CRR group takes action to clean Grassland
By John Bowler
The acronym, FAN, may only hint broadly at the objective of this relatively new Crooked River Ranch organization organized in March.
Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area's secretary, Stuart Steinberg, said the difference between FANs and other environment protection organizations is that "FANs is action oriented versus policy setting."
The group's activities during the summer in the Crooked River Grassland on the other side of the Ranch border that ends at the termination of Peninsula Drive illustrates Steinberg's point.
The natural wilderness area is criss-crossed by rutted, unimproved roads that are favored by outdoors enthusiasts who like to get away from developed areas and crowds. Last summer, the group cleaned up a considerable collection of trash discarded by the self-described "nature lovers" who roamed that land. It was not debris left by animals.
The FANs mission statement is endorsed by other environment-oriented organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Natural Desert Association and Cove Palisades State Park.
It reads: "To preserve and restore the wild landscapes of the Crooked and Deschutes Rivers and Whychus Creek through stewardship, outreach and education; to foster communication with federal and state land management agencies and the surrounding communities."
Unfortunately, the rules and regulations that apply to many wilderness areas are hard to locate, sometimes confusingly worded, and boundaries are often blurred or not marked at all. This makes the rules which apply to enjoying them difficult to learn, observe and enforce. The result is those rules are frequently and distressingly violated.
For example, the shooting of firearms is banned on most BLM-controlled lands but not on all Forest Service property. Both organizations manage land without visible borders on the far side of the northern Ranch extremity.
Beyond a kiosk with bulletins erected by FANs, this results in random target shooting, animal poaching, off-season use when the areas are closed and trash left where it lies instead of being carted out of the area when visitors who brought it depart.
Those are the kinds of abuse that FANs is dedicated to prevent by educating potential users to be aware of and obey the rules, act responsibly when visiting, and leave the area as pristine as they found it.
It's a big job FANs has undertaken and it will only be accomplished with the cooperation of people who visit the wilderness areas involved.
Membership in FANs is open to anybody who supports its mission and pays an annual fee of $10 to partially support FANs activities. FANs has applied for a 501c3 exemption from paying taxes on income as an educational organization.
A $10,000 grant from the Conservation Land Foundation helped pay for three local FANs members to attend the foundation's annual conference during the summer in Grand Junction, Colo., where they interacted with other foundation members from all over the USA.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m., FANs will present a lecture with slides entitled "The History of the Peninsula" -- the one bounded by the Deschutes and Crooked rivers, which terminates at Lake Billy Chinook.
The lecture is the first in a series that will follow. The flora, fauna and animals of the area will be outlined, as well as the people who lived here first, how land development came about and some of the issues involved in protecting the environment where Ranchers now live.
This first lecture will be given at the Ranch Senor Center by Tallia Filipek, an interpretive ranger at Cove Palisades Park. Donations of $1 from attendees will be appreciated. More informatiom about FANs can be accessed online at www.fansofdeschutes.org.