Environmentalists propose anther national monument
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KERBY, Ore. - Fresh from
the success of winning national monument designation to protect the diverse
ecosystem where the Siskiyou Mountains and the Cascade Range intersect,
environmentalists are proposing another national monument in southwestern
The Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument would cover 1 million acres of federal .land. Most of it would come from the Siskiyou National Forest in Curry and Josephine counties, including the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and sections of the Rogue and Illinois rivers already designated wild and scenic rivers.
The proposal promises to revive the debate over logging national forests to provide raw materials for local mills and protecting water, fish and wildlife habitat, rare plants and outdoor recreation.
"This isn't about jobs vs. the environment. This is about jobs vs. jobs," said Dorninick DellaSala, a forest ecologist and local field representative of the World Wildlife Fund.
An economic analysis by ECONorthwest of Eugene found that, by eliminating logging, the monument would cause the loss of about 145 jobs and $7 million in annual income within the timber industry .
However, a 5 percent increase in visitors to the area generated by a monument would create 350 other jobs, primarily in the service and tourism industries, and replace the $7 million in annual income, ECONorthwest found.
"The future here is not going to be about extraction jobs," DellaSala said. "Those are already on an historic decline. What is corning to this area is new jobs, new businesses and new demands for quality of life.
After environmentalists won lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service and the federal Bureau of Land Management to protect old-growth forest habitat for the northern spotted owl, a threatened species, the federal government developed the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 to balance logging against fish and wildlife habitat.
The plan cut logging on federal lands in Washington, Oregon and Northern California by 80 percent, speeding a decline in timber jobs already started by automation, and forcing surviving mills to depend more heavily on timber from private lands.
'This is just another indicator of what some of us have suspected for quite a while - that these people want to return this part of the state to pre-settlement conditions," said Walt Freeman, an O'Brien gold miner who wants to develop claims within the boundaries of the proposed monument.
Josephine County Commissioner Harold Haugen complained that supporters of the proposal had not presented it to the county. "This national monument would completely take away those renewable resources which help fund schools and roads," Haugen said. "It's really a bad idea."
Jennifer Krauss Phillippi, whose family has operated Rough and Ready Lumber Co. in the Illinois Valley since the 1920s, said further reducing opportunities to log on public lands would hurt a timber industry already suffering from cutbacks.
She added she was skeptical low-paying tourism jobs could make up for the loss of family wage timber jobs.
But Curry County Commissioner Cheryl Thorp said the idea merits consideration.
"Our timber revenue is going down," she said. "If it would provide more jobs, it's worth exploring."
The national monument proposal represents the second time environmentalists have tried to protect the area around the Kalririopsis Wilderness from logging and mining. A proposal to create a Siskiyou National Park in the1990s failed.
Supporters of the new monument proposal include World Wildlife Fund, The Wilderness Society, Oregon WaterWatch and the Native Plant Society of Oregon.
They are asking President Clinton to add it to the monuments he has created to protect ecologically significant areas under the Antiquities Act, which gives him the power to act without involving Congress.
Source: Arizona Daily Sun, Saturday, July 8, 2000, pp B5
Copyright 2000. Northern Arizona University, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED