Crooked River Ranch Roundup

Access to the Crooked River National Grassland can be gained through a gate at the termination of Peninsula Drive in the north end of the Ranch.

The Grassland is on what is known as “The Peninsula” which goes all the way to Lake Billy Chinook and Cove Palisades Park. It’s a crude, dirt, potholed road that will take you to the end if you have a high clearance off-road type vehicle like a Jeep. It is no joy ride from the stand point of comfort and is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Because the discharge of firearms is allowed in the Grassland, a number of gun owners have selected that southern end of the Grassland as a place to practice their shooting skills and do a little skeet shooting at random times.

Some years ago, a new resident and his family ventured into that area of the Grassland from the Ranch where they had a new home. They soon realized the zips and zings they heard flying past their heads were bullets, not insects, so they hit the ground to be safe. They eventually managed to attract the shooters' attention and have them hold their fire while the residents got up off their stomachs and safely out of range.

When the new residents reported the incident to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and displayed spent .45 caliber bullets they also had recovered at the time, the sheriff’s representative told them they had ventured into an unsupervised, target shooting area and recommended they not go there again for safety reasons.

The sheriff’s spokesperson also said there was nothing further his department could do to reduce the target shooting in that area as long as no emergency was involved, because target shooting was legal in that part of the Grassland.

Rancher Laurie Maholland has a home on Big Sky Place close to the Ranch border across from the Grassland. She enlisted the assistance of Ranch-based Fans of the Deschutes Canyon Area to help present her case to limit shooting in that part of the Grassland to ensure greater safety and more quiet for nearby residents.

Maholland and FANs board member Stu Steinberg presented her case at the CRR Club and Maintenance Association's Nov. 4 workshop.

According to Maholland, during the spring and summer months of April to October, shooting takes place in the lower end of the Grassland about 17 hours a week, disturbs the peace of nearby residents, and presents a safety hazard to anybody traversing the Grassland on the trail through the area from the end of Ranch property.

A discussion ensued about what could be done to eliminate the hazard and it was finally decided to write a letter to the U.S. Forest Service, which has responsibility for administering the National Grassland.

In the meantime, a letter has been sent out to all Ranch homeowners association members from Forest Service District Ranger Slater Turner asking for their advice and ideas on proposals to prohibit shooting of firearms in the Grassland and/or shutting off the road leading into the Grassland from the Ranch. It is not known how many Ranchers are even aware of the situation.

Protect cash accounts

The next item of the agenda to be tackled was how to disperse the Ranch’s cash account of roughly $800,000-$900,000 among several banks. Any cash account can only be protected from loss by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. up to a limit of $250,000.

The entire Ranch account is currently on deposit at Home Federal Bank, which means around $650,000 is unprotected against loss in the event of that bank’s failure.

A number of ideas were considered, but it was agreed that more research was needed before a decision could be made. Fortunately there is time to do that before the deadline to make a decision later this month.

Both golf pro Pat Huffer and newly appointed RV park manager Sue Boyle, who respectively manage the Ranch Golf Course and Ranch RV Park made presentations of their organizations’ function, capabilities, operations and future plans.

Without the handouts given to board members by both presenters it was not easy for attendees to follow or report on essential details of the two organizations. Nothing new was presented by either speaker that could be detected by one Rancher attendee during their presentations or the ensuing limited discussion and question/answer period.

One of the reasons more Ranchers don’t attend monthly board meetings could be that it’s often difficult for them to understand and digest what is being discussed by board members who have received handouts or background papers prior to, or during, the meeting which have not been distributed to attendees.

As a result, attendees frequently have to listen to protracted discussions about issues they have little or no information about — a frustrating experience.

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