Seattle Times on Conservation Northwest Proposal

People seem to be working together successfully…

Environmentalists, loggers push new wilderness deal in Northeast Washington
Seattle Times article here.

However, some are unsure if they are satisfied with the proposal, including cattle ranchers and motor-sport enthusiasts.

“They’ve done some groundbreaking stuff, but that coalition has been a teeter-totter between environmentalists and timber companies,” said resident Eric Weatherman, who is organizing backcountry vehicles users so they have greater voice in the debate. “Our opinion is it should be a triangle, not a teeter-totter, and the third piece is recreational users”

4 Comments

  1. I keep wondering why the rest of us let the “environmentalists” and the “timber industry” keep divvying up federal lands? And of course, they usually end up in more wilderness and more timber output…in the very century when the federal lands are crucial for water, clean air, biodiversity, recreation, and rural economies….so where are those communities in these place-based discussions? Is it really place-based legislation, or a continuence of interest-based negotiations over a specific geography??

  2. Green timber output has dropped steadily since the late 80′s. Here in California, 3 out of 4 mills have gone out of business. Stream buffers have increased from 100 feet to 300 feet on perennial streams. Roadless and wildlife areas have multiplied like rabbits. Diameter limits had been dropped to 12″ dbh in some areas. Wildfires and bark beetles have taken millions of acres out of timber production.

    Do we really have to bribe environmentalists with more wilderness in exchange for the mere potential to thin forests. Why don’t we simply accept that they will try to litigate projects and move forward, without the smoke and mirrors? Either the projects stands on its own legal merits, or it doesn’t, regardless of deals made.

    Yes, we CAN have clean air, clean water, biodiversity, recreation, good rural economies AND timber projects!

  3. Lynn, I’m thinking that the timber folks involved ARE local timber folks, but that was an assumption with no particular basis. With your post and Foto’s, it makes you wonder if wilderness designation (see this letter from an outfitter) is to some extent trading off mechanized and motorized recreationists and outfitters for a deal between timber and wilderness advocates.

    Foto, many of us do accept that projects will be litigated (fuels, travel management, grazing, oil and gas, access) and have accepted this as a way of life.

    Which goes back to Martin’s work on why people feel the need for these agreements. Maybe we can ask someone involved.

  4. If litigation has become a way of life, then why do we keep producing projects that result in lawsuits? I tend to think that the Forest Service always THINKS it is following the law but, that its the courts and the litigators who continue to find loopholes and conflicts in the laws, policies, rules, memos, studies and junk science. I guess we COULD go with submerchantable thinnings and “sweeten the pot” with trees up to 12″ dbh but, would anyone want to bid on such a project? (No, because such a plan would have to pay an operator big bucks to complete such a project.) Here in California, the average cut-tree diameter is around 14″ dbh, with trees up to 29″ dbh being cut to insure that the projects sells. Basically, nearly all trees under 12″ dbh are being cut, down to the 10″ dbh minimum, with suppressed or crowded trees above that being cut for forest health, fire safety, resilience and improved wildlife habitat. The resulting stands are well-stocked, park-like, healthy and vigorous, with plenty of future old growth to replace the huge trees, declining in health due to overstocking and pests. Here in California, a “large tree” isn’t in the 20-30″ dbh range. A truly “large tree” is more like 50-80+” dbh.

    Soooo, I guess we could

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