Merkley gets an earful about forest road closures

Baker City Herald
Written by Terri Harber April 11, 2012 09:39 am 

Scores of area residents came to see U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, who hosted a town hall meeting Monday afternoon at the Senior Center in Baker City. 

Much of the meeting was devoted to people discussing and asking questions about the Travel Management Plan for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. 

The TMP, which was released in mid-March, will ban motor vehicles (except snowmobiles) from about 3,600 miles of forest roads. 

The TMP is scheduled to take effect in June. 

Tom Montoya, deputy forest supervisor for the Wallowa-Whitman, and Jeff Tomac, acting district ranger, also were on hand Monday to hear people’s concerns. 

A common complaint is that detailed maps aren’t readily available. 

Rozanne Shanks told Merkley that she’s frustrated because access to her rural subdivision on Black Mountain, about 15 miles south of Baker City, appears sharply curtailed under the TMP. Shanks said residents might have trouble getting out and that emergency vehicles might have trouble getting in should there be a fire in the area. 

“It does seem quite a safety issue,” she said.

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