RESCHEDULED: Scenic Area Plan Review Public Listening Session in The Dalles

RESCHEDULED: Scenic Area Plan Review Public Listening Session in The Dalles
View of the Columbia Gorge, looking east from Washington SR14. (photographer: Scott Christianson)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fort Dalles Readiness Center
402 E. Scenic Drive
The Dalles, OR 97058

The linchpin of continued protection of the Columbia Gorge is the Management Plan of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act. Without a solid framework for protection and committed implementation, the Management Plan will become less adequate over time.

This is why every 10 years, the Columbia River Gorge Commission and Forest Service are tasked with reviewing and updating the Management Plan. They are beginning the GORGE 2020 process with public "listening sessions" at which the public is invited to attend and ask questions.

What aspects of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are most important to you? The Gorge Commission and Forest Service want to know! Please attend and get involved in this crucial process for Gorge protection.

Can't attend? Send a comment to the Gorge Commission

Learn more about the Scenic Area and Management Plan

Friends' Recommendations on the Scope of Gorge Management Plan Review

Plan Review scoping fact sheet (PDF)

The Columbia River Gorge is a natural scenic treasure and is protected as a federally designated National Scenic Area. It is also home to 13 communities, or urban areas, where economic development is intended to occur. As the Columbia River Gorge Commission and U.S. Forest Service determine the scope of review for the Management Plan, they should include the following important issues in the scope of review:
  1. Solid foundations for review: Base plan review on the best available science and sound resource protection policies. Updating the resource inventories, completing a "build-out" of development allowed within the scenic area and reliance on the "Vital Signs Indicators" program will help ensure that plan review is data driven.
  2. Cumulative effects: Amend the definition of "cumulative effect" to require analysis of past, present and reasonably foreseeable actions.
  3. Climate change: Require analysis of climate change impacts for major development projects.
  4. Fossil-fuel transport: Adopt guidelines addressing fossil fuel transport through the National Scenic Area, including oil and coal trains. For example, require analysis of worst-case oil spills from oil train derailments and prohibit coal pollution from open-topped coal cars.
  5. Rail expansion: Improve regulations on rail expansion to better ensure protection of communities and scenic, natural, cultural and recreation resources.
  6. Mining: Prohibit new mining, including new open pit quarries within the scenic area.
  7. Logging: Prohibit logging on National Forest lands in the scenic area.
  8. Scenic resources: Limit "trophy homes" on scenic landscapes. Determine if scenic landscapes are approaching the tipping point for development and, if so, require additional scenic resource protection measures.
  9. Natural resources: Expand protective buffers for fish, wildlife and rare plants to better reflect the best available science. Require protection for native plant communities. Adopt standards to protect outstanding geologic features, such as the Bonneville Slide area that created the "Bridge of the Gods." Assess the impacts of climate change on protected species and habitat.
  10. Cultural resources: Until a thorough survey of cultural resources is completed in the Gorge, require cultural resource reconnaissance surveys prior to the approval of land divisions, significant ground disturbing activities, and development. Support tribal efforts to protect Native American “first foods.”
  11. Recreation resources: Support policies for trail systems linking recreation sites, viewpoints and Gorge communities. Promote more dispersed recreation by supporting new recreation sites and discouraging overuse of existing sites. Support sustainable recreation through alternative transportation options. Improve river access but avoid adverse impacts to sensitive resources and treaty rights.
  12. Protect more lands: Expand open space designations to protect sensitive areas and newly acquired public lands.
  13. Protect high value farm land: For example, update standards for agricultural dwellings to better protect farm land from residential sprawl. Make the standards for new farm dwellings at least as strong as Oregon's, which require proof of at least $80,000 in gross annual farm income.

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