I understand that the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision will be released on or before Friday June 29. While my public comment was shouted down by staff of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest supervisor’s office, and neither I nor any other citizens of Eastern Oregon’s comments were responded to over the last four years, it will be interesting to see what the path forward looks like in Northeastern Oregon for public lands, and how the U.S. Forest Service plans to allow us to use the mountains we love.

Once the plan is released, commenters on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from 2014 will have 60 days to file an objection with the USFS on the Final EIS. Also, if new information is found in the plan, or a substantial change is found in the Final EIS, you will also have an opportunity to file an objection. Along with the formal objection process, you also can file as an “interested person” and there will be a 10-day period to make this request after objections have been filed.

An “interested person” is someone who may or may not have objected or commented during the forest plan and amendments process, but who has an interest in supporting or opposing a submitted objection.

After watching the meetings and the treatment of residents at these meetings I can understand why folks chose to remain silent. Forest Service staff yelling and belittling residents, and former USFS staff doing the same. Environmental groups name-calling and yelling during “facilitated” meetings, while subsistence users of the forest tried to politely articulate their concerns, only to be demeaned and belittled.

You will have a chance to have another voice, I would simply ask that you do so.

John D. George

Bates, Ore.

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