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Oregon Badlands Wilderness Management Plan Scoping Comments-2012


From our popular calendar of interesting local events:
Thursday, March 1, 2012, Oregon Badlands Wilderness Management Plan, Public Meeting
The Prineville Office of the BLM is holding a Public Open House Meeting at the Riverbend Community Room, (Bend Parks, 799 Columbia Street, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, presentation from 7 - 7:30 pm) to provide an overview of the required Management Plan and to accept comments and answer questions. (We are advocating a management plan that is invisible, and only as necessary to maintain the Badlands in accordance with the admonitions of the Wilderness Act.) "The Badlands Wilderness is not a Regional Park." Read More.


Here is a copy of our Oregon Badlands Wilderness Scoping Letter

Our Friends at Prineville BLM-
We enjoyed seeing our Prineville BLM friends on March 1, 2012, hearing the presentations and talking to other visitors at your Public Meeting on the Oregon Badlands Wilderness (OBW) Management Plan.

My friend Gavin Hoban’s Presentation on the subject was helpful and we spoke to other Staff Members about specifics.

We also chatted with Anita Bilbao, Acting District Manager and with Molly Brown, Field Manager about our comments listed below.

Our Comments:
1. The Oregon Badlands must be managed as a Congressionally Mandated Wilderness and not as a County Park! BLM Managers need to be fully conversant with the mandates of the Wilderness Act.

Here is a handy copy of the Wilderness Act:

2. The perimeter must be clearly marked and fenced with wire.

Simple standard Wilderness Boundary signs hung on the wire at various intervals as needed in the judgment of the BLM Managers on the ground. Juniper posts would be a nice touch. Fiber plastic stakes at needed points should be useful as well. While other Wilderness areas are not so closely defined (i.e. the Three Sisters Wilderness), the press of population surrounding the OBW warrants this discrete effort.

3. The fine iron gate at the “Badlands Rock Trail Head” is not in keeping with the Wilderness Act, in my opinion.

See photos of this magnificent iron gate installed by the BLM:

4. Elaborate Trail Head parking and picnic and comfort facilities are not in keeping with the Wilderness Act, in my opinion. These improvements would contribute to the County Park not as a Congressionally Mandated Wilderness.

5. Any effort to obtain Fees for use of Trail Head parking should be carefully considered:

“NEWS FLASH! On February 9, 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that charging a fee just to park at a trailhead (or other general access point) in a National Forest or on BLM-managed land is not allowed under the law! Even if there are "amenities" like a toilet, picnic table, trash container, etc provided, unless you use them you do not have to pay a fee or display a pass. This decision affects all so-called "HIRA" fees, as well as fees at standalone sites that are not within a HIRA. Specifically, it applies to the Adventure Pass in southern California, the NW Forest Pass in Washington and Oregon, the Red Rocks Pass in Arizona, the Mt Lemmon fee in Arizona, the Mt Evans fee in Colorado, the White Mountain National Forest Parking Pass in New Hampshire, and dozens of others. The "HIRA Review" that the Forest Service already had underway (but had not yet acted on) is rendered essentially irrelevant by this court decision.”

6. A management practice at OBW dating from about 2006, of collecting from the surrounding grass land, natural woody debris from wild fires and natural events over 100 years, and piling the wood on roads and ways deemed an attraction for mechanized travel, was discontinued after three years. This Management activity did not violate the legal mandates of Wilderness Study Areas at the time, because they were deemed temporary, but the obtrusive, unsightly and now illegal miles of woody debris must now be returned as carefully as possible to the surrounding Wilderness.

Please include a request that you review the following photographs and text in my comments:

7. The new practice of placing many well made obtrusive signs at colorfully named trail junctions is not in keeping with the Wilderness Act, in my opinion.

Instead, visitors should be reminded at the Trail Heads, that the OBW is not a County Park, and that they are expected to pick up the free BLM OBW map as supplied. Or folks should be encouraged to bring their own topo map, baseplate compass and optional inexpensive GPS. People should be reminded to carry their ordinary cell phones to seek guidance and/or assistance through 911. Trail head maps and brochures should contain a minimum standard advisory for all backcountry travelers. (See below).

8. The use of Volunteers to “clean” and “manage” the Oregon Badlands Wilderness should rate the highest Management oversight.

Unfortunately, the Fobbits Group may have the County Park Model rather that the American Wilderness Act of 1964 in mind. Most of the piled woody debris and obtrusive Trail Signs have been installed by the Fobbits. The Fobbit's activities have gone far beyond the removal of wire fencing and a dumped refrigerator or two which were used for target practice near ways on the perimeters:

The current “Sargent Fobbit” petitioned Gavin Hoban verbally at the Scoping meeting, for permission to “clean up the unsightly garbage dump” near the Larry Chitwood Trail Head. “Garbage” is defined as rotting material; these bits and pieces of 1910 to 1920s Bend are “artifacts” in an archeological site protected by law. I spoke with the BLM Archeologist the other night and I am satisfied that he will follow the law. The site adds significantly to the wilderness experience, in my opinion. Include it in your field study trips for an insight into the past. I agree it might warrant a teaching comment on the next iteration of the OBW Trail Head Map. See a photo of this archeological site:

9. I would like you to consider the observation that a "tension exists between those good people who love the Wilderness and volunteer to 'clean it up' and the mandates of the Wilderness Act".

