Gorge Commission Closing In
by Associated Press
THE DALLES, ORE. - After two years of negotiations, the Columbia Gorge River Commission may be close to adopting new land use rules for the 292,500-acre National Scenic Area, which sprawls over six counties in Oregon and Washington.
Environmentalists, businessmen, tribal representatives, state and regional officials all tried to get the last word in this week at a six-hour public meeting in the Dalles.
At Tuesday's meeting, wine industry officials came out in force to object to a 500-square-foot limit on wine tasting rooms.
James Montone of Syncline Wine Cellars in Bingen, Wash., said the limitation was "too repressive." Our current tasting room is 500 square feet and we have to turn people away," he said.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, urged the commission to ban clear cuts in the scenic area.
Nathan Baker, staff attorney for Friends of the Columbia Gorge, said proposed 15-acre clear cuts on nonfederal forest land should be limited to an acre.
Others said even 15 acres is not enough for a viable agricultural operation.
Commissioners plan to discuss the public input at their meeting on March 23. A decision on the revised plan is slated for April 27th.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs