Chaining of pinyon-juniper in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Chaining of pinyon-juniper forests is back in the news. Today’s Greenwire:

Appeals board upends Trump admin plans to raze Utah forest

Heather Richards, E&E News reporter
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Environmental groups have upended the Interior Department’s plans to cut down most of a scraggly forest covering about 30,000 acres of southern Utah within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The Interior Board of Land Appeals ruled yesterday that the Bureau of Land Management failed to consider how cutting down pinyon and Utah juniper trees would affect migratory birds. The appeals board also found BLM’s plan to use “non-native” seed — a part of its habitat improvement plans — was a mistake, as it conflicted with the agency’s management guidelines.

The board bucked other complaints in the appeal, such as conservationists’ argument that BLM failed to properly account for a climate change impact from bringing down the forest. That argument has been fairly effective for environmental groups in recent months for protests and lawsuits of oil and gas development on public land.

National Geographic a couple of weeks ago (with a misleading photo of a lone pinyon pine growing from a rock like a bonzai tree):

Forests on Utah’s public lands may soon be torn out. Here’s why.

The U.S. is moving forward with a plan to create new cattle pasture and prevent fires despite what scientists say is meager environmental review.

Machine tracks in the sand frame the site near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a harbinger of its vanishing solitude. The federal government plans to remove an unprecedented number of trees here, it says to reduce fire risk, improve habitat for greater sage grouse, and increase forage for cattle and a world-renowned trophy-hunting deer herd.

And it plans to do it fast. The Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct a thorough environmental analysis of the project that considered the impacts of cutting trees on the climate, said scientists who appealed to a federal review board to stop it. If approved, the effort could define how the nation’s most sensitive public lands are managed for a generation.

We’ve discussed this issue here, such as:

The Bureau of Land Management is “chaining” our public lands, and BLM’s next stop could be within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

19 thoughts on “Chaining of pinyon-juniper in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument”

  1. Source: https://suwa.org/interior-board-overturns-blm-decision-to-replace-native-forests-with-livestock-forage-in-grand-staircase-escalante-national-monument/

    Snips:

    In overturning the BLM’s decision, the IBLA found that the BLM erred because it “failed to take a hard look at the Project’s cumulative impacts on migratory birds under NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act]… [and] erred in determining that using non-native seed… was consistent with the applicable land use plan under FLPMA [Federal Land Policy and Management Act].” Non-native grasses, while preferred by the livestock industry, become invasive weeds in their own right and degrade habitat quality for native wildlife.

    The BLM’s decision would have rid the area of pinyon pine and juniper trees by mastication, an intensively surface-disturbing method of vegetation removal that involves shredding trees where they stand by means of a wood chipper/mulcher mounted to a large front-end loader, which is driven cross-country throughout a project area. The plan would also have authorized the destruction of sagebrush by chaining, the practice of ripping shrubs and trees from the ground by dragging large chains between two bulldozers.

    This decision illustrates what should be obvious, which is that destroying native pinyon and juniper forests to plant non-native forage for livestock is bad public policy,” said Kya Marienfeld, Wildlands Attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Unfortunately, the BLM is still proceeding with plans to rip up native vegetation from more than 100,000 acres elsewhere in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and hundreds of thousands of additional acres throughout Utah and the West. Congress needs to step in and ask why the BLM continues to waste taxpayer money on vegetation removal projects that ignore science and its own land management plans.”

    Reply
  2. Or the lawsuit results might mean that the BLM goes back and analyzes migratory birds, and reviews the rationale/ clarifies policies around the non-native species, as well. I’ve worked on projects that had several “do more analysis” steps requested by the courts (FS doesn’t have IBLA). I think it’s a good thing that the IBLA exists and caught this.

    My question is if those PJ trees could carry a PB would SUWA still be against it?I noted “BLM failed to properly account for a climate change impact from bringing down the forest.” That would be the same if they used PB or chaining or would it?

    https://forestpolicypub.com/2018/02/23/utahs-watershed-restoration-initiative-responds-to-suwa-commercial/

    Here is the explanation again from the folks proposing it.
    “Why do the BLM and WRI use this technique?
    -One of the major threats to both Sage Grouse and Mule Deer is the ongoing increase of pinyon and juniper trees in Utah.
    -Pinyon and juniper stands, like our higher elevation timber stands, need to be managed. Chaining and the seeding that follows helps to diversify these even-aged stands of trees and create areas that provide better habitat and forage for wildlife and livestock.
    -Chaining breaks up the often continuous and dangerous fuels, this reduces the size and intensity of fires, saving millions of dollars in fire suppression costs.
    -Chaining is not the only, or the most common, treatment technique we use to diversify these over-mature stands of pinyon and juniper trees but it is the least expensive and most useful for large project areas.
    -Chaining is used in older stands of pinyon and juniper where the trees have almost completely driven out grasses, flowering plants and shrubs. We call these late succession or phase III stands.
    -These older stands of pinyon and juniper provide very little usable habitat for wildlife or forage for livestock.
    -Chaining reduces competition for water and nutrients to help seeded plants to better establish and grow. Similar to how we weed our gardens and till the soil before we plant each spring.
    -Research and monitoring from across the west has shown the long term success of this treatment technique. Studies have shown significant increases in grasses, flowering plants and shrubs following chaining as well as increases in available soil moisture.
    -Some anecdotal evidence exists showing an increase in stream and spring flows as well as ground water levels following pinyon and juniper removal projects. WRI is currently funding long term study with the Utah Geological Survey to confirm this.”

    https://forestpolicypub.com/2018/02/23/utahs-watershed-restoration-initiative-responds-to-suwa-commercial/

    Reply
  3. The ‘finished product’ looks aesthetically-pleasing, in a general sort of way, especially if you look at before and after pictures. In person, the area looks almost manicured, with the untreated areas looking healthy (by design). I’m not against doing some of this but, I kinda like the junipers and pinyon pines.

    Here is an example of what they did near Bryce Canyon, not on Federal lands:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7862442,-112.4277675,4646m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    Reply
    • Larry Harrell – “Here is an example of what they did near Bryce Canyon, not on Federal lands”
      ===

      I used the Street view feature and saw the May 2019 Google Maps update view on Hwy 143. Panning around to the opposite side, it looks like it had been treated in previous years as were other areas in wider view. Looks like Silver Sage Brush has moved in and covered most of those areas, was that the goal ?

      Reply
  4. Sharon – “My question is if those PJ trees could carry a PB would SUWA still be against it?I noted “BLM failed to properly account for a climate change impact from bringing down the forest.” That would be the same if they used PB or chaining or would it?”
    ===

    No it would not matter to SUWA or any other environmental organization. There is no compromise and their definition of coming to common ground with their opponents is that they accept everything that spews forth from their mouths or written word. Resist and Delay seems to be their favoured tactics for which they have recently called out on by an angry Judge just about a week ago in that very same Kane County of Utah. The Judge just got fed up with the deliberate stall tactics and their demand to run things. Here is Kane County map below.

    http://www.utahbirds.org/images/kane.gif

    Here is the title of the article from the San Juan Record:

    “Judge rejects SUWA motion in Public Lands Case”

    EXCERPT:
    With a scathing rebuke, a federal judge rejected a motion by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) to become a full-party participant in a landmark public lands case.

    …The judge stated that SUWA filed actions that delayed progress on the case. In fact, it was SUWA’s role in delaying the case that may have triggered Judge Waddoup’s ire.

    The judge writes of one particular instance, “For over two years, Plaintiffs’s time and resources were taxed as they addressed SUWA’s defense before the Utah Supreme Court on an argument that ultimately was struck down as absurd.”

    Waddoups adds, “The harm arising from the delay is real, and it has occurred because SUWA thwarted the court’s order and insisted on taking a dominant role.”

    Read more: San Juan Record – San Juan County, Utah – Judge rejects SUWA motion in public lands case:

    http://sjrnews.com/view/full_story/27664719/article-Judge-rejects-SUWA-motion-in-public-lands-case?instance=home_news_1st_right

    Previously in an earlier discussion on this subject, you said this: “But I think the grass and sage is more scenic than the PJ’s. It’s hard for me to say that as a tree person..but I like the contrast between the hills and valleys.” Here is a photo you used below.

    https://forestpolicypub.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2015-0-Forward-1024×576.jpg

    I too love the Silver Sagebrush country, which is generally rich in far greater variety of biodiverse plants and other critters like birds. I also like the contrast between the hills and valleys. You can see this below in Larry’s google maps example which is above Kane county and yet you can note where things were done in a mosaic pattern leaving a patch work of pinyon juniper woodland on the curving and meandering hills. Apparently they have been doing this for some years because looking beyond that example Larry zeroed in on, countless areas have this same mosaic, but the Silver Sagebrush was very rapid to move in place. I noticed this in Anza California on the western part of Cahuilla Indian Reservation which was used to raise hay for cattle by a former workmate of mine from there. Until one day a biologist climbed the fence with court order to desist and threatened Leroy with jail if he did not stop farming. This was on Indian Res. Leroy had farmed this for two decades, but the biologist claimed he had discovered the Stephen’s Kangaroo Rat there, not because he saw it, but rather he discovered droppings. Anyway, my point here is that in almost no time, the Silver Sage Brush which is native there below Cahuilla Mountain moved in and recolonized rapidly. While I thought it was sad Leroy lost his livelihood there, the result was a possitive in Silver Sagebrush moving back in so quickly. With that, so did many native bunch grasses reappear and surprizingly so did Indian Paintbrush, Tidy Tips, & other wildflowers.

    Over here in Sweden when I’ve ventured into many of the dense forests with my wife hiking, the sound is deathly quite. There is almost no bird life and what bird life I generally see is in areas of human development (Cities, Towns, Agriculture, etc)) on the edges of forests. Never within. Only winged creatures I’ve met is being attacked by massive hoards of mosquitos. I mentioned this to my wife when we visited Tucson Arizona in a hot 114 F average Temps that July week in 2016, we even visited the Sonoran Desert museum there and other well known wild areas. What was most noticeable was the sounds everywhere of all manner of bird species aside from other animal wildlife we constantly saw on the ground. There was more life going on out in that desert than in all the huge supergreen Swedish forests I had gone too. People here tend to look at surroundings and seeing green everywhere assume all is well. It’s not, but that is another story.

    Reply
  5. Steve Wilent – “National Geographic a couple of weeks ago (with a misleading photo of a lone pinyon pine growing from a rock like a bonzai tree)”
    ===

    No doubt greater good rationalizations went into their decision making to use that specific photo. Oddly enough when I first saw that, I thought it was a natural Ponderosa Pine Bonzai. And you know what I was right. Seems this is a stock photo of a stunted Ponderosa Pine, Zion National Park, Utah taken on November 4th 2012. Take a look, not only misleading photo, but misleading description of what it is. For me I thought the needles were too long, but also the bark itself was a give away.

    https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-stunted-ponderosa-pine-zion-national-park-utah-52603496.html

    But misleading photos are a common strategy and are meant to move and anger followers on environmental pages on social media sites. They count on triggering pure raw emotion being stirred up among followers who generally will never do their own homework to see if the photograph is accurately illustrative to the title of the article being pimped.

    Remember the controvery with the BLM photograph of the Coal seam ? Same thing. Remember the controversy of the misleading headline: “Don’t Let Trump Ax Giant Sequoia National Monument” along with those misleading lying photos of giant majestic giant Sequoia redwoods ? Same thing. But all these smear campaigns never last. Their purpose and effect is to demonize a hated ideological opponent, milk the controversy for all it’s clickbait donations worth and move on to the next scam. Remember this lying Ad ?

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-18eSnwhqg-U/XVPuLmglNwI/AAAAAAAANs4/b-kxZTlk4pQbZZKyDrwFDF-0v6hqbOVQgCLcBGAs/s1600/sierraclub.jpg

    The reality of the Redwood National Monument controvery when I researched it is that the US Forest Service wanted to thin forests of Ponderosa Pine, Fire, Incense Cedar, etc which were many miles away from the Giant Redwoods in the buffer zones. It was never understood Redwoods would get harvested, especially those giants whose lumber is generally worthless. Now ironically, there is a new development regarding these Redwoods.

