August 11, 2011 in Outdoors

Landers: Colville National Forest meeting made irrelevant

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Amy Sinisterra photo

Rich Landers
(Full-size photo)

Rudeness has been stifling the Colville National Forest meetings set to inform the public about proposed revisions to the forest’s management plans.

The meeting at Colville two weeks ago was, as one Spokane man put it, “a freak show” of conspiracy theorists who essentially commandeered the evening with insolence.

They twisted the meeting to profess tangent views such as outdated private-property-rights takeover hysteria and misinformation about the Yellowstone-to-Yukon wildlife corridor concept – which is just that:  a concept.

And by the way, what does it have to do with an informational meeting about Colville National Forest plan revisions?

The effort turned out to be a waste of time because of loud people demanding answers to questions not relevant to the meeting and in a forum where no answers could be given.

The meeting hijackers were just as obnoxious but a lot less entertaining than PETA wrapping a naked lady in fake fur to get attention.

The Forest Service staffers conducting the meetings can’t even respond to such tripe. It’s not in their jurisdiction.

The meeting bullies might as well go blow off their mouth’s at the next PTA meeting, where their issues would be similarly irrelevant.

The Colville Forest meetings are about explaining the forest plan, from grazing and timber management to wilderness proposals. Nothing more.

The problem with rude people is that they give the impression they represent a larger portion of the public than they actually do.

They do this by repulsing and repelling decent people who just want to be informed and make constructive criticism.  Many people simply walked out of the Colville meeting, I’m told. 

Let’s insist the Forest Service and elected officials recognize this and pay more attention to the thoughtful comment that will be trickling in. 

Blowhards to blowdowns: A November storm left a nasty surprise for Forest Service trail crews heading out in the Blue Mountains this summer.

“There’s more timber down this year than I’ve seen in the 30 years I’ve been on trails,” said Rich Martin, trails coordinator for the Pomeroy District and a large chunk of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. “We were averaging 50 downed trees per mile.

“On the trail from Teepee Trailhead to Oregon Butte, we had to get a fire crew in to help or we’d have never got the three miles cleared to get the lookout (staffer) in there.”

Hikers who think the blowdowns are a hassle can at least be relieved that they weren’t the contractor who sealed a deal with the Forest Service to clear the trails – before the big storm.

“One poor contractor bid the job on the Wenaha River trail last year and came in and couldn’t believe the mess the winter left him,” Martin said. “But he had some strong boys with him and they just pulled out of there this week.”

Martin reported the Wenaha River trail is cleared out and there’s been a lot of other reconstruction work. The river trail, which starts near at the Grande Ronde River near Troy, Ore., is free of snow earlier than most places. It was particularly popular even with Western Washington hikers this year.

“The snowpack kept them from going anywhere else for a long time,” Martin said.

“But we couldn’t ride a horse across the river until late July. The river was high that long, and the water just kept coming and coming.”

Washington waterfowling: Duck and goose hunting in Washington this fall will be roughly the same as last year under the season adopted last week by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved.

Statewide duck hunting season will be open Oct. 15-19 and from Oct. 22-Jan. 29.

A special youth hunting weekend is scheduled Sept. 24-25.

Special limits for hen mallard, pintail, redhead, scaup, canvasback, goldeneye, harlequin, scoter and long-tailed duck will remain the same.

Goose hunting seasons vary by management areas across the state, but most open Oct. 15 and run through January 2012.

Details on the waterfowl hunting seasons should be available by today on the WDFW website.

Women on the fly: Wade aside men – more women are likely to be hip deep in your favorite fly-fishing river soon.

Fly-fishing clinics specifically for women ages 12 and older are being organized by the Kelly Creek Fly Casters in Lewiston. The clinics include an evening session followed by an overnight weekend camp and a follow-up on the water.

Details: kellycreekflycasters.org

Contact Rich Landers at (509) 459-5508 or email richl@spokesman.com


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