PRINEVILLE, OR -- The occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge has raised the issue of the federal government's over-reach into private land, pushing it into the national spotlight. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) will talk with Crook County residents about plans to expand the Ochoco National Forest by 30,000 acres.
The Oregon Wild proposal would convert part of the forest into a National Recreation Area. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford is against the idea and plans to be at Monday's meeting. "I went to people throughout the community and asked what they thought about this. The resounding response I got was 'we don't want it, it's not right for Crook County.' I did a lot of research through the process to figure out what our community wanted and what this group was up to."
Crawford tells KBND News, "It's been just a constant beating of the drum of trying to add regulations to our forests, and I think people are tired of it. Every time you turn, you're getting a new regulations, you're getting a new rule, you're losing your rights. People aren't going to put up with it anymore." He and others believe the designation would make it hard to manage the land. Congressman Walden will meet with Crook County residents at 1:30 p.m. at Room 1868.
Prior to the Prineville meeting, Walden will meet with Crooked River Ranch residents to discuss wilderness and wildfire risks. Then, Monday afternoon, he'll hold a roundtable discussion in Redmond with Mayor George Endicott.