    Mercury News has this headline from yesterday: “World’s largest privately owned giant sequoia forest sold for $15 million”

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/09/17/deal-preserves-worlds-largest-privately-owned-giant-sequoia-forest/amp/

    That’s great. That’s wonderful. But there is something odd about what the Save the Redwoods League, the non-profit group based in San Francisco that agreed to pay $15.6 million to purchase the property is going to do with it first before it hands the property over to the US Forest Service and any tourist can visit. The Save the Redwoods league plans to transfer both parcels to the U.S. Forest Service over the next decade, so they can be included in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, however before they do that, they will do something else in preparation of the property. Note this from the article.

    “Sam Hodder (League’s President) said that his organization hopes to transfer the Red Hill property to the Forest Service in 2022. But it will retain the Alder Creek property for up to 10 years. During that time, scientists plan to draw up public access plans. They also will work with logging crews and government officials to thin out areas that have grown unnaturally thick after generations of fire suppression.

    “They will not cut down any ancient sequoias, Hodder said. Rather, workers will remove pine, fir and cedar trees in some places. Over the past 20 years, a number of big forest fires in the Sierra Nevada — including the Pier Fire in 2017 and the Rough Fire in 2015 — have burned so hot that they have killed several dozen giant sequoias. Removing unnaturally thick brush and trees, which the National Park Service regularly does at Mariposa Grove in Yosemite, reduces the risk of severe fires, and increases the likelihood that when fires do start, they will burn more moderately along the forest floor, allowing the fire-resistant trees to survive.”

    “Our goal is to make sure the property is fire ready.”

    Isn’t that philosopgy and management practice supposed to be demonized ??? So how come no outrage on the logging and thinning of the same exact tree species the US Forest Service wanted to do before when the Sequoia Monument strategy was attacked ??? On all the social media sites there is nothing but celebration, not anger. Maybe it’s too early yet and they haven’t realized the golden opportunity to milk this. My guess is a certain person’s name isn’t associated with the project and they would not get as much mileage out of it. Still it’s a kool thing those groves will be made part of the monument.

    Reply
  6. Larry Harrrell – ” Again, the Sierra Club is no longer a reliable source of information. They lie to their potential donors.”
    ===

    Wow, I guess I spoke to soon about no anger out there over this news when I said this above:
    “On all the social media sites there is nothing but celebration, not anger.”

    Several hours later when I went back to group pages like the “California Native Plant Society” and others, anger apparently did arise over the decision by the Save The Redwoods Leadue” where Sam Hodder said the decision of the League to turn over the Giant Sequoia property over to the US Forest Service. Many bashing the US Forest Service who they say is in the big Timber Industries pockets, demanded the property be handed over to the State of California who they insisted are better able to care for and save the Redwoods.

    Now there are a couple of ironies here. For the past several months, most of these environmental non-profits have been demonizing the State of California, it’s Governor, it’s Senators, Cal-Fire etc over their management policies which include logging and thinning for wildfire saftey. Now we are suddenly told that these same people they have been demonizing all year are qualified to manage this property ??? The other irony is this, hasn’t there been a controversy over there with every conservation group up in arms over your Federal Governments possible plans to turn over land management to States ??? In fact Matthew was even quoted in the Missoulan about this very subject: [MODERATOR NOTE: Please be advised that Kevin has no idea what this article was even about, never read the article and mysteriously pieced together some entirely non sequitur statements with a very bizarre use of ellipses directly below. – mk]

    “While the protesters demand the federal lands be turned over to state and … Utah voters split with 41 percent in favor of state control and 47 percent opposed. … federal public lands helped the local economy, while 19 percent … Wild West Institute Director Matthew Koehler disagreed with that conclusion.”

    I’m just amazed at how quickly people change minds depending on which way the groupthink or herd mentality wind blows or changes direction. I guess that’s why they are called followers. Still, this Giant Sequoia controversy is only going to get uglier and it shouldn’t be controversial at all, but rather something to celebrate. It’s a win.

    Reply
    • Howdy Kevin…I have no idea how or why you roped me into this. And honestly, I don’t have the time right now to read through everything you’ve written recently; however, you do get a gold star for a most aggressive (and irresponsible) use of ellipses to try and make a point.

      For whatever it’s worth, here’s the entire article that Kevin decided to mysteriously paste together some random words to create some sort of a point.

      And here’s the entire section that included a quote from myself:

      Wild West Institute Director Matthew Koehler disagreed with that conclusion. As a frequent critic of collaborative groups in local U.S. Forest Service projects, he said reliance on such stakeholder processes undermined national environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act.

