Protecting Public Lands

OPB | Jan. 12, 2009 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:47 p.m.

How do you use public land?

Congress began session on January 6th, and among the very first pieces of legislation they’re taking up is a massive bill that could affect Oregon’s public lands.

Among other things, Senate Democrats say the bill would add over 100,000 acres of new wilderness to Mt. Hood National Forest, over 13,000 acres to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and designate 30,000 wilderness acres in central Oregon. These changes to Oregon’s would make up just a handful of the more than 150 public lands-related projects that make up the bill, affecting areas all over the Country.

A nearly identical bill was stalled during the last session of Congress, when Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma threatened to veto the bill. Coburn has said the bill would have “squandered taxpayer dollars” - and that among the many projects are wasteful “pork barrel” projects that are not worth the costs.

How do you use public lands? How does setting aside land as wilderness affect you?

Are more restrictions important to protecting Oregon’s wildlife - or are they costly and unnecessary intrusions?

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