Some readers might recall that when Sharon and I began this blog, we somehow managed to get the USFS and UM logos on our Masthead—proof of a true and perhaps significant collaboration focused on the new USFS planning rule. I really liked the idea of a blog specifically focused on an important and forthcoming rule—a very neat opportunity. The USFS made sure the logo didn’t last long, and I eventually requested the UM/Bolle Center logos be removed because of the decreasing amount of time that I was contributing to the blog. While that was happening, NCFP started to slowly morph into something different, with a more general focus on all issues pertaining to forest law, policy, and management.
There were highs and lows on the blog for me. There were some posts and comment threads that were so fun and enlightening that I printed and filed them away for future reference. Sharon, John Rupe, Andy Stahl, and other contributors forced me to think about several issues in new ways. So many gems—those always made the time devoted to the blog well worth it. The discussions also generated new ideas and questions for me, ones that I have used in the classroom and plan on pursuing in the future.
I also enjoyed writing some of my own blog posts. Some of them forced me to clarify my thinking about certain matters, such as the role of standards in forest planning. Others eventually led me down more serious paths of research and writing. I was so intrigued by the idea of triggers in planning and adaptive management, for example, that I ended up writing about the topic in pretty serious fashion last year. It was also rewarding to see, on occasion, 300 or so people reading some wonky post about forest policy and planning. And it was always so nice to be stopped at some meeting and be told about how someone always reads or appreciates the blog. And it was really, really nice when that appreciation was demonstrated through free beer.
Of course, not all were smiles and sunshine. I often got frustrated by some of the comments on the blog, from their substance to tone. And so many times I just didn’t feel like reading the same old recycled arguments and positions that I’ve heard a thousand times before. On those days, instead of reading about forest planning at lunch, I would instead watch Hockey Night in Canada or Stephen Colbert highlights.
The boring truth of the matter is that I simply couldn’t find the time to participate enough on the blog. Sharon was always so gracious about the matter and everyone always knew that she was the heart and soul of this thing. My teaching, research, and administrative duties increased significantly since we started the endeavor (enter the violins). Something had to go, so the blog took the initial hit. I still read it all the time, but choose to do so quietly and without any contribution on my part. The classic free rider—that’s me. I’m sorry to Sharon and National Public Radio.
I’m not sure if my work situation will change in the near future so that I can again participate more seriously. I am now Chair of my Department, teach two classes, and try to maintain an active research agenda. So it is time to sign off and become a reader and perhaps occasional contributor. I hope the blog continues to flourish, as I feel strongly that it provides a very valuable service.
Sharon, a very special thank you—for your vision, leadership, patience, and all the hard work you’ve given to this blog. You have done so much to foster an engaging and respectful dialogue about National Forest management. I wish we could find a real way to compensate you for this important but time-consuming service—the investment would be worth it. Interacting with you over the past couple of years has been a lot of fun. I really appreciate all that you’ve done.