Rocky Barker: Good reasons why federal forests don’t pay like the state’s

Here’s the link and here’s an excerpt.

In the days when the Forest Service did try to emphasize making money from logging, it lost support across the West because it was clear-cutting.

No matter how many times the timber industry tried to put a good face on that accepted forest practice, the public just didn’t like looking at clear-cuts. Much of the federal forest timber program was shut down by litigation and lack of money for roads, along with water-quality problems and endangered species issues.

Otter noted that timber harvests on federal lands in Idaho are the lowest they have been since 1952. They are actually beginning to rise, however, in part due to the collaborative efforts of timber executives, environmentalists and others to identify timber that can be sold.

Private forests and state forests are, by definition, high-value forests. If they weren’t, the owners would have disposed of or traded them in years ago.

But the Forest Service doesn’t manage forests for a profit. You don’t hear the conservation groups that are supporting new mills and increased timber harvests and jobs complaining about timber sales that lose money.

That’s because they know the restoration value for wildlife and fish habitat that comes with timber sales are a part of the cost of managing forests for multiple uses.

Private and state forests are managed for maximum timber harvest. The recreation, habitat and other values that come from those lands are secondary. That’s why you can go to some state forests in Idaho and clearly see the difference between them and the federal forests next door.

It’s the state forests that are still being clear-cut.

Sharon’s take: It’s still not clear to me (so to speak) why clearcutting still comes up as an issue when the FS hasn’t done it in a while. Anyone who can help with this, especially from Idaho, please comment.

33 thoughts on “Rocky Barker: Good reasons why federal forests don’t pay like the state’s”

  1. And the states don’t have to spend a half million dollars per EIS to satisfy a judge mooloy.
    This is garbage in garbage out. Ooh Ooh…”timber harvests are starting to come back up because of collaboration…so no worry.” Ya, back up to 25% from 20% of what they were. And I always love the vauge dimisive argument that ” The Usfs needs to spend more for wildlife”…which I guess justifies the half million dollar EIS. What gets me…is with all the clearcutting the states do…there is no outrage from it’s citizens. And I’m talking Dem. strongholds like Oregon and Washington. Surely if the public was so outraged by their states raping their lands…they would vote that way. But they don’t do they. I’ve got a funny feeling…that polls would show these Dem’s in the NW would vote for MORE clearcut logging on National Forests. Maybe not back to the 80’s…but a doubling from now. Maybe up to 50% of 80’s harvest. The Willamette cuts just 10% of the 80’s.

    I’ve been looking into “Elk population declines on national forests in the PNW because of a lack of early seral forage.” Seems it’s rather severe. Nobody really cared when the wolf was only impacting a few ranchers in Montana, but a lot of people started to care when the wolf started impacting species hunters like to hunt. Then real change came about. Seems nobody hunts spotted owl.

    • I think that “clearcutting” became a buzzword to rally the troops 30 years ago. It seemed to work in the 1980s, and that’s Rocky’s home turf. I like Matt’s answer, below, that the USFS is still using this tool in lodgepole stands. That is reassuring. Same with any salvage that might be taking place anywhere on dead stands of USFS trees and on junipers in historical grasslands.

      The reason the public isn’t outraged, in my opinion, is that they are ignorant. And the USFS and the Enviros — and the media — seems to be doing everything in their respective powers to keep it that way. From all appearances, the urban populations (most of the US) remains clueless and uninvolved in these issues, and that is why we have groups of lawyers representing both sides of the Enviros vs. clearcutters issue and the vast majority is left — purposefully, in my opinion — on the sidelines.

      Derek: check out the elk population history of Oregon from 1890 to WW II to get a really good insight on this issue. Similar to the Canadian wolf import issue today. It is not a lack of “seral stages.” They are even being fed during bad years with bales of hay, and often become a pest in farmer’s fields during the winter. People are trying to get millions of dollars to hunt hoot owls as this is being written — only they want to concentrate on the barred variety rather than the spotted variety. The same process Hitler used with Jewish people in the 1930s and the US government used with Indian people in the 1830s. Racial purity at all costs.

