Brian Brademeyer Ticketed for Timber Sale Violation

Thanks to Terry Seyden for this one!
I swear, sometimes our region has almost as much interpersonal drama as our neighbors to the north!

Noted environmentalist ticketed for timber sale violation
Kevin Woster Journal staff | Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 6:15 am

Brian Brademeyer is charged with painting over markings to trick Forest Service crews into cutting down trees.
Kevin Woster/Journal staff

A Black Hills environmentalist who for years has fought U.S. Forest Service timber-cutting projects is facing federal charges for changing marks on trees in a timber sale near his home so that more trees would be cut.
Brian Brademeyer, who lives on a small private acreage inside the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve southeast of Hill City, faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor citation served on Jan. 31. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy on March 15 in Rapid City.
Brademeyer admitted that he painted over marks on more than 20 pine trees on Forest Service land across the fence from his home in the summer of 2010. A Forest Service crew had marked the trees with orange paint so they would not be cut by a planned timber project. Brademeyer painted over the orange with black paint, hoping they would be cut as part of the Palmer Gulch timber sale. Despite that, he continues to oppose the Palmer Gulch sale, which is part of a larger forest management project in the Norbeck.
Cutting the additional trees near his home would have benefitted a meadow that has been encroached by pine trees over the past 50 years, he said.
“I had hoped there would never be a timber sale,” Brademeyer said. “But I wanted the meadow restored.”
He also admitted that fewer trees would have aesthetic value for him.
“Yeah, it would have enhanced my view. There’s no doubt about that,” he said.
Forest Service officials declined to discuss the case. And U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said he couldn’t comment.
But former Forest Service spokesman Frank Carroll of Custer, who retired from the agency in January, said Brademeyer was serving “purely selfish reasons” when he used paint to alter the marks on the trees in a federal timber sale.
After arguing time and again against timber sales and their potential to benefit the forest and wildlife, Brademeyer obviously embraced the idea of judicious tree removal when it came to forest land near his home, Carroll said.
“We have to look at this action of Brian’s part in terms of a lifetime of opposition to forest management projects and cutting trees in the Black Hills,” Carroll said. “And for him to step in there and mark those trees for his own benefit is disingenuous and self-serving. It’s also really sad.”
Altering marks in a timber sale is a big deal, said Tom Troxel of Rapid City, director of the Black Hills Forest Resource Association, which represents the timber industry.
“There are lots of timber sales that our purchasers and loggers find problems on, things that we don’t like,” Troxel said. “But no way do we ever try to change the markings. That’s just something you don’t do. It’s illegal, and it would hang our purchasers and loggers out to dry if we did.”
Brademeyer said he had worked with the Forest Service about ways to regenerate the meadow and was left with the impression that officials were willing to cut more trees there. But he also admitted that it was a bad idea for him to change paint marks.
“It was probably stupid, but I didn’t think it was a large deal,” Brademeyer said. “It was stupid but not criminal.”
Yet the criminal charge is pending. It came more than 18 months after Brademeyer was asked in an email from Lynn Kolund, Hells Canyon District ranger in Custer, if he was responsible for the unauthorized re-marking that had been discovered by a Forest Service marking crew.
In the email, a copy of which was provided to the Journal by Brademeyer, Kolund discussed some larger trees near Brademeyer’s place that were marked to be saved for wildlife benefits.
“The wildlife biologist made decisions to leave some of the marked trees for use by bird species. These were some larger trees with more limbs,” Kolund said in the email to Brademeyer. “The crew ran out of paint to finish the job, and when they returned it looked like someone had used some black paint to mark more trees.
“I was curious; did you help us out and mark these trees?” Kolund asked.
In a return email, Brademeyer said he admitted the marking. Yet he wasn’t ticketed for the violation until just weeks ago. Kolund said he couldn’t talk about the case, but noted that Hell Canyon Ranger District crews were busy at that time on many projects, including the coming sales in the Norbeck.
When private timber crews entered the area recently, they found the suspicious-looking marks and reported it to the Forest Service. The citation followed.
In September of 2010, Friends of the Norbeck and the Native Ecosystems Council, two groups led by Brademeyer, challenged the planned Norbeck Wildlife Project in federal court. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken denied the groups’ request for a preliminary injunction in December of that year and allowed the first project in Norbeck to proceed.
In late January of 2011, Viken dismissed the suit. The environmental coalition appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed Viken’s ruling last fall.
Just last week the environmental groups decided to ask for a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the case. And Brademeyer admitted the citation against him played a role in that decision.

So I ‘ve been reading books on trust recently including right now Stephen M. Covey’s “Smart Trust.” He has a bunch of interviews he did for the book, you can google it, here’s a link to one.
It makes me think that we should maybe be careful about calling this person an “environmentalist.” One environmental organization can have QA/QC to some extent but the whole bunch of them can’t because there are no trust enforcement mechanisms. I think the Forest Service could potentially work on trust, but perhaps not “all federal employees”, if you see what I’m saying. That’s why I retitled the titled here as “human being” not “environmentalist.”

