Community protests Cascade Siskiyou Monument to U.S. Secretary of Interior

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

MEDFORD, Ore. - The U.S. Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, met with Governor Kate Brown, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, the Klamath Tribes and the Jackson County Commissioners this afternoon to assess the Cascade Siskiyou Monument.

Dozens gathered outside of the Medford Interagency Office to get their voices heard on the debate.

Many of the concerns focused on biodiversity protection.

"The Cascade Siskiyou is home to many rare species found nowhere else in the world and now at this time in our history it has been identified as a really critical spot during climate change," said Jeanine Moy, a local resident.

Community members want to be heard while Zinke is in town.

"We're hopeful that actually getting out on the ground and seeing the place and not just hearing the arguments from Washington D.C. he'll be able to see there's a lot of support for the monument and it's just an incredible place, worthy of our best protection," said Joseph Vaile, the executive director at the

Klamath Siskiyou Wildlife Center.

But some other protectors are concerned too much patrolling of the area will block critical access points.

"My job is a wildlife firefighter and I want to protect our resources...We can't get that resolved with forest thinning and keeping some roads accessible then in my opinion, the monument is detrimental," said Pancho Parker, Briervile Fire and Forestry owner.

Something that's keeping other community members on their toes as well.

"In Oregon here we probably should have 75 to 100 trees per acre, we're pushing 300 trees per acre. That's a recipe for disaster. In fact, if we escape this fire season without a major fire I'll be really surprised," said Ron Smith from Rogue Valley Property Rights.

But rather than the monument, no monument debate, fireman Parker would like to see an alternate solution.

"I'm not in favor of destruction by no means. What I would like to see and I'm hoping we can all come to a compromise," said Parker.

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