      • Bob, we cannot do clearcuts in salvage sales, here in Region 5, due to the blackbacked woodpecker, and other species that need snags. The issue is still so contentious that people like Chad Hanson litigate every salvage sale, claiming “more analysis is needed”. Most modern salvage sales leave multiple sizes of snags, including LARGE ones.

        • Larry: It’s not because of the blackbacked woodpecker, as we both know. If populations were truly dependent on “habitat” then there would be flocks of blackbacked woodpeckers irrupting from all of the burned and abandoned federal forests that have accumulated across the nation in the past 30 years, and a million-and-a-half people still living in Detroit.

          The problem is the ridiculous laws and regulations that have been adopted during that time that allow the Chad Hansons and other niche subspecies to proliferate in our courthouses. In my opinion.

          • Well, for now, we do have to deal with the reality of the rules, laws and policies. We cannot simply change them, or ignore them. The battles continue over “analysis”, as we do address their needs, The Ninth Circuit Court totally buys into the emotional and political aspects of Hanson’s lawsuits, despite the efforts of Forest Service Wildlife Biologists to comply with the rules. Remember,, Hanson is not a Wildlife Biologist!

  2. Sharon: I think Mr. Barker brought up the ‘clearcutting issue’ because he was clearly looking at things in a historical perspective: “In the days when the Forest Service did try to emphasize making money from logging, it lost support across the West because it was clear-cutting.”

    True, the Forest Service isnt going into previously unlogged stands of ancient forests and clearcutting, as they did throughout much of the West during the 1960s to 1980s.

    However, as purely a matter of fact, the Forest Service actually is still clearcutting quite a bit in 2013. There are numerous examples of recent and proposed Forest Service logging projects in the N. Rockies, which include extensive clearcutting, especially within lodgepole pine stands. I would have to think this type of clearcutting takes place in lodgepole pine stands in other parts of the country too.

    • So, Matt, does that “clearcutting” include leaving ZERO snags in each unit? If not, then it isn’t a clearcut. Please show us that no wildlife snags are being left. Once again, there hasn’t been USFS clearcutting here, since 1993, including salvage sales, thank you.

      • Ooh…I can think of some beautifully big MPB salvage clearcuts in Colorado. They got an exemption from the “40 acre” clearcut…but of course…they were salvage. There are proposals for some large CC’s in Montana that I can think of…ones that would need an exemption from the 40 acre rule…but those are dead also…and of course…I can think of some beautifully big clearcuts on Ted Turners ranch…but those were salvage too. I can think of some beautifully big clearcuts from the 50’s and 60’s….before “Bolle’s 40 acre rule”…that people are now picknicking in and not realizing it.

        It’s all about age diversity…whether man does it or nature.

      • Sharon, We were talking about timber treatments, which the USFS calls “clearcuts” or “clearcutting.” We weren’t talking about whether the trees were alive or not. You are twisting my statement around.

        Regardless, seems to me like Derek can “think of some beautifully big MPB salvage clearcuts in Colorado”……So, since you live in Colorado and follow Forest Service projects, I’m sort of surprised you didn’t know about any of those.

        Anyway, Larry seems to be twisting my statement around too. All I said was “The Forest Service actually is still clearcutting quite a bit in 2013. There are numerous examples of recent and proposed Forest Service logging projects in the N. Rockies, which include extensive clearcutting, especially within lodgepole pine stands.:

        Larry asked, “So, Matt, does that “clearcutting” include leaving ZERO snags in each unit? If not, then it isn’t a clearcut.”

        Again, I never made that statement, but Larry, all I can go by is what the US Forest Service officials and official project files for these projects calls the logging treatment.

        If the Forest Service, in their ROD or Decision Notice, calls something a “clearcut” should we all assume it’s a clearcut? Larry seems to think that even if the FS calls something a clearcut we shouldn’t because they will leave some snags. In this case, perhaps Larry can talk with the Forest Service about their use of the word “clearcut” to describe their own projects.

        I’ve attempted to locate actual project files on the Beaverhead Deerlodge NF website; however, I’ve been pretty much stymied because whenever I click on a Beaverhead Deerlodge NF project file I get redirected to the project file for the Salmon-Challis NF in Idaho. Beautifully efficient system, isn’t it?