31 thoughts on “Brian Brademeyer Ticketed for Timber Sale Violation”

  1. Sharon:

    Even though you label this hypocrite a “human being,” rather than an environmentalist, doesn’t mean he would do the same thing. I would bet real dollars that this guy would call himself an “environmentalist” — and apparently has been doing just that for several decades — so why should you resist his own self identification and replace it with your own? To give “environmentalists” a better name?

    Maybe we should start calling pedophiles “priests” or “coaches” instead of labeling their actual activities; perhaps just “biped” if a family member or retired person is involved.

    The story of hypocritical activities by leading members of the environmental industry is a long one, including everything from Andy’s Log House to phony peer reviews. That is the whole story here. Why confuse it with a generality?

    Or, if generalities are called for, how about: “Human being is recognized for painting painted trees,” or, “He sees a red tree and he wants it painted black?” I’m not sure what I would have titled this article. I may or may not have been inclined to use the words “hypocrite,” “phony,” or “self righteous,” but I’m pretty sure the label “environmentalist” would have been front and center — just as it has been with this man’s name for many years.

    • Eeeeyouu, now we get to see what a genuine teeth-gnashing frenzy looks like, and what just a little stale blood and a tiny chunk of meat in the water can actually generate as Sharon chums up the hungriest of the ‘bigguns’.

      (Makes ya wonder where the circling fins were when the Thanksgiving feast provided by the ex-Federal prosecutor was talking about a whole agency “CULTURE” lookin’ the other way during routine timber thefts occurring across the country? Also, makes ya wonder how long Sharon had to wait for this not-so-fresh meat. Weeks? Months? Years? Decades?)

      I’ve always heard they’re capable of disemboweling themselves in such frenzied states — now we get to see for ourselves. Oh, the power and the gory! The red-tinged tide! The frothing frenzy — the survival of the slipperiest!

  2. So Bob, I am trying to apply these principles of trust, albeit awkwardly. I think that this is the beginning of a series of discussions about trust, within and without the FS, as I learn more.

    Now, say a Forest Service employee did something bad. Which they do. The Forest Service has methods for dealing with them (and if bad enough, so does law enforcment). The Forest Service owns the problem and can deal with it.

    The term “Environmentalists” more of a broad brush thing, and perhaps it has grown so broad that it is meaningless, if you see what I’m saying. So to establish trust we need to go organization by organization, where people can actually control their own trustworthiness.

    What I’m saying is that we can examine Brademeyer’s hypocrisy and illegal actions, and say “wow, those people at Friends of the Norbeck and Native Ecosystems Council are not walkin’ the talk. Until they clean up their act, I’m not going to donate to them/ trust them/respect them or whatever.”

    I’m not really criticizing the reporter here, who had to find something to fit in a headline.

    I hear people say “environmentalists” do this or that, but there are a wide variety of groups with different issues and tactics. I’m not sure that it helps any of us to think of them as one large movement because we and they can’t hold them accountable.

    I think your pedophile example is a good one as it brings to bear concept of 1. Doing wrong things, 2. Who employs the person and is responsible for their behavior and 3. Other people who generally have the same beliefs. I think the Catholic Church ( or other employing institution) is important because they are the ones who are accountable for the person’s behavior (the employer). The equivalent to “environmentalist” would be “religious organizations” or even broader “people who believe in religions”. Hope this helps..I invite further discussion.

    • Then, there is also the “slippery slope” issue. Just how FAR would he go to get what he wants? Does his end really justify his means? I’ll bet the locals are giving him even more of a cold shoulder than his “activism” has, in the past. People will distance themselves from him, I consider myself to be an “environmentalist”, too, doing what is right for the land. At least they aren’t calling him an “eco-terrorist”….. yet. We’ll see if Fox picks up the story… *smirks*

    • Yow!

      Nice tag team action there guys. I expected blood and guts– but predatory paroxysms of tree painting sexual predators? You’ve totally outdone yourselves, and must be feeling mighty, mighty proud.

      Dr. Bob immediately goes for the genitalia, (which is really only an accessory organ actually, because pedophilia is among the most incurable of psychopathies– it’s in the other head Bob.)

      And Dr. (“I think your pedophile example is a good one”) Friedman, ever so thoughtfully expounds on Bob’s acumen for the purr-fect metaphor of painting over paint on innocent trees = (well, of course) pedophilia!

      Diagnosis complete! — After all, isn’t this heinous act (in the city, also known as graffitree) nothing short of barbarity of the most extreeem kind?

      — (personally, I’m disappointed in you two, I mean such reserve is so uncalled for! May I suggest — Mr.Brademayer as an ultra-Una-BradeBlackpaintbomber?

      Geeze, the purrfect opportunity to call in the Homeland Security boyz and you two want to gorge on it all for yourselves? Worse yet, it takes an eco-terrapin like me to point out the obvious?

      I’m truly disappointed. I thought this was gunna actually be a NEW Century of Forest Planning, not some grade-B sitcom rerun.

      (btw. Did it ever occur to you two where you’re likely to be going? Like to court?)

