From the April 2002 Idaho Observer:

Thousands come out in protest of ridiculous road rules

OROVILLE, Wash. -- Nearly 1,000 people came out for two different public meetings sponsored by the Okanogan County Farm Bureau to express their anger and frustration at the state's intention to enforce its new forest road rules. Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plans (RMAPs), passed in the legislature last year, forces property owners to bring their driveways and roads up to state Department of Natural Resources standards.

Failure to expend the estimated $5,000-$7,000 per mile to bring their private roads up to state standards will result in the state beginning the process of seizing non-compliant private property through the courts.

“The people here are really mad. If the state goes through with this I'm afraid there is going to be bloodshed,” said area resident Terry O'Donnell.

O'Donnell also noted that city, county, state and federal roads are exempt from RMAPs rules.

The freedom-loving people of the remote, sparsely populated and rugged high desert country in northeast Washington near the Canadian border have been subjected to some of the most oppressive planning and zoning laws in the country. The militancy with which state and county governments have enforced their “force-poor-people-off-their-private-property” agenda has steadily increased over the last few years. Many tax-paying private property owners in the economically-devastated, resource-dependent area view RMAPs as the ultimate betrayal in a long line of government betrayals.

According to Farm Bureau President Joel Kretz, the legislature did not consult with Okanogan county residents before adopting the forest road rules. Kretz described the legislature as, “A large table of vultures fighting over scraps of the carcass of the small private landowner. The only seat we got at the table was as the main course.”

Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland blamed the passage of the laws on the liberal voters of the densely populated Seattle area.

While Sen. Bob Morton and Rep. Bob Sump were sympathetic to the plight of their constituents. Rep. Cathy McMorris could not publicly recall whether or not she was a co-sponsor of the bill that could devastate the people in her district.

The details of this story will be published in the May edition of The IO.

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