Certainty and a Wilderness Bill are Good Things: Marc Brinkmeyer

 Thanks to a reader who sent this interview from Evergreen Magazine and noted that the whole series (on a banner across the top when you click the link) is interesting.

Here is a link and below is an excerpt:

“Certainty is a two-way street. We believe Idaho needs a wilderness bill for the same reasons that we need certainty in our raw material supply. There are still millions of roadless acres here in Idaho. Some of those acres belong in designated wilderness areas, some should be managed as back country and some should be allocated to active forest management with a goal of providing certainty for lumbermen, loggers and counties in which the largest landowner is the federal government. Our company will support wilderness legislation when the time is right.”

Marc Brinkmeyer, Chairman of the Board
Idaho Forest Group, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Is mutually assured certainty something we all can agree on?

14 thoughts on “Certainty and a Wilderness Bill are Good Things: Marc Brinkmeyer”

  1. “Certainty” looked very different to many disgruntled Western citizens in the 1970’s, or more poignantly, Blacks in the 1950s South. I agree that certainty is laudable — as long as it contains a fundamental fairness and balancing of values (as Brinkmeyer is striving to do, above). I found his remark about “when the time is right” a bit dismissive — as in possibly “Never”?

  2. Quid pro quo “Wilderness bills” have long been exposed as putting the “con” in conservation. Confidence tricks such as these are old hat. There will always be nonprofit opportunists to greenwash such legislation, and perfectly willing to “win-win” their assured position on the next fiscal year of the corporate foundation grant cycle. Here, we are presented with the theatre of collaboration, in which industry finally “gets” the “win-win.”

    Certainty,” however, and especially these days, is an artifact of self-interest steeped in false assumptions, witlessness, and/or unmitigated hubris. How many chances do we think we get to “split the baby in half”, and expect it to survive? In that Biblical lesson, the actual mother identified herself by her revulsion to the “compromise.”

    This is not splitting a loaf of bread. This is splitting the baby. There is no compromise in this equation. “Raw material” happens to be one of the primary regulators of planetary carbon.

    The evidence of converging catastrophic consequences borne of anthropogenic origins (also known as business as usual) are so overwhelming at this point, that such exponents of the status quo could easily pass as tragi-comedic satire in many contemporary fora, or alternatively, simply (self) parody. Certainly, in the near future, we will look back on how we find ourselves beyond the precipice while wondering how we got here? This excerpt will suffice.

    It’s all about Denial.

    All denialism aside, we still have an entire planet at stake, a planet already in the throes of climatic forcings. That is, there exists strong evidence we have already exceeded atmospheric levels of GHGs and must now deal with the consequences of tipping points. Positive feed backs are now in play — unleashing forces for which we are woefully unprepared, and utterly incapable of controlling.

    If there ever was an argument for the precautionary principle, it is now, but it is too late, and it is a simple calculus.

    Measure the risk of what is at stake — (the exquisitely thin planetary envelope known as the biosphere, in which life and civilization as we know it, is confined)

    Then entertain such delusions of “certainty,” and ask yourself, “feeling lucky today?”

    And then, there are the moral dimensions of our responsibilities for our disproportionate share of planetary GHGs and interference in correcting for in international climate treaty fora, which even the Pope invoked.
    Now even the WaPo is willing to go there

    But again, the question we must ask ourselves given what is at stake and the voluminous evidence of urgency, “feeling lucky?”

      • The wildfires, Larry, are but one of the (too numerous to list), positive feed backs of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD). The scale of the problem of wildfires in the American West is obviously so far beyond “managing” our way out of at this point — that we get to see the full consequences and curiosities of Evergreen’s denial: pretending BAU can be maintained if we just collaboratively agree to “preserve” half, and cut half of it down before it burns.

        For a glimpse of the scale and magnitude of the problem, here’s what’s happening north of you in someone else’s words:

        “well over 12 million acres of forest and tundra in Canada and Alaska have burned in wildfires, and the smoke covering the Arctic sea ice is yet another anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) amplifying feedback loop that will accelerate melting there. The additional smoke further warms the atmosphere that quickens the melting of the Arctic ice pack.”

        2014 was the hottest year on record since record keeping began. 2015 is already shaping up to top that.
        Evergreen’s agenda is as transparent as the irony of its green washed moniker.
        Rather than “collaborating” in the profit taking of treating the EFFECTS of ACD, it’s moniker as well as its “science based” mission would be far more useful and truthfully fulfilled through an honest collaboration in addressing causation.
        But alas, there’s apparently not enough “incentive” ($$$) there for Evergreen.

