Last week over 60 concerned residents and representative of area agencies met at the Prineville BLM office to present their objections, and in some cases, their support, for the proposed Ochoco Summit Trail System Project.

Kate Klein, forest supervisor for the Ochoco National Forest, is charged with making the final decision as to whether the project moves forward as is, or with some modification, or in the extreme case, is shut down.

The process has moved forward far enough that we feel residents should expect some version of the plan to be implemented, hopefully modified to encompass as many of the concerns as possible.

It seems the best decision Klein could make would leave everyone just a bit unhappy, with no one individual getting everything they want. That is, after all, how democracy works.

There were a few common threads amongst most of the objections. The first objection was that the Forest Service has failed to follow proper policy and procedure in the development of the project and, second, that the department’s history of properly policing the forest has fallen short.

Both of these issues need to be addressed to the satisfaction of all involved.

Once in place, the trail system will undoubtedly attract a lot of OHV use, and it is what happens out there in the forest, beyond the eyes of the authorities, that is concerning.

Signs can be placed and gates can be erected, but if users are not held accountable for their actions, destruction of the forest floor will most certainly occur.

Again, if the decision leaves everyone just a bit dissatisfied, so be it. Those that choose to abuse the access should be made to feel the worst of all, via fines, prosecution and, possibly, confiscation of their off road vehicles.

The very same thing that happens if they were caught speeding on the highway.

Contract Publishing

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