This is the only surviving church in BTR/LBL. It and the adjoining cemetery were decorated by BTR Inc. for the Christmas season on December 4th, 2004. Made up members dedicated to commemorating the history and culture which existed in BTR/LBL, the group works throughout the year on projects to that end. St. Stephens has been one such project.
Despite repeated negotiations with the Forest Service, there are pink ribbons ten foot all the way around the fence of this church. That is how close they plan for their burn to get to our church. This marks the edge of their upcoming controlled burn which will cover nearly 10,000 acres. They have said they want to preserve our history, but what will be left of an agarian culture which built primarily in wood. I know of several outbuildings and other remnants which will be gone when they do this burn. It will devastate the last of our homeland. Even many home burial grounds which marked their graves with cedar trees will be destroyed. Can you imagine an archaeologist researching a site with fire?
WPSD gave favorable coverage to their last controlled burn. I went to the site nearly two weeks later and found trees still smoking and capable of starting new fires if conditions had been right. I walk through the woods taking over 2 dozen photographs which were not nearly as beneveolent as the footage WPSD showed on television. Furthermore, their own tractor started a fire recently in the Woodson Chapel community which might have threaten another structure built for homecomings near the old site of the Woodson Chapel Church and adjoining the cemetery if not controlled.
This may not qualify as a news tip as much as an inquiry. The Forest Service has a Heritage Plan, yet they refuse to preserve our heritage. The Forest Service has been a partner in name only since every thing this group has done to restore and preserve this church has been forced on the Forest Service through media attention and legislative efforts. We have found they hate negative media coverage and comply only when we draw attention to their resistance to our efforts to preserve our heritage. How do you feel about their plans? Do you still think they are dedicated to preserving the heritage of LBL or the environment there? Will you help us bring this plan to the public's attention or do they win this battle and we possibly lose the last visible vestiage of culture in LBL?