Senators try new master plan for Mount Hood

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

February 17, 2007

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Gordon Smith, R-Ore., are trying once again to get a master plan for Mount Hood through Congress.

On Thursday, the federal officials introduced the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act of 2007. A key land exchange in Hood River County will be revisited and could resolve decades of conflict between Mt. Hood Meadows Oregon LLC and the Hood River Valley Residents Committee.

That deal calls for the U.S. Forest Service to trade 120 acres near Government Camp for 769 acres of Cooper Spur lands held by Meadows. The government agency is the first choice to take over management of Meadows’ leased ski area — or that duty could be assigned to the county or another concessionaire.

The swap was part of the settlement agreement reached between the HRVRC and Meadows in 2005. However, Forest Service officials contend the valuation assigned to the Government Camp property is “unfair.”

Dave Riley, president and CEO of Meadows, and Mike McCarthy, a member of the HRVRC board, both dispute that claim. They contend the appraisal done by Steven Hall, on the Forest Service approved list, was equitable. In addition, they said the public will benefit in many other ways from the exchange.

For example, Riley said if the trade is not approved, the Crystal Springs Management Protection Area and the Tilly Jane Wilderness addition will not be created. In addition, Meadows will be free to pursue two Measure 37 claims in the southern sector of the county at more than $12,000. And the company will reactivate its development plans for the north face of Mount Hood.

“Meadows and the environmental community have been working in partnership for years to implement the historic Cooper Spur settlement agreement. We’d all like to see it finalized this spring,” said Riley.

Smith and Wyden have called for new land appraisals with their bill to address the controversy over valuation. McCarthy, who has scrutinized the work of Hall, believes his figures should be upheld.

“It’s great we’re moving ahead and I hope the delegation can encourage the Forest Service to be more reasonable than they have appeared to be,” he said. “This is a tremendous deal for the public.”

The reworked version of the 2006 bill creates almost 128,600 acres of new wilderness within the Mount Hood National Forest, a 90 percent increase. In addition, the bill adds 80 miles of added river protection. The legislation also designates 34,545 acres for mountain biking and other recreational opportunities.

The new Mount Hood Wilderness Act is once again drawing rave reviews from environmental groups.

“We are optimistic that, with a more conservation-minded Congress, the path to protecting places like Roaring River and Boulder Lake will be easier than in years past,” said Erik Fernandez, Wilderness coordinator for Oregon Wild, formerly Oregon National Resources Council.

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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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