of public lands.
It is unrealistic to expect that timber revenues alone from O&C land can make up budget shortfalls.
? Managing forests to increase diversity, preserving mature trees over one hundred years old, protecting riparian streamside forests, and conserving sensitive plants and
animals including salmon and steelhead. Protecting biodiversity is essential for healthy forests, and we cannot assume that private industry will plan for diversity and old forests.
? Preserving the clean water supply that supports family farms, small businesses, individual wells, and community water supplies.
? Protecting “lands with wilderness characteristics”
and roadless areas such as the Wellington Wildlands and the Dakubetede areas. Many of us moved to this area for its
wilderness characteristics, which continue to attract people to this area to live and to recreate — providing a growing source of revenue for the local economy.
? Reducing fire risk and fire fighting costs through fire prevention planning. Investing in thinning, stewardship contracting, and fuels reduction focused next to communities not only stimulates the local economy, but also will save money in fire fighting costs over the long term.
? Using only the existing road network to conduct any thinning or fuels reduction projects as prescribed by the forest or fire management plans. Building roads increases
pollution and diminishes the open space needed by animals (and humans). Blocks of open, contiguous space are consistent with BLM’s forthcoming Resource Management Plans.
? Ensuring all forest management recognizes the need for reduced timber harvest levels in the fragile, dry forest ecosystems of southwestern Oregon. Regrowth of Southern
Oregon forests is dramatically slower than those of more northern, wetter Oregon forests. This approach will preserve the sustainability of timber harvests for generations to come.

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