A group of concerned citizens who hunt, hike, horseback ride, mountain bike, ski, observe, track and photograph wildlife and explore historical homestead and mining sites became alarmed when they recently learned that Wallowa County’s Planning Department had secretly approved development of 38 acres, zoned Timber Grazing, surrounded by the Lostine Wildlife Area and the Lostine River, without telling ODFW, affected neighbors or the public.
ODFW has designated the Lostine Wildlife Area as critical winter habitat for bighorn sheep, rocky mountain elk and mule deer.
Jim Akenson, conservation director for the Oregon Hunters Association, says this: “Hunters’ dollars provided the funds [for the purchase of the Lostine Wildlife Area]... as representatives of Oregon’s hunting community, OHA opposes any development of the property ... Any development within this area is a potential threat to the purpose of this area.”
ODFW’s wildlife biologist, Michael Hansen, says: “Development of additional dwellings in that constricted area will have an adverse impact on the movement of big game (especially elk) into and through the property to our Lostine Wildlife Area. The adverse impact on animal movement is cumulative and because of previous building in this portion of the Lostine River Valley, the property straddles the only remaining undeveloped travel corridor for these animals.”
An appeal of the Planning Department’s approval of the 38-acre development filed by the “Friends of the Lostine Wildlife Area” will come before the Planning Commission 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the courthouse. Please consider writing an email or letter, attending the hearing or joining the Friends of the Lostine Wildlife Area to help protect this important public resource.
Eng is affiliated with Friends of the Lostine Wildlife Area.