Mount Hood Summit 3
On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Mount Hood Summit 3, a public forum on the future of Mount Hood and it's surounding areas. Inspiried by 2004's Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act ( presented by Sen. Ron Wyden in March of '04 to commemorate the bicentenial anniversary of their cross-country trip) Congressmen Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer have put together a proposal for the protection and expansion of Mount Hood and the Mount Hood National Forest. Set to be presented during the second session of the 109th Congress it is "an important step in a long term process to address the many chalanges facing" the Mount Hood area.
On hand were Congresspersons Darlene Hooley, Earl Blumenhauer and Greg Walden as well as Mayor Tom Potter, Representitive Louie Pitt and others from the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes and many individuals there to lend their feed-back for this proposal.
And herein lies the first part of the problem. Why is it that when you get a bunch of public officals together in the same room, they can not stay away from "patting each other on the back"? In fact, almost the first hour was devoted to this! Starting the meeting late and then doing this accomplished nothing!
When we finaly got down to the task at hand, we went through the intro, a slide presentation of the past programs and meetings leading up to this one, a short disscussion outlining the concepts for the legislation followed by the Public Comment period. Here is a modified rundown of the proposal;
Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers: Identify oppertunities to increase the Mount Hood National Forest Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River inventory.
* Wilderness - add aprox 75,000 acres of wilderness, the first large scale increase in 20+ years to include;
Bull of the Woods
Mazama/Top Spur, Elk Cove and Sandy
Salmon-Huckleberry, Eagle Creek and Alder Creek
Wild and Scenic Rivers - Add aprox. 15 miles to existing inventory including;
Middle Fork Hood River
Upper Reach Zig-Zag River
Special use fee retainment. Hold 100% of unobligated fees for use in the Mount Hood area.
Establish a Recreation Advisory Council for dessision making in 11 key areas including;
Winter and Summer Motorized and Non-Motorized Recreation
Hunting and Fishing
Native America Uses etc.
Establisment of a Mt. Hood Trans. Auth. for:
New Transportation Alternatives
New Hub to reduce trans. preasure
Forest Stewardship and Watershed Health;
Forest Stewardship plan
Biomass Generation Study
Watershed Management Memorandums of Understanding
First Foods Initiative
Finally Community Development, Local and Federal relationships.
I know this is long winded, but I also know that many of you access this area at different times of the year (Sandy Spey Clave for instance)
The Mount Hood National Forest area is under tremendous preasure from existing usage. More expansion means More Preasure! As a First Step, this proposal is a good one, but I think it needs alot of work.
Comments are being accepted for the next week or so to "Fine Tune" I would just ask that you might think about this and drop the Congresspersons a short note with suggestions. I am going to submit my additions in a few days. Details of this proposal can be found at Earl Blumenauers website at blumenauer.house.gov