PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Natural Resources Committee held its first meeting Monday. The committee is tasked with upholding a controversial policy approved last year by the County Court. There are 11 appointed members representing a cross-section of Crook County.
Crook County Natural Resources Manager Tim Deboodt says the plan lays out guidelines for working with federal agencies and management practices, "The real interest, of course, of the county is forest health, economic activity, they'd like to see logging as a part of that forest health process, grazing is always kind of an important issue here in Crook County. But, I'm sure there'll be lots of other topics/issues all around that natural resource umbrella." Deboodt knows some people are wary of too much government involvement, but he tells KBND News most seem on-board with the new policy, "The residents of Crook County decided that our county government needed to be more involved in the management of natural resources throughout the county, whether it's private or public land." Federal statutes, like the Environmental Protection Act, invite local governments to participate in the planning process of local land management.
He says having a committee involved in this kind of work isn't new, "In the 90's, Crook County had a Natural Resources Advisory Committee that functioned for about 14 years; and so this Court, a year ago, revived it." Deboodt says everything the committee plans to do will be available for public scrutiny. "The meetings are always open to the public; the public is encouraged to come and listen. I know a lot of people are kind of nervous about the county becoming more engaged, but I see it as nothing but positive." He says it's important everyone has a voice in the plan.