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