For me, this is personal. I hope you feel the same way.
By “this,” I mean the struggle to protect our public lands and restore our damaged environment — starting with our Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
My family and I have operated a business and, for many years, lived within the boundaries of this Monument for almost a quarter century. Over that time, we have come to understand that we are surrounded by fragile ecosystems of heartbreaking beauty and profound scientific significance. To defend these treasures, we found ourselves marching in an army that came to include Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, two presidents, both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators and thousands of others.
Now, however, thousands of supporters are not enough. Our Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument has been put on a hit list for reduction or elimination by the current administration. More fundamentally, it has been neglected. For now, monument status will protect approximately 112,000 acres from further exploitation, but a rare opportunity to advance scientific knowledge and increase environmental awareness is still mostly unrealized.
Our adversaries have taught us that our Monument will not survive unless it gathers support and moves forward to fulfill its mission. What is that mission? It’s simple: first, protect, then study and communicate. In other words, ensure that human activity does not further compromise the diverse species and ecosystems enclosed by the Monument boundary. Then find ways to deepen and share our understanding of biological wisdom.
With this mission in mind, a group of Monument supporters — including scientists, public officials, the Friends group, environmentalists, land preservationists, BLM staff, Green Springs neighbors and active citizens — joined together recently to formulate a vision and an action plan. The working title for their concept is Cascade Siskiyou Monument Station.
The first step is to support science. Researchers are already on the ground in the Monument, studying rare and endangered species, reforestation and rewilding strategies, the effects of climate change and much else. A field station will enable more of them to focus their work here.
Next we will establish an environmental education program, with a curriculum based on knowledge that emerges from field studies. Finally we will launch an interpretive program aimed at sharing the scientific, historic and cultural significance of this region with visitors from near and far.
Our Cascade Siskiyou Monument Station project is an opportunity to help shape a future that, at this moment, seems to be wildly out of control. Our children will live in this future. That’s why it’s personal, for all of us.