      • David:

        Your written responses remain predictable, no matter how difficult to read or interpret. It is reading skills that seem to be part of your problem.

        Your buddy wasn’t called a pedophile for painting trees or anything else. The term was employed as an analogy for substituting a generic species name when referencing an actual individual. You like to use an unnecessarily large vocabulary in your expostulations, so I’m pretty sure you know what “analogy” means.

        (btw. Are you threatening me with court? Are you a lawyer, too?)

        • Bob, your contempt for unnecessarily large vocabularies notwithstanding, I reviewed the rest of your expressed contempt in the post, which included:

          “hypocrite”(twice), “pedophiles”, “phony,” “self righteous,” and you even managed, “including everything from Andy’s Log House to phony peer reviews.”

          (Gosh Bob, Andy, and peer reviewers too? That’s a whole lotta contempt. Take a deep breath there big guy.)

          Such self-righteous fury directed at another’s chosen values just because they differ from your own, (which we all now know to be obviously peerless, and beyond reproach), made me wonder,

          “Could Bob be bigoted?” “Is Sharon approving of his bigotry?”

          (worse yet, would the use of the word bigot be too, as Bob says, “predictable, no matter how difficult to read or interpret?”)

          So I rushed right out and bought my first dictionary and looked up “bigoted.”

          bigoted |ˈbigətid|
          having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others:

          Then, just to be sure, I looked up “metaphor.”

          “A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea.”

          Your intention was to turn a small, stupid, ultimately harmless prank, into an opportunity to metaphorically defame and indiscriminately smear, sir. Sharon opportunistically chummed, and your fin predictably and viciously slashed the surface.

          The fact is, as members of the public and co-owners of national forests, we get to speak our minds, and make our stupid little mistakes, just so you can show everyone your capacity for bigotry, and impeccability — accompanied by Sharon’s gushing approval. Truly, a new low for NCFP.

          (btw I don’t know this guy, but I know a bigot and a bully when I see one in action.)

          • You do realize no one but you two care about this exchange between you two, don’t you? Care enough to read it, that is. So you may as well be exchanging personal emails, and leave the rest of the public out of it. As other people tune out this kind of one-on-one, off-topic exchange, they will also tune out this website.

            • Thanks, Michael: I think you’re mostly right and will try and be more aware of staying on topic in future posts. Not sure how many people are actually driven away from a blog by occasional squabbling, but I’m in agreement that it can be a distraction to other readers.

              David: Want to send me a personal email, or just drop it?

  3. Ok… Brian, himself, admitted what he did was stupid. Human beings, whether environmentalists, lumberjacks, dogwalkers, or politicians do stupid things sometimes. Many will, in a most uneducated and prejudiced way, take this story and use it to trash everyone else that cares enough about the health and well-being of our forests and environment to be an activists/advocate for environmental protections. Only the simple-minded take one human being’s actions and try to paint, with a very broad brush, all those that may share a common cause with that person as being the same. For every example of an environmentalist making a mistake or committing a misdemeanor there are dozens of anti-environmentalists or timber industry representatives making a mistake or committing a misdemeanor on our public lands.

    Tom Troxel’s comment is absolutely untrue and as selfish and self-serving as anything Brademeyer did regarding the “20” or so pine trees he remarked. Not excusing anyone here, but anyone that knows anything about the logging industry knows that the inadvertent or intentional cutting of “20” trees is winked at by the U.S. Forest Service on a regular basis… unless, of course, an interested 3rd party is looking in on the project. Don’t be misled by Tom Troxel’s opportunistic disparaging remarks which are clearly intended to reflect negatively on environmentalists. Following are Troxel’s remarks (“re-marks”… no pun intended) that I am referring to.

    Altering marks in a timber sale is a big deal, said Tom Troxel of Rapid City, director of the Black Hills Forest Resource Association, which represents the timber industry. “There are lots of timber sales that our purchasers and loggers find problems on, things that we don’t like,” Troxel said. “But no way do we ever try to change the markings. That’s just something you don’t do. It’s illegal, and it would hang our purchasers and loggers out to dry if we did.”

    What Troxel said is true… but only if and when they get caught. Getting “caught” is almost a non-starter given the good-ol-boy /slash/ wink-and-a-nod culture that is the Black Hills National Forest Service/Timber Industry. Troxel is not wasting an opportunity to toss halos over his cronies’ heads while painting devil’s horns over Brademeyer’s head.

    There are documented stories aplenty across the nation and our national forests where loggers take more timber than they are permitted to take… these generally amount to, by orders of magnitude, more than 20 trees per offense. And these are just the offenses that get reported. Before anyone dons their halo here and crucifies another please be fair and consider the facts. I am disappointed and sickened by the contents of this news story but at the end of the day we are all, in fact, just human beings aren’t we?

