To the Editor,
I am so proud of all the people from Jefferson County who showed up for the meeting with the County Commission on Sept. 14 regarding limiting public access to the Muddy Creek Road, and consequently to the proposed Cathedral Rock Wilderness on the John Day River. There was standing-room only, and not much of that throughout the entire meeting. Everyone was very polite, and articulate with their testimony, and no tempers were lost, even though many people were very concerned about limiting access to an historic public road and potentially having no public road access to a national wilderness area.
The decision was made to leave the road as is, which means it will stay open. The problem is that Young Life had proposed that "if" they were allowed to close the road for parts of the year, then "they" would provide a trail head and road access into the proposed wilderness area. As it stands now, the wilderness area does not touch any road, so the only public access would be via floating the John Day River and then walking in.
That is hardly public access.
Please, everyone write Sens. Wyden and Merkley and Congressman Walden and insist that they not accept any Cathedral Rock Wilderness proposal that does not provide public road access to at least one trail head, and that that access is not governed by a private organization like Young Life has proposed. Please contact all your friends and relatives around the country and have them write letters to their elected representatives, also.
Public land needs public access no matter what.