California national monuments pay off, and are intact so far, but not DRECP

Here’s some anecdotal evidence supporting the economic arguments for national monument designation. Two years ago today, President Barack Obama created three new national monuments in the California desert: called Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains. Supporters held a community event to celebrate, noting that tourism to the area has increased significantly, as people …

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Review of collaborative restoration initiatives

The Forest Service funded a study (2 page summary here) of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership.  Of note (to me any way): Findings:  “Strong majorities said they had increased the pace and scale of restoration, improved ecological conditions, and reduced the threat of fire to communities.”  “61% said …

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Good Neighbor Authority

This isn’t something that has been discussed here, but in the last couple of days I’ve seen two stories that make it sound like the greatest thing since tab tops. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest may sell 123 million board feet of timber by the end of fiscal 2017, WJFW-TV reported. That would mark the fifth …

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When the locals pay for national forest fuel reduction …

Everybody wins? “So were Flagstaff officials prescient when they proposed what, at the time, was one of the first municipal partnerships with a national forest to have lands outside city boundaries thinned at city expense?” “Hindsight is 20-20, but it sure looks that way to us. Armed with a $10 million budget, the Forest Service …

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Forest plans and “valid existing rights”

This is about forest plan litigation – sort of.  The Michigan Wilderness Act included a provision protecting “valid existing rights.”  A series of forest plan amendments by the Ottawa National Forest imposed restrictions on motor boat use on a lake that was mostly within a wilderness area but partly touching private land.  A 2007 Forest …

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“I understand firefighter safety, but you have to put people on the fire.”

  This from a resident near the Lolo Peak Fire – a fire that had recently killed one firefighter.  He added, “I’m tired of the smoke and I’m tired of the fire. I think there needs to be more accountability.” I’m appalled by the sense of entitlement to protection of private property that this statement …

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Utah counties make plans for federal lands

Sagebrush Rebellion light? The state required counties to make these plans, which by itself should be a good thing (especially where there has historically been anti-planning sentiment). “This helps us to work with our federal partners to ensure Summit County’s interests are part of the conversation on how federal lands are managed,” said Sean Lewis, …

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Another kind of access challenge

Sometimes the threat to national forest access results from undeveloped private land adjacent to a national forest becoming a subdivision, and here’s an example of that. In a recent development (described on a subscription-only site) an Aug. 28 hearing has been set in a lawsuit filed by developer Easter Mountain Ranch LLC (EMR) against Cochise …

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Personnel, politics and public access to public lands

  Yes, it looks like Forest Service employees should be concerned about how Trump might affect their careers.  Here’s an example about offending private landowners who block access to national forests.  (And, without any facts beyond earlier stories, I’ll suggest that you not think of these as long-term rural residents, but more likely some recent, …

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