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Mt. Hood Forest invites public participation

Bark and businesses call for service priority shift

A local nonprofit group is using a series of Mt. Hood National Forest open houses to help voice its desire for change.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 5 and 6, Mt. Hood National Forest will hold public meetings in Estacada and Zigzag so residents can participate in an analysis of the forest’s road system. But Bark, a group in Portland focused on restoration on Mount Hood, is hoping to add to the conversation.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the organization released a letter addressed to Mt. Hood National Forest calling for a shift in priorities in land management from logging to watershed health, wildlife habitat and recreation.

The letter was signed by 46 businesses from Sandy, Portland, Oregon City, Zigzag, Lebanon, Wemme, Eugene, Hood River and even Washington, D.C.

“This request comes at a pivotal time, as Mt. Hood National Forest is in the midst of preparing a Travel Analysis Plan (TAP) that will direct its decisions about spending on road maintenance and road decommissioning for years to come,” said the press release that Bark issued Monday. “At open houses in Estacada and Zigzag in early November, Mt. Hood National Forest will be encouraging public participation in its TAP process.”

The letter asks that the forest service: “one, substantially invest in your recreation infrastructure; two, significantly involve the public to create a Travel Analysis Process that right-sizes the Forest Service road system; three, commit to increase road decommissioning efforts to improve watershed health and wildlife habitat; and four, do not rebuild decommissioned roads.”

The local open house meetings will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Clackamas River District Office in Estacada, and at the same time Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Zigzag District Office in Zigzag.

A copy of the letter is available for viewing on Bark’s website at www.bark-out.org.