Monday, June 6, 2016

Your Public Access Being Taken Away - Starvation Lane

No decision was officially made but the talk was that the boat ramp should exist and the proper arrangements need to be made, to do so.  

Overwhelming input from the public (also private land owners) was in favor of keeping this road and ramp open. The Sheriff was great and advocated keeping open. Vowing to respond to any legal issues. The local ranchers were great (they like to fish too). The judge was understanding. State Park agreed to work with Sherman County to plan a legal boat ramp.   There was zero input from the other side. No one spoke in favor of closing the county road to the public river. 

Yesterday was a victory, but a process is ahead to make sure everything stays on course.

If you are passionate about recreation and public land opportunities, you must be informed of what is happening right now on the John Day River. A locked gate has been implemented at an important access point to launch a boat, or take a boat out, on the lower John Day River, managed by the BLM. This is unacceptable and we need your support to not lose this critical and strategic access point. This locked gate takes away the ability to do a day trip in the lower river. It takes away public access and guiding opportunity. Having negative economical effects, on local, rural communities. I have been guiding this stretch of rivers for over 10 years and have regular clients that have grown to love and expect this particular float. In fact, I have trips booked for Friday and Saturday on this now, suddenly, closed section of river. What am I to do? 

The Sherman County court is having a special meeting regarding the issue. Please attend or call in your grievance. Please ask them not to close this public boat ramp!

Special Meeting Wednesday 9am to 11am at the Sherman County Courthouse. Directions here

Call State Parks  541-394-0002 or email: here

Call Sherman County Courthouse 541-565-3606 or email: here

General Advisory From Oregon State Parks:

05/28/2016 to 05/31/2017 
Boaters launching at Cottonwood Bridge (J.S. Burres) will need to take-out at Rock Creek or McDonald Crossing as there is no road access to the river at Starvation Lane. For more information please call the park at 541-394-0002

From the BLM boaters pass website:

Notice: Boaters launching at Cottonwood Bridge (J.S. Burres) will need to take-out at Rock Creek or McDonald Crossing as there is no road access to the river at Starvation Lane.

Taken from the Sherman County Court minutes 5/04/2016:

"Motion by Commissioner Smith, second by Commissioner McCoy, to approve Judge Thomson contacting Oregon State Parks not to install a gate at the river at this time, to not put up a fence on the south side, to use existing fence to allow for large enough turn around, and to recommend State Parks mow the grass down."

Read from the link below starting on page 6 to see how the county got into this predicament in the first place:

 A couple years ago we guided Governor Ted Kulongoskion this stretch of river, he was instrumental in signing the initiative, "park a year" which paved the way for Cottonwood Canyon and opened the boat ramp at Starvation Lane. 

Western Rivers Conservancy conveyed the sale (acquired in 2008) to the State of Oregon, leading to the opening of Cottonwood Canyon State Park in September, 2013.  What a shame it would be, to spend millions of dollars that essentially takes away recreational opportunity. Why? Evidently one landowner complained about county zoning codes, trespassers, illegal campers, and too many people. Interestingly enough, the landowner is new and the old land owner never had a complaint. Also, there is law enforcement to deal with any illegal activity and three separate agencies (BLM, State Police, and County Sheriff) could have been called . They were never contacted! Instead the  court house was contacted to close the road . It seems Mr. Landowner wants all the fun to himself at the expense of us taxpayers and public land owners, us!  The County Road and State Park at Starvation lane are now locked. Bullshit I say! What about you?