End of an Era?

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It’s not a surprise that the Forest Service is hiding their response to the sequestration. Simply put, modern projects treat more acres and cut numerous small trees. They cannot accomplish this work without temporary employees. My last year’s Ranger District currently has TWO permanent timber employees, and two others shared with another (larger) Ranger District. I wonder if our Collaborative funds will be returned to the Treasury if projects aren’t completed.

I guess the only way to find out how bad it will be is to welcome the collapse, then decide how to fix it. Meanwhile, the best of the temporaries will find careers (or jobs) elsewhere, and they won’t be coming back. It is hard enough to live on just 6 months of work, each year.

2 Comments

  1. Larry, “Twilight of the Gods” has a nice ring to it. We old-timers are indeed witnessing the end of the “our” Forest Service as a useful organism. The land will endure and there is hope that it may again be fruitful if productive timberlands are removed from federal control and restored to productivity under other management. Those who witnessed Tuesday’s meeting of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation saw perhaps the first small step towards that end. The majority party aggressively supported change while the minority party asked useful questions. I had the impression that all agreed that “”something” must be done. Trust Management was one option mentioned.

    • We here in California have already seen a massive drop in timber volumes. In 1989, my old RD had a target of 65 million board feet. “New Perspectives” dropped it to 45 million board feet. The Sierra Nevada Framework, as Clinton envisioned, dropped it to 2 million board feet. The amended Framework pushed that back up to 5 million board feet. Of course, I am not saying we need to push it back up but, sequestration could push it all the way down to zero. Yes, I have seen the transition, from start to finish. I surely don’t want to return to clearcuts and “overstory removal”. I prefer the Collaborative project I worked on last year, thinning from below.

      I don’t think there is a permanent timbermarker on our entire Forest. It appears that they prefer a revolving door of temps that I call “Federal McForestry”. Currently, I cannot return to work until June, due to using all of my 1039 appointment hours for this appointment year. If the Forest Service can’t hire temps, options become severely limited (and expensive!) When I worked for an Enterprise Team, my contracted cost per hour was $66. With funds more limited, that option cannot work, either.

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