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Trump Order Could Spur Review of Cascade-Siskiyou Nat. Monument

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was expanded from 65,000 to 113,000 acres under President Obama, meaning it could be subject for review under a new executive order. (Bob Wick/BLM)
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was expanded from 65,000 to 113,000 acres under President Obama, meaning it could be subject for review under a new executive order. (Bob Wick/BLM)
May 3, 2017

ASHLAND, Ore. – President Donald Trump's executive order asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to review national monuments could put the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon in the administration's sights.

On Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol, the House Natural Resources Committee held a meeting about the Antiquities Act, which was used to designate Cascade-Siskiyou as a national monument. Panel members at the meeting, as well as the president, have said designations have been made without local support.

However Oregon state Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, a business owner within the monument area, said that wasn't the case with Cascade-Siskiyou.

"Our local elected officials in Ashland have supported expansions; and in Talent, they did the same," Marsh said. "So, we believe that monument designation is really in the interest of our neighborhood and our region."

President Barack Obama expanded Cascade-Siskiyou in January from 65,000 to 113,000 acres. Trump's order applies to monuments of more than 100,000 acres in size, that have been designated or expanded since 1996.

Jack Williams, senior scientist at Trout Unlimited, agrees there was local support to expand the monument and explained the expansion decision was made, in part, to include the rest of a watershed left out in its creation.

The monument is recognized as one of the most biologically-diverse regions in the country. Williams is convinced that the expansion allows for better protection of the area.

"Under management as a national monument, it just gives a higher priority to the watershed," he said. "It gives a higher priority to road management, and I think that sort of thing will benefit the native species up there."

Rep. Marsh added that the expansion has been a boon for the local recreational economy, but she worries timber interests could creep in if the monument is reviewed.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said the administration wants to manage these monuments with a focus on "traditional multiple use." Marsh believes the land would be better left untouched.

"When we move forward into future decades, we will not regret the trees we didn't cut or the ore we didn't mine," she said. "What we will treasure is the wild spaces that we protected, and that will remain a long-term asset to us."


Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR