A Tale of Two Timber Sales: Guest Post by Derek Weidensee

While we have heard some of Derek’s ideas on this blog, there are some new ones, plus pretty darn excellent writing IMHO. Thanks to Derek for sending, and to Range Magazine for allowing us to post it!

Here’s the link.

Derek has an idea for a solution to the questions we’ve been debating here. Check it out.

20 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Timber Sales: Guest Post by Derek Weidensee”

  1. Montanaโ€™s State Forest Land Management Plan (for state trust lands) states that:

    โ€œOur premise is that the best way to produce long-term income for the trust is to manage intensively for healthy and biologically diverse forests…. Healthy and biologically diverse forests would provide for sustained income from both timber and a variety of other uses. They would also help maintain stable trust income in the face of uncertainty regarding future resource values. In the foreseeable future, timber management will continue to be our primary source of revenue and primary tool for achieving biodiversity objectives.โ€

    That ought to be the plan for the National Forests. Aren’t they held in trust for us, the people?

  2. Mine comes up very.. very..slowly, like I have to wait a minute or two… try that and let me know if it doesn’t work and I will reload the file.

  3. I’d say 23 minutes and still counting is too long on a 50Megs/second connection. But, like I said, I get to the location, but the page just doesn’t load so – re-posting the link may not do any good.

    • Gil: There is something in the wordpress software that is in conflict with your browser. I had the same problem as you — even waited 30 minutes — and the article would not load with the latest version of Firefox. I cut and pasted the URL into the address window of my Safari browser and it loaded in 1-2 seconds! The problem is probably with WordPress software, but it apparently can be circumvented by using certain browsers. PDF files should be quick and easy to load with any browser, depending on your connection speed and file size. The actual file is only 1 mb. — and well worth reading.

  4. I just clicked on the link…and it loaded. Hmmm. Of course, I have to notice Sharon, that you misspelled my name…and you’re my editor!

  5. Repeated use of the slang term “radical enviros” in this piece, without more specific or respectful identification, smacks of stereotyping and appealing emotionally to polarization – not excellent, not even good writing, not even basically compliant with the stated blog ground rules… IMHO.

    • Kevin, you have a point about Derek’s tone in the piece. As the reader of so many snarky appeals and legal documents and op-eds.. I must confess I have grown less sensitive thinking, that’s just Derek’s way.. like it’s just David’s way to accuse me of various things.

      The problem is a certain amount of hype makes things interesting..it’s colorful. I think of Andy who sometimes makes me smile with his wordplay even when I disagree with him.

      The only way we’re going to know if it’s “fun” hype, or “stepping over the line of untrue” hype or “offensive” is if folks speak up when it happens.

      Now to me the groups are not necessarily more “extreme” in their views, but almost always use litigation to promote their agenda. So I might call them Frequent Litigators (FLs for short).

      When I read Bevington’s book, it seemed that such groups like to call themselves “grassroots” and “unwilling to compromise like the fat cats.” But I don’t think they’re any more grassroots than anyone else.

  6. Apparently, I am not supposed to see this article. I can pull up and load the 277 page 2011 Revised NSO plan in ten seconds but not Derek’s article. ๐Ÿ™


    I am sorry if my past use of such words has offended you. Please remember that some of us foresters resent being broad brushed with all of the false innuendo and flat out false charges and horrible names that we have been called. As humans, foresters sometimes let our exasperation get the best of us but for the most part we are decent people. I can’t pull up Derek’s article and even if I could, I couldn’t speak for Derek. However, to me “radical enviros” is an attempt to distinguish between those enviros who are responsible and have minds open to facts as opposed to those irresponsible enviros who put their fingers in their ears and shout mantras when they are contradicted by facts and confronted with inconsistencies in their logic. So, my use of radicals is an attempt to differentiate between constructive and non-constructive enviros and avoid stereotyping. The semantics are different for each of us depending on our individual history so, IMHO, we shouldn’t impute negative motives to others without understanding where they are coming from.

    I don’t know anything about you so, if I use the words radical enviro and you are not one then I am not speaking to or about you.

    I hope that the above helps you to understand where I am coming from and my openness to understanding your sensitivities in terms of your “hot buttons”. To minimize polarization we need to understand why certain phrases constitute each others “hot buttons”. To minimize polarization and to make this a better world we need to focus on what we can agree on and understand why the other person disagrees with us and then reassess our own beliefs. I hope that we all can be more responsive when asked to explain the basis for our beliefs. We all do too much shouting past each other.

  7. No offence Kevin. Whats funny, is I patterned my persona after the loud mouthed, shrill, in-your-face, obnoxios stereotypical radical enviro! LOL. Now I know it’s fasionable among the smart set to think that the “timber wars” are over….but I speak for hundred’s of thousands of the timber war loser’s.
    Gil…if ya want a copy…email me at survey@rushmore.com.

    One thing I can’t stand, is those who fancy themselves intelectuals who like to listen to themselves blather on in intelectual”ese” to impress. Get to the point…or you’ll lose the reader man.

  8. Oh…I forgot to point out, that as Gil said, I use “radical” to differentiate them from the more “moderate” enviros like Trout Unlimited, Nature conservancy, Montana Wilderness Association ect. I can’t call the moderates “conservationists” since the radicals have “co-opted” that term. It’s inevitable that the moderates will get fed up with the radicals…in Montana at least. And that’s a good thing.

    • I’d like to repost Kevin’s comment from above, as it dives right to the heart of the issue here:

      “Repeated use of the slang term โ€œradical envirosโ€ in this piece, without more specific or respectful identification, smacks of stereotyping and appealing emotionally to polarization โ€“ not excellent, not even good writing, not even basically compliant with the stated blog ground rulesโ€ฆ IMHO.”

      Derek replies:

      Whats funny, is I patterned my persona after the loud mouthed, shrill, in-your-face, obnoxios stereotypical radical enviro!

      Examples, please, Derek. And while we are at it Derek, can you please provide us with a concrete definition of what, in your mind, constitutes a “radical enviro?” You have just given us a few names, but not a definition, which would be helpful.

      Derek says:

      “but I speak for hundredโ€™s of thousands of the timber war loserโ€™s.”

      Really, Derek? Who gave you that job? Hundreds of thousands? You mean, like 100,000 to 999,000? Wow?

      And for what it’s worth, regular readers of this blog will recall that Derek Weidensee has a history of saying stuff that simply isn’t true.

      Derek has been called out repeatedly on this blog by myself and others for simply spouting off false information. Here’s a good example, the Fleecer Mountain timber sale in Montana, which at one point, Derek claimed he was using to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison for Range Mag. Of course, Derek claims he never reads comments that attempt to correct his false information.

      If any readers are interested in a different perspective about the Bozeman Watershed Project than the one presented by Derek, I’d suggest they check out this blog’s archieves here and here.

  9. A reader asked:

    โ€œOne question that especially interests me is: Why are state sales immune โ€” or effectively immune โ€” from lawsuits? Apparently that’s not just the case in Montana, but the case all across the West.โ€

    That was puzzling to me too.. because conceivably states need to follow ESA and CWA if not NEPA and NFMA. so I asked an expert and this is the information I received.

    Standing to sue. “The trusteeโ€™s duties are owed to that beneficiary, and no other person (aside from the settlor) has standing to contest the management of the trust.” (Culp et al. 2006, Trust Lands in the American West: A Legal Overview and Policy Assessment, Lincoln Inst. for Land Policy, p. 20, passim).

    Here’s the link.


    It might be interesting to have a review of practices on state and federal lands in a couple of states and see in what ways/whether increased legal scrutiny leads to better practices and more environmental protection.
    It would be desirable to have cost data from the F.S.
    To paraphrase Fred Norbury, “you can’t tell if any extra protection is worth the cost, if you don’t keep track of the costs.”

    • Thanks for answering one of my readers question Sharon. Some things in common law are black and white. Perhaps some of the lawyers on this Blog could expand on it. Enviros have sued the state of Oregon over logging on the Elliot State Forest, and as I barely grasp it, it’s over the ESA (murrelat habitat) and Oregon’s habitat conservation plan. Is a HCP and the takings permit that comes with it iron clad? Anyone care to expand on that? Is this ground breaking precedence if they win? Is this the first time it’s been tried? Why can’t enviros sue Weyerhauser over their HCP?

  10. Matthew

    Re: “If any readers are interested in a different perspective about the Bozeman Watershed Project than the one presented by Derek, Iโ€™d suggest they check out this blogโ€™s archieves here and here.”

    “Here” #1 – http://ncfp.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/bozemans-water-supply-less-vulnerable-to-fire/ which leads to the 9/27/12 article at http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/article_f9b5d70c-0858-11e2-8992-0019bb2963f4.html

    P62 of the document incorporated in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, at the bottom, states that the lack of followup fuel treatments were a significant factor. P64 discusses that even further. But the summary of fuel treatments on P79 is where we find out why your quotes extracted from the article –> can not be generalized <— to all fuel and silvicultural treatments as you seem to imply.

