The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Natl. monument tour turnout is thin

 

October 4, 2016

DAVID STONE, left, discusses an old-growth tree on Quartzville Road with Mil Mecham Saturday during a tour in the area proposed by Stone’s group as a Douglas Fir National Monument.

Turnout was sparse for the first tour of the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument on Saturday, Oct. 1.

David Stone of Eugene, board president of Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument, drove two attendees from Eugene to Sweet Home that morning and waited in the Thriftway parking lot for anyone else interested in the seeing the area.

Stone had a sign identifying the group on top of his car, but took it down shortly after 9:15 a.m. when, he said, he was approached by an angry opponent of the monument.

Stone said other people he had spoken with showed interest but were not able to attend.

For something like this, you have to pick a date and hope people can come out, he said.

Milo Mecham, a member of the Lane County Audubon Society was one of Stone’s passengers. The other participant declined to identify herself because she does not want her name in the paper, but said she also is from Eugene.

In addition to seeing the proposed area, Mecham said he wanted to enjoy a drive in the fall woods and see a new area.

The tour did not extend through the nearly half-a-million acres of land encompassed in the monument proposal, but instead focused on a path through Quartzville Road.

At one stop along the way, Mecham noted the biodiversity of the trees.

“Standing here, I can see six different types of trees,” he said.

Biological diversity in the area of the monument is one of the goals of the proposing group.

“The basic thrust is restoration forestry,” Stone said. “Our goal is to bring the forest to its natural state.”

Restoration is a term like sustainability, he added, defined differently by different groups.

“Look on our website and see our definition of restoration,” he said.

According to the site, “restoration forestry consists of ecological restoration thinning, where the plantation stand is thinned to favor the growth of the remaining Douglas-fir trees and also provide for other native tree species that may be on the site or could be planted with locally adapted stock.”

Additionally, “unnecessary roads” would be decommissioned to restore water quality. Roads cause erosion and and fish don’t like silted-up water, Stone said.

“The forest isn’t just trees with dollar signs on them,” he said.

He has reached out to the Sweet Home Ranger District but has not heard back, he said.

Ultimately Congress or the president will make a decision on whether to establish this monument, he said.

When asked if there was any support from Washington, D.C. for the monument, Stone said it is too early for that.

He added that there will be a period for public input.

“The guy that met us in Sweet Home can have a say,” Stone said.

For more information on the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument, visit douglasfirnationalmonument.org.

 
 

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