Ground Truth: Devil's Staircase

Forest Service/BLM Endorse Bill

by Andy Stahl

I admit that Washington, D.C., is not my favorite place to visit. But yesterday was special. The House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Peter’s Devil’s Staircase Wilderness bill (HR 2888) could not have gone any better.

Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abby and Forest Service Deputy Chief Joel Holtrop put forth their agencies’ full support for Devil’s Staircase. The Forest Service suggested that the 4100 Road, which runs along the ridge separating Franklin and Wasson Creeks, be converted to a horse/hiking trail. The road is unmaintained now and well along its way to trail conversion.

Before the hearing I had the pleasure of meeting representatives of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians who submitted written testimony supporting HR 2888 and reminding Congress of the need to restore an ancestral forest homeland for the Tribe.

Following the hearing, I met with the Senate Committee staff who will be shepherding the Wyden/Merkley version of Devil’s Staircase through Congress’ upper chamber.

It’s a good time for those who care about Devil’s Staircase to send Peter DeFazio a resounding “thank you” for his efforts and passion.