There is a bad land exchange, harmful to wildlife, in the works in eastern Oregon. It would be nice to get 1000 acres on Steens Mountain but not at the cost of 11,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat in and near the Silvies Valley.

This alert is from the Oregon Hunters Association. RM

Who: OHA needs your help in stopping a land exchange.

What: Land Exchange of 1000 acres in Steens Mt area for approximately 10,000 to 11,000 acres of BLM ground in and around the Silvies Valley west to within a couple of miles of Yellow Jacket Reservoir.

When: Currently On-Going

Why OHA Is Against: The portion of the Silvies River plus certain tributaries and access roads that would be affected by this proposed land exchange constitutes an important part of the Silvies Wildlife Management Unit. The Silvies Unit is well known for its premium big game hunting, offering about 1,000 deer tags and 2,100 elk rifle tags per year. The Steens Wildlife Management Unit also is well known for its fine hunting, but opportunity in Steens is limited to about 250 deer rifle tags and 600 elk rifle tags per year.

What Can you Do?
Send a letter or email to our Congressional Delegation (see address below). The message should include these points:

1. Discourage the transaction by using some of the background information listed below. (Describe for example the impact this will have on big game hunting.)

2. If the transaction is to occur, ask that truly valid appraisals of the land be developed and furnished to the public, and
3. Oregon citizens be made aware of the process and that they be given opportunity to assess concrete proposals and voice their opinions at public hearings on the subject.
4. The wildlife and recreational resources available to the public in the 10,000 acres is far greater than those offered by the area with limited access in the Steens.
5. Currently the combined deer and elk tag sales for the Silvies Wildlife Management Unit are close to 3500. This would mean a harsh economic impact on the region if these hunters are not allowed to hunt this Unit.

Background Information

In July of this year a Dr Scott Campbell gave notice that he is petitioning our Oregon Congressmen to exchange 1000 acres of his recently purchased Steens Mt property, for approximately 10 to 11,000 acres of BLM ground in and around the Silvies Valley west to within a couple miles of Yellow Jacket Reservoir. This is country between Burns and John Day, Oregon. The lands to be acquired belong to BLM and are sagebrush/forest transition land, mostly within the Silvies River drainage.

The 1000 acres of Steens property holds two small streams (portions of Fish and Lake Creeks), supports sagebrush, some juniper and aspen, some deer, and would be accessible to walk in public for about 6 months each year after the BLM took it over.

The 10 to 11000 acres he hopes to acquire consist of about 50% sagebrush and 50% ponderosa pine forest. That area is excellent deer and elk habitat, supports valuable timber, is accessible year round, and would be closed to public access if acquired. There are absolutely no warranties, that he would not subsequently subdivide or develop the properties. I wish I could be more specific, but Dr Campbell will not furnish maps, discuss his plans for potential development of those lands, and stated that he will not solicit nor encourage any further public input.

Background: Oregon Hunters Letter in Opposition

The Oregon Hunters Association is opposed to this land exchange and in June of this year sent a letter to Oregon’s congressional delegation opposing this exchange. In part the letter reads: “We have become aware of a proposed land exchange between the BLM Burns District and Mr. Scott Campbell. Based on the information OHA has received, we are opposed to this exchange.

While acquisition of 1,000 acres in the Fish Creek drainage of Steens is a worthy addition to the public lands of Steens Mt. and would be of benefit to the general public, we cannot support the loss of nearly 11,000 acres of public land in the Silvies River watershed to achieve this goal. If the Fish Creek property is high priority for BLM to acquire, we would rather have BLM purchase the property.

The portion of the Silvies River plus certain tributaries and access roads that would be affected by this proposed land exchange constitutes an important part of the Silvies Wildlife Management Unit. The Silvies Unit is well known for its premium big game hunting, offering about 1,000 deer tags and 2,100 elk rifle tags per year. The Steens Wildlife Management Unit also is well known for its fine hunting, but opportunity in Steens is limited to about 250 deer rifle tags and 600 elk rifle tags per year.

OHA is opposed to this proposed land exchange.”

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

8 Responses to Oregon Hunters Association alert on a lousy land exchange

  1. avatar AJ says:

    Wow!!

    The anti-wolf, anti-predator OHA is asking a pro-wolf, pro- predator forum for help???

    I am absolutely amazed.

