Saturday, February 4, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

We are losing our Public Land....but its not by who you think.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a proud supporter of our Nation’s Public lands. I am a proud member of BCH who’s moto is “Public Land Owner.” I am the Oregon volunteer TRCP Ambassador, and the Rogue Chapter NWTF president. Both of these nonprofits advocate and lobby to keep public lands in public hands and are #publiclandsproud. I have also written articles explaining why public lands are so important to the west, its economy, and families. I am constantly speaking out against and land being turned over to the state. I had a hard time understanding why people were trying to dissolve BLM managed lands, but after this week I am starting to understand the push back.
I digress; I am a guide /outfitter who services Southern Oregon. I grew up in the rural community of Chiloquin Oregon, a once booming town that is now depressed and beaten like most of rural America. Chiloquin depends on Federal Lands. Like most rural towns, it is all, but lost because of political mismanagement of those Federal Lands. Politics and ignorance, not proper science, brought the timber industry to its knees. Shure there were small cases where the timber industry was in the wrong, making the bottom line outweigh the responsibilities to the environment, but these were few in Eastern Oregon. Extreme cases were presented like generalities, and the Timber Industry became the devil in the eyes of Americans that never smelled a hint of mountain air. It was an easy sale to a population that turned the corner into becoming more urban than rural—an easy sale that brought Chiloquin, and other rural towns across the west, to ruin. Chiloquin’s five timber mills became none within a decade. Southern Oregon was cast into a depression that it has yet to get out of. Many people don’t know that when money is made from the federal land resources that lie within the borders of a state, law dictates that the feds pay a surcharge to that state. This surcharge was mandated to pay for schools, roads, law enforcement, and such. States and their rural communities were able to meet budgets and provide the services communities needed. Besides the revenue that came in from the timber sales, the timber harvest provided jobs, both in the woods and in the mills. This all came to a screeching halt in the nineties, along with it the lively hood of a whole rural culture, which lasted for many generations. It also created budget gaps that keep growing. For Oregon these timber dollars are set to be reduced from $86.4 million to $7 million that’s a 91.9 percent reduction this year as the timber money has dried up! Who’s going to feel that? Not Portland, Not Eugene, but rural Oregon. So ya, I can see the push against federal land (although state or private ownership isn’t the answer).
If the economic ramifications weren’t enough, the environment was set on a course that would prove to be devastating. The Lodgepole Pine forest that fed the Chiloquin mills is predominately federal, and due to federal red tape, is all locked up. Politics governed foresters, not common sense science. Harvest was no longer allowed to be a management tool, leaving the high desert forest a sea of brown that turns catastrophic when it’s hit by lightning. To add insult to injury, this is same tinderbox is where the remaining rural Oregonians live. The trees, that they were told they were the devils for cutting, are now standing dead skeletons that remind them daily of the ignorance that was forced on them. These forest savvy communities know that proper harvest would have slowed the pine beetle that created the vast brown landscape that they now fear during the late summer lightning storms. So ya, I can see the push against federal land. 
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So when a Rural 5th Generation Oregonian, who has been completely jerked out of his culture by the misaligned management, gets told by the BLM that he has to wait up to 18 months, for an Environmental Study before he can even be considered for a special use permit …I can start to see the push against federal land. The wood river wetland a decade ago was a cattle pasture. Today, it’s so environmentally sensitive that there has to be a study to see if my boat might hurt the road that I have to drag it across. On top of that, I only asked for 10 trips or less on the permit. What’s more infuriating is that there is a permit in place for another guide doing the same thing, just with a 3 foot smaller boat. The fact that I didn’t get the permit really doesn’t hurt me that much, as I will use private land, but it’s this type of Thinking and Bureaucracy that has put our federal lands on the chopping block. The BLM turned down my permit fees and trip fees, a portion of which would have gone back to the county. I realize that this is a small amount, but it’s not the amount I’m pointing out, rather the ideas and mismanagement of our federal lands.
Hear me well when I say, this is the root, the very root of the federal land grab. The States have to make up for the %91 reductions in timber funds. If we citizens are going to #keeppubliclandsinpublichands we have to demand better management. We have to responsibly use its resources. We have to put common sense before politics. If we don’t the budgets will win, and our public lands will end up in the hands of the state, then eventually the timber companies anyhow. It’s Time to Attack the Root… Demand Proper Management…if you don’t it will be sold.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

For those of you who like to gather feathers the same time your casting them. Fins and Feathers Rogue River style.

The Rogue just happens to fish well during the Oregon waterfowl season and at the request of several of my clients we now offer a Fins and Feather trip. The trip consist of hunting ducks when they are flying (mornings and evenings) and Swinging Flies as the water warms. If this is your thing Check out the video below! Winter Steelhead are starting to show.
Swinging for winters!