I wasn’t able to attend the hearing in Salem that the Capital Press refers to but wanted to comment because of my many days in the Owyhee Canyonlands hunting and fishing.
That, and my 45-plus years of working in natural resource agencies in America have me convinced that this uniquely spectacular, yet fragile ecosystem, needs certainty in the form of permanent protection.
And I’m not alone in this assessment. Supporters for permanent protections come from across Oregon, and far outnumber the handful in opposition. Over 35,000 Oregonians have signed on in support of saving this ecosystem, and a recent poll shows that 70 percent of Oregonians across the state want permanent protections in this place.
In my career of managing multiple agencies in three different states, local opposition is not uncommon in these situations, but this opposition melts when folks realize that current uses can and will be written into management plans. Permanent protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands doesn’t mean locking it up and throwing away the key. It means we’re protecting our clean drinking water sources from irresponsible mining, we’re allowing grazing, camping, hunting, and fishing that is happening now to continue, and we’re leaving a legacy for our children and our grandchildren and the children that come after them.
Permanently protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands is the right thing to do, and it is the right thing to do now.