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County takes no position on Badlands
Published: March 31, 2005
By Chris Barker
Stepping into the divisive arena of wilderness designation, the Deschutes County Commission on Wednesday voted 2-1 to take no position on whether vehicles should be allowed in the Badlands.
Commissioners Tom DeWolf and Dennis Luke voted to take no action.
It was a compromise crafted by DeWolf after it became clear that there was no board consensus on the issue.
Commissioner Mike Daly voted against the motion.
"Since two votes do not exist to do what I believe is the right thing, I will reluctantly vote in favor of Deschutes County taking no position regarding the wilderness designation of the Badlands," DeWolf said, reading from a prepared statement.
Only the U.S. Congress can designate an area as wilderness. The label closes sensitive areas to motorized use.
Nevertheless, both motorized vehicle proponents and wilderness advocates have fiercely lobbied the commission regarding the Badlands.
Deschutes County received 1,572 comments on the proposal — 75 percent of them in favor of a wilderness designation, according to County Forester Joe Stutler.
A county decision could have been used by Oregon's Congressional delegation to push for a wilderness designation.
Daly said he favored a recommendation to designate the Badlands as wilderness but keep all or part of the 8.5-mile Route 8 running through the area open to vehicles.
He called the decision the most controversial subject he has handled during his four-year tenure on the commission.
"There are too many people on both sides of this issue to have a clear mandate," Daly said, reading from a prepared statement. "I represent all of the people of Deschutes County — not just one group or another. Without an agreement or a compromise on leaving at least a portion of the central road open, I will not support a wilderness designation for the Badlands."
Luke said he's spent time with a Boy Scout troop in the Badlands and even wrote a college paper on rock formations there.
Closing the area to some users doesn't sit right with him, he said.
"I have a concern when you close any public lands to the public," Luke said, in an interview after the vote. "I don't think the case has been made that this meets the criteria of a wilderness."
Noting that he enjoyed riding snowmobiles and motorcycles in the past, he said he nevertheless sees the Badlands as a place where local residents can enjoy solitude without being interrupted by the noise and exhaust of vehicles.
"Wilderness designation will not close off access," DeWolf said. "It will require people to get out of their cars or off their motorcycles and walk." Wilderness advocates, several of whom attended the county commission meeting, were disappointed in the vote.
"I think that the no action (taken) today was a disservice to the present and future generations of Central Oregonians," said Bill Marlett, executive director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA).
The Bend-based group has long fought for a wilderness designation of the Badlands.
Marilyn Miller, conservation chair of the Juniper Group of the Sierra Club, said the vote went against public opinion.
"I'm depressed — it's a disappointment," Miller said. "They're not listening to their constituents."
The commissioners should be commended for not bowing to pressure from environmental groups, said Joani Dufourd of the Central Oregon Motorcycle and All Terrain Vehicle Club.
"I'm just pleased that the silent majority spoke eloquently enough to the commissioners so that they didn't feel like they had to support ONDA," Dufourd said.
Although a county decision may have influenced Oregon's congressional delegation on the wilderness issue, a separate decision will likely close the Badlands to motorized travel by this summer.
As part of a management plan, the Prineville District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is recommending closing Route 8, an 8.5-mile route that's currently open to vehicle traffic year-round.
In addition, the plan recommends closing other seasonal routes in the Badlands.
Webmeister's comments: Commissioner Daly said he favored a recommendation to designate the Badlands as wilderness but keep all or part of the 8.5-mile Route 8 running through the area open to vehicles. This cuts the baby in half, which tends to kill the baby. The OHV folks have 200,000 acres of exclusive use land and over 600 miles of dedicated signed and exclusive use roads next door to The Badlands. Why do they need ten miles through The Badlands? Daley perhaps mis-quoted a horse person who wanted to drive her horse trailer into The Badlands. She can RIDE HER HORSE into The Badlands from one of several trail heads an extra mile or two!!
Although a county decision may have influenced Oregon's congressional delegation on the wilderness issue, a separate decision will likely close the Badlands to motorized travel by this summer. As part of a management plan, the Prineville District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is recommending closing Route 8, an 8.5-mile route that's currently open to vehicle traffic year-round. In addition, the plan recommends closing other seasonal routes in the Badlands. Commissioner Daley had not done his homework. Hmmm.