        Anyway, for what it’s worth, I was able to find the BHDL NF’s Fleecer Mountains Project Decision Notice. According to that, there was a Proposed Action to “Salvage clearcut lodgepole pine on 1,137 acres.”

        • Matt: Clearcutting used to mean mowing everything down, as Larry describes. Salvage logging used to be used for dead or dying or damaged trees, whether they were clearcut or not. Franklin and his “New Forestry” began changing the rules, much like former-protectionists that transformed themselves into conservationists, somehow. Animal Farm stuff. The type of thing that sells newspapers and makes modern lawsuits possible.

          Yes, the USFS website is a piece of inexcusable crap. Purposeful (and expensive) obfuscation, much like their adoption of metrics and Acronym-speak. Siletz 2nd-Graders were doing better 15 years ago, as I pointed out a few blog posts ago. What is it they’re hiding? My first guess has always been incompetence, and my second is always conspiracy. The real problem, as others have stated, is that on the surface they both appear to be the same thing.

          • “Yes, the USFS website is a piece of inexcusable crap. Purposeful (and expensive) obfuscation, much like their adoption of metrics and Acronym-speak.”

            Bob, good to see that we’re finally reached full agreement on something.

            • Matt: Good! It’s an important point and a key reason most of the US population (at least the ones using Google) remain ignorant on these issues. The USFS does NOT want us to know what is going on. Are they hiding incompetent employees or insider-negotiations, or some of both? I can’t think of any other reason for this pretense of inability and agency-based insulation and arrogance. What (another) waste of taxpayer resources!

              • Once again, I have to agree. Over the past decade I’ve visited various National Forest websites hundreds of times. Might be able to easily and quickly find what I’m looking for 5% of the time. Most of the time I can’t find anything and just give up the search, which like you say, might be part of the design.

                • Matt: It HAS to be part of the design. There is no other excuse after all these years. When I gave my presentation to Alsea Watershed a few weeks ago, the USFS employee in attendance said it was an internal communications problem, too. Their purposefully designed filter would not allow them to do research on most websites outside their own control! They can’t accept emails with attachments! There’s a reason for this purposeful lack of communication — it’s 15 years too late to claim incompetence or lack of funding. What are they hiding? It’s an important point.

                  • Whoa, whoa whoa,
                    it’s not the FS employees. When I was an FS employee, I wanted to communicate openly and put as much stuff as possible on the web. I think we did a fairly good job on Colorado Roadless.

                    I could do research on any old websites..except not Facebook. I accepted plenty of emails with attachments. I wonder if this has changed.

                    There are some things that get mixed up as rationales and they occur at levels such that local or regional employees would never understand why…
                    1. Security of government computers
                    2. Someone is supposed to have authority to say yes, but we don’t actually know who it is, so the answer is no (or perhaps, someone in IT says no).
                    3. Fear of the information being used in litigation
                    4. Fear of getting in trouble with the Dept.

                    If someone “purposefully designed a filter” I’m sure it wasn’t a forest, district or RO employee.

                    • Sharon: I don’t think it is lower-level employees, either (national was blamed in my example), and I’m sure some Forests have been better than others. Your number 2 supposition is firmly in the “incompetence” class, and numbers 3 and 4 (“fear”) are most likely at the root — “conspiracy.” Number 1 is a feeble excuse, and has been for years. That’s why we hire Techs and what they’re supposed to handle.

                    • Bob, I think we have run out of room on this discussion but it is probably worth a separate post anyway.

                      If you and Matthew agree on something, it is obviously worthy of serious attention 🙂

                • Matt: I would be very interested in your thoughts and suggestions regarding my recent blog post on this topic:


                  The reason my B&B Complex Website has yet to be completed is that USFS funding for the project was abruptly terminated when they discovered we were reporting facts and not the party line, and — worse — flatly refused final editorial oversight by their District Ecologist, who was openly working hand-in-glove with the Eugene Enviros at that time. And publicly lying about it.

