Locals should decide fate of Mt. Hood’s north side

Another Voice

By RICHELLE DUCKWALL

I am writing in response to Heather Weinstein’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 5 issue of the Hood River News. This is my vision I forwarded to her Web site:

My vision would be for the north side of Mt. Hood to remain wild and free with clean drinking water for us Parkdalites. I was born and raised in Hood River. I have seen many changes take place on the mountain. When I was in elementary school my parents and I were unpleasantly surprised after hiking into Umbrella Falls to see bulldozers blazing a road. We thought it was only accessible by trail. Not only had man entered the forest but so had Mt. Hood Meadows. Trying to experience pristine wilderness, we’d walked smack back into civilization.

We’d started our little trek from the old Hood River Meadows campground, a primitive but peaceful spot tucked beside lovely Hood River Meadows. I can’t visit those places anymore; only in my dreams and memories. You see, Mt. Hood Meadows won that land in some sort of swap and destroyed all for the skiers with money.

In my earlier days, I hiked practically weekly with my mother Venette Duckwall, Lois Talbot (a local watercolor artist), and Mary Lou Bellus. We called ourselves the IHC — Idiot Hiking Club — because we would hike rain, snow, sleet, hail or sun. We hiked that mountain, many mornings being at timberline by sunrise so Lois could capture on film the clouds and the shadows in the best of lighting. She would then paint from her photos. We hiked all over the current Mt. Hood Meadows site. What started as a small operation has grown to acres and acres, ridges to ridges.

Now one can hike for hours without getting out of its clear-cut, weather-ravished slopes. The lush vegetation has changed ... the monkey flowers and lupine and daisies ... gone to coarse, thick-bladed, drought-resistant varieties. I can’t visit those places anymore, only in my dreams and memories. It is no fun to hike that part of the mountain anymore.

Now Mt. Hood Meadows has acquired Cooper Spur area. I am so sick of their vision for my north side of the mountain ... our north side of the mountain. I think we natives and transplants who live, play and work in the great shadow of this, our mountain, we the people should decide its fate. I think the vision for Mt. Hood should be made by the thousands of citizens, not the millions of dollars to be made by a private corporation. Don’t let money outweigh popular consensus.

Oregon prides itself in public beaches. Why should our mountains be treated any differently? Mt. Hood needs to retain some quiet and wild places. Cooper Spur works fine small, quaint and rustic.

My vision for Mt. Hood is no more development. I want to be able to hike my old haunts not only in my dreams and memories. I want to be able to hike there tomorrow if I choose, and know that it will be exactly, just exactly as I left it yesterday.

****

Richelle (Ricki) Duckwall lives in Mt. Hood.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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