Read here about this effect: .
Also, please read the following: “Wilderness Restoration: The Paradox of Public Participation”:

10. Restoration by Land Managers of the Wilderness Study Area.

The restoration of old double track roads and ways and old vehicle parking and car camping (and party) areas is a generally accepted intervention in the change from WSA to Wilderness. Managed “Gardening” is a wonderful way to use enthusiastic help from Volunteers. The guide lines of the Student Conservation Society are useful. Here is an article on how they worked with the BLM in California:: Please note the photographs, before and after.

Over-seeding and discrete planting of native grasses and vegetation has been used successfully by Oregon State Parks at Smith Rock:

11. Geocaching should remain a feature of the Wilderness. The past WSA Management rules and regulations have proven that Geocachers Leave No Trace:

Thank you for the opportunity to Comment.
--Robert Speik

A suggested minimum standard news advisory for all backcountry travelers!

"We would like to take this opportunity to ask our visitors to the backcountry of Oregon to Plan for the unexpected. Each person should dress for the forecast weather and take minimum extra clothing to provide protection from a drop in temperature and possible rain or snow storm or an unexpected cold wet night out. Each person should carry high carbohydrate snacks, two quarts of water or Gatorade, a topo map and declination adjusted base plate compass and an optional inexpensive GPS (and the skills to use them together). Each person who has a cell phone should carry their ordinary charged cell phone (from a service provider that has the best local backcountry coverage). An inexpensive SPOT-2 GPS Satellite Communicator is a good additional option for some. Each person should carry their selected items from the 'Ten Essentials Systems' in a day pack sized for the individual, the trip, the season and the forecast weather."

"Visitors are reminded to tell a Responsible Person where they are going, where they plan to park, when they will be back and to make sure that person understands that they are relied upon to call 911 at a certain time if the backcountry traveler has not returned. Call 911 as soon as you become lost or stranded. You will not be charged. Do not try to find your way until you are benighted, exhausted, or worse yet - wet. Your ordinary cell phone call to 911 can take the 'Search' out of Search and Rescue."




After my first experience the with the discredited, outmoded "woody debris pile method" of closing old roads and ways in the Badlands WSA, I posted the page  Badlands Wilderness Trail Closure Methods "Trammel" Required Values

I talked on the phone in 2007 with the responsible BLM Badlands WSA Field Manager whom I had known for several years. I also talked on the phone with the area Manager at the BLM Prineville Office who was fairly new and actually had not had an opportunity at that time, to see The Badlands WSA.

ONDA's Badlands Wilderness political campaign ramped up in 2007. I dropped my discussion of the obtrusive Badlands Wilderness management activities until such time as Senator Wyden's Bill might become law and create the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

It was clear that Conservation of Wilderness Values was secondary to the standard BLM Management goal of stopping illegal motorized incursions. Other good work was being done by the Fobbits Meetup Group between 2007 and 2009, so I joined in and helped pull fence, toured with new folks and avoided being part of the Fobbit's enthusiastic work on closing old roads and ways with piles of woody debris, gathered from the surrounding wilderness study ecosystem.

Following ONDA's day of celebration for local businesses at the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and my posting of the several pages found under Read More, below, I spoke to BLM Prineville and was told that all new activity at the new Badlands was stopped, pending a new Management Plan and interested public participation.




Read more . . .
Bend businesses sponsor a Badlands "Wilderness Restoration" Day 
Badlands wilderness trail closure methods "trammel" required values 
BLM partners with "Friends of the Badlands" Meetup Group to provide Stewardship for Badlands WSA 
Wilderness Restoration: The Paradox of Public Participation
Wilderness Restoration: The BLM and the Student Conservation Association
Applying the Concept of Wilderness Character to Planning and Management
Adopt-a-Highway along the Oregon Badlands Wilderness on Highway 20 into Bend, OR
The Wilderness Act of 1964, Including the legal definition of Wilderness