"There are too many people on both sides of
this issue to have a clear mandate," Daly said, reading from a prepared
statement. "I represent all of the people of Deschutes County — not just one
group or another. Without an agreement or a compromise on leaving at least a
portion of the central road open, I will not support a wilderness designation
for the Badlands." Deschutes County received 1,572
comments on the proposal — 75 percent of them in favor of a wilderness
designation, according to County Forester Joe Stutler. What is a "clear
"I have a concern when you close any public lands to the public," Commissioner Denis Luke said, in an interview after the vote. "I don't think the case has been made that this meets the criteria of a wilderness." The Three Sisters Wilderness is closed to the public? Hmmmm. The Badlands does meet the criteria for Wilderness. The criteria for Wilderness is a national legal definition, not the subjective view of Denis Luke!! --Webmeister Speik
Daly doesn't understand the value of a peaceful wilderness
IN MY VIEW
The Bend Bulletin
By Susan Strauss Bend
Deschutes County Commissioner Mike Daly's recent suggestion that the Badlands wilderness proposal be accepted, while reopening a dirt road called Route 8 that slices right through the heart of the wilderness, is like King Solomon offering to cut the baby in half. As true guardians of our children's future, what can be our response? Are we such a "fast-food nation" that we can only concede to a drive-through wilderness? Most Oregonians choose to live here because we want to be in a place and raise our children in a place that values wilderness, not just a stroll in the park next to a speedway. The Badlands should be the beginning of a community vision for an open-space system. Our vision and planning for these spaces of the future, which we make in conjunction with various levels of government, need to supersede personal needs for convenience in getting between a south and north off-road recreation area.
At the recent public hearings on the Badlands, the main point expressed by off-road vehicle folks was that they felt "shut out" of the proposed wilderness area. Looking at the map presented in the hearing, the proposed wilderness area looked like a Post-it on a map of California. The overwhelming amount of land was given over to off-road-vehicle use. The proposed Badlands wilderness is a small fraction of the Millican Valley. Actually, the loud noise caused by gas powered vehicles essentially "shuts out" quiet uses of nature, such as hiking, wild animal interactions and habitat conservation. More and more in our world, the quiet uses of nature are "shut out." It is obvious that our world is getting faster, louder and more populated. The need for quiet places is increasing and the potential sites for this use are decreasing. There is no way that the silent/non-exhaust producing uses of nature and the noisy/smelly-exhaust-producing uses of nature can coexist. Would we allow off-road recreation in Drake Park? Would we allow boom boxes in the library? No, because as a society, we acknowledge the need to maintain a certain quality of atmosphere in certain locations.
The need for quiet/reflective experiences in wild places is a deep part of our American cultural heritage and national identity. This heritage began with Native Americans who held nature as the source of their spirituality. This experience of the spiritual in nature is echoed again in John Muir's repeated references to entering "the cathedral" of wilderness. Transcendental writers Henry Thoreau and Ralph Emerson defined an American spiritual source that tuned itself on practical, unrefined interactions with an un-mechanized and inconvenient nature. America was the first country in the world to legally define wilderness as something intrinsic to our national character and promoted its protection in the world's first wilderness act. Bob Marshall describes this uniquely American hunger "... the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization ... the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness."
Bob Marshall stands in the company of many great American statesmen and writers who express a deep conviction about raw-nature experiences and their essential influence on the health of the American character. Walt Whitman wrote, "Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibered and vitalized by the regular contact with outdoor growths - animals, trees, sun warmth, and free skies - or it will dwindle and pale."
For me, these wild places provide a settling of the spirit, a soothing influence on our society, and a joyous adventure in wonder for my children in which I, also, get to re-experience my child self. These wild places form a fabric that flies in my heart, more American than any plastic stars and stripes emblem on the bumper of a car. When visitors come to our country, they want to see our national parks and our wilderness. The vast quietude of these places is what America has to offer. They value our wilderness more than our export rhetoric or commercial products. Would any of us buy a home with a road running right through the middle? A river running through it? Yes. But no, not a road.
--Susan Strauss is a professional storyteller and a teacher at Sagewood School in Bend.
