The inauguration of Donald Trump has brought a special urgency to the environmental movement. Daily we face another crisis. This is especially true in Douglas County where our Board of Commissioners seem embolden by Donald Trump’s election. This presents many challenges for DCPARC, but we are up to the test! This year has been busy for us. Thanks to our committed members we have a presence at the three weekly BOC meetings as well as the monthly Parks Advisory Board (PAB) meetings. We plan to continue this presence at the County’s budget hearings and the Planning Department’s revision of the Comprehensive section of the Park’s Master Plan. These revisions will affect the land use application for our County parks.
In March we attended the Callahan Planning Advisory Committee’s review of the proposed OHV park in Lookingglass. The community’s vocal displeasure at this plan was inspiring. We will continue to monitor the situation and develop more contacts with the community.
At the UW’s March banquet we introduced our group .After a year of speaking before uninterested County officials, it was a thrill to speak before a supportive and enthusiastic audience. Our members have continued to educate themselves on environmental issues. We had a presence at the State of the Beaver Conference, the PIELC conference in Eugene as well as two forestry discussions. We have resumed our visits to our County Parks as often as possible. On a cold, snowy day in February, Francis Eatherington led us in a tour of the 126 acre Britt Nichols Park in the Callahan Mountains.
In March, we attended the PAB’s tour of the South County Parks: Stanton Park; Pickett Park; Herberts Pond and Chief Miawaleta Park (Galesville) as well as Longfiber Park (but not the PAB). During the tour of Herberts Pond, Park’s director Rocky Houston, expressed interest in possibility turning it over to DCPARC. This would give us the responsibility of restoring this abandoned park. It is a long term project that would involve the collaboration of many local groups. There is much to be done before this becomes a reality. None the less, we are excited about the prospects.
In April, we, again, toured Longfiber Park, 36 acres, Azalea, with about 12 local residents. They were able to show us their park and address their concerns about its future. We also took them up on their invitation to join their Community potluck. It was a wonderful weekend of community outreach. We had a booth at the Earth Day/ Energy Fair with a slide show of many of Douglas County parks. Also, with the use of the “Request for Public Information”, we are continuing to research County records to create greater public awareness concerning county issues.
We cannot rest and assume that our County Parks are safe from being logged. Because we know the following:
1) The Parks Master Plan (approved Dec. 2016) leaves the decision to log our parks to the BOC
2) This is an issue because our commissioners have declared that out parks must be “run like a business!”
3) In 1978 the County Lands Dept. performed timber cruises at Busenbark Park, Iverson Park as well as Scottsburg Park (59 ac) and Southside Park (31 ac) on the coast.
4) They have twice performed timber cruises at Mildred Kanipe Park and twice threaten to log it!
5) In 2012, Sparrow Park (15 ac), on the coast was logged to pay for cabins at two County Parks. Also on the coast, Ada, (11 ac) was sold to Bosco logging for capital funds. It is obvious that we cannot allow logging to be a solution to a failed business plan. With your support, we will succeed! Please note that our meetings will now be held on the 3rd Wednesday at McMenamins conference room.