    • In my 15 years of Timber Sale Administration, I’ve NEVER “winked away” ANY trees the purchaser required, for one reason or another. Stealing from the Feds is often a felony, at worst, and double or triple stumpage, at best. Remember, we use a “individual butt marks” with special paint to identify the stump, if it is a cut tree. In this day and age of radically-reduced logging, the dumb loggers and less competitive mills have gone out of business. Agreeing to cut 20 trees for a helicopter landing isn’t “winking those trees away”. Cutting those two big rotten trees next to the landing, for safety, isn’t giving them away for nothing. Such Forest Service personnel could also get prison time for what you are accusing them of. Or, get them fired, with few questions asked. Again, the mere appearance of corruption or kickbacks can get them fired, too. However, I rather doubt that there is enough money in logging Federal lands to be able to pay a Sale Administrator something worth the risk.

        • Yes, it costs a lot more to prepare timber sales that cut trees with an average of 14″ dbh. And, yes, we also have “below cost” wildfires, bark beetles and drought. The Equal Access to Justice Act is also “below cost”. National Parks are still “below cost”, even after HUGE increases in entrance fees. Even our wars are “below cost”. And, finally, the government pays “non”-profits sue the government, then gives them more, when they win.
          I think you’ll find that you are going to need examples and citations to back up your accusations, Duane. We’re trying to vault past the rhetoric and politics, and get down to the “business” of saving and restoring as much forest as we can, before too much is lost to high-intensity wildfires. Old growth is dying far faster from a lack of action, than to Federal logging. In some areas, mills are closed, due to a lack of economical projects, that can make it through the courts. It makes better business sense, right now, to close up, and wait until litigation and economic issues are worked out. Until then, restoration will be quite limited, in many National Forests.

  4. Duane, your comments on timber theft being tolerated by the USFS is pure bunk. Timber trespass IS a big deal — even in South Dakota, where I was able to find an original corner marker and cutting lines to the very first USFS timber sale in the 1890s — nearly 100 years later, in the 1980s. Are you saying that it is perfectly okay to be “stupid” and only steal a few magazines from a store, rather than be a “criminal” for breaking into the cash register?

    Yes, Brian himself admitted what he did was stupid. Stupid people do stupid things, and many of them are in jail or court at this time. Was Brian just as stupid for promoting anti-logging activities in the past? Or did he become stupid just recently, after being caught in a crime that was completely blatant and hypocritical in nature? There is a difference in inherent stupidity, I would think, rather than situational stupidity, which Duane seems to be claiming. But stupid is still stupid, whether by choice or by nature.

    So I am agreeing with Sharon on this “trust issue.” However, it is no more fair to fling mud at the environmental industry than humans in general regarding the illegal actions of a single stupid individual. The headline should have read: “Brian Brademeyer ticketed for timber sale violation.” Then his history and affiliations and species could be described.

  5. Let’s not forget it’s not all about the money. In many places in the west, we are paying people to take the trees. It still would be bad to take more (even if the government benefited financially), because the people who wrote the prescription had a reason for what was taken and what removed.

    Bob, you’re right about “Brian ticketed”, of course his previous predilections are what make news, a la “man bites dog.”

  6. Bunk… that’s a refreshing switch from the term “hogwash” used by apologists in other FS Units. Bob calls my comments “BUNK.” I guess that settles it, eh readers? I get the sense that Bob knows where this friendly chat is headed and he is trying to land a one punch knock~out before finese becomes a factor. Bob proabably knows that “theft” is not theft when it is codified into law. Some of us respect manmade laws and some of us respect both manmade and a higher set of laws. Some of us work within the law to change manmade laws we feel are unjust or are simply bad because they are too strong, too weak or illogical.

    Some work to change laws to benefit the those who worship the almighty dollar (considered the highest law in some ciricles). Soem even work to changes laws to better protect our vanishing natuyral world. Some of us work very hard to make sure existing sound environmental laws are enforced. Anyone who denies that we have laws on the books (laws applicable to all manner of life in these United States of America) that render acts legal which were once universally considered to be unethical, devious, and even damnable must be living with eyes closed.

    I would never suggest as Bob mistakenly says I said, that the FS is guilty, in a legal sense, of the word “theft.” It’s actually kind of hard to steal what you sell. But, of course, where there is a will there is a always found way. I am saying the FS manages our forests, the public OWNS them. the Forest Service sells timber essentially exclusively to private interests. It is quite easy to understand why the Forest Service and the Timber Industry has evolved to become such a cozy alliance. They have in common… TREES.

    I sincerely hope I am not forced to offer, on this blog, well-documented examples accounts when and where the FS winked and nodded when trees were cut and/or stolen by known offenders that were NOT “environmentalists” and THOSE OFFENSES WERE NEVER PROSECUTED.

    Please, if you must… call my bluff.

    I suppose I should be findiing out what the word count limit is on this blog.

    And as far as Brian is concerned… I have not spoken to him since this story broke and have only spoken to him once or twice in my life. I agree, but with a sacred caveat, that the headline should have read “Brian B. ticketed….” But what is good for the goose….. let me put it this way to those who are salivating to crucify Brian…. “s/he who is without sin….” I think most readers of this blog know the rest. The next time you get an embarassing speeding ticket, or some other citation for doing something both illegal and stupid be sure to wo/man up and insist that the local paper headlines YOUR NAME HERE as it highlights your version of stupidity. Careful what you agree to. It seems those generally most eager to shine a light on someone else’s flaw(s) do so to keep the that damned beam of light off their own. So go ahead, crucify Brian over the 20+ trees that are still standing to bolster contempt for environmentalists. Go ahead, crucify Brian. I’m one that still believes, “the truth sets all free.”