Commission blew it
My Nickel's Worth
by John Sterling Bend
The Deschutes County Commission missed a singular
opportunity to support public opinion and endorse wilderness designation for the
Badlands. After months of fact-finding, spirited debate, and time-consuming
public input, the commission turned its back on public opinion and chose to take
no action on whether to protect the Badlands.
Of those who commented on whether to endorse wilderness for the Badlands, 75 percent supported the protection, according to County Forester Joe Stutler. The BLM, which manages the area, deems the Badlands suitable for wilderness designation. In June, the agency will close the Badlands to motor vehicles, creating a de facto wilderness with greater protection than the area enjoys today. So why was it so difficult for the commissioners to endorse what will happen anyway on lands over which they have no jurisdiction?
Mike Daly resorted to the tired and wrong assertion that wilderness locks people out of public lands, proving that he has learned nothing about the Wilderness Act over the past several months of debate. Dennis Luke was silent, except to express his hope that people not conclude that the commissioners "don't love the land." What else can the majority of his constituents who support Badlands Wilderness conclude?
One commissioner, Tom DeWolf, acted with respect for his constituents in expressing his support for wilderness. Hats off to DeWolf, but the commission as a whole has failed to honor the wishes of Deschutes County citizens.
The Deschutes County Commission has never fit our definition of a profile in courage
The Source Weekly
The Deschutes County Commission has never fit our
definition of a profile in courage, but last week it put on a bravura display of
gutlessness that surpassed even its own low standard.
Commissioners Mike Daly, Dennis Luke and Tom DeWolf had been asked to endorse federal wilderness designation for "the Badlands," a tract of relatively unspoiled high desert terrain about 20 miles south of Bend. The commissioners received nearly 1,600 public comments on the subject; 75 percent of them supported the wilderness designation. According to the most recent poll, nearly 70 percent of Deschutes County residents favor it The City of Bend has endorsed it, as have numerous area businesses, organizations and individuals.
Opposition to the idea comes from a small but vociferous minority of off-road vehicle enthusiasts coalescing around the Central Oregon Motorcycle and AlI Terrain Vehicle Club, headed by Joani Dufourd.
A county decision to support wilderness designation should have been a no-brainer. But when it came time to vote last Thursday, the commission couldn't get its collective brain to function.
Daly said he'd support wilderness designation only if at least part of "Road 8," a dirt track running through the Badlands, remained open to motorized traffic. Luke apparently didn't want the wilderness designation at all. DeWolf supported the wilderness designation including the closure of Road 8. In the end, the commission voted 2-1 (DeWolf and Luke in favor, Daly opposed) to take no stand on the issue.
Daly's shameless pandering to the ATV crowd was particularly obnoxious. 'There are too many people on both sides of this issue to have a clear mandate," he wrote in a statement explaining his stance.
Hey Mike, what's your definition of "clear mandate"? Isn't 70 percent a "clear mandate"? Or does "clear mandate" mean "unanimous agreement" to you? If it does, you'll probably never have a "clear mandate" to do anything.
Daly went on to fling a thinly veiled threat at the federal Bureau of Land Management, which owns the Badlands: "My understanding is that the BLM is going to close off this area to the public regardless of the outcome of our decision. They would be well advised to take notice of Oregon's Measure 37 which is an example of what happens when government starts placing too many restrictions on a majority of the people's rights to use the land."
Of course, Badlands wilderness designation and the closing of roads in areas under study for wilderness status has nothing to do with Measure 37-as Daly well knows, or should.
Dufourd hailed her group's great victory, calling it a triumph for "the silent majority." Claiming that a "silent majority" is behind you is one of the oldest rhetorical tricks in the book for those who are in the noisy minority. But the inescapable fact is a large majority of Deschutes County residents want the Badlands protected, and eventually it's going to happen whether Dufourd likes it or not.
Unfortunately, by caving in to the noisy minority and failing to take a stand, the county commission will make the task of getting the wilderness designation through Congress tougher. For that reason, we hereby deliver THE BOOT--let's make it a nice, heavy, size 16 hiking boot this time-to the posteriors of Messrs. Daly and Luke.
