Question #4: The proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument has been controversial in Pocahontas. Please state some of the major arguments for and against that proposal.
Gandee, Debra Jo Galford
Groseclose, Jesse A.
Mr. Walker did not respond to Eight Rivers Council by the deadline.
The Birthplace of Rivers National Monument proposal has been a hot issue in Pocahontas County for sure. This issue has brought out a tremendous amount of controversy, not only among our citizens, but among our local representative boards throughout the county. I think first and foremost we must realize that the Pocahontas County Commission is not the deal maker on this matter. It is up to the President of the United States, which through executive powers has the authority to declare this proposal or Congress which can introduce the monument as legislation. The County Commission is a strong stakeholder in the outcome just the same as you and me. The central principle of the proposal is that it will help our economy and offer longer-term protections for the impacted area. The concerns shared include extreme negative impacts to our timbering industry, hunting, fishing, and the other multitude of recreational uses we are currently afforded the opportunity to participate in within these areas. I believe the largest issue the monument faces in gaining support is the fact of the “unknown”, meaning we have a blank sheet of paper to fill out after the designation that many of the protections are put in place without outlining what the current residents and visitor should expect to experience. A few examples would be fees charged, limiting the number of visitors, hunting, fishing, and the overall restrictions that may limit activities citizens and visitors have known and enjoyed for years, in addition to the placement which may include eminent domain if private property lies within the boundaries. If President Obama signs the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument into law, I will be there to defend your concerns. I will be there, for all of you, whether you agree or disagree with the proposal, and I will represent you with the fullest extent of my powers and ability.