For about three years now, folks in Sisters Country have been riled up in a controversy over a proposed paved trail from Sisters to Black Butte Ranch.

It's time to take a step back and put the issue on the back burner for a while.

Proponents have rallied support for the project and outlined all the community benefits they believe will flow from adding such an amenity. Opponents have made their objections known in detail and offered up proposed alternatives. There is little new to say on the subject.

And, in any case, nothing is going to happen any time soon.

Sisters District Ranger Kristie Miller brought a great deal of clarity to the issue in her discussions with the Sisters City Council at their workshop last week. If there is a proposal made -whether it's the same as before or modified to accommodate objections - and if the Forest Service chooses to consider it, the paved path project will be run through the ringer in another Forest Service Environmental Assessment. All interested parties will have ample opportunity to weigh in on pros and cons.

And that isn't going to happen in 2015. It may or may not happen in 2016, depending on whether the Forest Service funds an EA. And if they do fund it, the EA will take a year or more to complete.

So here is a very long moment to let the rancor die down and for neighbors to mend fences. There will be ample opportunity for folks to take up their cudgels again when there is a proposal and a process in play.

And, this being Sisters, there are sure to be other issues, other controversies and contretemps to keep folks busy while the Forest Service decides whether or not to fund an EA and put this one back on the front burner.



Jim Cornelius, Editor