Forest Service timber contracts to be suspended amid federal shutdown

From today’s Missoulian:

Montana lumber mills are bracing for an expected suspension of timber contracts on national forest lands Monday as part of the growing impacts from the federal government shutdown.

A Washington, D.C.-based agency spokesman confirmed Friday the agency plans to send out notifications that logging operations will be required to cease.

“Due to the federal funding lapse, early next week the U.S. Forest Service must notify 450 timber purchasers across the country that timber sales and stewardship contracts will be suspended,” said Forest Service communications director Leo Kay.

The agency plans to work with individual timber purchasers to suspend work in an orderly manner, he said.

“We regret the continued impact to the American public,” Kay said. “However, we must cease activities that require Forest Service oversight and management during the funding lapse.”

Kay said he was not able to provide details on how the suspension will occur, but several representatives from Montana mills said it appeared the agency would give loggers seven days to finish whatever work they could.

At this time of year, Montana mills are feverishly stockpiling enough logs to keep their operations running though the winter months and spring breakup.

“It would really hurt to have to shut down this time of year,” said RY Timber resource manager Ed Regan. “Most of the sales we have are up in the high country.”

Read the entire article here.


    • Of course, one could make the argument that the ones who want to place America’s federal public lands under the control of local and state governments are the same people who have shutdown the entire federal government in the first place (because of a temper tantrum about a law that passed Congress, was signed by the president and was upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme Court…or something like that).

      • Matt, yes you could make that argument, but it would be a stupid (in the technical sense of the word) argument to make. They — of course — are not “the same people.” Let’s be reasonable now. You’re starting to sound like a liberal Democrat with an agenda. The forests of the Pacific Northwest were shut down decades before this latest political snit in DC and have nothing to do with it. You should know that.

      • Matt, With regard to your comment “…the ones who want to place America’s federal public lands under the control of local and state governments are the same people who have shutdown the entire federal government in the first place” I am numbered among those who would like to see selected federal lands placed under competent management – whether state or local government or independent trust. However, I do hereby categorically deny that I had any role in shutting down the entire federal government – or any portion thereof.

  1. Of course, that will also send all the Forest Service “dozer bosses” home, as well. We might also expect that these loggers will react, maybe by not responding to wildfires, with their helicopters, dozers and water tenders. Yep, “non-essential”!!! NICE MOVE!!! Yep, we are still in the middle of fire season, here in California, and other states, too.

  2. I hope that there is enough time for the loggers to do all their erosion control work. I would guess that if slash work (lop and scatter) would be a moot point if the snow stomps the slash down to contractual levels, saving loggers money. Will they be able to do all their road-blading before the shutdown? I don’t see pile burning happening, either, during this fall season, in active timber projects. There are contractual provisions that address some of these issues but, is there a deadline for the Forest Service personnel to be off the job? Loggers DO have adequate time limits to accomplish the work, under normal conditions. The logging season here often extends into December, depending on elevation.

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