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• Why a Douglas-fir National Monument?
National parks or national monuments have been established specifically to protect outstanding examples of iconic tree or tree-like species. Redwood National Park (1968) was established to protect some of the last old-growth coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests on Earth. Yosemite (1890) and Kings Canyon (1940) national parks were established in part to conserve the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), as was the Sequoia National Monument (2000). The Joshua Tree (1936) and Sauguaro (1933) national parks were established to conserve and enjoy tree-like cacti (Yucca brevifolia and Carnegiea gigantea). The Big Cypress National Preserve (1974) was similarly established for the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). The Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is comparably iconic and can rival the size of coast redwood. It too, deserves protection.
• At 487,491 acres why is the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument so big?
• Aren’t enough Old Growth forests already protected?
Most of these Douglas-fir forests were mature and old-growth stands. The old-growth stand condition lasted hundreds and hundreds of years until a major natural disturbance event such as fire, wind, insects and/or disease reset the ecologically complex old forest to an even more ecologically—but relatively short-lived—complex of early seral forest. This “snag forest” or “pre-forest” eventually reestablished itself with conifers and the young forest progressed into mature forest and then old-growth forest.
If we want to have a functioning Douglas-fir ecosystem across the landscape and over time, we need to conserve all the old-growth forest that is left and restore much that has been lost.
• Why now?
There are number of economic, social, demographic and other trends that argue that the highest and best use of forests is no longer logging to create wood products and jobs. The timber industry has lost its social license to log native forest and trees on federal public forestlands just to feed the appetite of its mills. The best thing we can do is give our heirs the legacy that includes the conservation of large landscapes for ecological and watershed integrity and for recreational (pronounced “re-creational”) enjoyment. They will appreciate our foresight and action today as we appreciate those of our ancestors who established the national parks, national monuments, wilderness and other strong and enduring conservation areas.
• Haven’t we protected enough of our natural areas?
• Why in Oregon?
• Why in Linn and Marion Counties, Oregon?
Local communities and their economies are changing. Their future, like all futures, is uncertain. It is very likely that—due primarily to economic but also political forces—the traditional timber industry in eastern Marion and eastern Linn counties will continue its decades-long contraction.
A national monument will draw not only tourists who will spend money in the local communities, but also small, and perhaps large, businesses who can locate anywhere. They often choose to locate near permanently protected landscapes that the owners and their employees can enjoy. Economists refer to this as the “second paycheck.” One can make more money working and living in (Cleveland, Dallas or nearly anywhere else), but natural and recreational amenities we have here contribute to the quality of life.
A national monument is defined as a historic site or geographical area set aside by a national government and maintained for public use.
Most national monuments in the United States have been proclaimed by the President under authority granted by Congress, specifically the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect objects of historic or scientific interest. Every president since Theodore Roosevelt—save for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush—have proclaimed or expanded national monuments.
Under the Antiquities Act, the proclamation only applies to federal public lands within a national monument boundary.
Less common are national monuments established by an Act of Congress. Whether legislated by Congress or proclaimed by a president using power delegated by Congress, national monuments are constitutional under the United States Constitution’s Property Clause (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2).
Oregon has three national monuments and one “national volcanic monument”:
• Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. The national monument (480 acres) was proclaimed by President Taft in 1909 and the preserve (4,154 acres) that surrounds the monument was established by Congress in 2014 for a total of 4,234 acres).
• John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This 3-unit national monument was established by Congress in 1974, totals 14,000 acres, in Wheeler and Grant counties and is administered by the National Park Service.
• Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. President Clinton proclaimed a ~53,000-acre national monument in 2000, administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Jackson County. Since that time over 13,000 acres of undeveloped private lands within the outer monument boundary have been acquired from willing sellers and become part of the national monument.
• Newbery National Volcanic Monument. Established by Congress in 1990, the national volcanic monument is 55,500 acres in size and is administered as part of the Deschutes National Forest in Deschutes County.
The Friends of the Douglas-fir National Monument’s preference is for Congress to establish the Douglas-fir National Monument. In this way, Congress could at the same time, also expand and establish new wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers within the national monument.
If the Douglas-fir National Monument is established by presidential proclamation, no new wilderness or wild and scenic rivers would come along as those designations can only be established by an Act of Congress. Afterwards, we could continue to advocate for wilderness and wild and scenic rivers.
Existing wilderness areas within the Monument, such as the Middle Santiam, Menagerie and a portion of the Mt. Jefferson Wildernesses, would remain protected as they are. For possible new wilderness areas, such as Gordon Meadows or Iron Mountain, or new Wild and Scenic River designation, such as Moose Creek, see “How would the Douglas-fir National Monument be created?”, above.
• Why propose a project that will generate controversy?
Most of what are today our beloved national parks, monuments, wildernesses, wildlife refuges, wild and scenic rivers and other federal conservation designations were highly controversial at the time of their establishment and the opposition was most entrenched the closer to the area. Most locals opposed the original establishment of Oregon’s only National Park, Crater Lake. Locals even initially opposed protection of the Grand Canyon in Arizona., a state that now calls itself “the Grand Canyon State.”
When there is a trade-off between short-term economic interests and long-term national interests, the latter should prevail.
• Doesn’t America need the lumber and other wood products from federal public forestlands?
• Don't we need the logging jobs on Forest Service lands?
Since the Northwest Forest Plan was implemented, the number of mills and milling jobs has decreased by half, while the milling capacity of the remaining mills increased by one quarter. Automation replaced the lost jobs and more. The remaining jobs that used to pay more than the Oregon median income now pay less.
• Don’t the counties need the revenues from federal timber sales?
• Isn’t clearcut logging good for fish and wildlife?
• Without timber management, (primarily by clearcutting) won’t the forest burn up and/or die off?
• Won’t a National Monument designation “lock out” most users?
• Don’t local people know best how to manage the land?
• Isn’t a National Monument unnecessary since inappropriate logging is thing of the past?
• Isn’t salvage logging a thing of the past?
• How can a future Presidential administration, hostile to conservation, succeed in the large-scale resumption of inappropriate logging?
• Don’t administrative land allocations and overlays preclude inappropriate logging?
• Isn’t plantation logging beneficial for nature and for wood production?
There is no shortage of early seral forest habitat on non-federal forestlands due to continued wide-scale clearcutting.
• Aren’t there already enough National Monuments, National Parks and Wilderness Areas in Oregon that contain Douglas-fir forests?