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Letters 4/20-4/27 

Bees enjoying spring blossoms. Photo by Jessi Johnson Horn.

Bees enjoying spring blossoms. Photo by Jessi Johnson Horn.

Preserving our trees

There has been interest lately in preserving vs. removing large, old trees in Bend. My neighbors recently had two very large Ponderosa pines removed, because they were "messy." They might well have been 200-years-old or more. The New York Times review of the new book, "Lab Girl" by Hope Jahren, included the following passage: Trees "are a miracle 300 million years in the making. That they are still around is testimony to their ingenious powers of survival. Or perhaps to our inability - yet - to destroy every last one, though not for lack of trying: We are on track to rid the planet of trees within 600 years. So plant one tree this year..." And think twice before killing our elder botanical citizens.

~Bengal Turner

In response to "Crossroads in the Ochoco National Forest" (4/7)

Thank you for doing such a well-balanced article about some of the issues in the Ochoco National Forest. I am not in favor of the proposed OHV trail system, nor am I in favor of making such a large area in the forest a National Recreation Area or National Park. People don't seem to realize that recreation and conservation can work hand in hand together. The OHV people have plenty of roads to use now with maybe a few connecting trails to make the area easier to use. I was surprised to learn that jeeps are considered OHVs. They are street legal, where dirt bikes and ATVs are not.

On the other hand, though, tying up so much ground in some kind of wilderness and or park is also very limiting to who can use it, and sometimes damaging to the area. People seem to have forgotten the phrase "multiple use" as it has always applied to the national forest. I guess many Oregon residents either weren't born yet or have moved here since there used to be signs on every road entering the forest that said "multiple use," and had pictures of cattle and sheep, timber, recreation and mining. Managed properly, these things can all work together and help sustain the public land in a healthy fashion.

No, I'm not talking about clear cuts nor open pit mines, but well-managed forests and perhaps small mines for semi-precious stones and such. Ranchers, timber men, miners and Forest Service employees working together on a regular basis can be the eyes and ears to spot fires and accidents, and help control environmental damage and invasive species. Wilderness and recreation area designations may restrict the Forest Service from controlling invasive weeds and other wild fire fuels along with fighting fire with all their tools.

Please let's keep "multiple use" in mind, and bring everybody to the planning table including, but not exclusive to the recreating public.

~Ann Snyder

In response to "A Voice for Jefferson County" (3/31)

I appreciate your featuring the water lawsuit affecting Central Oregon, unfortunately, I was saddened that you would make an attempt to create a wedge between farmers no matter what their average value of Ag products are and not be a voice for all of the Central Oregon agriculture community.

There are farmers in Jefferson County and Crook County who are also COID patrons. My parents are one of those patrons, they have hay ground in Powell Butte. You mention flood irrigation being used. That is true of smaller acreages and often that is the only option they have because of the size or shape of the field, location of their land isn't close to a larger irrigation canal or electricity isn't available for them to use for pivots, hand line or wheel lines. In addition, those who flood irrigate are given certain days that they are allowed to use the water, and it isn't near as often, so the flooding allows the ground to get a deeper saturation to go longer periods of time between watering. The large farms are using pivots, hand line or wheel line, which are more efficient for irrigating land.

The Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan has been made up of conservation groups (including Waterwatch), all eight irrigation districts, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Warms Springs Tribes and several other local, state & federal agencies. Yes, this has been ongoing for several years but with an area this size and that many entities working together it takes time. They have already made a lot of progress including increasing in-stream flows of rivers and creeks by nearly 80,000 acre-feet, improved fisheries passage into historical habitat, and working to establish ecologically important wetlands. As for COID specifically, they are in the process of completing their System Improvement Plan, which will guide their future water conservation projects and this year they are beginning the process of removing the Cline Falls Dam, [built] over 100 years ago. Removal of the dam will allow trout and other wildlife to migrate naturally through the former dam site for more river and riparian habitat along the Upper Deschutes.

~Jessica Hanna

Central Oregon Chapter President

Oregon Women for Agriculture

In response to "Crossroads in the Ochoco National Forest" (4/7)

 I really enjoyed Brian Jennings article about the Ochoco Summit Trail proposal. It was unbiased and gave everyone a chance to say their piece. With the exception of the trail heads, I think most people won't even notice the OHVs on the trails. The majority of the trails will be on "level one" roads converted to trails. There will be bridges over running creeks. It will be paid for with Oregon State ATV funds, not taxpayer money.

One problem I had with the article was the pictures on page 10. The person that did the mud bogging in the meadow should be in prison. The picture on the upper left, I think is a hiking trail near Spanish Peak that I have hiked many times. The bottom picture is a typical "level two" road open to all vehicles.

As I am retired I have spent many weeks during the summers and with the exception of Walton Lake, I see very, very few people. There is room for everyone in this large forest that we all love.

~Larry Ulrich

President, Ochoco Trail Riders

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