Sheriff Gil Gilbertson
601 NW 5th St – Grants Pass  OR   97526
(541) 474-5120
FAX (541) 474-5114

08 August 2011
Subject: Public Safety and the Coordination Process letter of request/intent by Gil Gilbertson

To:       USDA Forest Service
            1400 Independence Ave. S.W.
            Washington DC. 20250-0003

            USDA Forest Service
            Pacific Northwest Region
            P.O. Box 3623
            Portland, Oregon 97208-3623

United States Forest Service
            Attn: Barb Severson, Law Enforcement S.A.
            Pacific Northwest Region
            10600 N.E. 51st Circle
            Vancouver, Washington 98682

Bureau of Land Management
            Western Oregon Plan Revisions Office
P.O. Box 2965
Portland, Oregon 97208
Bureau of Land Management
Oregon/Washington State Office
1515 S.W. Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97208

U.S. Bureau of Land Management
1849 C. Street N.W. Room 5660
Washington DC., 20240

            U.S. Bureau of Land Management
            Medford Office
3040 Biddle Road
            Medford, Oregon 97504

            U.S. Bureau of Land Management
            Grants Pass Interagency Office
2164 N.E. Spalding Ave.
            Grants Pass, Oregon 97526

Cc:       Josephine County Commissioners
            Senator Ron Wyden
            Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Jason Atkinson
Senator Jeff Kruse
            Representative Greg Walden
            Representative Peter Defazio
Representative Dennis Richardson
Representative Tim Freeman
Representative Wally Hicks

From:   Gil Gilbertson, Sheriff

Re:      Public Safety and the Coordination Process letter of request/intent

Honorable Leaders:

First, let me say at the outset of what follows. I consider myself a dedicated “conservationist”. I believe the responsibility to protect what we have resides in all of us; we, as good stewards, owe it to our future generations. I also want it understood, we pledge to pursue lawful charges against those who feel the need to violate the laws established to preserve our public lands and natural resources. I look forward to working together to ensure these common concerns.

I have been in Office for the last four and one-half years. During that time, no federal agency has approached asking for an opportunity to “coordinate”, nor even suggested such an option was available. Whether it was simply an oversight or intentional does not concern me at this point. I admit to disappointment that neither the USFS, nor BLM, has been totally honest or forthcoming in fulfilling their obligations regarding this matter. I am simply asking the federal agencies to follow their own rules and regulations and comply with my request for “coordination”.

I look forward to addressing issues such as the Constitutional source of authority to establish and codify an armed federal law enforcement entity to work within the legal jurisdiction of a sovereign State, and the presumption of supremacy over State law enforcement authority.  The 10th Amendment clearly reserves police powers to the States; as does, Article 1 §8 (17), and Article IV §3 (2), numerous Supreme Court decisions, and many other issues resulting in a need for clarification.

In the meantime, as the duly elected Sheriff and Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in Josephine County, I respectfully assert my obligation and right, pursuant to State and Federal law to coordinate with the USFS, BLM, and all other Federal agencies for any program, project, plan or proposal, which affects the economic, social, or traditional aspects of the health and public safety of the citizens we serve.

In a recent meeting with a BLM agent, I expressed my concerns about new maps, which do not depict existing roads and trails. These maps could mislead the public and disrupt emergency responses. I believe RS2477 and/or public roads and trails in existence prior to the FLPMA Act of 1976 are exempt from closures. Other laws address this issue as well.

Road access is critical to our public health and safety.  I assert my lawful authority to use any road I deem essential in this regard to conduct law enforcement operations including crime prevention, crime response, fire suppression, emergency medical response, assistance to federal law enforcement officers, search and rescue operations, drug cartel and illicit drug eradication, and related operations. The closure of roads and harassment by federal agents upon miners has prompted my actions.

Citizens are limited in their ability to influence governmental agencies through brief written or oral presentations. The Coordination Process allows elected and appointed government officials to sit at the negotiation table to speak for the PEOPLE. This process establishes a “government to government” planning opportunity on an “equal footing” basis.

The Josephine County Biscuit fire (loss of 500,000 acres) serves as a tragic example of the importance of properly managing our forest areas. Reducing fuels and maintaining access is essential in the prevention and suppression of catastrophic wild land fires.  This is vital for the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.  (Much more recently, examples of such a need have been similar fires in Texas and Arizona.)

Another issue at conflict is the USFS Transportation Management Plan, which influences public safety in numerous ways.  As stated earlier, there is a fundamental need for public and departmental access to USFS/BLM roads.  For example, last year we pulled and eradicated approximately 90,000 Cartel grown marijuana plants out of the forests.

For these reasons and more, I cannot accept any road closures within the geographic boundary of this County until the USFS and BLM articulates sound reasoning for such actions.

The federal rules and regulations are clear (and numerous) stating they “shall” engage in a coordination process with all elected and appointed officials. This process “shall” be undertaken before issuing a decision on a plan, amendment, or revision let alone implementation.

The U.S. Constitution, including the 10th and 14th Amendments, asserts States’ rights and due process to citizens and their rightful pursuit of life, liberty, and property.

It is my understanding the Josephine County Commissioners are also in the developmental stage of requiring “coordination and consistency”. In fact, officials from both California and Oregon are comparing notes and looking towards a mutual approach to address many of these issues.



Gil Gilbertson, Sheriff
Josephine County
(541) 474-5120

Land And Water USA (970) 284-6874