    • There are often mitigating circumstances that stops the Forest Service from pursuing timber trespass, sometimes. If a boundary isn’t well-defined, especially in a leave-tree marked unit, it is easy to wander outside, especially inside of a feller buncher. One glaring example of poor boundaries is the Rogue-Siskiyou’s decision to mark some of their leave-tree boundaries, in Biscuit Fire projects, from a helicopter. It was an extremely poor decision. It cost us some time and effort, trying to find dribbles of paint in the treetops, while marking the “leave-snags”.

      Where I live, there are so few mills that log big trees. The small log mills can do trees up to 28″ but, they have different haul routes to different mills. What I am getting at is that it takes a BUNCH of trees worth $5 “on-the-stump” to make a nice “robbery” of the Forest Service, minus the processing and hauling costs. I think you would be hard-pressed to find much timber theft, here in California, during the last ten years. I tend to think a ten-year trend would be quite indicative of the lawfulness of loggers, in that regard.

    • Duane: When I was referring to “theft” I wasn’t talking about the FS — I was talking about Brian. He was trying to steal the trees from US taxpayers in order to improve the value of his property and the quality of his own life.

      True, in most instances, tree theft is for the advantage of the logger, or firewood gatherer, or cedar maggot, etc., but in Brian’s case it was for personal gain. Think of it as “theft of services,” if that is a better fit for you (guess who pays the tree painters and fallers, loggers, and truckers to do Brian’s dirty work for him?).

      So, you claim that her is merely stupid, while I give him full credit for being an adult hypocrite caught red-handed in the attempted theft of public property and services.

      PS I have never been a member of any “FS Unit” (I don’t even know what they are) and am not an “apologist,” so didn’t have the background for using “hogwash,” however, I think it means pretty much the same thing as “bunk.” I’m not sure where that’s going, either.

  7. Duane- we all do wrong stupid things; some of us get caught; some are actually illegal. This story is interesting because he preached one thing for other people and did another. Suppose an anti-drug preacher was caught using drugs, etc. The point is that when you start to preach to others you incur the responsibility to walk the talk if you are to be listened to/respected/trusted .

    In the radio interview with Stephen M.R. Covey that I linked to above, he said you can teach but first you must live what you believe, second you must have a good relationship with the person you’re teaching,, and then and only then can you teach.

  8. Disclaimers from the start:

    1) I am not perfect (surprise!)… just observant. : )

    2) These comments are to be taken in general terms and do not focus on any single Forest Service employee. I’m speaking to Forest Service culture as it exists in some Units across our nation.

    3) I recognize that some topics I introduce in this comment evoke further discussion and need greater explanation (perhaps documentation)… but really, don’t you think this comment is lengthy enough as is? We can discuss the merits of my comments in a separate thread(s).

    Sharon… are you saying in general terms that the Forest Service “walks the talk” in terms of, for example, Ecological Restoration?” Please tell me you are not that naive. Over the expanse of our nation’s national forests, millions of trees have been cut and sold to the highest bidder in the name of “ecological restoration.”


    To mislead the public into believing a forest is incapable of restoring itself is a most disingenuous false teaching. Preaching to an unwitting public that healthy forests are the exclusive product of human intervention/management is a blatant false teaching. It is impossible to be a hypocrite of false teachings because, in the first place, there is no truth to be defiled. Acts of hypocrisy sicken most everyone. But false teachings only mislead those who do not understand the truths being distorted, denied or obfuscated by false teachers.

    The Forest Service preaches to the public that our forest could not exist in a healthy state without the Agency’s cyclical intervention (most always another timber sale). I’m calling B*** S***. An informed and thinking person knows that when this nation was first settled by non-native people that they discovered forests they believed were “magnificent and inexhaustible.” Today, after decades of intensive management our forests are dying across this nation.


    When an incident occurs such as this, Brademeyer’s actions, some see it as a rare opportunity to crucify the offender. For some, it makes them feel better about themselves. But more importantly, this becomes or should become an opportunity to look at ourselves… ourselves includes, in this context, the Forest Service. Will the Forest Service continue to propose disingenuous “ecological restoration” logging projects? Will the Forest Service continue to propose “forest treatments aka logging methods” that it claims “mimics” nature… as if nature has retired? Will the Forest Service continue to set fire to our national forests claiming to mimic nature as if the natural wildfire starter, lightning, has ceased to occur? Hypocrisy is not the only sin. Deception is generally more difficult to perceive… it often requires much work and diligent study of a claim to discover the falsehood therein. My point is that hypocrisy has no monopoly on sin.

