Op-ed: Collaborative work on Forest Service plan cost Martin his job

Interesting look behind the scenes….

The former Southern Appalachian Regional Director for The Wilderness Society was the catalyst and key facilitator for a compromise and groundbreaking proposal for the Pisgah-Nantahala national forests that brought conservationists and recreational users together under one umbrella.

But that collaboration would eventually cost Brent Martin his job. A local activist and key donor — neither of whom had been involved in the collaboration — convinced The Wilderness Society to reverse its position and withdraw its support without even discussing the decision with Martin.

8 Comments

  1. This reminds me of the situation with the Sierra Club and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. The local chapter signed on as a supporter of the project, but then was later forced to withdraw that support, because I guess there is some national policy that the organization doesn’t support projects where trees are cut. Seems to me this is policy at its worst.

    • Same thing happened in the Rim Fire salvage efforts. The Sierra Club seems to have a little problem justifying their “not one stick” mindset, these days, to their members. They also seem to have a problem with telling the truth to their potential donors (who appear to be seeing through the scam). Their support is eroding faster than a severely-burned landscape.

      • In the latest installment of Larry Harrell vs Reality….

        “The Sierra Club has signed about 11,000 new monthly donors since the election, more than nine times the number for last December, its best month ever.” (Bloomberg, Nov 16, 2016)

        “The Sierra Club, one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups, said its donations have increased 700 percent since the November election compared with the same period last year.” (Washington Times, Feb 9, 2017)

    • When this happened with a member of the Wilderness Society on the Colorado Roadless Rule, I was the most sympathetic of anyone, having been “told to go do something” and then overruled by higher level folks in the FS.. well more than once (well, we told you to do something, but not exactly that, and yes, you asked before you did it, and someone said “yes” but that was not the right Someone, or now there is a new Someone who is not on board).

      It’s good management to give people sideboards in advance.. like “don’t get involved with groups like this” upfront, and tell the people when the sideboards change, but difficult to manage in practice with with so many people involved.. like that old game of Telephone.

      To the other folks who worked on Roadless in the State, and were not in a large hierarchical organizations, this seemed like not negotiating in good faith. Like “you will be with us, and we do things you want, but at the end of the day your organization won’t support us anyway”. That’s how others felt, but I felt deep sympathy for that person.

  2. “This ultimately cost me my job, as I refused to simply switch positions and stab the multiple partners who had worked so hard on this in the back.” This is exactly what happened to me when Defenders of Wildlife fired me for trying to talk to scientists and NGO partners about protecting Archipelago wolves. With friends like these…

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