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COME TO JOSEPH. Oregon Freedom Symposium

with Jim Beers,  by Jim Beers, posted 4/28/07

On Saturday 5 May there will be a Symposium in Joseph, Oregon. The meeting is sponsored by the Oregon Freedom Alliance, a group of residents of NE Oregon. Look for Joseph in the upper right corner (the NE) of Oregon nestled amidst Wilderness Areas, National Forests, Indian Reservations, and phenomena like the Wallowa Mountains and the Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. What would appear to be an idyllic location is in fact a target of contentious forces coming together like one of those tornado cloud systems so photographed by storm-chasers from Texas to South Dakota.

While no one can be thought to be "passing through" Joseph on a trip (you have to want to go there to be there) I would like you to think about coming to Joseph on Saturday 5 May and listen to the Oregon Freedom Alliance and some invited speakers discussing what was, what is, and what is reputedly in store for the people of Wallowa County, Oregon. Your humble correspondent plans on being there and I always enjoy meeting folks and discussing what I write about and what I have yet to learn.

Consider what is being wrought on this corner of Oregon.

Being home to several large National Forests and a very large Wilderness Area the changes wrought with road closures, "studies", "permits", and increasing presence of Federal bureaucracies has been as intense here as anywhere else in the West.

The National Forests in this part of the world have already closed down roads throughout the Forests based largely on the Urban Environmental Mandates increasingly accepted by the US Forest Service in recent years. The rate of road closures and destruction (meaning also paths, trails, old log skids, and everything in between) is now being ratcheted up under the US Forest Service rubric "Travel Management Plan" that has nothing to do with "Expedia-dot-com". This is a thinly disguised shut-down of nearly all Forest access (and egress for things like big game carcasses or firewood or camping gear etc.) in order to attain maximum grizzly bear densities as they spread out of Yellowstone across Idaho and into Oregon.

Just as happened as Vietnam was wound down and during Watergate, Congress and the President will divert and assuage our critical attention by inundating us with "feel-good" environmental/animal legislation that, like Canada Thistle seeds in a clover field, will wreak increasing harm the longer they go untreated. The nightmare of environmental/animal laws of the early 1970's is being repeated by a just-introduced bill I can describe no other way (and be honest) than "legislative porn". This bill is called the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act of 2007. It:

Declares 20,572,147 acres of the northern Rockies as Wilderness.

Designates 1,810 acres of Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers.

Establishes a system of Biological Linkage Corridors.

Refers to establishing "core wildlands".

Refers to the Rockies as a "functioning ecological whole".

Creates jobs by restoring damage caused by "Unwise resource extraction processes".

Removes "unneeded" roads.

Restores "native" vegetation.

"Rejuvenates" "Native fisheries and wildlife".

Establishes a new federal zone called "Special management Zones".

** "Adds two units to the National Park System, one of which will be a
1,439,444 acre Hells Canyon - Chief Joseph National park & Preserve Study Area where (like a similar newly established Park "Preserve" debacle in the California desert two years ago) "hunting, fishing, and firewood gathering and 'some' motorized uses continue". Just as this has proven a nightmare for the few rural residents and Sheriff's Department and resource users in the California "Preserve" the inexorable intentions of National park Service personnel, policies, and history will spell eventual demise for everyone and every natural resource use and management within the confines of this Congressional "feel-goodie" that will divert Bostonians and Chicagoans from thinking about terror or Afghanistan or real societal needs. The impression that once again our politicians have given us something for nothing by taking it away from someone we don't know or care about will make us all vote for the same bum again.

Wolves will and are spreading into Oregon through these mountains. Watchdogs, hunting dogs, working dogs and pets will all be in increasing jeopardy. Stock from cattle and sheep to horses and emus will all be increasingly difficult and more expensive to care for and maintain. Bird hunters and rabbit hunters will disappear as the use of dogs diminishes after attacks and killings. Diseases like brucellosis and anthrax and chronic wasting disease will be an increasing hazard from the wolves but be unverifiable by vets or bureaucrats. Rural residents will increasingly let kids play outside and grandchildren and others will visit less frequently. Camping will become more problematic and even fishing will be a worrisome pursuit for many. Big game animals and hunting will diminish and while bureaucrats blame everything from global warming to some indefinable disease or some population "imbalance", when the big game animals are all but gone a healthy wolf population will be forced to find new food sources or die.

Grizzlies are spreading into and across Idaho. The Forest Service planning alone tells us that the Federal (and state) bureaucrats intend for grizzlies to either be planted in or spread into NE Oregon. Everything said above about wolves applies in spades to grizzly bears except the danger to humans and the impact on big game are much greater. Grizzly bear danger doesn't just increase with hunger. Even more than wolves, familiarity with people that either run from them or do not threaten them breeds an aggressiveness and deadly behavior that was first documented by Lewis and Clark in Montana where grizzlies that saw them ran toward them and attacked with no compunction at all.

So there you have it - Wilderness; "Native species" jihads; "Native fish and wildlife" proposals; wolves, the National Park Service; grizzly bears; a Park "Preserve"; Endangered Species enforcement by US Fish and Wildlife Service; Federal politicians in need of "feel-good diversions for urban voters; state bureaucracies that quietly do Federal bidding for money, a classic urban/rural state where everything from hunting and logging to fishing and ranching and gun control and more Federal presence is a knock-down-dragout fight between urban and rural voters; and a Federal bureaucracy that is playing this Congress/President political confrontation like a fiddle ("psst, guess what 'they' want to do" and "they cut this and that so why don't you 'guys' propose it or hold a hearing" and "don't forget me when you guys win the next election" are not uncommon remarks on after-hours Washington phones these days).

So thanks to Osama and Saddam we have a Washington political climate like the "Perfect Storm" and we have politicians in need of justification and bureaucrats in need of money and power and a place like Joseph in the crosshairs. You wouldn't think it to look at the map but there it is. While NGO's and urban yuppies salivate at "getting more" and bureaucrats are refiguring retirements with all the increases this will bring, the people of NE Oregon are trying to make sense of it and to understand what they need to do.

They are going to begin working at it (like North Dakota farmers with easements, and Maine hunters threatened by TNC, and Connecticut retirees trying to save their town from lying Federal and state bureaucrats, and Florida outdoor folks sifting through all the government lies associated with "Everglades Restoration" and phantom Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, and New Mexico ranchers faced with ravaging wolves, and Texas Exotic Wildlife Owners and Texas Cockfighters, and Colorado irrigators fighting Endangered species excesses, and Colorado ranchers threatened with a huge Defense expansion when the Federal government already owns similar lands all over the West - I could go on here but space is limited and my wife has just told me that dinner is ready) and if you are in the neighborhood maybe you might have some suggestions or maybe you might learn something beneficial to your home ground.

What is planned for Saturday 5 may in Joseph, Oregon is something Norman Rockwell would have been proud to paint. Stop by and get in the picture.

Jim Beers

26 April 2007

- If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

- This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at

http://jimbeers.blogster.com (Jim Beers Common Sense)

- Jim Beers is available for consulting or to speak. Contact: jimbeers7@verizon.net
- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.

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