Kanipe Park update

This is an update email sent to supporters of a popular Douglas County park that is facing a proposed 20-acre logging operation:

The 1,100-acre Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park near Oakland had strong public support at the Jan. 8 Douglas County commissioners meeting. Almost a hundred people squeezed into the meeting room, with dozens of people providing comments that Mildred’s park should not be clearcut. Facing those masses, the county commissioners decided to postpone their decision to clearcut or not, for one week.

As planned, the County Parks Advisory Committee submitted their recommendation to the commissioners to clearcut 20-acres of a native 100- to 150-year-old conifer forest in the park. Originally, the parks director had asked for a one-time logging operation, just once, so the profits could be used to build a campground, and the campground would finance park management into the future. But the recommendation presented on Wednesday was changed to allow continued logging in the park, eliminating the one-time-only constraint.

While much of Kanipe Park is an oak savannah/woodland forest, there are 221 acres of native conifer forests identified as merchantable in a 2008 timber inventory taken by the Douglas County Parks director.

The Commissioners still need to hear from you that clearcutting in the Mildred Kanipe Park is inappropriate. Come to the commissioner’s meeting, 9 am Wednesday, Jan. 15, Room 216, Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 SE Douglas, Roseburg, and/or e-mail the commissioners with your thoughts (email addresses at end). The commissioners need to be reminded that a majority of the public is opposed to clearcutting any part of Kanipe Park!

The park is a famous equestrian park throughout the state, with horse lovers often visiting from Eugene and Portland. It is also a draw for hikers, bicyclists, students and nature lovers.

There have been previous proposals to log Kanipe, but they were stopped by public opinion and by the terms of the Trust Mildred Kanipe. Her will stipulated: “No timber shall be cut or harvested except as may be necessary.” In a book interview Mildred said, about cutting the conifer forests, “I wasn’t going to cut those trees, those fir trees. I was always crazy about trees.”

But in August 2012 the Trust was dissolved. The county is no longer bound by her will and is free to convert all the native conifer forests into plantations. The County says this clearcut is needed to finance a new campground, which will help sustain Kanipe Park financially.

However, a clearcut is not necessary to do this. Concerned citizens have come up with another plan. It involves public contributions, in-kind donations, and grants. Since October 2013, more than $27,000 in pledges and cash has been donated from people throughout the state, with additional in-kind donations.

The vommissioners listened to this information at the meeting, but they asked no questions. On the other hand, they were very interested in the Parks Director (a professional timber manager used to clearcutting forests) talk about an itty-bitty clearcut that wouldn’t hurt anything.

The commissioners need to hear from us that there are doable solutions to keeping Mildred Kanipe Park funded with a campground built from public donations, not with a clearcut. Please come back to the next Commissioners meeting on Jan. 15, or email them your thoughts.

Some issues you could include:

• The county doesn’t need to log the Park. People are fundraising to pay for the campground. This is a remarkable public effort that the commissioners should welcome. Once the money is raised for the campground, the commissioners should not clearcut, especially without a long-term management plan for the Park.

• Mildred Kanipe Park is the only county park required to be self-supporting. The parks director believes timber money should support the park, so he has chosen not to use other revenue opportunities, like donation boxes, parking fees, the Opportunity Grant, General Fund money, or options to move Kanipe Park into the Oregon State Parks system. The county should not be so quick to clearcut without pursuing all reasonable alternatives.

• The proposal includes building an expensive new logging road, mapped to go through the heart of the park, winding through oak woodlands and over parts of Fern Woods Trail. Many large oaks would need to be cut down. It would be unsightly and lead park visitors right into the clearcut.

• The new road will travel over a stream that feeds Bachelor Creek, a salmon-bearing tributary of the Umpqua. Crossing the stream requires building on steep, erodible hillsides, with a new culvert, needing a lifetime of road maintenance. Once the trees are cut, how will the county fund the logging road maintenance?

• The county plans to ground spray herbicides on the new clearcut for several years. How will this herbicide impact people using the park, especially people drawn into the clearcut area, via the new road, after it is sprayed?

What you can do:

Please come and support speakers, or speak, at the Jan. 15 commissioners meeting. Public comments start at 9:00 a.m.

Email the county commissioners: Susan Morgan, Joe Laurance and Doug Robertson:

morgan@co.douglas.or.us, laurance@co.douglas.or.us, tina@co.douglas.or.us;

Write a letter to The News Review: vmenard@nrtoday.com.

For more information see: http://www.mildredkanipepark.org.

To pledge a donation, send an email to: pledges@mildredkanipepark.org.

To see pictures of the proposed new road and unit to be clearcut, see:


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