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SALEM – The Oregon Department of State Lands announces public comment period on permanent rules for commercial guide permits within the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Charleston. A public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Reserve’s Interpretive Center located at 61907 Seven Devils Road in Charleston.

The change allows commercial guide companies to operate within the Reserve through a permitting process overseen by the Reserve’s Management Commission.

The SSNERR designed its permit requirements to ensure that guides understand “Leave No Trace” principles, have appropriate levels of training in safety, and have accurate information about estuarine ecosystems, the reserve and its programs. Guides must also adhere to SSNERR policies established to avoid or minimize impacts to natural and cultural resources in South Slough.

Currently, the public demand for guided hikes and paddle trips exceeds SSNERR’s capacity to deliver these programs. Permitting commercial guides to offer these experiences allows the reserve to expand education and outreach opportunities for the public, while also protecting the SSNERR’s natural and cultural resources and fostering wise stewardship of public lands.

Written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. Oct. 31 to be considered. Written comments may be submitted by email to rules@dsl.state.or.us, or by mail to DSL Rules Coordinator, 775 Summer Street NE, Suite 100, Salem, Oregon 97301. Comments may also be submitted online at https://www.oregon.gov/dsl/Laws/Pages/RuleComment.aspx.

To view the proposed rules, visit: https://www.oregon.gov/dsl/Laws/Pages/Rulemaking.aspx.

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For more information about the Reserve’s Management Commission, visit: https://www.oregon.gov/dsl/SS/Pages/ManagementCommission.aspx

The meetings will be held in facilities that are accessible for persons with disabilities. Those needing assistance to participate in one or more of the meetings due to a disability can notify Anne Friend at 503-986-5245 or anne.m.friend@state.or.us at least four working days prior to the meeting they plan to attend.

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