Gorge Heart

CL forest land transfer provides timely chance for compromise

December 14, 2005

The sign at the east entrance of Cascade Locks reads “Heart of the Gorge.”

Signs at the west end of Cascade Locks, where the town meets the Pacific Crest Trail, point to the heart of the newly proposed Mt. Hood National Forest plan put forth this month by U.S. Reps. Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer.

Compromise and cooperation are that heart.

City Administrator Robert Willoughby and other Cascade Locks leaders have expressed their appreciation for the tentative support given by Hood River’s Walden, (R-Ore.) and Portland’s Blumenauer, (D-Ore.), for a key land exchange involving the Crest Trail.

A report on that issue, Cascade Locks endorses new forest plan, starts our ongoing coverage of varying aspects of the forest proposal, including Native American historic rights, Wild and Scenic rivers expansion, and recreational use.

As RaeLynn Ricarte reports, the Port of Cascade Locks wants to expand protection along a 10-acre section of Pacific Crest Trail that lies within its ownership.

In exchange, the public agency would like to swap 10 acres of land owned by the U.S. Forest Service within the city’s urban growth boundary. That property would house the city’s only senior housing development. The port is even willing to throw in another 22 acres east of Herman Creek.

The land trade points to the very real human demands upon the mountain, whether it is sustaining the tribes’ time-honored connection to the foods of the Mount Hood area, or access to mountain biking trails in one of the region’s fastest-growing recreational activities (and one that brings revenue as well as greater backwoods demands to region).

The Cascade Locks connection to the Wilderness is of interest to all individuals, organizations and agencies with an interest in the Mount Hood region.

Cascade Locks’ growth and its unique position as an incorporated city on the very boundary of the forest give it a special focus now that the forest plan is on the table for all to consider and discuss.

We urge all Gorge residents to take in interest in what happens there, and we urge officials and citizens at all levels to look upon the Cascade Locks situation as a template for compromise in the myriad issues that go into this regional vision for the mountain we share.

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