By Steven Sandberg
January 31, 2011
MEDFORD, Ore. - A proposed national monument on the Siskiyou Crest is facing some opposition, including from Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R- Dist. 2).
At a news conference in Medford Monday, Walden said the primary issue over the monument involves the government's ability to change access to public lands. He says taking them out of the public's hands without input can negatively impact the economy.
Walden says the move to designate about 600,000 acres of the Siskiyou Crest as a national monument is being done without consulting the public. Walden says he is proposing a bill that would prevent this from being done without congressional approval. The Siskiyou Crest runs east to west and connects the Cascades to the Coast Range. It is an important corridor for habitat migration. The monument would be created using the 1906 Antiquities Act, which allows the president to protect lands for archaeological purposes.
Walden says the move would prevent public access to the forest. As a result, he says it would put timber workers out of work.
"Our focus in the federal government should be: What obstacles should we remove to get people back to work? Not, what obstacles we can put in place, and new restrictions, to deny people access to the public's land," Walden said.
Walden is also concerned that a lack of management would increase the risk of wildfires or bug infested timber.
He says the new bill before congress would establish concrete guidelines that involve public involvement before creating a national monument.
Rep. Walden opposes Siskiyou Crest national monument | KDRV