History of logging in Montana

The Missoulian is running a series of articles on this subject.  The one in Sunday’s paper asks these questions about the future: “Banishment from the national forests would doom many Montana timber towns to welfare status, according to advocates in the wood-products industry. But if they’re dependent on access to public timber, isn’t that another …

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Federal lands support diverse economies

Recent research by Headwaters Economics asked whether federal lands are an economic liability or an asset to rural communities (summarized in this opinion piece). On average, we find that from 1970-2014, rural counties with the most federal land grew much faster than similar counties with the least federal land: population grew four times faster, employment …

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Forest/BLM planning avoids sage grouse listing; states don’t like that

While the wisdom of Congress prevents the U. S. Fish and Wildlife from saying so, the agency’s draft of the decision to not list the greater sage grouse under ESA states: “The Federal Plans establish mandatory constraints and were established after notice and comment and review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Therefore, changes to the …

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The Forest Service as Noah

High-elevation headwater streams that provide refuge for native bull trout and cutthroat trout would remain cold enough even under the worst warming scenarios to protect and support them. These streams, in places like Central Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains, can carry these native trout through the global warming bottleneck – when many species will disappear – …

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Natural amenities, “the creative class” and economic success

This map got my attention because of the disproportionate amount of “green” in the rural intermountain west.  In this case it means counties have a disproportionately high number of employees in jobs like management, finance, technology, engineering, science, sales, entertainment and non-primary education (and of course lawyering). “The creative-class thesis holds that communities that attract …

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“Walkable” communities driving Western mountain housing market

Travis’s post reminds me of this story in the Denver Post business section a few weeks ago, which was deep in my pile of “to be posted.” Here’s the link to the Post story. Here’s an excerpt: BUENA VISTA — Homes within walking distance to shops and restaurants are forecast to drive the housing markets …

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Bob Berwyn on the Hausberg- Building Regional Identity

Great post by Bob Berwyn on the idea of Hausberg or ski commons in the Summit County Citizens Voice here. Why does it all matter? Skiing is a sport that forges community, cutting across political lines and ethnic distinctions and ideological boundaries. That’s important for the American West, a region that has long been managed …

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