Mixed reactions over Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion

Ashland, Ore. — Some business owners in Southern Oregon are happy to hear the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument is expanding. President Obama approved the 48,000 acre expansion on Thursday.

Diarmuid McGuire, one of the owners of the Greensprings Inn said the specially marked land brings interest to the area, and has increased his business in the process.

“It added interest that people have in this part of the world, because the monument is there,” McGuire said. “It’s been controversial in our community, and we’re a close community, so some of my best friends are skeptical about it.”

The land is the responsibility of the Bureau of Land Management, but McGuire believes it’ll be a community, and collaborative effort.

“It’s going to take, basically, a lot of cooperation between private individuals like myself, and the government, and perhaps we can get some help from private foundations,” McGuire noted. “We all want to do what we can not only to protect the monument, but also to share it with other people.”

Meanwhile, Oregon politicians are divided when it comes to the expansion. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden both back the change. This last year, they wrote to the Obama Administration, asking for the added acreage.

On the other side of the aisle, Congressman Greg Walden says the decision was rushed.

“I’m just disappointed that there was no real legitimate public process involved here, that the community could have had a say in, I know there was one meeting or something, but this thing seemed to be rigged from the beginning,”Rep. Walden said.

The Association of O&C Counties is also against the expansion, which would prevent any logging on the added land. They said tens of thousands of O&C acres of are included in the expansion, and the President doesn’t have the power to make it part of the monument.

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