Okanogan Open Roads Coalition
Protect access to Public Lands!
Okanogan County is blessed with an historic network of dirt roads that connect our small towns and scenic public lands enjoyed by everyone.
In recent years, more and more of these roads, which many locals grew up using, have been gated off with prominent No Trespassing signs.
Powerful interests with deep pockets are seeking to claim these roads, and access to the land behind the gates, as their own. They are using every means at their disposal to accomplish their goals.
The last group of County Commissioners started a conversation that is still underway about vacating more roads. Forest Service and DNR roads appear to be on the table as well. The new County Commissioners are under a lot of pressure to give in to the privatization agenda.
We see the growing circle of closed roads around thousands of acres of public land, and we see what is coming - private takeover, and the end of hunting, fishing, horseback riding, four-wheeling and touring - forever. Unless we act.
We, the public who live near, use, and pay for these roads with our taxes need to be engaged in the decision making process at every level.
Okanogan Open Roads Coalition is a diverse group of affected locals, taxpayers and other users who appreciate our county's public lands and roads.
This group exists to support Okanogan County and the State of Washington in restoring and maintaining Public Access, rather than giving in to the powerful interests that seek to privatize the roads and lock up the public lands behind gates
Funds are needed to support legal costs associated with getting the public a place at the decision-making table. Until that happens, we are told that the citizens don't have 'standing' to defend our rights.
It's time to act, together.
Thank you all so much for stepping up to support this important effort. As a community we are truly on the front lines of the battle against the privatization of our public lands. It is a tough battle!
We hope that you will consider donating again, or opting for a recurring monthly donation. Our attorney has been kind enough to allow payments on our bill, and your regular support will help us pay it down while we keep moving forward through the process.
As of August 1, 2017 Okanogan Open Roads Coalition has taken steps on behalf of the taxpaying public to defend the Quiet Title lawsuit filed against Okanogan County over the historic French Creek Road in the Methow Valley.
The French Creek road is one of the oldest known routes into the valley, and is the only escape route for the residents of upper Texas Creek in the event of a wildfire from below. The road has a long history of use by hunters, recreationists, and the traveling public. We believe that we have a solid legal case with good documentation supporting the public status of this road.
OORC has submitted legal briefs on the case, including personal testimony from more than 35 people regarding their historic use of the road and its importance as an escape route. Five citizens and three Public Works employees were recently subject to deposition by attorneys for Gamble Land and Timber.
The County has offered little in the way of its own defense for public rights to access and safety, but continued pressure may give them the backbone they need in order to do the right thing. Petitions circulated by OORC have generated over 1,200 signatures demanding that the County aggressively defend our roads from privatization.
To date, OORC has generated $2,600 from GoFundMe, and around $2,000 in cash and other donations. Our current legal bill is just shy of $15,000. We expect to have our day in Okanogan Superior Court in the near future.
Our opponents have deep pockets, but we are deep in dedication and we are fueled by being on the right side of history.
We can do this together. Please consider renewing your donation today!
Any person or group that supports restoring and maintaining Public Access over our county's dirt roads is welcome to support OORC.
We're working on getting more information up to share with our supporters as soon as possible.
Thanks to everyone!
Okanogan Open Roads Coalition is not affiliated with any other organization. Our mission is to keep our County roads open. For emergencies, recreation and neighbors. Any person or group that supports restoring and maintaining Public Access over our county's dirt roads is welcome to support OORC. It's an issue that effects us all. Right wing, left wing, in between....We all want to know that we have options during fires, floods and for recreation.
Are you associated with ROCON? The reason why I ask is I'm dead set against these road closures, but do not support the radical environmental associations with ROCON. I would not want to donate for this cause only to later find out that the money was routed to ROCON.