    Everyone, please…. go back and read or re-read my comments. I have not once defended Brian Brademeyer… in fact; I have acknowledged the wrongfulness of his actions. It hurts to do so because he has fought for many of the same scientifically sound values as I have over the years. I cannot fathom why he did what he did. Yet I am man enough to call his actions what they were… stupid, seemingly selfish and likely considered illegal in a court of law. I’ll let the legal eagles determine the final legal status and consequences of his actions. It should be obvious that my comments are less about Brian and more about how all of us can learn from his mistake, including the Forest Service.

    This huge bad decision on Brian’s part had the potential to destroy 20 or so trees but those trees are still standing. A seemingly minor bad decision on the part of the Forest Service has potential to destroy literally countless trees. While some relish this opportunity to fry Brian others of us will be reminded of the gravity of each word uttered and amplified by the Forest Service. We will be even more vigilant to call out the untruths and myths the Service proclaims from its pulpit. We will seek more and greater opportunities to teach the public to trust nature to restore itself, to “mimic” itself, if you will. I feel stupid for even entertaining this Forest Service notion that it can mimic nature. Anything the Forest Service does to “mimic” is, in fact, adding to or taking away from what nature already does on its own. The whole idea of mimicking nature to protect nature is born of folly.

    Brademeyer is, in my personal view, being appropriately called out and chastised for being self-serving and a hypocrite to his cause. But for how long has the Forest Service been teaching falsehoods in order to justify its own continued existence? Since day one, is the correct answer. The Forest Service, not unlike Brademeyer, devises constructs to rationalize it’s actions… central to those constructs is the self-serving drive to perpetuate the agencies existence. No greater ally does the Forest Service have than the timber industry. It is a fair and important question to ask how many millions or billions of trees been cut for the sole benefit of the Forest Service/timber industry relationship? How many below cost timber sales have taxpayers shouldered so the agency can justify its existence? I don’t ask these questions with the intent of dismantling the Agency. Quite the contrary, I ask these questions simply to press for a more open and honest agency, an agency that certainly is needed if we are to protect our forests for future generations in the form of National Forests.

    A Forest Service that seeks, above all, to allow its forests to grow old before selling sticks for pulp, would be an agency that teaches the public biology, ecology, zoology, and a host of basic sciences instead of propagandizing the so-called wonders of modern forestry practices. Those so-called modern forestry practices i.e., management regimes have resulted in suppressed natural wildfires, thinned and eroded forests, altered streams and degraded watersheds to name a few casualties of “management.” Management, for example, that clearly has NOT made our forests more resistant to insect outbreaks as promised by the Service.

    Personally, I would be much more impressed by a Forest Service that would just come out with the truth instead of devising clever language such as “ecological restoration” to sell logging projects to the public. That truth, as “I” see it, is that the Service’s first and primary mission is to preserve itself, to serve itself and its own interests (akin to what Mr. B. has reportedly done). Its secondary mission, as “I” see it, is to continually invent new management and logging regimes that it will sell to the public as being essential to the health of our national forests.

    And finally, again, as “I” see it, that it will only do what those “damned” environmental laws require it must do to protect water, soil, air, plants and wildlife while trying like hell to cater to extractive industries and destructive users of the our public forests. If the Forest Service would just stop trying to disguise logging projects as some sort of first aid or health plan for its forests I be much more impressed. I am one that can respect the truth, even if I don’t like it.

    Note: I edited this comment to reflect author’s wording mistake noted in comment #22. Dave iverson

    • Yes, Duane, I will agree that forestry has a spotty past, especially in the last millennium. Using the past to block the future is a common tactic used by preservationists to “win”, at ANY cost. At the time, during the 50’s into the 70’s, foresters were “just following orders”, as they were directed to produce products, in huge amounts. We now know that those “orders” were very wrong and we won’t be going back to that mindset.

      Pretending that “Gaia” made our forests disregards the expertise, patience and diligence of the American Indians, as “forest managers”. Indeed, our forests evolved with, and were shaped by mankind, as they re-invaded de-iced landscapes. Man followed the forests, and re-colonized lands, along with invading plant and animal life.

      You’re going to have to spell out just what your flavor of “ecological restoration” is, in a timber sale, Duane. If you’re merely here to say that timber sales are always bad, you’re not going to gain many “converts” to preservationism. Indeed, doing nothing, as a default, is NOT “restoration”, either. Here in California, the elimination of clearcutting AND high-grading is surely two components of a timber sale that restores, ecologically.

      No one ever talks about “restoring” water tables to more natural levels. Without that, our forests are doomed to be dying, burning and dead. How about restoring historical species compositions? How about restoring historical densities?!? These are questions the preservationists have a very hard time answering. They tend to rely on fictional deities solve those problems.

      • The best predictor of future performance is past performance. That is not a ploy or tactic to “win at any cost” as you claim. It’s just a simple and universal fact, that’s all. I thank you for bringing that up. Larry you miss my message because before you read and contemplate what I say you are already preparing your rebuttal. It is this kind of behavior that holds us back.

