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Letters to the Editor

Backing Huston

To the Editor,

It has been my privilege to know Mae Huston. Six years ago she moved to this area, became involved, and developed a passion for this community. Mae is fiscally conservative and has chosen to follow the workings of our county government.

The job of a county commissioner involves a lot of decision-making. Mae is very analytical and not afraid to stand up for what she believes is best for the county and make the appropriate decisions.

The current County Commission has worked well together for the last six years. I personally feel that Mae Huston has the commitment, integrity, and passion to keep our county moving in a positive direction.

Mae will bring a fresh perspective to our county government. Please for vote Mae Huston, county commissioner.

Jennifer Hatfield

Madras

Honoring Barber

To the Editor,

On Easter weekend, April 18, we had the privilege of attending a musical comedy salute to the 1940s. Our 15-year-old grandson, Micah, attends Cavelero Mid High School in Lake Stevens, Wash., and he wore his maternal great-grandfather's Army uniform. A cast of over 45 young people sang and danced to many ‘40s music numbers. The Pioneer had just published an article on Rex Barber, noting April 18 as "Rex Barber Day."

What has this to do with Madras or Culver? We took the article with us for our grandson to share with his director of this after-school drama club. On stage before the performance, she read the news article to the audience. It made us very proud of our grandson and Rex Barber!

The play takes place in a US0 Club and at the end they sang a Salute to the Armed Forces with each of the young men carrying a flag of the military that they represented in the play.

As the songs were sung and the flags came on stage, men and women of that branch stood to be honored. It was a very touching moment. Thank you to all who keep this nation free!

Jerry & Karen Campbell

Culver

Public land

To the Editor,

The recent dustup in Nevada over cattle on public land presages a brewing conflict just up the road on the Crooked River National Grassland, part of the Ochoco National Forest. If left unchecked, Jefferson and Crook County anglers, rafters, hunters, birders, mountain bikers and hikers could be locked out of their favorite places.

The Gray Butte Grazing Association has successfully pressured public land managers to cut some hunting dog field trials out of the “multiple use” equation, and while that may not affect Madras and Prineville residents yet, it could, and soon.

After decades of peaceful coexistence, according to Grasslands District Ranger Slater Turner, the Association’s Forest Service-designated “allotment manager” Mark Malott complained about field trial competitors near his cattle unloading and “mothering up” operation. Turner obediently reinterpreted the rules, contending that the grazing agreement trumps field trialers, campers, and anything else within a football-field’s length of his trucks and cows. Result? Field trial cancelled.

If allowed to continue, the lock-up of public land could put a sizable dent in the spring and fall economies of Madras and Prineville as hundreds of field trialers go elsewhere. None of them will be buying fuel, food, tires, lodging and gear from local merchants. The Forest Service’s action becomes even more ironic when you know that one weekend’s field trial makes more money for the Forest Service than the Gray Butte Association pays for that area in an entire month. One could argue that cows should go and dogs should stay!

Based on the cattle-first policy now being field tested in Central Oregon by Forest Service staff, what’s next? Could a rancher chase off Deschutes River anglers because his cows drink from it? Would the mountain bike trails near Gray Butte see locked gates? The Ochocos are full of cows … might they become devoid of campers, anglers and hikers? One rogue district ranger might make these hypothetical scenarios very real.

Forest Service and Bureau of Land Manage-ment land is owned by all of us, managed for “multiple use” and the benefit of all. Fishing guides, mining companies, field trials, foot race organizers and others pay a fee of 3 percent of gross revenues to conduct their activities on that land. Grazing permitees pay just $1.35 per month for a cow-calf pair.

And while some may object to the “welfare rancher” moniker, decide for yourself: the going rate for grazing private land is in the range of $12-$20 per cow-calf per month. Through our taxes, you and I subsidize public-land grazing just as we pay for food stamps and Medicaid for less fortunate Americans.

In exchange for that bargain, public grazers are required to share the land with the rest of us. The Forest Service – and particularly District Ranger Turner – should enforce the rules and regulations equally. Whether field trial, half-marathon, bike ride, family picnic or fishing trip, cows and people can and do get along. It’s the Forest Service’s job to assure access for all of us, not just “welfare ranchers.”

Scott Linden

Bend



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