  The Badlands Wilderness
BLM announces new policy for Wilderness quality lands
Oregon Badlands Wilderness Management Plan Scoping Comments-2012
Adopt-a-Highway along the Oregon Badlands Wilderness on Highway 20 into Bend, OR
Fobbits volunteers "restore" Badlands Wilderness values
Wilderness Restoration: The Paradox of Public Participation
The Wilderness Act of 1964, Including the legal definition of Wilderness
Wilderness Restoration: The BLM and the Student Conservation Association
Applying the Concept of Wilderness Character to Planning and Management
Bend businesses sponsor a Badlands "Wilderness Restoration" Day 
Badlands wilderness trail closure methods "trammel" required values 
BLM partners with "Friends of the Badlands" Meetup Group to provide Stewardship for Badlands WSA 
The Oregon Badlands Wilderness Bill is signed into law
Oregonian criticizes Congress for pushing back Oregon Wilderness bills
Oregon Senator Wyden to introduce Badlands Wilderness Bill
Badlands a step closer to Wilderness designation
OpEd: Why Congress should classify Badlands as Wilderness
Governor Kulongoski endorses Oregon Badlands Wilderness
Oregon Natural Desert Association introduces Oregon Badlands Interns
Oregon Natural Desert Association Badlands Tour 
Bend Oregon Badlands WSA hiking map available from BLM
BLM's final UDRMP opens Bend's Badlands to Geocaching
OpEd: Speik - Geocaching should not be banned in the Badlands 
OpEd: Geocaching should not be banned in the Badlands 
Protest of exclusion of Geocaching in Badlands WSA in BLM's UDRMP
BLM's UDRMP puts Bend's Badlands off limits to Geocaching
BLM's final UDRMP closes Bend's Badlands WSA to motorized vehicle use 
Wilderness workshop for USDA Forest Service held by University of Idaho
Hunters who use ATVs are hurting Oregon's elk population
BLM's UDRMP plans for Badlands deal with exploding public use
Map, compass and GPS free navigation training Noodle in The Badlands
Deschutes County Commissioners fail to support Badlands Wilderness!
Deschutes County takes no position on Badlands Wilderness
Deschutes County Commissioner DeWolf supports Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Dirt road through The Badlands must close
Photos of Road 8 damage sent to Commissioners 
Badlands Wilderness with a road?
The Badlands have unique interest for the hiker
BLM guidelines for Geocaching on public lands
Geocaching on Federal Forest Lands
Fee Demo groundwork may save Geocaching on our public lands
Deschutes County Commissioners hearing on Badlands Wilderness support
OHV use restricted in Upper Deschutes Resource Management Plan
Winter hiking in The Badlands WSA just east of Bend
Tread Lightly OHV USFS tip of the month 
OHVs to be held to designated trails by USDA Forest Service!
New pole shows Badlands Wilderness favored by voters
Juniper: Oldest trees in Oregon
BLM posts Reward for information on Juniper rustlers
BLM weighing public input on management plan
Oregon's Badlands hit by old growth Juniper rustlers  Photos 
Congressman Greg Walden to visit The Badlands
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by COTA
OpEd - Unregulated OHV use is being reviewed across the western states
OHV use curtailed by new USFS policy decisions
Sierra Club's Juniper Group supports Badlands Wilderness
OHV regulation discussed at BLM meeting in Bend, Oregon
OpEd - Badlands part of BLM's recreation management area
OpEd - We need the Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Off-roaders have no reason to fear Badlands Wilderness designation 
Speak for the Badlands at Town Hall Meeting
Hiking poles are becoming essential gear
Vandals destroy ancient pictographs in the Badlands
Senator Wyden tests support of Badlands Wilderness
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by Bend City Commissioners
The Badlands: proposed for Wilderness status
The Badlands unique geologic forms explained by Chitwood  pdf
The Badlands, a brief history
The Badlands pictographs reported 75 year ago

BLM announces new policy for Wilderness quality lands
BLM ordered by Court to cease illegal development in the Steens
Skull Hollow campground becomes a recreation fee case study
Our Deschutes Basin Land Trust Donation
Wildland Fire Use in the Three Sisters Wilderness
Polycarbonate bottles may be bad for your health
US Forest Service to gut Recreation Budget to pay fire fighting costs
Leave no Trace with Restop bags
Mountaineering blue bag, WAG bag and Restop bag waste solutions in 1985
"Climbing is a Quantum Experience"
Skyline Forest progress reported by Deschutes Basin Land Trust
Theft of ponderosa pines in the National Forest near Bend, OR
Skyline Forest should be purchased by Deschutes Land Trust!
Hunters who use ATVs are hurting Oregon's elk population
Outdoor folks can help Katrina incident victims now!
An update on the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge in Oregon
The Store Wars   best with broadband!
TraditionalMountaineering adopts the Crooked River through Smith Rock State Park
The Republican Political Party is responsible?
Times Up, by Yvon Chouinard
Nation's forests might be on the road to ruin, by President Bill Clinton
Wilderness at risk from new Bush policies
Steens management scandal may affect wilderness study areas
BLM outsourced Steens Management Plan to mining industry leaders!
Owyhee River wilderness study area inventory with ONDA
OHV vandals charged in Yellowstone
Oregon's B and B Complex fire closure modified
Senate says NO to Big Oil in Alaska
Gloria Flora - Environmental Hero
Re-introducing wolves into Oregon
George Bush overlooking the environment