Monument expansion likely to deal financial blow, say Klamath Co. officials

Klamath Falls, Ore. — After President Obama proclaimed 48,000 acres of land in southwestern Oregon and northern California will be added to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Klamath County commissioners.

Commissioners said the thousands of acres of land covered under the O&C Act of 1937. They’re concerned specifically about 12,000 acres in Klamath County.

According to commissioners, the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) said, “The Solicitor for the Department of the Interior long ago the President lacks authority under the Antiquities Act to include O&C lands in a national monument. In Solicitors Opinion M. 30506, the Solicitor said the President could not include O&C lands in a National Monument if the lands were classified as timberlands under the O&C Act.”

The AOCC determined more than 80% of the expansion is timberland beyond the President’s authority to include in the monument. Commissioners said according to the AOCC, the expansion is likely to be litigated.

Commissioners expressed concern that when O&C lands are withdrawn from management, there is a direct financial loss to county government, resulting in a loss of services to citizens. They wrote, “Loss of timber supply would be a major blow to local economies for communities in Klamath and Jackson Counties, and perhaps as far away as Douglas County, which has mills that are within hauling distance of harvests that would take place on BLM lands in the Medford District and the Klamath Resource Area.

The expansion will cover the thousands of acres of Rogue Valley foothills, the Southern Cascades area, the Grizzly Peak area, Horseshoe ranch and the Jenny Creek area.


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