FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Moving forward from the Malheur Refuge takeover
Earlier this year thousands of people from all across the country expressed their peaceful opposition to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Today those thousands of people and millions of Americans from all walks of life continue to cherish the public lands that belong to all of us. And no place symbolizes that respect and shared interest better than the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
While we must respect and abide by the due process that is the foundation of our country’s justice system, Thursday’s verdict is deeply disappointing and troubling. Irrespective of the jury’s decision, this armed takeover of public lands was not an acceptable means of expressing a viewpoint and showed a callous disregard for public lands, the Burns Paiute Tribe and the public servants who work day in and day out to care for our lands.
The Malheur Wildlife Refuge has been and will continue to be an example of how people can work together to develop thoughtful solutions for managing public lands. Its current management plan is the culmination of work among conservationists, ranchers, the Burns Paiute Tribe, land managers and others to find common ground. Neither the takeover early this year nor this verdict will change that.
ONDA is proud of our long track record of civil engagement on public land management issues. We will work tirelessly to ensure the public continues to be able to enjoy public lands and that people have every opportunity to work together to shape their future management. We hope that discussions about the future of public lands will from here on out bring Oregonians together, not drive a wedge between us with divisive language and threats of violence.