Between Lava Lands and Benham Falls is a strip of forest that has not been thinned, mowed or logged in many years.
The U.S. Forest Service, with an “in your face” approach, has given us 30 days to reply to their 10-foot-wide, 20-foot-cleared, paved path. Just try to visit the location prior to Jan. 11.
The purpose is to “provide for existing outdoor recreation use levels on public lands by creating a safe route for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from the community of Sunriver to Lava Lands.”
Central Oregon is bikers’ paradise, but other than a few Sunriver tourists, most will use the single-track mountain-bike Black Rock Trail. Pedestrians walking round-trip 12 miles? Give me a break!
At $2.3 million (less about $350,000 for a toilet and railroad crossing) that comes to about $325,000 per mile! And the path will not be open in the winter!
A fee tube may also be installed for after-hours use of the facilities during fee season.
The real concern is the loss of 235 trees and a long-cleared tunnel 20 feet wide with a blacktop path with 14 turnouts and benches. No more elk or deer resting in the shade of pines, some of which exceed 6 1/2 feet around.
We just have to protect what we have. We must do better.
Please let the Forest Service know we don’t need this path. Will they listen?