      “Right now, we’ve got 15 or 20 different collaborative groups in Montana working on projects, and what individual or organization has the resources and manpower to attend meetings all across the state?” Koehler asked. “The only part of the process that’s federally required is laws like NEPA, and NEPA doesn’t say you need to drop what you’re doing and drive all around the state attending collaborative meetings. Once we start saying that unless you’re part of a collaborative group, you won’t be able to fully participate in this process for a timber sale, you’re going to see all the decisions made only by organizations and entities that have a lot of money or time.”

      Reply
      • “Right now, we’ve got 15 or 20 different collaborative groups in Montana working on projects, and what individual or organization has the resources and…”

        Just a quick note to say it all seems kinda fishy to me, too. To be valid, these collaboratives need to be more inclusive, or at least, attempt to be. There must not be any hint of corruption in any Forest Service decisions, and we need full transparency.

        Reply
  7. Matt, “For whatever it’s worth, here’s the entire article that Kevin decided to mysteriously paste together some random words to create some sort of a point.”
    ===

    Thanks, unfortunately the mighty E.U. forbids me to view numerous websites over there for my own good I guess. New privacy laws and permissions have changed this year. So I am not able to view the entire site. This subject I believe was discussed here before, something to do with the Bundys, something I haven’t really followed.

    Reply
    • Ok, Kevin, if you apparently can’t even view websites (???) please leave my name out of it. This is especially true if you are just going to basically irresponsibly make stuff up about me and what I believe. You admit you don’t even know what you are talking about here or what the article was even about…and you admit that you “haven’t really followed” the issue….But yet somehow you manage to mysteriously paste a bunch of unrelated things together, which includes my name. That’s entirely not acceptable Kevin and I won’t tolerate it. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Matthew Koehler – “[MODERATOR NOTE: Please be advised that Kevin has no idea what this article was even about, never read the article and mysteriously pieced together some entirely non sequitur statements with a very bizarre use of ellipses directly below. – mk]
        ===

        I know exactly what I am talking about, it was even discussed here. The issue of US Federal Government turning lands over to States to manage. Every environmental Group was up in arms and flaming mad. Much of it had to do with the Bundy Gang, so I get that. The Bundys are indeed rightwiger radicals, butI really don’t know the entire story there. But my point was rabid discussion over the Eco Group buying the pristine area of Giant Sequoias which started out as celebrated and turned into hatred and anger over the Groups purpose of thinning pines, firs, cedar & chaparral by means of logging in cooperation with the US Forest Service for which the land will be turned over to the US Forest Service. But the celebration narrative changed to, “Give it to the State of California” because they are better land stewards than the US Forest Service who has the Timber Industry in their back pockets. The irony here as I mentioned is a major switch given all California Eco-Groups past couple of years of demonizing California, it’s Governor and Sentators and Cal-Fire as the worst possible land stewards. Now suddenly that’s changed ??? So to recap, US Government lands turned over to States is demonic and has Satan’s fingerprints all over it, bad idea because those lands belong to the people. However, irresponsible California and it’s leaders who have been demonized are now considered the better land stewards than the US Government wwhich represents the people ??? There’s no logic here. But that seems to be the culture over there. As I’ve said before, this isn’t about loving and saving nature, this is only about grabbing power through political activism. Here is Sequoia Forestkeepers response to the good news of Redwoods saved which is a prime example of Eco-Activist reaction to otherwise great news:

        “Sadly, the Redwoods League biologist approved thinning around the grove that felled white firs as tall as 80′ next to sequoias. The giants need uneven-aged forest understory to intertwine with shallow sequoia roots. Let’s find a way to help Redwoods League give this to someone other than the logging agency, the Forest Service, and truly Save the Redwoods.”

        Matthew Koehler – “That’s entirely not acceptable Kevin and I won’t tolerate it. Thanks.”
        ===

        I’ve already explained myself and apologized for the mistake and really had nothing to do with you except the subject discussion. But let’s discuss something exactly identical and is similar that is tolerated here, which when called out by others here as untrue deception are then met with “Whatever”, “For what it’s worth” or Wow, just wow.”

