Ashland, Ore.- Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Congressman Greg Walden were joined Saturday by dozens of locals who came to share their viewpoints on the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. All were hoping to take advantage of the opportunity to share their thoughts with someone who has the President’s ear.
The Secretary of the Interior is following his directive from President Donald Trump’s April executive order to review national monuments, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. That order opens the door to reverse the expansion approved by former President Obama just days before he left office. Obama expanded the monument in Southern Oregon and Northern California by 48,000 acres.
Secretary Zinke announced today he will make a final recommendation on the land by August 23rd.
Joe Schwartz, an Ashland resident in favor of the monument says he’s lived in the area for 15 years. Schwartz says that not only is he in favor of the monument, he loves it, “We love the presence of the monument in our backyard, and still feel like our access is fantastic.”
Robin Haptonstall has lived in the area for over 60 years. Haptonstall feels the expansion of the monument was not done without the voice of the people. Haptonstall told NBC5 News, “The money is supposed to go to the local community and in my opinion this was illegally pushed through on the local people.”
Secretary Zinke, a member of the President’s Cabinet, told the crowd that public input will weigh heavily in his recommendation. You can share your opinion on the expansion here.
The entire news conference can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4YjpcFfLDE