The Conservation Committee studies and acts. Under adopted policy, we limit our action to Mt Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, and Portland’s Forest Park. Our action is approved by the Board of Trustees and is executed in the name of the Trails Club of Oregon
The postings are pretty much in temporal order with the newest articles at the top.
From the Conservation Chair
Nov 16, 2014
The Trails Club is a member of the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, a conservation coalition, which adopts resolutions annually for action by the member clubs. We may take action under this umbrella on a variety of issues. For example, under a resolution opposing the conversion of public lands to private ownership, we might oppose the sale of the State Elliott Forest. Or we could take action against Single Track Bicycling in Forest Park. The 2014 Resolutions can be found on the website of the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs.
The Trails Club is a recreation organization. The Conservation program is directed toward preserving and protecting those places where we recreate, which we love and where we own property. We invite your participation on any level you choose: writing an email, attending a hearing, visiting an area under threat./
Sydney Herbert, Conservation Chair
Columbia River gorge Commission meeting
The Dalles, OR
I attended the June 10 meeting of the Columbia River gorge Commission in The
Dalles. The agenda had discussion of coal and oil trains in the Gorge and whether
or not the Commission should take a stand against them. Usually there is a
15 minute public comment period, but this was extended because of the large
number of people who wished to speak. The crowd overflowed the room. All but
one (who spoke about trails)were strongly opposed, including some public officials.
Many urged following Vancouver's lead and offered sample resolutions. The Commission's
discussion was brief. The sense of the meeting was opposition but questions
were raised about whether that was their charge, whether it would do any good,
whether others would use this action for their own agendas, and whether to
oppose additional trains or any trains carrying open coal cars or explosive
oil. Before adjournment, staff was instructed to prepare resolutions to be
discussed and acted upon at the July 8 meeting in Troutdale. A public hearing
will be held.
Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs Summer Conference 2013
September 13 - 15
This fall the Federation will resume our Annual Conferences. The location is the Barn Beach Reserve, a nine-acre nature sanctuary on the Wenatchee River, in the alpine village of Leavenworth in the Cascade Mountains in central Washington State. Our Conference co-sponsor will be the Wenatchee River Institute, which operates the Barn Beach Reserve, and sponsors environmental education and events for youth and adults. Convenient lodging is available at the Evergreen Inn. Camping is also available at nearby USFS campgrounds and RV campgrounds.
Bikes in Forest Park
The Conservation Committee will be submitting a Resolution to the Federation
of Western Outdoor clubs at its annual convention Sept 13-15 which will advocate
opposition to single-trail bicycle paths in Portland’s Forest Park. The Trails
Club was instrumental in establishing the Park, and currently leads 2 hikes
per week in the Park. Extreme sport cycling is an inappropriate use of the
Park because of the danger to walkers and to the natural environment. The cyclists
are very organized and determined to have their way and we need to gear up
to secure hikers’ rights, and the integrity of the Park’s natural systems.
Sydney Herbert and Sylvia Milne will be delegates to the FWOC convention. Marcy
Houle will make a special presentation about Forest Park.
Submitted by Sydney Herbert
Conservation - September 2010 notes
Our monthly conservation meeting for September included lively discussions about the proposed water bottling plant and the casino, both would be located within or very near the city limits of Cascade Locks. Other discussions revolved around the Forest Park Report and the coal fired power plant at Boardman. Roger Cole provided the committee with an informative program entitled The Dirty Truth about Coal, Why Yesterday's Technology should not be a part of Tomorrow's Energy Future.
The conservation committee will not be sending a representative to this years Federation of Outdoor Clubs annual convention which will be held October 1, 2 and 3 near Mill Valley, California, however we will be forwarding a Resolution regarding the coal fired power plant near Boardman. We are considering a name change for our committee, not official but just considering. How about Environmental Action Committee. Call your conservation chair if you have another name change suggestion.
Conservation - What's in a Name
Conservation - Preservation of natural resources such as rivers and forests, with the careful utilization of these resources to prevent depletion.
Environmentalism - Protection of water and air so that there is a minimum degradation from man made utilization of our resources. Example might be: Adequate standards for leaching of ore in the mining process or logging practices near bodies of water or coal fired power generating plants.
To me conservation and environmental practices go hand in hand for any compromise of guidelines for logging, mining, natural gas trunk lines, etc. will affect wildlife, fish, fowl and plant life. Case in point being the proposed casino at Cascade Locks. The air quality in the Columbia Gorge would be so degraded by the impact of increased auto traffic to the casino site that there would be a large increase of acidic rain and smog that would be harmful to our environment.
