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Forest Service updates county

Fremont-Winema National Forest District Ranger Amanda McAdams updated the Lake County Board of Commissioners on a number of public lands issues and projects in the forest during their Tuesday, June 25, meeting.

McAdams included an overview of Barry Point fire recovery work as part of her presentation.  Inmate work crews from Warner Creek Correctional Facility were implemented to remove old fence from the affected area, she said.

“You guys were very encouraging in using them, and we have no regrets,” she said.

By the end of this month, McAdams said the hope is to have 17 miles of fence damaged by Barry Point fire suppression efforts repaired.

Several allotments are being rested for the year to allow for vegetation and soil recovery.

Trespass cattle – those that do not belong to permittees and are traversing Forest Service land  are a concern by both the Forest Service and permittees, potentially impacting future allotment availability, according to talking points provided by McAdams.

“Our permit holders have expressed concerns for trespass cattle that are (in the fire area),” she said. “We’re not taking strong action at this time, but we’re (monitoring the issue).”

Commissioner Ken Kestner said that the state’s open range law does not apply to federal lands.

Regarding the resting of allotments, Commissioner Brad Winters inquired on alternatives available for permittees.  McAdams said alternatives exist, but are not feasible from a transportation perspective.

Kestner inquired on the recovery process thus far, and McAdams noted considerable erosion in the area of the fire.  Assessments are not fully completed, but recent rains were deemed helpful to the area’s recovery.

Water run-off in the wake of the Barry Point Fire damaged culverts and roads, McAdams said, with several culverts under replacement on Forest Road 4020.

Salvage work on the Barry Point site is currently in the Environmental Assessment process, which is assessing salvage harvest opportunities as well as roadside hazard tree removal in the 43,000-acre burn perimeter located on the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

On a similar note, the public comment period closed for the EA process, with Forest Service officials reviewing and preparing to respond to comments received for a draft decision that is expected mid-July.

Road-related points of discussion included the Forest Service’s support for work on Dog Lake Lane and a related Federal Highway Administration package funding request by the county that would support extensive work on the road.

The Forest Service is seeking funding to repair Thomas Creek Road, with several proposals based on varied funding levels, depending on available amounts, for its repair and addressing drainage issues.

Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map proposed changes have been received and evaluated, though a new map for 2013 has not been produced due to issues related to printing and workload within the agency, McAdams said.

The accepted changes will be posted online and will be available at the Lakeview Ranger District office.

“My discussion with you guys is a bit premature, but I didn’t want you guys to be surprised by a news release or find out in some other manner,” McAdams said.

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