'Developer' wants access to Oregon wilderness

  • Walking in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness

    U.S. Forest Service
 

For many, wilderness designation - the promise that no roads and no permanent structures will mar a sensitive area - is an environmental dream come true. But 12 miles within southwestern Oregon's Kalmiopsis Wilderness, a man with old mining claims wants to improve a road and build a resort. He's calling it "reasonable access," a right granted mineral claim-holders under the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Carl Alleman has held eight mining claims in the Kalmiopsis since 1982. On three of the parcels, he owns the land as well as whatever minerals lie beneath it. On those 60 acres, Alleman and partner Loy Martindale say they plan to build a destination resort catering to the handicapped, a group Alleman says is usually "lopped out of the wilderness."

Up until last year, under an informal agreement with the Forest Service, Alleman was allowed two trips to his claims a week. The agency balked a year ago when it discovered that Alleman was making more trips and planning to build the resort. They locked the gate at the area's Onion Camp entrance and now Alleman must apply for a special-use permit to drive the 12 miles to his claims.

Alleman says he purposely had some people illegally drive around the gate to "bring this thing to a head. It's not a mining claim any longer," he argues. "It is private property." Alleman is quick to point out how much money he could make by mining or logging the area, but he says he has no plans to do either.

In the past, Alleman has had other ideas for the land. In 1994, he offered to sell the claims, for which he originally paid $150, back to the public for $850,000. According to Barbara Ullian of the Siskiyou Project, a local environmental group, the claims have been assessed at $78,000, but Kalmiopsis district ranger Mary Zuschlag could not confirm this.

Critics say Alleman's offer to sell is tantamount to blackmail. "They're holding a gun to the head of the American government and saying "Meet our demands or we're going to ruin your wilderness," " says George Nickas of Wilderness Watch. "How much damage is the Forest Service going to allow to the wilderness when there are private inholdings?"

Opponents to Alleman's plans say the resort will disturb hikers and habitat by bringing busloads of tourists, glaring nighttime lighting and inappropriate buildings into the wilderness. Allowing Alleman access through a walking trail would be more appropriate to a roadless area, says Ullian, especially since car tires help spread a fatal root disease that is already threatening rare Port Orford cedars found within the Kalmiopsis.

Ranger Zuschlag says that while it will be hard to take away access Alleman has had for 15 years, the Forest Service sincerely wants to protect the wilderness, perhaps through a land exchange. She cautions, though, that such a process could be lengthy and expensive, a cost Alleman would have to support. Says Zuschlag, "It would be great if that land could be purchased, but we cannot pay more than the appraisal."

Sarah Dry is an HCN intern.

High Country News Classifieds
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!