There has been much hyperbole and misinformation regarding DogPAC's work to regain forest access for dog owners, with winter access being a central aspect. Here are some facts to set the record straight.The Deschutes National Forest is by far the most restrictive of the 12 national forests in Oregon. Even if all the changes proposed by DogPAC are implemented, the Deschutes will remain the most restrictive national forest in Oregon. Put simply, this forest is abnormal in its restrictions on dog owner access. That needs to change.
"Dog skiers" are allowed on zero percent (none) of the cross country trail systems along Cascade Lakes Highway. We are restricted to the snowmobile areas south of the highway, even though the Deschutes National Forest's own research indicates that it's inappropriate to mix snowmobiles and dogs.
There is not enough ski terrain for everyone to have everything they want. Thus, we need to share - not every trail, but the broad area. Communities do this in national forest ski areas throughout the West. It's time for us to do this in Central Oregon. National forests do not belong to individual user groups; they belong to all Americans.
This issue will not go away until the current injustice is resolved. DogPAC's proposal is to access a portion (more than zero percent, less than 100 percent) of the cross country ski terrain north of the highway. Swampy Sno-Park is the logical location, as both the sno-park and the surrounding trails have lower levels of use than either Meissner or Dutchman. DogPAC has not proposed that dog skiers access all of the trails out of Swampy or that we access Meissner or any of the trails groomed by the Tumalo Langlauf Club.
- Kreg Lindberg, Bend