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About Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 18, 2015)
November 18, 2015
Wallowa County Chieftain
on facts, not
olves are thriving across the West. In Montana,
Idaho, Washington and Oregon they are
becoming a ¿[ture on the landscaSe. $ wolf
SacN has even turned uS in Northern California.
In that conte[t, the Oregon )ish and Wildlife
Commission made a solid decision last weeN to taNe
wolves off the state¶s endangered sSecies list.
)our breeding Sairs have
been in Eastern Oregon for
three consecutive years,
as is required in the state
wolf Slan. $ctually, the
Voice of the Chieftain
number of breeding Sairs
is nine, signaling that the
SoSulation is far healthier than the wolf Slan requires.
$dd that to the fact that a minimum of 82 wolves are
Nnown to live in Eastern and 6outhwestern Oregon and
there is little reason to worry about wolves disaSSearing.
Their numbers have increased from 14 in 2009 to 82 this
$nd remember Those are minimum numbers that
wildlife managers have con¿rmed. The actual SoSulation
may be far larger.
The criteria for delisting the wolf in Oregon were in the
state¶s wolf management Slan, which was the Sroduct of
Srolonged and Sublic debate when it was written.
Now that wolves have met those criteria for delisting,
some folNs are looNing for looSholes to bacN out of the
They are way out of line.
)irst, wolves in the western twothirds of the state
remain Srotected Must as they have been all along.
Only in the eastern onethird of the state, where all
but seven of the wolves live, are they affected at all, by
allowing wildlife managers more Àe[ibility.
6econd, Oregon ranchers, who have been most affected
by the return of wolves, have lived uS to their Sart of
the deal. They¶ve done it in the face of a Sredator that
as of the ¿rst of the year had Nilled 114 cattle, sheeS and
herding dogs and inMured many more.
That is only the number of Nillings that wildlife
managers con¿rmed. /ast year, for e[amSle, 4
deSredation investigations resulted in only 11 con¿rmed
Though ranchers are indemni¿ed for their livestocN,
it doesn¶t reSay them for the weight their other cattle lost
because of wolves or the e[tra hours and effort required to
Srotect against wolf attacNs.
Third, the Endangered 6Secies $ct was aimed at
Srotecting Slants and animals that were in danger of
e[tinction. Wolves do not ¿t in that category. They are
robust Sredators that follow the food and do not need
In fact, wolves were never reintroduced in Oregon or
Washington state they sSilled over from Idaho and %ritish
Columbia, where the estimated wolf SoSulation is 10,000.
More than 50,000 wolves live in Canada and 0,000 live
in $lasNa, It de¿es logic to argue that the wolf is on the
brinN of e[tinction.
<et earnest grouSs of activists insist that, somehow,
wolves are getting short shrift in Oregon. 6ome are saying
the state¶s biologists didn¶t MumS through an adequate
number of hooSs before recommending that wolves be
delisted. They say they might sue.
If they do, we¶ll Nnow their concern isn¶t for wolves,
which are continuing to thrive and multiSly desSite all of
the fearful Sredictions activists have made over the years.
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Contents copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. Reproduction
without permission is prohibited.
The 2015 ¿re season was worse
than any on record and summertime
temSeratures are steadily escalating.
Increasing the average summer
temSerature by Must one degree
)ahrenheit results in an increase of 420
wild¿res in the state annually, according
to estimates by the Oregon DeSartment
of )orestry. Research and news articles
have focused on the need for forest fuels
reduction, creating defensible sSace
around rural dwellings and imSroving
However, effective landuse Slanning
has SerhaSs the greatest Sotential for
reducing wild¿re threat.
The 86D$ )orest 6ervice de¿nes
transition areas Must outside communities
as the “Wildland8rban Interface.”
6ince 190, the SoSulation in these
areas has MumSed from 25 million to 140
million SeoSle. Today, about 0 Sercent
of all new homes across the nation
are being constructed in the Wildland
8rban Interface, desSite one historic
wild¿re season after another. The result
is sNyrocNeting ¿re¿ghting costs that are
ultimately borne by the Sublic.
The Oregon DeSartment of )orestry
estimates that the average cost of
19 to Srotect an additional home
Katherine H. Daniels
in an already develoSed area MumSs
to a whoSSing 1,545 to Srotect an
additional home in a more rural area.
Dwellings in remote and rural
areas Sut ¿re¿ghters at added risN.
Historically trained in basic wildland
¿re behavior and safety, using ¿reline
construction and tools, ¿re¿ghters today
must have numerous sSecialized sNills
geared toward Srotecting homes ²
establishing ¿re Serimeters, conducting
burnouts around homes and dealing
with the dangers of SroSane tanNs, gas
and electrical lines. When the focus
has shifted from ¿ghting ¿re to saving
homes, forests are left to burn.
Oregon’s statewide landuse Slanning
Srogram discourages the Nind of
develoSment that imSerils ¿re¿ghters
and homes in this way. ImSlemented
by communities statewide, it has
signi¿cantly reduced the number of
dwellings built in our Wildland8rban
Interface since the mid1980s, when
comSared to other states.
While over the course of a decade
Oregon lost almost three times as much
acreage to wild¿re as did Washington,
the number of dwellings destroyed was
signi¿cantly greater in Washington,
according to the *eograShic $rea
Coordination Centers and the National
Interagency )ire Center. In the 2014 and
2015 seasons alone, seven times more
dwellings were destroyed in Washington
than in Oregon. The Sresence of
dwellings in wildland areas further
increases the risN of wild¿re. In the 2015
¿re season four times as many acres
burned in Washington as in Oregon
where wildland dwellings resulted in
¿res with “human causes”.
