August 18 Walden Healthy Forests Subcommittee

Hearing in Sisters, Oregon

B&B Complex smoke plume, August 24, 2003 (Pajutee 2004)

1:30 PM Hearing Opened to the Public: Comment Period Ended September 1, 2004

[From the August 24, 2004 Sisters' Nugget Newspaper: an online article by Jim Fisher describing the Walden subcommittee hearing and an "Opinion" piece by Tom Davis, a local hydrologist, also regarding the hearing. From the Cascadia Rising website: a report by Lisa Blanton, coordinator of a Bend "forest protection group" called the PROWL (Protecting and Restoring Oregon Wild Lands) Project.

On Wednesday, August 18, 2004, Congressman Greg Walden (R/OR) chaired a House Resources Subcommittee on Forests & Forest Health hearing in Sisters, Oregon, titled "In the Aftermath of Catastrophic Event: Restoring and Protecting Communities, Water, Wildlife and Forests." The hearing was open to the public and was held at 1:30 PM at Sisters High School, 1700 West McKinney Butte Road, Sisters, Oregon.

The pupose of the Sisters hearing was to discuss the importance of restoration and rehabilitation of forestlands damaged by catastrophic wildfire. In addition to chairing the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Walden is co-author of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The following quotes were contained in a press release regarding the hearing, as issued from Walden's office:

"I wanted to hold this hearing in Central Oregon using the charred remains of the B&B fire as a backdrop for our discussion because it is a perfect example of how destructive catastrophic fire can be to a region's environmental and economic health.

"Central Oregonians are all too familiar with the high price our forests, watersheds, airsheds, communities and economies pay when catastrophic fire strikes. While we're using the benefits provided in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act to reduce the threat of these devastating fires from occurring in the first place, it is also critical that we act quickly to repair the damage when they do occur.  That is why my subcommittee is doing all it can to provide our forestland managers with the tools necessary to proactively restore habitat, reduce fuel loads for future fires and revitalize broken economies in affected regions.

"There is a great deal of restoration work to do throughout Oregon when it comes to burn areas. I look forward to a field hearing that will provide valuable information from experts as to how we can get that work done more efficiently and productively."

The subcommittee invited several expert witnesses to testify at the hearing, representing elected officials from the local area, Oregon State University's College of Forestry, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and the U.S. Forest Service.

The general public had an opportunity to submit written testimony for the congressional record to Ryan Yates, subcommittee clerk, by September 1, 2004.

Yates can be reached via email: ryan.yates@mail.house.gov or fax: (202) 225-0521.

2004 Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc.