Monument: Two views on impact for searches

By Pat Caldwell
Malheur Enterprise

VALE – Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe is worried a national monument designation for the Owyhee Canyonlands could pose serious challenges to search and rescue efforts because of the possibility access to the area will be limited.

Yet a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management says a monument designation should not impact normal search and rescue operations.

A coalition of environmental groups, citizens and businesses support a blueprint to designate 2.5 million acres in Malheur County – including the Owyhee Canyonlands – either through Congressional legislation or by presidential action under the Antiquities Act.

The conservation blueprint is a flashpoint issue in Malheur County, where a recent non-binding referendum showed 90 percent of voters oppose the plan.

Wolfe said a monument designation will eventually spark the road closures.

“I believe access will . . .