        Yesterday a long absent poster here, Richard Halsey, commented on the “LA Times: Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?” article you wrote. He basically disagrees with California management of forests. I no longer belong to his group because of the lying that went on over at his page about the erroneous BLM Coal Seam photo controversy, but I was curious and went to is California Chaparral Institute Facebook page because I do not go there anymore to see what he’s been posting. In a post he wrote about forest mismanagement after Rim Fire, he had these two paragraphs containing same identical erroneous thought promoted here some weeks past about the HUD Grant Funds, in June 2019 I believe.

        Here is what Rick Halsey repeated which was previously mentioned here in a post by Matthew Koehler about the mususe and abuse of HUD Housing Grant Funds:

        “The HUD funds were awarded to the state for disaster recovery, including the opening of a biomass energy plant that could use material harvested from the forest. The groups question whether a logging project in the national forest is an appropriate use of HUD disaster funds, and they said the Forest Service didn’t perform an environmental assessment of the biomass plant. That skirted the National Environmental Policy Act, they said. The forest is coming back naturally, and it makes no sense to use disaster relief funds to cut it down and replant,” said Meriel Darzen of Crag Law Center, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, in a news release. The disaster relief funds should be returned to HUD and used to help communities impacted by fire, not set back forest recovery. Healthy forests are an economic engine for these communities.”

        Chad Hanson’s John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute surprisingly also pushed the same untrue narrative yesterday:

        “John Muir Project, Greenpeace USA and Sequoia ForestKeeper joined together in this lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service and California authorities who have grossly misused a $28 million housing and urban development grant intended for helping communities for a clearcutting project. It should be noted that both The Nature Conservancy and Sierra Nevada Conservancy are backing the logging and biomass components of this awful project!”

        This same accusation against HUD was discussed here back on June 4, 2019. It was posted by Sharon and titled: “Sequoia ForestKeepers Weigh in on HUD Grant for Stanislaus National Forest Salvage”

        https://forestpolicypub.com/2019/06/04/sequoia-forestkeepers-weigh-in-on-hud-grant-for-stanislaus-national-forest-salvage/

        Accusation by Ara Mardosarian, Executive Director of Sequoia Forestkeeper: “Why is $70 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Redevelopment (HUD) disaster funds going to log federal forests (creating unnatural flammable conditions) when those funds should be spent on community disaster relief? This $70 million of HUD funding should, instead, be applied to the real disaster of the Camp Fire in Butte County, to help the victims in Paradise, California who lost everything.”

        Repeated accusation from Matthew Koehler: “At first glance, it’s awesome to know that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is so flush with cash, and everyone’s needs in America are met in terms of Housing and Urban Development, that HUD can give $70 million dollars in U.S. taxpayers funds to the U.S. Forest Service to do post fire logging on public lands. This is truly how we make America great.”

        “Let’s give HUD Secretary Ben Carson an Oreo for a job well done!”
        (he then posted video posted making fund of the HUD administrator tongue slip)

        Then suddenly, a poster named, Patrick Koepele, Executive Director of the Tuolumne River Trust (patrick@tuolumne.org – Tel# 209-588-8636) who was actually present at the meetings referenced and had first hand knowledge of the truth about the HUD Grant funds usage had this to say:

        “I attended the tour. And here are my comments on other portions of the Sequoia ForestKeeper Post:

        “The HUD grant (awarded under the Obama Administration) is not paying for any salvage logging. In fact, the salvage logging that was done in the Rim Fire burn area was completed in 2014-15. There has been no salvage logging since then and no more is planned. There is prep work planned as part of the reforestation. This will result in removal of some standing, dead trees and some jumbled piles of fallen logs.”

        “Also, another correction – rather than $71M going to do fuel removal and other restoration work in the burned forest, the majority of the HUD grant is paying for one or two community centers to help the county recover economically and for a wood products campus to make waste wood into usable products. Only 1/3 of the HUD grant is going to fuel breaks, tree planting, and fuel removal.”

        After he posted the truth on this, here was the response of some of this forum’s posters:

        Larry Harrell’s response: “Thanks for some real information about this story, Patrick.”

        Sharon’s response: “Patrick, thanks for your response!”

