IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND

It seems like an exercise in futility for the “New Century of Forest Planning” group to be discussing and cussing forest planning &/ policy when we haven’t even agreed to the scientific fundamentals that serve as the cornerstone and foundation for any such discussions. Below, I have developed a tentative outline of the high level …

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Do elk need trees?

For many years, it has been pretty much common knowledge, supported by science, that as the amount of hunting season open roads increases, there is more need for cover for elk to hide.  The Helena National forest plan (and others) have incorporated this relationship into standards for elk security.  (Full disclosure – I had something …

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Remember the “Shovel Brigade?” Court unsettles settlement.

This was the Bundy gang of the 90s.  The Forest Service decided that it would not rebuild a washed out road along the Jarbridge River in Nevada to avoid impacting the now federally threatened bull trout.  The locals threatened to rebuild it themselves.  The issue in court became “who owns the road.” Under the Bush …

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Another classic settlement

A follow up to an earlier post on ATV litigation on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. “Under the settlement, the Forest Service agreed not to authorize public use to all-terrain vehicles without first completing an assessment of environmental effects. The agency also agreed to re-survey routes and remove any remaining signs authorizing ATV use.” “The federal agency …

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Settlement: opening roads to motorized use requires NEPA (take 2)

It’s the Pike-San Isabel this time.  The issue appears to be “unauthorized and unanalyzed” routes.  It’s not clear whether those are two different things, but I think the point is that when a Motor Vehicle Use Map allows motorized use on user-created (“unauthorized?”) roads, the map becomes an authorization that triggers NEPA, ESA, NFMA consistency …

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Forest Service Must Re-initiate Consultation With USFWS on Lynx

This looks to have far-reaching effects on those National Forests within the “core habitats”. This looks like a forced settlement situation, where the Forest Service will probably pay dearly for their loss in court. http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/06/17/13-35624.pdf Interesting: Although the court granted summary judgment to Cottonwood and ordered reinitiation of consultation, it declined to enjoin any specific …

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Sleeping With the Enemy?

Timber industry people who don’t trust forest collaboration believe that those of us who participate in collaboratives are sleeping with the enemy. Environmentalists who would rather sue than participate in collaboratives think that environmentalists who collaborate with us are sleeping with the enemy. So it’s unanimous. We’re sleeping with our enemies. I don’t care what …

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The Rim Fire Salvage Seems Done

My last expedition included another trip to Yosemite, and the Rim Fire. I DO think that there are enough dead trees for the owls to “enjoy” in their respite from breeding. Then again, maybe this new “Circle of Life” will provide more food, in the form of baby owls, to larger predators? You might also …

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Dry Sierra Winter

I recently drove over California’s Carson Pass and spent a day in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The weather was good, so I decided to save some money and camp out (!) for two nights (and spending $42 for a night in Reno). My day at Tahoe began encased in ice, as moist and cold air …

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Rim Fire Update

Apparently, enough of the hazard trees within the Rim Fire on the Stanislaus NF have been cut so that the travel ban has finally been lifted, after more than a year. I heard one report that says that the litigation has failed at the District Court level, losing their pleas to stop the logging three …

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