Over nine Sercent of Oregon’s
homes are currently at high or e[treme
risN for wild¿re, according to 2015
data from 9erisN Insurance 6olutions.
Current limits on dwellings and other
develoSment on forest land is Saying
off for Oregon by minimizing wild¿re
risN to new develoSment, reducing
¿re¿ghting costs and Srotecting human
Katherine H. Daniels is a farm and
forest lands specialist with the Oregon
A wilderness proposal gone wild
Residents of Malheur County, Ore.,
are wise to be susSicious of a Slan to
designate 4 Sercent of their county as a
They should continue to resist the
SroSosal any way they can.
It’s a tradition among outgoing Dem
ocratic Sresidents to set aside massive
swaths of the West as wilderness areas.
They do it to maNe themselves looN Sret
ty to the environmental community.
Jimmy Carter holds the record, setting
aside 2 million acres of $lasNa as wil
derness during his single term.
%ill Clinton set aside 9.2 million acres
of wilderness as he was heading out the
Now it’s 3resident %aracN Obama’s
You’ll note that in all of the above
cases, the SeoSle who live in those areas
That’s why we’re concerned about
the Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation
3roSosal, which would designate a little
more than 2 million acres as wilderness
and 50 miles of rivers as wild and scenic
8nder the Wilderness $ct of 194,
³no temSorary road, no use of mo
tor vehicles, motori]ed equiSment or
motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no
other form of mechanical transSort and
no structure or installation” is allowed
e[ceSt as a way to meet the minimum
requirements of administering the area.
Even using vehicles to taNe out
From the Capital Press
MuniSer trees, which ruin greater sage
grouse habitat, is banned. $ federal Mudge
recently ruled that motorized vehicles
couldn’t be used to helS clear MuniSers
from a wilderness study area near 6teens
Mountain in southcentral Oregon.
$nd note the name of the Slaintiff in
the lawsuit the Oregon Natural Desert
$ssociation, which is behind the Slan for
Though SroSonents such as OND$
Sromise that grazing allotments would be
grandfathered in, ranchers there ¿nd little
comfort in the assurance.
%ob 6Ninner, a rancher, reminded the
500 SeoSle who gathered in the $drian
+igh 6chool gym recently that SroSo
nents of the Slan, such as OND$, are
“Once this gets to court, all bets are
off,” he told the crowd.
The irony of the meeting was Srovid
ed when %rent )enty, e[ecutive director
of OND$, told the crowd he wants to
stoS mining and oil and gas drilling.
“We all care about the Owyhee and
want to NeeS it the way it is today, we
Must may disagree on how we do that,”
The most troubling asSect of this Slan
is the Obama administration hiding its in
tentions from members of Congress. ReS.
*reg Walden, ROre., reSresents Malheur
County. +e says he has asNed the admin
istration to tell the truth about the Slan,
but has thus far received no answer.
6tate ReS. Cliff %entz, ROntario, or
ganized the $drian meeting and Slans to
send a video of it to the White House in
hoSes that members of the administration
will understand what’s at staNe.
We often write about the “urbanru
ral” divide. This is the Serfect e[amSle of
where it’s getting wider. 3roSonents ²
nearly all from cities ² want to imSose
wilderness status on rural residents.
The urbanites don’t care what the rural
residents thinN or that it will ultimately
eviscerate the local economy.
There is Srecious little in the record to
show that the Obama administration will
listen to the SeoSle of Malheur County.
The administration has a long tracN re
cord of imSosing regulatory shocN and
awe on rural Sarts of the West. The Envi
ronmental 3rotection $gency’s Waters of
the 8nited 6tates regulations and the De
Sartment of /abor’s “hot goods” actions
against farmers are Must two Srominent e[
amSles of how federal agencies oversteS
their statutory authority.
$nd consider this There is also noth
ing in the record to indicate that SroSo
nents of designating more wilderness in
Malheur County care even a tiny bit about
the SeoSle who live there ² or anywhere
else in the rural West.
Please share stories about Leon Lee
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Land-use planning can curtail ¿res
To the editor:
We are the Sarents of our beloved
/eon E. /ee, who Sassed away $Sril 2,
200. We are writing a booN of memo
ries for our family and are in hoSes that
some of you can helS to ¿ll his memory
/ee worNed at Hubbard Ranch for
several years, later starting his own busi
ness called “/ee’s E[cavation.” His slo
gan was “We dig Wallowa County”. He
etters to the Editor are subMect to
editing and should be limited to
275 words. Writers should also include
a Shone number with their signature
so we can call to verify identity. The
LETTERS to the EDITOR
also was a volunteer ¿reman and helSed
several neighbors in Imnaha by Surchas
ing an old ¿re trucN that he refurbished.
He also helSed battle several forest ¿res,
cutting ¿rebreaNs with his bulldozer.
If you Nnew /ee and can remember
a story or an e[Serience that you could
Chieftain does not run anonymous let
You can submit a letter to the Wal
lowa County Chieftain in Serson by
mail to 3.O. %o[ 8, EnterSrise, OR
share with us, we would greatly aSSre
ciate your helS.
His memorial at the JoseSh Church
was “standing room only”. /ee certain
ly was well thought of by numerous
friends, neighbors and business $ssoci
ThanN you for all the helS in sharing
your memories of /eon E. /ee.
Edward and Carol Lee-Geeck
97828; by email to editor@wallowa.
com; or via the submission form at the
newsSaSer’s website, located at wal
lowa.com. DroS down the “OSinion”
menu on the navigation bar to see the