The Lolo’s Marshall Woods project.
A common thread through many of these stories seems to be unmet expectations. That begs the question of what expectations the Forest Service sets up before collaboration occurs. It would be interesting to hear from those who have “collaborated” what the Forest Service says it will do with their collaborative products. Does anyone ever document these expectations?
I suspect there is a “catch 22” here. The Forest Service must remain accountable for it decisions and its decision-making process under existing laws, and therefore it must be free to disregard collaborative input. But if this is made clear to potential collaborators, won’t they be less likely to invest the efforts needed to produce something useful? Is the Forest Service clear about this?
Now we have discussions about changing laws to make the Forest Service less accountable. Assuming we could get the necessary national consensus to give greater weight to local collaboration, does anyone think the Forest Service would be willing to contract away its authority to manage national forests by making substantive commitments to collaborators?