    "Here" #2 – http://ncfp.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/lawsuit-filed-to-stop-logging-and-road-building-in-bozemans-watershed-and-east-boulder-creek/

    The lawyer's comments: "I bowhunt for deer and elk in the Cottonwood side of the project area. This project will destroy my hunting grounds." suggest a focus on the short term rather than the long term good of the total forest. The sedimentation study he refers to does seem to contradict what Derek got from the USFS. It would seem that the USFS needs to reconcile what they told Derek and what the undated study says at: http://ncfp.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/sedimentreduction.pdf In addition, sedimentation is a function of the quality of the roadwork. Whose to say that CPI applied to improve upon the past USFS roads in that area couldn't reduce those numbers significantly? Models are suppositions not facts. Who is to say that the model used by the hydrologist has been properly vetted and that no mistakes were made in conceptualizing the scenario inputs to the model. The USFS has to be the judge not people like you or I or a lawyer who doesn't have access to the full story.

    In reviewing the lawsuit, I find that the interests being fought for are heavily focused on the here and now aesthetics rather than the long term health of the total ecosystem. In addition, every possible thing that could go wrong is listed except the lack of heterogeneity that will result in reduced edge effect which is important for some species and it will result in a higher probability of catastrophic loss due to beetles and fire than would occur if sound forest management was used. Forestry is focused on the long term health of the forest and its components rather than trying to freeze it in the present time as seems to be the goal of many.

    • Gil…what’s hilarious about the BMW project…is the massive clearcuts done in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in the Hyalite drainage is what will “alleviate” any post-fire sediment. As everyone on this blog who has seen my “clearcuts don’t burn” photos can attest to, they will be green islands in a sea of black. I got a great photo of a family “camping in a clearcut”…of course the regen trees were 50′ tall now.(LOL) Of course…nobody “knows” they’re clearcuts now. I toured the project a year ago, and afterwards I said rather facetiously to a private forester, “I don’t see the problem…the place looks pretty fire proof to me now.” I don’t want to downplay the proposed “treatments”…since they are targeted at the areas adjacent to the municipal water intake structures. Hmmm…I wonder how Bozeman’s water system ever survived all that logging in the 60’s?

      My point was never that the project would “prevent” fire induced sediment…my point was the logging would produce a ridiculously small amount of sediment. I’m not going to dig through my file, since I stand by my work, but if I recall, the “logging induced sediment” would be something like 8 tons/year while “natural” background sediment in Hyalite is 533 tons. You know what 8 tons is? That’s a “dump truck” load…you know…the kind they use to dump sand in the winter on the road that parallels Hyalite creek. I’ll bet they dump more than one truck load every winter!

      I talked to a reporter for the Bozeman Chronicle, who talked to the researcher that Garrity quotes about “logging is as bad as wildfire”…and he told her that, “Frankly, because of the road locations on the BMW project, he doubted it would produce much sediment into the creek.”

      No…this is just another case where enviros have no “proportional perspective.” Hence, the outrage over cutting five trees in a campground. Frankly, I think what really divides us is a “left brain-right brain” thang.

      Well…it’s time to put this story to bed.

      • Derek, your comment makes me think that if this was not taking place in court, we might have a list of people’s assertions and the FS response. An appeal response is a bit like that but perhaps not easy for journalists to find and interpret.

        Your comment also reminded me of this post where I first struggled with the left brain right brain thing…back in 2010

        It’s also interesting to think about the comments on the post and how the Planning Rule turned out.

        Oddly since that post I have had Myers-Briggs done again and come out as an intuitive. So maybe this divide is really something else. But definitely worth exploring.

  11. Clarification – last paragraph – “lack of heterogeneity that will result”
    should read –> lack of heterogeneity that will result if suits like this prevail. That in turn will result in reduced edge effect which is important for some species and it will result in a higher probability of catastrophic loss due to beetles and fire than would occur if sound forest management was used.

  12. Does anyone remember seeing the last remake of “The Last of the Mohicans”? Remember all of the raves that some people gave of some of the beautiful virgin forests in the movie? Forget it, it was a 20 year old pine plantation in North Carolina. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sorry, I got a little carried away. Derek, thanks for triggering this memory ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ OOps, I did it again ๐Ÿ™‚


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