- Associated Press - Monday, September 18, 2017

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to President Donald Trump recommending downsizing the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument has several errors, one of the people who was behind the creation of the monument said Monday.

A memo from Zinke to the president justifying his recommendation that the boundaries of the monument, which lies mostly in Oregon and crosses over into California, be “revised” says motor vehicles aren’t allowed in it.

“There are hundreds of roads inside this monument. I live on private land inside the monument. Do we walk or ride horses?” asked Dave Willis, the chairman of the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council.

He also wondered why Zinke’s memo referred to protecting hunting and fishing rights, saying those activities are already allowed in national monuments.

“These factual errors make it look disinformed,” Willis said in a phone interview. “It’s sloppy work or an attempt to make something that’s unacceptable acceptable to people who don’t know better.”

Bob Rees, founder of the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association, said: “Rolling back protections on Cascade-Siskiyou would be the worst attack on Oregon hunters and anglers I’ve seen in my 20 years as a fishing guide. American outdoor enthusiasts should have more access to public lands, not less.”

But counties that rely on logging revenues according to an old pact have objected to the monument’s expansion by President Barack Obama, and a group applauded the reported recommendation.

“Congress already set aside these lands eighty years ago for the specific purpose of sustainable timber production in the O&C; Act, and the president - regardless of party - doesn’t have the authority to rewrite the law,” said American Forest Resource Council President Travis Joseph.

Lawson Fite, of the Portland-based council, said the monument’s expansion caused these counties to lose revenue “as future timber sales have been cancelled.”

“These funds are used to support important local services,” Fite said.

Willis said that given scientific studies into the monument’s expansion and numerous public hearings, “it would be sad if this quickie, error-filled report was used to diminish the monument’s boundaries and protections.”


Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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