Wilderness Expansion Town Hall Report

The Wilderness Expansion town hall on Thursday evening, sponsored by the Josephine County Republican Party, was a huge success. Between 200 and 250 people attended.

Jim Frick was master of ceremonies, pastor Tony Russo gave the invocation, and Republican party chair Bill Ertel welcomed the attendees and explained why the Republican Party has taken an official position opposing wilderness expansion.

Margaret Goodwin, a member of the JoCo Republican executive committee, gave a presentation on the proposed Rogue Wilderness expansion, and why the JoCo Republican party thinks this is a bad idea.

Then Herman Baertshiger, who owns a company that specializes in wildland fire fighting, spoke about the peculiar challenges of fire fighting in a wilderness area, and the specific lands at issue. Herman Baertshiger is also running as a Republican candidate for the Oregon state Senate.

Link Phillippi, president of Rough & Ready Lumber, spoke about the nature of wilderness, and the nature of the lands proposed for this wilderness expansion.

Jack Swift, JoCo Republican executive committee member and vice president of the Southern Oregon Resource Alliance, spoke about the history and significance of the O&C lands.

Jim Frick, president of the Southern Oregon Resource Alliance, addressed the mineral resources on this land, and the economic potential that would be curtailed by the proposed mineral withdrawal.

Nick Dordon, local farmer and miner, spoke about the closure of roads and the shutting down of public access to our public lands.

Art Robinson, scientist and Republican candidate for U.S. Congress, spoke about the limits placed on government by our Constitution, and how this wilderness expansion bill is one more example of government overstepping its bounds. He also addressed the failure of our elected representatives to represent our best interests in Washington.

After the presentations, attendees had an opportunity to circulate, engage in discussions with speakers, pick up literature, and sign up for activities to keep the momentum going.

For more information on the Rogue Wilderness expansion proposal, and how you can get involved in opposing it, please e-mail

Congressmen want your comments on O&C Trust

Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) have proposed a bill to take all O&C Lands and divide them in half, setting aside half of them to be permanently withdrawn from timber management. The other half would be put in a forestry trust, administered by the state of Oregon, for the benefit of the O&C counties.

This is theoretically supposed to increase timber production and jobs in the forest, but the trust lands would still be subject to environmental regulations, and the environmentalists would no doubt continue to litigate any and all timber sales on them. The trust would be managed according to the Oregon Forestry Practices Act, rather than NEPA, but it’s not hard to imagine how long it would take the environmentalists to start targeting the OFPA, once half of the O&C lands are under its jurisdiction.

What is the up side for the O&C Counties? We lose all economic benefit from half of the O&C lands forever, and the rest is potentially not much better off than it is today. Your congressmen want to hear your comments on this. Please let them know how you feel about it by visiting their Web sites and posting a comment.

The O&C lands are a small portion of all the federal land in Oregon. And this small portion was dedicated by Congress in the 1937 O&C Lands Act to be used for permanent sustained yield timber production for the benefit of the O&C Counties. The reason for that designation was because most of the land in these counties is owned by the federal government (70% in Josephine County) and the counties receive no tax revenues on federal land.

In the 1990s, as part of the Northwest Forest Plan, the O&C lands were declared critical habitat for spotted owls, and since then nearly every timber sale has been litigated into oblivion by environmental activist organizations, decimating the local economies of the O&C Counties.

Our Congressmen apparently believe that by ransoming half of the O&C lands to the environmentalists, they’ll back off and let us use the other half the way all of these lands were mandated to be used by Congress in 1937. That is a pipe dream. The environmentalists are already claiming that this trust doesn’t provide enough “protections” for the half of the O&C lands that are not being handed over for permanent preservation. There is no reason to doubt that they will continue to litigate every significant sale on the remaining lands.

Far from creating more jobs and helping our economy, it will cut in half the little that remains. This is a bad idea!

The Josephine County Republican Central Committee adopted a resolution on January 31 officially opposing the Rogue Wilderness Expansion, which is part of this bill. Please let your congressmen know that you oppose this misguided plan to sell the O&C counties down the (Wild & Scenic) river!

To learn more about the Wilderness Expansion proposal, please attend the Wilderness Expansion Town Hall, sponsored by the Joesphine County Republican party on Thursday, February 23, at 6:00 in the Floral Building at the Josephine County Fairgrounds.

JoCo Republicans Pass Two Resolutions

The Josephine County Republican Central Committee met on January 31. At the meeting, the Central Committee voted to pass the following resolutions presented by the Natural Resources subcommittee.

  • Resolution 2012-01:
    The Republican Party of Josephine County will, as a matter of political policy, oppose the planned expansion of the Wild Rogue Wilderness: H.R. 3436 (DeFazio) and S.2001 (Wyden).

    Passed unanimously upon presentation by the Natural Resources Committee at Official Call of the Central Committee on January 31, 2012.

  • Resolution 2012-02:
    The Republican Central Committee of Josephine County shall, as a part of the campaign against the Wild Rogue Wilderness Expansion, host a public participation town hall or symposium during the last week of February.

    Passed unanimously upon presentation by the Natural Resources Committee at Official Call of the Central Committee on January 31, 2012.