                  They really didn’t want to actual story going out to the public (our videos varied significantly with the official press releases), and they really didn’t want the Internet being used to inform the public — other than their own self-serving and factually inaccurate press releases, that is. Walden was paying close attention and they wanted all the lipstick on the pig they could muster. I think most of the USFS links we used at that time have been broken since then. On purpose. Links rarely break “accidentally,” and there was no legitimate reason to take them down.

                  • Bob, I’ll try and take a look at your post. Regarding the B&B Fire, what’s your take on how it started? I know the official Forest Service line was that it started by lightening. I also know that other people were equally convinced that it was a human-caused fire, perhaps even a political sort of fire, due to the fact that the fire started a day or two prior to President Bush’s scheduled trip to Bend (or Sisters) Oregon to promote his “Healthy Forest Initiative.”

                    Here’s what I know. It just so happens that on the day(s) the B&B Fire supposedly started by a lightening strike that my wife and I were enjoying an extended backpacking trip through the Mt Jefferson Wilderness Area and parts of the Pacific Crest Trail to celebrate an anniversary. During our entire trip we observed mainly blue-bird skies and no rain or lightening of any kind.

                    Here’s a picture from one of our camping spots on that trip:

                    Of course, I’m not claiming that it isn’t possible that lightening could have struck somewhere during that time period. It’s just always struck me as odd, based on the fact that we spent all day and all night outside in this same area during the 4 or 5 day period when supposedly lightening struck and started these fires.

                    • Matt: It definitely appeared to be politicized arson, due to timing and location — and weather. No evidence of lightning, as you say, and significant evidence of arson just inside the Wilderness boundary near Round Lake at the head of Jack Creek:


                      I’m guessing similar for the southern ignition. There was an immediate cover-up with wild speculation as to the “smoldering lightning strikes” that would have been unprecedented in those locations. Highly unlikely, and for reasons you state.


                      However, Black Butte Lookout was being manned full-time during those weeks and any “smoldering fires” (assuming they actually existed) should have been clearly visible well in advance of the two columns that arose on the same day:


                      This is when the USFS shut us down before the project (and website) could be completed and publicly released. Subsequent efforts to get funding — we had designed a Repeat Photography project to monitor change following the fire — were met with strong resistance by the District Ecologist and her cohorts. Proposals to monitor experimental treatments over time were “blind peer reviewed” quickly out of existence — two of three specifically using my name and stating almost verbatim that I was trying to get logging done under the guise of public education (proposals were made via the Pacific NW Research Station, where I was doing post-doc work under Bernard Bormann).

                      From this I learned not to trust agency so-called “blind peer reviews” or USFS “public outreach” charades. Also, no one at the District really wanted the public to know what was going on and actually lied about the demographics of the tours on official reports. Several hundred people more than participated on the tours have visited the ORWW website and downloaded videos, despite the lack of completion or public release.

                      Very disappointing (and expensive) experience.

            • The problem is that everything’s built on top of a godawful ancient content management system that’s siloed 10 ways from Sunday. Unlike the NPS Web site, content development and management isn’t distributed down to the field level (at least, at my forest). The NPS beats our pants off with this stuff – it’s frankly embarrassing how bad it looks if you line up next to One looks modern and user-friendly, the other looks like something out of 1999.

        • IF they are, indeed, clearcuts that take every tree, then litigators should have a field day with project plans, and a nice payday, as well. If they aren’t, then we’re seeing a big waste of money, painting a picture that simply isn’t true. Of course, the opponents of management are going to perpetuate the use of the word “clearcut”, not telling the public that the term has been misused. Not very forthcoming, those eco’s, eh?

          • WTF, Larry? Don’t for one minute twist this around to criticize enviros and claim that we’re a little dodgy here or “painting a picture that simply isn’t true!” Seriously, dude.

            The frickin’ Forest Service in their official documents calls these damn timber treatments “Clearcuts.” If the Forest Service calls them clearcuts you want to blast enviros for calling them “clearcuts?”

            And for the record, Larry, it’s you who is the Michelangelo of “painting a picture that simply isn’t true” on this blog. You make wild, factually incorrect statements on this blog all the frickin time. And you know what? You never take personally responsibility for your inaccurate statements and never seem to provide the evidence when people fact-check your statements. At least I attempted to provide examples and evidence to back up my statement that the FS is still clearcutting (despite the inoperable state of the Forest Service’s website).

            • The issue is whether they are ACTUALLY clearcutting, or not. Would you rather they be called “Snag Thinning Units”?? That might be a more factual description. If they are actual (frickin’) clearcuts, then you go right ahead and file your (frickin’) lawsuits, for an easy (frickin’) payday! If they aren’t, you’re going to (frickin’) sue, anyway. I tell it like I see it.

              The (frickin’) question remains: Are they actual clearcuts, regardless of the plans, or not? If they are, the project(s) are doomed, IMHFO. *smirk*.

              • I personally go by Helms’ Dictionary of Forestry, that defines clearcut as…

                1. a stand in which essentially all trees have been removed in one operation-note depending on management objectives, a clearcut may or may not have reserve trees left to attain goals other than regeneration. 2. a regeneration or harvest method that removes essentially all trees in a stand

                Here’s what I think.. last century’s silvicultural terminology is not helpful in explaining things to the public. In fact, because it was designed for a different purpose, it may serve to confuse more than clarify (as in this conversation). For example, when I went to school we were learning about treating stands of living, not dead, trees.

                • Thanks, Sharon, for providing a Dictionary of Forestry definition of a clearcut.

                  So, based on that expert definition looks like despite all of Larry’s twisting of this issue the Forest Service is correct when the FS call their current and on-going clearcutting of lodgepole pine stands in Montana and Coloardo “clearcuts.”

                  And that would therefore mean that enviros are correct when they also refer to these clearcuts as clearcuts.

                  Got it, Larry?

                  • Well, no, as I said, it’s just that I think it was never intended to refer to dead trees. And I can’t tell if these trees are alive or dead but I be the ones in Colorado are likely to be dead.

                    In the People’s Database, we would probably want acres treated per year, kind of treatment (e.g., clearcut) and whether the trees were alive or dead.

                    Of course, because lodgepole are shallow rooted you could leave some trees and they could blow over; I don’t know how that would factor in.

                    How about this, acres in
                    Thinning from below
                    Thinning of same sized trees
                    Group selection
                    Clearcut mostly dead
                    x stems per acre alive left; y stems per acre dead left
                    Clearcut mostly alive
                    x stems per acre alive left, y stems per acre dead left (current snags)

                    Even using current terminology, we might have a better picture of what’s going on.

                    • The trouble is Sharon…I don’t think the USFS keeps track of “thinning from below” in their FACTS data base(forest activity tracking system). That is gonna be lumped in with “Intermediate” treatments. Frankly, they probably keep track of it for the stand folder…but just don’t report it…so maybe you can get them to “Add a catagory or two.”

                      AS far as how many “snags left on clearcuts”…I don’t think they would ever keep traack of that…it’s more of a “standard forest objective (example:10 snags/acre) like how many tons of “dead woody debris” to leave behind, or if it’s “with reserves” that could be noted…but “how many trees left per acre”…would probably be a big pain in the ass for them.

                      One thing that should be on your “people’s data base” and on every forest website…is annual budget. AND “cost to do non-commercial” work on individual forests. Very tough to tease that out. Some EA’s and EIS’s reveal that in their “economic section”… but more often NOT. Most of the “below cost timber sale” stuff is “non-commercial.”
                      And of course…the cost to do EIS’s…which we’ll never know.

                    • Oh…and by the way. Every forest should publish on their website “bid results” for timber sales along with prospectus. That is impossible to find. Maybe on FED BIZ OPS…but that’s somewhere I don[‘t wanna go more than I have too. The states all do it…why cant the USFS.

                      And could you have that for me next week?

  3. As interesting as it is to perhaps take our eyes off the prize and focus on “clearcutting,” when I just went to the link of Barker’s article, I personally felt that the first entire half of it was far more interesting than the last. Here’s the first half, in which Barker really questions some of the “dinner-napkin math” coming from Rep Bishop (R-UT) and others. See for yourself:

    U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, presented numbers that appeared astounding as he made the case that state forestry is better.

    Bishop, speaking at a hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation last week, said that the Idaho Department of Lands has 52 times the volume of timber harvested per acre on its 971,678 acres of forests than the U.S. Forest Service has on 20 million acres. That’s 239.4 million board feet per acre to 4.6.

    Chairman Bishop said the annual revenue per acre is even more astounding – 917 times more for the state than the federal forests. That’s $55 per acre for the state to 6 cents per acre for the national forests.

    What Bishop’s dinner-napkin math doesn’t say is that not all of those 20 million acres are forests. There are only 17.2 million acres of federal forests in Idaho, and a small part of that number is under the Bureau of Land Management.

    Of that, more than half – 9 million acres – is roadless, and another 3.8 million is wilderness. Much of the roadless forest is technically open to logging. But, in reality, much of it is either too prone to erosion, too steep or covered in trees that are so low in value that they would not support road-building or the kind of active management practiced on state lands.

    That’s why in 100 years of management, the Forest Service never built roads to get to the trees in most of those areas.

    The Forest Service and the BLM say the total volume of harvestable timber on federal forests in Idaho is 167.6 billion board feet, Gov. Butch Otter said in his testimony before Bishop’s subcommittee. But some of that timber isn’t worth the cost of gasoline for the chain saws.

    Because the Forest Service is the largest forest land manager in Idaho, you can understand why, as Otter said, “it appears to folks in Idaho the federal government would rather see a valuable resource go up in smoke than be harvested.”

    But there are reasons state and private forests provide more than 90 percent of the wood milled in our state.

    First, there’s the difference in mission. The Idaho Constitution requires the state to “maximize” revenue from its endowment lands, not think about campers, hikers, ATVers, hunters, watersheds, open space or fish and wildlife habitat – all things the Forest Service has to consider.

    Even in the 1980s, when the Forest Service was cutting lots of timber in Idaho, the production was higher from private and state lands because they are managed to produce maximum revenue.

  4. One thing Barker left off “his” bar napkin math, and out of his story, was the fact reported by Bishop that the USFS cut 93 Million Board foot MMBF of timber, VS. 232 MMBF by the state. I wonder why he didn’t tell the public such a fundamental and basic statistic? Perhaps because no matter how he twists and contorts his reasons why the USFS can’t harvest as much, it’s still a ridiculously low number compared to the state. He doesn’t want his readers to know how little the USFS cuts. Of course, that’s down from 800 MMBF in 1988. According to the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) for Idaho, the USFS has 12.2 million acres of “non-reserved”(non-wilderness)”forested acres and the state has 1.0 million acres. Rocky left it out cause no stretch of any readers imagination could justify how “wildlife and recreation” could possibly be the reason why the USFS, with 12 times the acreage, could cut one third as much timber as the state. Once again, your national forests are being managed as national parks.

    His usual blather about “roadless is roadless because the timber is too small” might have passed muster in the 70’s, but not anymore. A good part of the roadless was burned in the 1910 fires along the Idaho Montana border. Now, you’re gonna tell me that in 100 years, trees that grow in 80″ of rain per year have not attained merchantable size? Nonsense. By the way…that much celebrated collaboration, the Idaho Roadless Rule: has it resulted in one more acre of supposedly “released” roadless area being logged? Naughta. But I’m sure the participants feel very good about themselves.

    Frankly, as far as recreation goes, I would almost gaurentee that hunting is disappearing from USFS lands in Idaho. There was a story awhile back about the Lolo Elk herd, which was a prime hunting area due to the 1910 fires, declining not only because of wolves, but also because the forest was growing back. Wilderness use in what, 2% of recreation visitor days? From what I’ve seen most of that is old redneck republicans paying a guide to shoot an Elk…doubt they, or the guides, care much about Rocky. I have no doubt if the state managed these forests, they could increase harvest up to 50% of the 80’s, and still provide plenty of recreation.

    Oh, by the way. The USFS does call em “clearcuts” in Montana and Colorado. They’re not shy about it. And yes, they do provide for snags/acre and “with reserves”. They do have some sale that are purely “salvage”…where regeneration isn’t the goal…as in enough spruce is present in understory ect. But it is limited to MPB salvage.I think the loggers prefer salvage…as the “scarification goal” is reduced. They still do a few token acres of “shelterwood seed” in “live” doug fir…but token. Ya know,…I can think of some clearcuts in Montana that are in green timber. Usually they just went to shelterwood. It doesn’t matter. The public is having an epiphany about clearcuts now anyway. Nothing explains a clearcut to the public better than a MPB epidemic. “duh…I don’t get it boo boo, it’s bad to clearcut trees to build a home for my young daughters family…but it’s better to let it die and rot?” Let me get this straight again. When we factor out all the similarities. When we boil it all down. The only reason we have to “let it burn” VS. clearcutting is to provide snag habitat for the Black Backed Woodpecker. A species that now has more habitat than ever?

    Ya know…it finally dawned on me when I read some guy the other day explain WHY we have “an average” of 1.5 million housing starts per year. Simple demographics. In 1963 there were 188 million Americans…today 300. 1.5 million young couples per year with their 1.5 kids are secure in their careers and want to move out of the trailer house and into the american dream. Oh there will be a big boom again…cause now we have a backlog of young couples…and some day when the next housing boom takes off, and the impending Canadian “timber famine” emerges, and lumber prices sky rocket,and old hippies like Rocky are fading away, some bright young reporters and bilogists are gonna say, “Hey, we discovered this great un-tapped resource on USFS lands. Not only can we triple harvest we can save early seral species at the same time.” I could be wrong. If you want to make money in the stock market: buy what I sell.Peace.

    Oh Matt. On USFS website. Click on “Land/resource management”…then “projects.”

  5. Wow…was busy today and didn’t have a chance to comment. Looks like I missed my opportunity! Lots of good twists and turns in the comments here…clearcutting, State land grabs, FS websites (I believe they’re called “portals”, BTW), conspiracies, obfuscations and Matt and Bob agreeing!

    I think the Matt and Bob agreement should have its own tag, or at least a highlight link in the 2013 year-in-review.

    Couple quick comments, if I may:

    FS websites….yep, they suck. I doubt there’s enough collective intelligence to raise it to the level of “conspiracy” though. Like Sharon said, there are a lot of folks trying to get GOOD info out, but it’s the square peg-round hole thing. We have gone as far as to have our cooperators contract out development of a website with a user-friendly web interface that hopefully the layperson can use to figure out what the heck is going on with FS land management…take a virtual “field trip” to proposed treatment areas, pre and post. I encountered lots of internal pushback/fear when we proposed the idea so we just went aroud the institution. The heck with them. Stay tuned…hopefully it’ll be up and running by early summer.

    Can’t tell if it’s germane to the discussion, but a NEPA doc. is a horrible commo tool!!! Maybe that’s the reason for “collaboration”….to explain in “normal people speak” what is proposed. The NEPA process has devolved into “fortifying your defenses”. We can collaborate ourselves silly, have all the support in the world, then begin the NEPA process and send out hundreds and hundreds of scoping notices asking for input. Generally we get a handful (at best) of comments back, and they are ususally from the “watchdog” groups who oppose and/or are critical of just about everything the FS would do. At that point the FS basicaly goes into “bunker mentality”: effective commo stops and legalise kicks in.

    Clearcutting….Regeneration harvest is a valuable management tool!!! Don’t confuse the “clearcutting” of the 80’s or what private timber companies might do with what might be proposed in today’s “restoration” based harvesting. There is no reason to shy away from regen harvest. Bob pointed out Jerry Franklin as a good science source for “variable retention regen harvest” Look it up…good stuff there ( search Norm Johnson also). You CAN regenerate a 120 year old stand of falling-apart grand-fir under the auspices of “restoration”, from an ecological perspective. Getting the social buy-in is another thing. Thinning in those stands is absolutely the wrong thing to do, but the “looks” thing is always a problem. Stay tuned there too….


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