Was John Karpinski a Visionary?


When I recently posted a discussion about lodgepole pine ecology in this blog, Matthew seemed far more interested in the snippet of the September 3, 1994 Therese Novak newspaper article than in anything Bob Berwyn, the foresters and forest scientists, or I might have to say about the topic. I offered to send him the complete article, due to his interest, and will try and do so here, if I can learn to use links with these posts.

The attached article was also published in the September 3, 1994 Salem, Oregon Statesman-Journal, in conjunction with Novak’s article. “John” claims that only 1% of timber sales are litigated. This article sets a different course. Most timber sales aren’t even contemplated anymore because of the successful strategy described by Karpinski, above. Sometimes we quibble about word definitions in this blog. I would describe Karpinski’s threat as “obstructionist,” and remind everyone that lawyers on both sides of the table get paid, whether loggers or sawmill workers, or firefighters, or field foresters, or tree planters are paid or not. So it would also be “self-serving,” in that regard ($$).

Now if I can make a link in this thing, I’ll get the article to Matt:



8 thoughts on “Was John Karpinski a Visionary?”

  1. I would probably care more if we had a timber shortage. We have de-prioritized harvesting on federal lands because we can afford to, and that is what the country wants.

    • “Hamis”: I doubt very much that allowing our forests to die, rot and burn is actually “what the country wants.” Not sure why you are presuming to speak on behalf of “the country,” but my read is that the country wants jobs, unlimited drinking water, beautiful forests, abundant wildlife, reduced energy dependence on foreign sources, and reduced risk and discomfort from wildfires. And even though you personally “don’t care” about active management of our federal lands because we’re not having a “timber shortage,” there are plenty of assets in our forests (water, recreation, biomass, protein, etc.) other than timber. And there are thousands of people that could care less about what you think (whoever you are), and would prefer to be working — and improving the value of, and demand for, timber products in the process. Or maybe you’re talking about some other country?

      • If the country wanted to harvest more from federal lands we would be harvesting more from federal lands. Policies continually shift and we will eventually harvest more from federal land than we do now. Of course, without a market we might be harvesting more at an economic loss.

        I do not presume to speak for the country. I do believe that we make our collective will apparent through our actions, and the citizens of the United States have undeniably de-prioritized logging federal lands.

        • I think you just pulled that out of the air. It depends on the question you ask the American public about, to decide what they think. If you ask them if they want sensible forest management to improve forest health and provide jobs, fresh water, green trees, and enhanced wildlife, I am very sure what their answer will be. Ask the public if they prefer wood paneling, instead of other products, like cinder blocks. Ask the public if they like clearcuts, instead of National Parks. Ask the public if they like vast dead snag-lands, instead of managed, green forests, I think you get my drift.

    • What we do have a shortage of is timber demand! There are plenty of things we could make out of wood, instead of materials much worse for the environment, which we are currently using. One good thing about products made of wood is that, when they are no longer serviceable, you can simply burn them for energy. The idea that more trees are always better is one that we need to shatter.

  2. I don’t know if John Karpinski was a visionary, but I can tell you that environmental plaintiffs lost the lawsuit about which this article reports. Lexis does not report any logging-related case in which Native Forest Council prevailed.

    • Andy: Whether they prevailed or not, the delays caused most of these planned sales to go unlogged in the 10 years before the B&B took place. Delays and related taxpayer overhead until the area (including 13 pairs of nesting spotted owls, if I remember correctly) burned up and were left to rot. Except on private lands and Indian lands, of course.

      • Most certainly, delays continue to be a staple of the serial litigators. However, the Forest Service is getting much better at preparing plans and getting them in the pipeline. Several projects I worked on were logging within 6-8 months, including injunctions and District court decisions.


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