For Immediate Release
Jan. 3, 2008
Mike Beagle, Trout Unlimited, 541.772.7720
Brian Maguire, Oregon Chapter Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, 503.936.9879
Bob Gerding, Philomath, OR, 541.929.3951
Oregon sportsmen say BLM plan a threat to hunting and fishing
EAGLE POINT — The Bureau of Land Management plan to roll back habitat protections on 2.6 million acres in western Oregon is a threat to the state’s legacy of hunting and fishing, according to a report released today by Oregon sportsmen’s groups.
“For most Oregon hunters and anglers, our public land is the only hunting and fishing estate we will ever own,” said Mike Beagle of Eagle Point. “The Bureau of Land Management proposal lacks the balance needed to support Oregon’s priceless outdoor heritage.”
The report comes from Trout Unlimited, Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Oregon Division Izaak Walton League of America, Oregon Council Federation of Fly Fishers, Northwest Steelheaders, Berkley Conservation Institute and Native Fish Society.
The groups released a report critical of the Bureau of Land Management’s Western Oregon Plan Revisions, or WOPR. The WOPR ramps up development on 2.6 million acres of public forests managed by the BLM. Scattered throughout western Oregon, the land includes watersheds critical for salmon, steelhead and trout as well as forests that are habitat for Oregon’s prized big game species such as Roosevelt elk, blacktail deer and black bear.
The report highlights several specific areas of concern:
• Reduced protections for spawning streams. The BLM plan would significantly reduce the current “no-logging” buffer on fish-bearing streams, allowing logging within 25 feet of the bank.
• The BLM’s proposal would reduce critically important “Late Successional Reserves” or old growth forests by more than 40 percent. Oregon’s most popular big-game species count on mature forests for a certain degree of security, cover and winter forage.
• The agency’s proposal to build 1,000 miles of new roads would open up areas that have traditionally been valuable for hike-in hunting and secure habitat.
• The BLM proposes making several areas high-intensity ATV playgrounds. Sportsmen and wildlife will be crowded out of valuable habitat if those lands are handed over to motorized traffic.
The report urges the BLM to go back to the drawing board, and make wildlife habitat and fisheries a higher priority.
“Hunters and anglers know how important habitat is for the future of our favorite activities,” said Brian Maguire of Portland. “Oregon sportsmen need to be heard loud and clear. Tell the BLM to keep habitat protections on the books, so we have fish in the rivers and game in the woods. Our kids deserve it.”
“I understand the need for logging, because I come from that world,” said Bob Gerding of Philomath near Corvallis. “We do timber thinning on our land all the time, because it’s sound management. But the kind of large-scale clearcutting the BLM is proposing now is bad for everyone.”
More than 750,000 people hunted and fished in Oregon in 2006, generating nearly $900 million for Oregon’s economy, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The full report is available at: