Wilderness Committee update
By Robbin Shindele
The Wilderness Committee had a busy fall. In September we wound down our postcard campaign. Various committee members were at the Saturday farmers Market in Roseburg most Saturdays from May through September. We talked to people about the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal and asked them to sign postcards with pre-printed messages to US Senators Wyden and Merkley, Representatives DeFazio, and Blumenauer. Over the course of the season we mailed over 1,000 cards signed by the citizens of Douglas County and definitely noticed in the legislator’s offices.
September 26 we hosted our Water Symposium, cosponsored by the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition. We had two speakers: Jason Dunham, PhD., Research Aquatic Ecologist, USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center and Joseph Blanchard, Watersheds Program Manager, Umpqua National Forest. Overall the program went well, both speakers had a lot to say and said it well. Their presentations were well received by an attentive audience of over 60 people. There was about 45 minutes of Q&A after they finished speaking and many people stayed after the official close to chat with them more.
In October we hosted a book signing event at the Roseburg Library by Oregon Wild staffer Chandra LeGue, author of “Oregon’s Ancient Forests: A hiking guide.” Chandra had a short presentation about the forests featured in the book, and some of her favorite trails in the Umpqua drainage. About 40 people attended with many buying autographed copies of the book.
October was a super busy time for our Campaign Coordinator Robbin Schindele during the month he made seven trips, driving over 1400 miles to and from Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass and Central Point talking to civic groups, church groups and concerned citizens about the positive financial impact protecting public lands has on individuals, businesses and communities. His presentation, titled “Wilderness: The Secret Economic Engine” was almost universally well received. There was some push back from timber people in a couple of meetings but mostly people were glad to hear about the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal (most hadn’t) and eager to offer support and encouragement. It was a great grass roots effort and proves that, like our postcard project, most Oregonians are in favor of protecting Crater Lake with a wilderness designation. We need to spread the word wherever we can. If your organization would like to hear more about the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal, please contact me at email@example.com to schedule a presentation. I also want to mention the tremendous effort Susan Applegate contributed by arranging all the venues for the presentations.
In October, we were encouraged by the article by Carisa Cegavske in the News Review. It was a level headed and even handed article that communicated why we think protecting our public lands is important for the health of the planet and the benefit of our fellow Oregonians. Thanks to Bob Hoehne for keeping up contact with the news review and encouraging them wo write about the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal.
Things have slowed down a bit since October but members of the committee are continuing to work with other conservation organizations in the state on Senator Wyden’s Wild and Scenic River’s initiative. Anyone can nominate a river or stream so if you have a favorite, the senator will be taking nominations through January 20, 2020 for rivers in Oregon that deserve addition to the national Wild-and-Scenic River list. Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also working with other groups to try and get Oregon Wild and Scenic designation for the South Umpqua. This is a state designation and is administered through Parks and Recreation. The effort has been going on for some time but has been slowed down by personnel issues at Parks & Rec but we’re still continuing our effort to advocate for it.
Lastly, the Crater Lake Carolers may be making the rounds downtown again this holiday season. It was fun for us, and our audiences, at downtown restaurants and pubs last year so it looks like we’ll be doing it again. Check the UW events page for the date (0nce we have one.)
Although I’m writing this article I want to thank all the Wilderness Committee members for their help in everything we do. It simply wouldn’t happen without them, And with that, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.