This a quote from the Lolo National Forest Supervisor included in his decision on an administrative objection to a timber project near Missoula. It’s not an obvious case of fuel treatments in the front country vs backcountry, but rarely does the Forest Service state its priorities more clearly:
In his Nov. 9 letter, Garcia wrote “I recognize the value of treating (national forest) lands adjacent to private property, however the primary intent of the Marshall Woods project is forest restoration.”
It’s been kind of an academic question before now, but I happen to live within range of a fire that might burn through this area. On the other hand, I don’t like arguments based on “my back yard.” But should it be the policy of the Forest Service to risk a little private property (and maybe a life or two) to meet its (presumably ecological) restoration targets? How would you choose and why?
It seems to me that this is a question that every forest plan should be designed to help you answer. And the public should probably demand the opportunity to influence that in the forest plan because the decision of “where to go” is typically made before a project decision, and is likely considered by the Forest Service to be outside the scope of the project decision (and therefore outside the scope of public comments and objections). (Which I think is what this objection decision is really saying.)