A goal of our conservation committee is not to create a situation of hostility towards utilization of our natural resources but one of cooperation to insure proper controls are in place, monitored and enforced. Unless guidelines are monitored closely developers will usually take short cuts to improve their profit margins, ignoring sound and safe environmental practices. With all this in mind perhaps our conservation committee needs a name change to better reflect our goals with a possible side benefit of generating more interest in conservation from our Club membership.
submitted by the conservation chair - Aug 2010
The Conservation Committee has been studying windpower for some time. We submitted a Resolution to the 2009 meeting of the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, which was adopted
The FWOC reffirms its 2003 Resolaution strongly recommending the use of windpower as an alternative to fossil fuels in producing electrical energy, and recommending that site-specific environmental constraints be adopted, including the following:
- All states should be urged to develop a stqtewide process for reviewing and licensing all wind power installations.
- Applicants should present data on the possible environmental impacts of these projects on each site involved and make them available to the public.
- Impacts should include birds and bats and their flyways and Important Bird Areas (IBA's) should be protected.
- The review and licensing process should be integrated into state environmental protection laws and stqtewide land use planning programs, in the form of Administrative Rules, enforceable under state law by the Attorney General and through law suits brought by citizens who are given standing as a right.
- The cumulative impacts of various comprehensive projects should be evaluated.
- All records supporting license applications and determinations, and all monitoring studies should be public.
- Licensing agencies should be able to reject applications that would impose too many avoidable impacts or substantive unavoidable impacts.
- BPA should prepare a programmatic EIS covering all aspects of wind power: turbines, towers, buildings, transmission lines, roads.
- US Fish and Wildlife Service should be granted statutory authority to enforce guidelines.
The Committee is studying how it might take action on some of these clauses. We are seeking out other groups that have action plans.
Submitted by Sydney Herbert - Aug 2010
Tillamook Forest Plan
The Conservation Committee has taken an active interest in the Tillamook State Forest. At the last Legislative Session, an attack was made on the Forest Plan. The coastal counties insisted that they were promised higher timber returns than they were getting, so the Board of Forestry (after heated public hearings) ordered a new Forest Plan to be drawn up. This Plan would eliminate groves designated to develop into old growth forest, would reduce the rotation age, would mandate timber as the priority use and generally turn the forest into a tree plantation. The revised Plan will have public hearings, and we will participate. The Forest gives rise to six rivers which have the only healthy runs of anadromous fish.
Submitted by Sydney Herbert - 14 Aug 2010
Soda Mountain Update
There were public lands protection gains in 2009: a new, congressionally designated 24,100 acre Soda Mtm Wilderness in the southern backcountry of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and 59,598 acres of public lands in and near the Monument are now legally cow-free, with grazing leases terminated via private buyout (pursuant to congressional action)with funds raised from private donors.
However, these wins are merely steps in a much longer journey to get the best protection possible for this ecologically unique Cascade-Siskiyou connection area. 4000 acres of inholdings have been bought out, and there are plans to buy about 6000 acres of former Boise-Cascade private timberland using Land and Water Conservation Funds. Continuous pressure must be applied to get management activities to be consistent with the purposes of the Act that created the Monument. The culture of the BLM is not protective. In the past, Monuments were put into the National Park Service. Now, there is an effort to carve out from tjhe BLM lands a National Landscape Conservation System. It remains to be seen whether the present Administration will issue Orders that implement this System. The Medford District has not retired as many grazing leases as it should, and it has not closed as many roads as it should. Some groups are ready to sue. Stay tuned.
submitted by Sydney Herbert
Susan Saul Honored by Mazamas
November 21st, 2009 was a special day for one of our Trails Club members. This member, also active in other outdoor clubs, was recognized and justly honored by receiving the Richard Montague Conservation Award by the Mazamas.
Among her significant efforts were to establish and co-sign the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, expand two wilderness areas and create four new ones during the Washington Wilderness Act of 1984, to found the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, lead the Washington Trails Association Advocacy program, champion Protection of the Dark Divide Roadless Area and stop the construction of a cross-monument highway.
Your accomplishments are most remarkable for they represent a dedication
and focus seldom seen.
Thank you Susan Saul.
A Big Thank You to Our Club President
Any successful organization that relies on volunteers always needs people willing to give of their time and talents. We have been most fortunate to have Susan Saul as our president, as she has brought leadership skills, dedication and insight to our club.
