Idleyld Park conservationists Frank and Jeanne Moore represent what’s best about Oregon and deserve the honor of having their names attached to nearly 100,000 acres of Forest Service land that will now be managed to protect wild salmonids, said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon said in an interview with The News-Review on Friday.
The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area was created as part of a large public lands package signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The package, which includes an array of bills regarding lands around the country, had received broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
Wyden had pushed to ensure several wild Oregon places were included in the bill, including the one named for the Moores. He said the couple deserve recognition for their vision of protecting some of the wildest and most beautiful parts of the North Umpqua River, and an area critical for salmonids.
Frank Moore is a World War II veteran who has been awarded the French Legion of Honor medal and inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Jeanne Moore is a longtime organizer of the annual Glide Wildflower Show whose discovery of rare plants led to conservation of the Limpy Rock area in the Umpqua National Forest.
“Frank and Jeanne richly deserve this honor,” Wyden said. “For years and years to come people are going to be able to come and enjoy the Frank and Jeanne Moore area, a special sanctuary where you can’t mess with the incredible fish runs that Frank treasured.”
He said the Moores are “vintage Oregonians.”
“They really are Oregon at its best, and I am so proud to have been able to play a part in putting this together,” he said. He said he’s also working on creating a special event to honor them.
Some conservatives have resisted the package’s additional protections for Oregon wilderness, saying they will limit logging and that an inability to log in fire-prone areas could lead to a wildfire disaster on the scale of the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise, California in November. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, fought to remove protections on forestland near Bend to ensure it could be logged as a fire prevention measure.
Walden, rather than Wyden, was asked to attend the presidential signing ceremony of the public lands package. Asked what he thought about that, Wyden said he was “kind of struck by that,” but he’d leave it at that.
Wyden said conserving areas like the steelhead management area won’t increase fire risk for Oregonians.
“We picked places carefully that didn’t do that, didn’t create new fire risks,” Wyden said.
Wyden also noted that legislation he sponsored to eliminate federal borrowing from fire prevention funds will take effect in October. The borrowing, which had been common, involves taking money from fire prevention funds to pay for fighting forest fires. It has in the past curtailed prevention efforts like thinning overstocked timber stands that present a fire hazard.
Wyden said on his watch, Oregon has become the state with the most protection for wild and scenic rivers of any of the lower 48 states. Alaska has more, but Wyden said he told Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently that Oregon will catch up with them.
Wyden said the newly passed river protections will protect vital Oregon industries that need fresh water, from fishing to craft beer to tourism. He mentioned being approached by a man who had started a business constructing kayaks, and who was selling them around the state and even in other countries. Wyden said it’s important to encourage businesses like that.
“Recreation has the potential to be a major economic engine for rural America and rural Oregon,” Wyden said.