        • No one is proposing that we go back to “BAU” in the Sierra Nevada. However, there are plenty of people who like to say that there are no problems in our Sierra Nevada forests, and that all we have to do is “let nature take its course”. While homes burn, endangered species habitats are incinerated and hundreds of millions of dollars go up in smoke every year. Two wrongs do not make a right. “Free-range” wildfires are not a solution to anything. Doing nothing about burning forests does not solve anything, actually increasing those feedbacks under the guise of “natural and beneficial”.

          • First lets get something straight. Wildfires are in part a phenomenon of prior large scale mismanagement through over harvesting and fire suppression and failure to manage by committing sufficient NFS management resources to thinning and restoration. That is BAU. Suggesting more of same (still fighting fires, still ignoring in large part, common sense WUI treatments and building codes, still claiming logging Roadless areas will “save” them) is the new/old BAU.
            Suggesting collaboration with the goal of “certainty” in maintaining BAU is going to address the magnitude and scale of the actual problem is fanciful at best…

            Are you suggesting by simply “managing” the effects of the problem, that we could somehow be gaining on solving the cause of the problem? Show me that scientific evidence, because I have found it does not exist.

            Instead the logical — and opposite– condition exists Larry. (they are explained in the links I provided, which have further links…

            While we utterly fail to address causation, fire seasons are starting earlier, wildfire acreage is increasing. Our budgets are getting sucked dry losing the unwinnable war against BAU. The managers are utterly losing this imbecilic war against themselves and the planet. The managers’ collusion in the collaboration ruse is far more culpable than litigants protesting such madness.

            • The Rim and King Fires show, without a doubt, that doing nothing leads to the loss of irreplaceable wildlife habitat. Those unmanaged corridors act as a conduit for intense wildfires. I have provided photographic evidence, over and over again. You just choose to discount it, and don’t even acknowledge that 400 year old trees are dying, and wildlife is suffering. You offer zero solutions that will save similar areas, choosing to let “Whatever Happens”, happen. Tell us all, mighty sage, how can we deal with those longer fire seasons, during the next 20 years when impacts will hit even harder? How can there be a brand new “business as usual”? With site-specific treatments customized for each project, your accusations don’t hold water. Again, we cannot go back to a pre-human forest, in this human-dominated world. We need to “craft” forests that survive what is killing them today. You always assume the worst and disregard the evidence. Yes, since there is no 200 year study showing the value of active management, we need to use science and results to show what works, and what does not. You cannot tell me that thinning projects are bad for Sierra Nevada forests. What about 4FRI? Even the CBD is onboard with “doing something” to make those forests healthier and more resilient.

              Yes, it is all-too-easy to blast the forestry practices of the past millennium and other places. How about joining us, in the here and now?

              No, we do not want to “cut the baby in half”. We merely want to immunize, nurture and raise a baby that is healthy, happy and will reproduce.

                • I haven’t worked for the Forest Service since 2013, and I don’t expect to ever return. They don’t want a rebellious whistleblower. AND the quote certainly applies to Hanson and DellaSala but, not me. I do this out of the sheer kindness of my heart. *smirk* If I did have a forestry job, I’d post here a lot less.

                  C’mon, David! Let’s see your 20 year plan to stop all these bad impacts upon the land! Time for you folks to step up and offer real solutions instead of pie-in-the-sky fantasies and endless hollow criticism.

  3. Maybe ‘mutually assured certainty’ is something we all can agree on….Even if ‘assured certainty’ in an economic sense sounds more like communism/socialism then the much-lauded ‘free market’ and capitalism.

    But there’s no way the vast majority of Americans would (in my opinion) support roadless public wildlands being “allocated to active forest management with a goal of providing certainty for lumbermen, loggers….”

    • I do agree with Matt that Roadless Areas are probably poor choices to convert to “enterprise zones”. As always, site-specific conditions and science should control those decisions. There are usually excellent reasons why those areas don’t already have roads in them.

      • Also, while I have forgotten much about the Idaho Roadless Rule, it appears to have areas themed as “general forest” (600??K acres of 9.3 ish mill acres total) where the following things are allowed based on a ppt from the proposed rule:
        “Provides a variety of goods and services
        Broad range of recreational activities
        Conservation of natural resources •
        Road construction/reconstruction permissible
        Timber cutting permissible
        Mineral activities permissible”
        There’s a map at this link:
        I’m sure there are nice ppts and briefing papers on the final rule but I couldn’t find them readily.

        Perhaps someone remembers what lead to those designations. I suspect it was site-specific and they must have had reasons for doing this.

    • Matthew, I think the collaborative effort (not what it says in the quote, granted) is about lands outside of roadless. Hopefully some readers can shed light on that, and if not, I will be learning more about it in the next couple of weeks.


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