Winter tests columnist. PAGE 4 Wallowa.com $1 March 1, 2017 Sam Collett makes 3 Area in detail 82 Enterprise 1 mile and an ART of Cre ek r i cane Creek Road N a River llow Wa A LIFE of r Hu a rri c 82 Joseph 350 ne Issue No. 46 Hu Enterprise, Oregon 351 Lake Wallowa Hurricane Creek land acquisition EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS EO Media Group graphic Access retained at Eagle Cap area inholding Land purchased by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, conveyed to forest By George Plaven East Oregonian Steve Tool/Chieftain This work of Collett’s, entitled “Good bye my friend” won first prize at the 2016 Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts event. By Steve Tool Wallowa County Chieftain am Collett is a Wallowa County institution. That is remarkable for a Salt Lake City native, who has lived here since 2000. Collett’s paintings and drawings with a local focus hang in local galleries and homes. He is generally among the prizewinners at the Wallowa Valley Festival of art. Collett’s road to his local celebrity was sometimes rocky. He faced hur- dles that were seemingly insurmount- able. But his love for art persevered. What follows is part one of the story of this gifted artist. The boy is 11, and it’s Christmas Day. He’s been obsessed with drawing and art for most of his life. He has just received his ﬁ rst paint set. “I always drew. My mom had no background in that or the cultural aspects of things. She was a farmer’s daughter, but she bought me those oil paints for Christmas when I was 11-years old, and that day, I just sat down and did a painting of my grand- father. The largest private inhold- ing in the Eagle Cap Wil- derness will be kept open to public access after the land was recently purchased by the Rocky Mountain Elk Founda- tion and conveyed back to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The 470-acre property, which runs parallel to Hurri- cane Creek south of Joseph, provides access points to some of the most heavily used trails leading into the wilder- ness area, including Hurricane Creek and Falls Creek trails. Bill Richardson, senior lands program manager for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, said the group spent several years working with the Forest Service to buy the land from the Hostetter Family Trust to protect access for hunting, ﬁ shing and recre- ation. The acquisition ﬁ nally closed in January. “Public access is huge for us,” Richardson said. “It’s a real important part of our mis- sion.” The Hurricane Creek proj- ect was identiﬁ ed as a national priority for the elk foundation, based in Missoula, Montana. See ARTIST, Page A9 See HOLDING, Page A9 Initiative makes bid for FFA funding Two bills and broad support for premiere leadership program from teachers, legislators By Kathleen Ellyn Wallowa County Chieftain Does Oregon value its ag- riculture sector? That’s one question raised by an initia- tive before the 2017 Oregon Legislature. The bill would fund Future Farmers of Amer- ica programs. Wallowa County has a ro- bust FFA program, but ag/vo- tech teachers have “the tough- est job” in school because of the variety of jobs they must juggle. And that job mix in- cludes fundraising. That is why three area agriculture teachers – Stephanie Schof- ield, J.D. Cant and Chelcee Mansﬁ eld – and a small troupe of FFA students met with the Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee in Hermiston on Feb. 17. The timing was important because Sen. Bill Hansell of Pendleton and Rep. Greg Bar- reto of Cove are prime spon- sors of bills to establish fund- ing for the FFA program. Of the two bills, the House bill has moved, gaining a public hearing and referral to the Ed- ucation Committee. FFA has been operating on private money since 2011. Up until 2011 grant fund- ing for the Student Leadership Center, an Oregon Depart- ment of Education group, sup- ported the FFA Association and other service and leader- ship programs. From 1970 to 2011, that money had been cut in half. Courtesy photo See FFA, Page A9 Industry mentor Zane Anderson and FFA student Karli Bedard in the welding booth at Enterprise High School..