        Please document once case where so-called human restoration of an ecosystem has produced a better result than nature itself, if we allow nature to function uninterrupted and in its own natural time scale. Sir, you cannot document such a case… period. What I mean is, for example, that a botanical garden, as pleasing to the eye as it is, is not “better than nature.” The most highly productive tree farm on the planet is not “better than nature.” Man~age~ment is what it is. Man~age~ment represents a point in history when this newcomer on the planet decided it knew better how nature should function than nature itself. This arrogant mindset has all but consumed society. I, sir, beg to differ and I believe mine is the rationale mindset. Nature is still our master, our teacher. It is the unwise student that cannot accept and appreciate this fact. It is an unwise agency that is so steeped in this arrogance that it will never admit to a public it has been deceiving them for decades (or a century as you stated). Times are changing. Science can be resisted but knowledge cannot be defeated even though it can be relegated to agency shelves when it exposes mis~man~age~ment based in tradition and dogma. The Black Hills is likely the most manicured forest in the U.S. This is a point of pride for some…. a travesty to others.

        Clear-cutting was once lauded by the agency as the logging technique that would save our forests… and people believed the guys in the green trucks. Why shouldn’t they? These are the experts, right? Later we were told that wildfire was inherently bad so a huge program of fire suppression was instituted. Later, and I am skipping many examples here, we are told beetle-kill is going to result in the most catastrophic wildfires ever!!! In the grand scheme of the most recent MPB epidemic this has not happened, even in areas where the red needles have long since turned brown and gray, fallen to the ground and are already in a very NATURAL state of decay. The public is currently under that spell as well. Why? Well, again, the guys in the green trucks are the experts, right? I will repeat the first point I made. The best predictor of future performance is past performance. So continue telling the public that our forest will just shrivel up and die absent the presence of the guys in the green trucks. If past performance is the best predictor of future performance, you have little to worry about. They will believe you. But notice I said, if.

        Hardly any principle is 100% reliable. Future performance of the public will tend to reflect past performance. I also stated earlier that science can be suppressed but knowledge cannot be defeated. This fact is the hope of all who have figured out that the guys in the green trucks are not necessarily the experts and that they do not necessarily even understand the evolutionary and present ecology of life on earth, not even forest life. Yes, this is the hope of those who understand nature to be the master, the teacher, the final authority. The general public is no longer prisoner to agency messages laced with industrial speak.

        No longer will the public tolerate the clouding of life sciences with economics and politics as they are trying to learn how unadulterated nature works in the absence of these superfluous issues.

        The Forest Service (generally speaking) expends most of its public relations resources to justify it man~age~ment policies rather than to educate the public, for example, on how downed woody “debri” or dead wood is not only “fuel” but also essential for the replenishment of nutrients on a forest landscape. Why does the Forest Service evade this positive aspect of deadfall and pound on the point that dead wood is fuel to be feared? This question deserves an answer. This is but one example. There are many others.

        Larry, there are always two or more sides to any issue. I am perfectly comfortable talking about deadfall as fuel but why, in my rather extensive experience, is the Forest Service loathe to discuss the indispensible value of deadfall to future forests as a natural fertilizer and as an incubator for future plants and animals. I have been waiting for the Forest Service to assert that it must begin a colossal fertilizing regime to replenish the nutrients lost to logging and the decades long policy of fuels reduction. Why wouldn’t the Service suggest such a fertilization program? It seems to work every time for the Service to say… “oh wait, what we did it wrong in the past (a noble admission). “Doggoneit” we should have left those nutrients on the ground to be reabsorbed by the forest soil.” The Service will continue its deceptive message saying, “Trust us”, we know “now” that we need to help “restore” nutrients to the forest landscape. Trust us, we and Monsanto know what we are doing.” Will the public buy yet another ridiculous Forest Service claim that it knows better than nature itself how to man~age a forest. Something is telling me, NO.

        The days when the Forest Service can get away with man~age~ing its forests in a manner that is a century behind the best science available are long gone. No more will the public allow the Service to ignore the sound science of the day for decades or a century only to introduce yet another ridiculous industry driven “fix” to correct its readily admitted mistakes of the past.

        I’m certain the Black Hills National Forest, if allowed, would be among the first or first to suggest landscape scale fertilization of its well-groomed forest. Again, Monsanto would love this forest “restoration” program.

        • When the rules have been changed, as in Region 5, the past is a very poor predictor of future activities. Individual projects under the 2004 Amendment have rarely been litigated, due to key dealbreakers being removed. No new permanent roads, no clearcutting, no old growth cutting, no serious habitat impacts and no net impacts to water quality. If any of this had been going on, you can be very sure the “serial litigators” would be all over each and every commercial thinning project.

          Now, I’m not saying that improvements couldn’t be made. How about requiring physical removal of logging slash, utilized as “green” power or fuel? A subsidy would be required but, all those mountains of limbs and tops, due to “entire tree removal”, could be utilized, instead of being burned on the landing. The 90% of the trees numbers are in the 10-18″ dbh size. The “thinning from below” techniques have worked well to reduce densities and ladder fuels, while retaining canopy cover, proper species compositions and minimized erosion.