DUCKING THEIR DUTY
DUCKING THEIR DUTY
The Source Opinion
by Peter Gramlich
April 21, 2005
The decision of the three Deschutes County
commissioners to take no position on the Badlands wilderness designation is a
sad disavowal of their duty. Controversial issues come along, and one would
expect their elected officials to show leadership rather than run from issues.
We have seen this before from Commissioners Daly, Luke and De Wolf, and their
ignorance of their obligations is a slap in the face to all voters and
As vice-chair of the Deschutes County Planning Commission, 1 am personally familiar with the process of hearing testimony, reviewing data and reaching a decision. Contentious issues arise; as a seven-member volunteer body we often have spirited debate and narrow votes, and the assembled public is not always thrilled with our recommendations. That's part of our duty, though, and we do not take a free pass on a tough decision. And while my own vote may or may not be popular with an applicant or the public, 1 root it in fact and always reach an objective, defensible conclusion.
But the Deschutes County Commission seems incapable of doing so. Commissioner Daly justifies his evasion of a stance by reading from a prepared statement, 'There are too many people on both sides of this issue to have a clear mandate." At the very least Daly is misinformed, which is inexcusable given the amount of testimony and level of public engagement on the issue; 75 percent of comments received were in favor of the Badlands wilderness designation. Worse, his gutless non-stance leads one to believe he is incapable of going against his base, despite the overwhelming testimony in favor of the designation. He goes on to say, "I represent all of the people of Deschutes County, not just one group or another." This mislead is purely a spin; you certainly don't represent me by ducking the issue. What do we pay each of these guys $70,000 a year for? Apparently to smile and thank us for our testimony, then refuse to take a stand.
This non-stance insults all of those citizens who committed their time and energy to the issue. How are they to draw a conclusion other than that they wasted their time? Where is the motivation to attend future public hearings? Does the commission intend to ensure the chambers are consistently empty? I invite Mr. Daly and his colleagues to address my concerns on these dubious political processes, though 1 do not hold out hope, given their tendency toward inaction.
--Peter Gramlich, Bend
Read more . . .
Map of huge exclusive OHV areas adjoining the
The Badlands Wilderness
Map, compass and GPS navigation training Noodle in The Badlands
Deschutes County Commissioners fail to support Badlands Wilderness!
Deschutes County takes no position on Badlands Wilderness
Deschutes County Commissioner DeWolf supports Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Dirt road through The Badlands must close
Photos of Road 8 damage sent to Commissioners
Badlands Wilderness with a road?
BLM guidelines for Geocaching on public lands
Geocaching on Federal Forest Lands
OpEd - Geocaching should not be banned in the Badlands
Fee Demo groundwork may save Geocaching on our public lands
Protest of exclusion of Geocaching in Badlands WSA in BLM's UDRMP
BLM's UDRMP puts Bend's Badlands off limits to Geocaching
Deschutes County Commissioners hearing on Badlands Wilderness support
OHV use restricted in Upper Deschutes Resource Management Plan
Winter hiking in The Badlands WSA just east of Bend
Tread Lightly OHV USFS tip of the month
OHVs to be held to designated trails by USDA Forest Service!
New pole shows Badlands Wilderness favored by voters
BLM posts Reward for information on Juniper rustlers
BLM weighing public input on management plan
Oregon's Badlands hit by old growth Juniper rustlers Photos
Congressman Greg Walden to visit The Badlands
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by COTA
OpEd - Unregulated OHV use is being reviewed across the western states
OHV use curtailed by new USFS policy decisions
Sierra Club's Juniper Group supports Badlands Wilderness
OHV regulation discussed at BLM meeting in Bend, Oregon
OpEd - Badlands part of BLM's recreation management area
OpEd - We need the Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Off-roaders have no reason to fear Badlands Wilderness designation
Speak for the Badlands at Town Hall Meeting
Hiking poles are becoming essential gear
Vandals destroy ancient pictographs in the Badlands
Senator Wyden tests support of Badlands Wilderness
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by Bend City Commissioners
The Badlands: proposed for Wilderness status
The Badlands unique geologic forms explained by Chitwood pdf
The Badlands, a brief history
The Badlands pictographs reported 75 year ago
Read more . . .
Map of huge exclusive OHV areas adjoining the
Map of huge exclusive OHV areas adjoining the Badlands