  2. avatar Ryan says:

    AJ,
    I sent that to Ralph because it had good contact information and an update. Just because all groups don’t see eye to eye it doesn’t mean that issues that effect us all commonly should be ignored. They didn’t ask for this forums help by any means, I just though it had some merit.

    I am sure amazed with your sterotypical view of hunters that were all inbred hillbillys that only care about ourselves and game species. Even in the focus on the protection of game populations, many species non game species and non hunters recieve benefit as well.

    Here are the mail address and email addresses for Oregon Congressional Delegation and County Judges and County Commissioners:

    Senator Gordon Smith
    http://www.senate.gov/~gsmith
    email: http://www.senate.gov/~gsmith/webform.htm
    Washington D.C. Office
    404 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-3753
    Fax: (202) 228-3997

    Senator Ron Wyden
    http://www.senate.gov/~wyden
    email: http://wyden.senate.gov/

    Washington, DC
    516 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-5244

    Representative David Wu – 1st
    http://www.house.gov/wu
    email: David.wu@mail.house.gov
    Washington DC Office
    510 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-0855
    Fax: (202) 225-9497

    Representative Greg Walden – 2nd
    http://www.house.gov/walden
    Greg.walden@mail.house.gov
    Washington DC Office:
    1404 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-6730
    Fax: (202) 225-5774

    Representative Earl Blumenauer – 3rd
    http://www.house.gov/blumenauer/
    Earl.blumenauer@mail.house.gov
    Washington DC Office
    US House of Representatives
    1406 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-4811

    Representative Peter DeFazio – 4th
    http://www.house.gov/defazio
    Reach me by Email or Toll Free: 1-800-944-9603
    Peter.defazio@mail.house.gov
    Washington, DC Office
    2134 Rayburn H.O.B.
    Washington DC, 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-6416

    Harney County
    Judge Steven E. Grasty
    450 N Buena Vista
    Burns, Oregon 97720
    sgrasty@co.harney.or.us

    Harney County
    Commissioners
    Dan Nichols
    450 N Buena Vista #5
    Burns, OR 97720
    dan_nichols@class.oregonvos.net

    Commissioners
    Jack Drinkwater
    450 N Buena Vista #5
    Burns, OR 97720
    countycourt@co.harney.or.us

    Grant County
    Commissioners
    Boyd Briton
    201 S. Humbolt St.,
    Ste. 280,
    Canyon City, Oregon 97820

    Scott Myers
    201 S. Humbolt St.,
    Ste. 280,
    Canyon City, Oregon 97820

    County Judge
    Mark Webb
    201 S. Humbolt St.,
    Ste. 280,
    Canyon City, Oregon 97820
    webbm@grantcounty-or.gov.

  3. avatar JB says:

    Ryan says: “Even in the focus on the protection of game populations, many species non game species and non hunters recieve benefit as well.”

    Agreed. This is certainly an issue that should cause anyone who cares about public land to raise an eyebrow, and hopefully, their voice in opposition. Thanks for passing the information along, Ryan.

  4. avatar Ryan says:

    JB,
    Much agreed, I only passed this on as I feel its a travesty to let this deal go through. This was a land grab plain and simple, the good doctor bought the 1000 acres only a few years ago banking on this idea.

  5. avatar AJ says:

    Dear Ryan,
    I believe you have me all wrong. I am clearly against the land swap and am drafting letters of opposition as we speak.
    It just struck me as funny seeing an OHA plead for help on this forum considering their anti-predator views.
    I strongly encourage everyone who visits this forum and has a love for wild places to write letters in opposition.

    Anyway us nature loving, tree hugging, gun toting (or bow bending) mystics got to stick together!!!

    BTW there is another threat on Steens….a proposal to install 250 wind turbines with power transmission lines going right through the refuge!!

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    I’m not an OHA member. I just don’t want to see this happen.

  7. avatar Rick Parker says:

    Dr. Scott Campbell: We have lived at Yellow Jacket reservoir since 1970. We are completely opposed to your land exchange with the BLM. While we are not hunters we do not believe a private individual needs to own such a large amount of land in this area. Be a good neighbor and withdraw this request. At some point you may desire to meet your neighbors before they become you adveraries.
    We are preservationists who look to Aldo Leopold and John Muir for inspiration so we are compromising our beliefs to protect the hunters of this region: How about you!

  8. avatar Ryan says:

    Just to be noted again, OHA did not send this alert to this blog, I forwarded it on.

    BTW has anyone heard an update on this yet?

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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