|Wildwood development moves forward posted on 01/01/2020|
Mountain residents and visitors have a limited window to
submit comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the potential
development of the Wildwood Recreation Area, with the deadline set for Wednesday,
Jan. 15. The comment period opened on Dec. 2, 2019 following the completion of
the Wildwood Recreation Area Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) and
Unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).
“We really ask people for substantive comments,” said Dan
Davis, BLM’s Northwest Oregon District Outdoor Recreation Planner. “Let us know
why you don’t like it, let us know if it will impact wildlife.”
The potential development, which could include recreation vehicle
and full hook-up campsites, cabins, yurts, outdoor kitchen areas,
administrative offices, restrooms and shower facility, bus stop, a playground,
picnic areas, a dog park and a dump station, got started in 2016 with a public
meeting to discuss the possibilities. The BLM completed an economic analysis
and a draft Recreation Area Management Plan in November 2017 and plans included
a possible comment period that winter.
But Davis noted that due to staffing turnover and the merger
of two BLM districts, the project sat with engineers for a while as they went
through all the aspects to be sure the numbers lined up.
The EA analyzes three action alternatives, including the
Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative.
Davis noted that after the comment period, the BLM is
expected to review the comments, taking between two weeks and a month to do so.
After addressing the substantive comments, the proposed project could be signed
and released as the final document.
Davis added that any work at Wildwood would not be expected
to take place in 2020, with contracts and funding likely lined up the year
before work would begin.
“It’s really hard to speculate what appropriations are going
to be year to year,” Davis said.
Approximately 50,000 visitors come to Wildwood each year,
but the area, which was first developed in 1963, was built to accommodate up to
375,000 visitors. Davis noted that 99 percent of the fees go back to the site,
unless the money can’t be spent there.
The EA and unsigned FONSI, including maps, are available for
public review online at ePlanning project webpage: https://go.usa.gov/xmBUH.
Please send written comments on the EA to John Huston, Field Manager, Cascades
Field Office, BLM Northwest Oregon District, 1717 Fabry Road SE, Salem, Oregon,
97306. Comments may also be sent via email to
email@example.com, or submitted via the ePlanning project
webpage under the “Documents” section on the left side of the webpage.
Comments, including names and addresses of respondents, will
be available for public review, but individual respondents may request
confidentiality. If you wish to withhold your name or street address from
public review or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must
state this prominently at the beginning of your written comment. Such requests
will be honored to the extent allowed by law. All submissions from
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made
available for inspection in their entirety.
By Garth Guibord/MT