In Response to, "Swarming Smith Rock," (10/5)
Kudos to the Source and writer Russ Axon for the excellent story on overcrowding at Smith Rock State Park in the Oct. 5 edition. The increased amount of visitation at Smith Rock over the years is startling, but I doubt that state park figures reflect the true seriousness of the problem. For example, there's no way to count the number of visitors who have annual Oregon State Park passes and therefore don't buy a daily pass each time they go to Smith Rock. There are no sign-in kiosks at the park as there are at U.S. Forest Service trail heads.
I experienced the conditions at Smith Rock on Sunday, Oct. 9, when I was unable to find a parking place despite looking for almost a half-hour. Even the overflow parking lot established for summer use was totally full. As more and more drivers arrived and circled for a spot of ground on which to park, I finally decided to go home without hiking.
The problem isn't unique to Smith Rock.
New limitations on use of the Three Sisters Wilderness also are needed, and it's encouraging to see the Forest Service is discussing what changes might work there.
Zero population growth is still a goal with merit, but evidently that's considered an old-fashioned idea. Now, all we can do is limit the number of people who use a particular recreation site so the experience isn't compromised for everyone.
As long as the population grows—especially in desirable places such as Central Oregon—there will be more pressure on our fragile playgrounds. It's sad, but we must admit that putting a ceiling on the number of people allowed to hike, climb, raft, etc., at popular places is the price we pay for what some people call "progress."
In Response to, "Endorsement: Knute Buehler," (10/5)
The complacent tone of your endorsement of Knute Buehler in the upcoming election for District 54 State Representative is unfortunate. This is NOT a time for political complacency at the local level (or, the national level, for that matter.) The urgency of our problems demands a creative, activist response on the part of our representatives. This should be obvious in dealing with any of the major issues we confront: health care, housing, education, continuing poverty, and finding the resources to deal with these issues. A status quo approach will not do.
Your endorsement is for the status quo: nothing in Buehler's record suggests otherwise. You say nothing about the solutions he brings to the table. In fact, his role in forging bi-partisan support of some positive measures, does not excuse his consistent opposition to measures that we desperately need: revenue for our failing education system, for income and health security. Your endorsement, (not to mention his "platform") says nothing about why he deserves our continuing support other than his "independent mind" and "experience." In fact, the sources of his campaign war chest (developers: $125,000; large corporate donors: $137,000 +), and his voting record (against affordable housing, against raising the minimum wage, against paid sick leave, against tax reforms,) lead me to question his independence. I hope your readers will do so, as well.
—Dr. Romir Chatterjee
I request your vote for re-election to the Deschutes Soil & Water Conservation District Board.
I led the development of the District's long-range plan that would eventually include programs related to water quality and healthier river flows, weed control, soil stewardship, wildlife and fish habitat, wildfire risk reduction, locally grown food, and renewable energy. If re-elected, I will work with the Board to secure funding to implement these programs with interested landowners.
I bring to the Board 39 years of experience with three federal agencies in seven U.S. states along with short-term consultancies in five other countries. I have worked as a forester, wildlife biologist, ecologist and manager, and have related Masters degrees.
Living in Bend 15 years, I have been active in many civic efforts, including city committees related to transportation, historic landmarks commission, urban growth boundary expansion and central area plan, and transportation. I was a member of the Orchard District Neighborhood Association Board for 10 years and am involved with local nonprofits such as Deschutes Land Trust, East Cascades Audubon Society, Habitat for Humanity and Tower Theater.
I look forward to continuing to serve.
In Response to, "Ganga Grows Up," (9/28)
Nicole Vulcan's excellent article on the essence of pot in the Oregon Country laid out a clear picture of the impact of hemp in our neck of the woods—but the part about hospital emergency rooms having to care for children who over dosed on pot scares me to death.
How did those kids gain access to that screwy product in the first place? (Which to me is aimed right at developing a habit for pot in kids.) Did their parents give it to them for fun and recreation? If so, in my opinion, our society is heading down a mucky hole. If the state, county, city, or whoever is supposed to be controlling the marketing of candied pot missed it, someone better hire people with 20/20 vision and some common sense.
I have heard that the arrival of legal pot in our society is (supposedly) no worse than the old days when prohibition went the way of the evolution of Society, and pot will be just like beer. Well, beer is still illegal for kids below 18 who belly up to the bar, but I guess it's OK for 5-year olds to get high on pot.
If kids don't have enough trouble growing up these days...What's next...?
—Jim Anderson, Naturalist
Jim – The entity in charge is now the OLCC, and they're imposing more stringent regulations than have been in place thus far. I'm pretty sure no one is giving little kids ganja treats; more likely they're eating them accidentally. The read-between-the-lines lesson: Lock up your pot treats. More food for thought: the numbers cited in "Ganja Grows Up" were for "kids" in general...which could be anyone under 18 and not necessarily 5-year-olds. And in case anyone's confused, pot and alcohol are both illegal for people under 21, not 18.
—Nicole Vulcan, Editor