On November 10, the Deschutes National Forest is releasing a Draft Decision Notice on a Cave Management Forest Order prohibiting specific activities in and around caves because these activities are impacting fragile cave resources. Most of these prohibitions were taken from existing forest orders.
The release of the draft decision began a 45-day objection period. Only individuals or groups who have previously submitted comments either during the scoping period or public comment period on the environmental analysis can make objections on the decision.
The 1988 Federal Cave Resources Protection Act mandates that Federal agencies secure, protect and preserve significant caves on Federal lands for the perpetual use, enjoyment, and benefit of all people. There are approximately 700 caves on the Deschutes National Forest. The Cave Management Forest Order will prohibit the following activities in all caves:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire.
- Lighting, maintaining, attending, or using any burning material.
- Depositing any foreign material.
- Possessing a beverage which is defined as an alcoholic beverage by state law.
- Possessing any glass containers and/or paint.
- Possessing any domestic animals (except for service animals as defined on ADA.gov).
- Using any hand-drying agent (chalk or other substances).
- Installing permanent anchors (e.g., bolts, pitons).
- Depositing body waste (including domestic animal body waste).
- Possessing, using, and/or operating an internal combustion engine, motorized vehicle (such as off highway vehicles, electric bikes, electric skateboards, one-wheels, etc.), and/or mechanized vehicles (such as mountain bikes, skateboards, etc.).
- Playing live or recorded music.
- Broadcasting glitter, dust (beyond what is naturally produced by walking and crawling), smoke, or other substances into the air.
In addition, there are specific prohibitions for several other caves such as Lava River Cave, Skeleton Cave, Hidden Forest Cave and several other caves.
To review the Draft Decision and the specific prohibitions the public can go to the following link: bit.ly/3kpjLOU . Previous commenters who are interested in objecting to the Draft Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact will find the details of how to object at this link: bit.ly/2JYTYR7 .
For more information, people can contact Sasha Fertig, Deschutes National Forest environmental coordinator, at email@example.com.