More than 100 residents of Rim Country attended the first of three meetings that Coconino National Forest officials are sponsoring to present the latest draft of the Fossil Creek Comprehensive River Management Plan. Nearly a dozen Forest Service officials also attended the meeting on Feb. 11 where they presented six plan alternatives, all designed to protect the creek from overuse.

Following an introductory history of the planning process and a brief overview of the six alternatives, Coconino Forest Project Coordinator Marcos Roybal opened the meeting to questions.

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Mike White

The 6 so-called options almost all lead to a major restriction in public access to Fossil Creek. It is obvious that mandating a serious cutback is the starting point of their charter (agenda/mission) before they even begin listening to the input of affected tax-paying, creek-visiting citizens. Easing access for FD and SAR for public safety by opening the access road is not part of their charter or mission. We all must remember that mid-level government managers tend to be risk-averse. They have nothing to gain by giving citizens want they want (unless it is in their charter) and everything to lose if something goes wrong. Add to that the mind-boggling array of regulations from multiple agencies and layers of government that are often at cross purposes, and no wonder they are bogged down by inefficient internal processes that are disconnected from the choices of the public. Even when several members of Congress tried to intervene to assist our local emergency services leadership, little actually changed. Who is in charge?

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