The Conservation Committee has been most pleased that Susan is conservation minded and she has been active in this work since about 1977. She was a prime mover and co-signer of the legislative bill that created Mt. St. Helens National Monument and she continues to be a force in protecting that area so it can remain in its natural state.
We thank you Susan for your continued support in conservation issues.
Submitted by Conservation Chair
CONSERVATION ALERT - LNG Terminal
Developers have unsuccessfully tried to construct liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the California Coast for the importation of this highly flammable gas. Now Oregon is targeted for three LNG terminals for the off-loading from tankers. Two terminals would be located near Astoria and one near Coos Bay/North Bend.
Since the primary users reside in California and Nevada, pipelines need to be constructed to transport this gas to market. This would require a minimum 50-foot wide corridor for construction and maintenance and would cross rivers, go through national forests, go over the Pacific Crest Trail and over private property, with private property being claimed through the eminent domain process.
Currently the proposals are in various stages of federal and state permitting processes for the terminals. Ultimately it will be the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to accept or deny construction of the terminals and connector pipelines. It is estimated nearly one thousand miles of gas pipelines would crisscross the state of Oregon.
NEW WILDERNESS FOR MOUNT HOOD & GORGE
President Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act on March 30, 2009, marking the final step for expanded wilderness protection in Oregon. The legislation expands the Mount Hood and Mark O. Hatfield Wildernesses, creates new wilderness for Copper Salmon, Soda Mountain, Spring Basin and Badlands and designates National Recreation Areas and additional Wild and Scenic Rivers.
In addition to permanently protecting wildlands where we hike and backpack from logging and road building, the legislation has some specific effects for the Trails Club.
At Nesika, the Larch Mountain addition to the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness means that all land on the right (east) side of the Multnomah Basin road from the brown gate to the end of the road, on the right (east) side of the tractor trail from the end of the road to the Trails Club property boundary, and on the east side of the Trails Club property is now Wilderness.
At Tyee, the land exchange with Cooper Spur means that we eventually might have some new neighbors to the west of West Leg Road. The legislation calls for new appraisals of the areas involved in the land exchange and should be completed in the next 1.5 years. One of the Government Camp tracts designated for exchange is just west of the Summit Ski Area and above the area that currently has houses. Portions of the Alpine, Crosstown and Glade ski trails go through the tracts identified for exchange.
Some 240 miles of trails are now protected in the newly designated areas, including the National Recreation Areas. Forest Service wilderness regulations mean that group size will be limited to 12 on many trails often used by the Trails Club. Trip leaders will need to find out whether wilderness regulations apply to the trail they are using. Guide books will be out of date until new editions are published. We'll get the database on the TCO website updated as soon as the information is available.
To see detailed maps of the new Wilderness lands, visit the Oregon Wild website at http://www.oregonwild.org/wilderness/mount_hood_wilderness_campaign/lewis-and-clark-mount-hood-wilderness-maps
Conservation Issues July 2009
Among the several projects either under construction or planned that the Trails Club Conservation Committee believes need monitoring because of their impact on our environment are:
The proposed Warm Springs Casino at Cascade Locks. This is of the utmost concern because the Director of the Dept. of the Interior will soon be making the decision to approve or deny the siting of this casino in the Columbia Gorge. It is estimated the casino would draw 8,200 visitors per day or about three million per year. This mega-casino will cause increased air pollution, harm to fish, wildlife and water quality. Scenic impacts with profuse lighting and immense parking lots, urban expansion into the National Scenic Area and a dangerous precedent will be set.
This casino if built would cause irreversible damage to our stunning landscape and natural resources now protected in the Scenic Area and we as individuals can inform the Director of the Interior of our concerns by writing or E-Mailing him. This procedure works!
Other concerns to be addressed in upcoming Blazers include the proposed LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) pipeline that would begin at a docking facility near Astoria to the vicinity of Mist where there would be a huge storage deposit and continue through western Oregon eventually to another storage area in central California for the sole purpose of Californians. Damage to the environment for the construction of roads and maintenance would be forever an eyesore and impossible to restore to its natural state. Another concern is the massive construction of windpower projects with inadequate guidelines to protect the birds.
TCO JOINS ANTI-CASINO COALITION
On the recommendation of the Conservation Committee, the board voted to join a coalition of organizations opposing the proposal to construct an off-reservation casino in the Columbia River Gorge. Like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone, the Columbia River Gorge is a federally protected iconic landscape. Development of a 600,000-square-foot casino resort and associated parking lots and retail structures in the heart of the Gorge and within one-half mile of a wilderness boundary would significantly harm the natural environment and resources.