          Yes, I have worked in the Black Hills, and have seen the “uniformity”, of some areas. I have also seen the “native forest” of the area, as well. I will be posting some pictures of those islands of diversity.

          It is arguable that an “ecosystem” can be created from scratch but, it does appear that American Indians did just that during their dominance upon the Americas. The Tillamook Burns recovery seems to be doing well, with some wanting to “preserve” those forests. Longer living forests are always better than forests which die, rot and burn every 80-120 years. Endangered species prefer big, green healthy forests. To grow big pines, they need to be tended. Otherwise, overstocking and competition causes unhealthy conditions and catastrophic wildfires. History shows us that today’s wildfires are more intense, and impacts are much greater than the historical fires which burned in MUCH reduced fuels. Dr. Zybach has convinced me of this with his ample and diverse evidence of historical burning practices in the Oregon Coast ranges.

          We NEED to reduce densities, and restore forests, as soon as possible. Many states have suffered the worst firestorms in their histories, during the last 10-15 years. Clinging to the idea of “letting nature takes its course” is resulting in essential habitat losses. It IS happening! Near-permanent damage is occurring, because of inaction. How long does it take to re-grow an “owl circle”? Do rare fish enjoy a good stream-scouring and ash, from hydrophobic flooding, after a wildfire? Where do goshawks nest, when the old growth is incinerated?

          There ARE compromises, folks! Come to the middle and make a difference, or stay fringy and intolerant, and be marginalized!

      • Larry, I really want to like you, but at least “they” are not playing God, a role which you seem quite comfortable assuming. Your position is unenviable and not without irony, as an accessory to the mismanagement you now claim to be fully capable of reversing. Given the record of mismanagement, and given your financial interests in managing, surely you can appreciate a reluctance of some to put their trust in you, as opposed to taking their chances on Gaia.

        • I do not pretend to be God, just a humble enlightened steward, unlike the preservationists who seem to be playing Satan, embracing fire, death and destruction. (Yes, I can do the Biblical references, too!)

  9. Correction ~ The following sentence should read: “Management, for example, that clearly has NOT made our forests more resistant to insect outbreaks as promised by the Service.

    Sorry for the omission.

    • Duane,

      I fixed your earlier comment, #17 as per your “correction”. I wish blogs would allow folks to edit their materials, and let people see what exactly was edited, i.e. by allowing access to earlier versions of comments. But alas, blogging software dos not allow such with exceptions granted to a select few (e.g. Sharon, and those of us allowed to “post” features, etc.)

  10. All- my slowness in approving comments was due to a class I take on Tuesday nights. Hope none got out of order. Happy Fat/Shrove Tuesday to all!

    • Sharon, I want to thank you for filling in some important blanks on this formerly religious day of feasting and appropriately enough, this little feeding frenzy you’re approving, because I now realize I have given you far too much benefit of the doubt. For all your reassuring “spiritual” references in these myriad NCFP posts, and for all the cognitive dissonance they inspired, (in stark contrast to your curiously clueless loyalties), I was still willing to suspend my suspicions as possibly mistaken — that I simply hadn’t encountered someone like you and the quirky realm of well-meaning otherness you claimed to inhabit– and that I was just incapable of grokking that rarified plane of yours. (Oh, and the bit on “trust”, nice touch 😉

      So here is my confession: After reviewing your feasts of judgment, approval and discussion, I am left with a chill to the bone and feeling like a first class chump, on a not so fat, and not so happy, “Shrove Tuesday.”

      There. I’ve shriven and already feel better.

  11. I did an online search a few months ago for mountain pine beetle, found some research produced for the Black Hills National Forest. I didn’t keep the link, but I did clip this key conclusion:

    “Constant silvicultural action is a must if the BHNF is to ever extricate itself
    from the periodic appearances of MPB epidemics in its timber managed areas.”

    Bottom line question: How will they pay for that constant action? Will lumber production pay for it?

    Ponderosa pine grows like a weed, famously, in the Hills. It re-seeds prodigiously, and thickets take over in a matter of years. If you don’t thin it, it gets sick and burns. If you thin it, well at least you’ve got something valuable growing. Tick, tock…it grows slowly. In ten years you’ve got another crop of seedlings, same do or die situation for them and the larger trees you’re invested in, money on the stump just waiting to burn.

    So it’s constant upkeep, every twenty years over about a million acres of national forest land that are suitable for pine, and about as many again in parks and private land. A lot of that is rough ground, hard to work on. Can a pine tree pay for the years of its care? Tick, tock, it’s growing now, who’s keeping it safe from all the new seedlings rising around it?

    There is a timber emphasis in the Black Hills, a pine emphasis. It doesn’t have to be this way, more land could be converted out of pine, to hardwoods, or prairie–paying its way by being grazed. That diversity, breaking up the monotonous pine forest, could help slow the beetles’ spread in future outbreaks. The timber industry tends to oppose proposals to reduce pine acres.

    Assuming the need for constant silvicultural action, can we possibly have remotely wild places in the Black Hills, and will we ever have the majestic old pine trees again?


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