        Matthew Koehler’s response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8E_zMLCRNg

        I’m amazed that after all this time (June 2019) and the clarification by Patrick Koepele, Executive Director of the Tuolumne River Trust on the erroneous thinking and printed lies in the Media about the HUD Grant Funds, this lying narrative is now still raging as a truth in all the Eco-Group forums. The only thing we can conclude is that if all thsee Eco-Groups are the ones who have this right and correct, then Patrick Koepele, Executive Director of the Tuolumne River Trust is a bald faced liar. But I doubt that.

        Reply
        • The idea that the Forest Service is unsuitable to manage these groves of Giant Sequoias is ridiculous. The ‘slippery slope-ism’ is very strong here, with people assuming that a Trump Forest Service would cut those worthless trees. That belief is just stupid, and not based on facts. THAT is their only ‘reason’ for being against such a plan. Paranoia is not a good look for these eco-folks.

          My guess is that the Forest Service would have tougher rules on thinning than what is currently planned.

          Reply
        • Kevin, thank you for at least spelling my name right. How it happened that I got dragged into this weird conversation is beyond me. An erroneous coal seam? What on earth are you talking about?

          Regarding the lying you claim that occurred on Chaparral Institute’s Facebook page, care to actually cite a quote that was a lie and by whom?

          No more salvage logging on the Rim Fire? If so, can you please explain exactly what the “biomass” is that the HUD project would be taking out of the burned forest to burn in the not-carbon-neutral biomass burning plants? Plants, by the way, that are being built/operated in low-income areas whose residents will be subjected to the pollution of the burning biomass. This is one reason why environmental justice is such a big issue in California – rich white people continually funding dirty industries in poor neighborhoods inhabited by people of color.

          Fortunately, power-grabbing eco activists are spending every waking minute of their selfish lives who, for some weird reason, want to speak for voiceless species, to challenge those in court who have an economic interest in clearing their habitat.

          Sincerely,
          The “long absent poster,” whatever that means.

          Reply
  8. Richard Halsey – “Regarding the lying you claim that occurred on Chaparral Institute’s Facebook page, care to actually cite a quote that was a lie and by whom?”
    ===

    Oh you remember and you were not pleased. It was back in early 2017. Mainstream Media ran with a bogus story of Trump promoting a photo on the BLM website promoting a Coal Seam photo from Wyoming, except it had nothing to do with Trump. The direction of the debate went into coal vs clean energy and the controversy regarding the photo has zero to do with that. Okay, not secret your President promotes conventional energy generation. But this was not the discussion. The big controversy started with the Huffington Post who also isn’t exactly a fan of your new leader. This matchstick subject was then picked up by all other Media and Social Media outlets and spread like wildfire for all the wrong lying reasons. They snarky lead in by the Huffington Post started with:

    “Close your eyes and picture “public lands” in the United States. What image comes to mind? Majestic mountain views? Pristine forests?

    How about a big ol’ lump of coal?”

    Everyone here reading should remember this because Matt provided the link.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/blm-website-coal-picture_n_58e68391e4b05894715ede52

    But in the Huffington Post article, they actually quoted the officials from Department of Interior who told the truth about where the photo originated.

    === Explanation from BLM officials in Huffington Post===
    BLM spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt told HuffPost in an email that the photo was one of many that will appear on the site going forward. On Friday, a new photo will appear, representing recreation on public lands.

    “As part of the BLM’s transition to a new website design, we will be regularly rotating the banner with photos that reflect the many uses our public lands have to offer,” she said.

    Paul R. Ross, U.S. Department of the Interior spokesman, noted that the BLM manages content on its site separately from the DOI. However, he expressed support for the new photo.”
    =============

    But you and your followers totally ignored that. Then a Chaparral member from your own page, a BLM employee, tried to politely explain the truth about where the photo came from and where it originated and how it had zero to do with your present President Donald Trump. As reported in the Huffington Post, the BLM website had been revamped with a new software which had a photo rotating feature which rotated and changed every Friday. The BLM Employee said the website software change was mandated and ordered by the Obama Administration and the photos were their photos. Nothing to do with Trump even though he is pro-coal. The previous photo which showed two young boys (brothers) out hiking in Nature went away and then the following Friday the photos rotated and the Coal Seam appeared. Every single opponent of your Presdent jumped on this and blamed him.

    You and your followers blasted the BLM employee and changed the topic to dirty coal vs clean alternative energy. I defended the guy and tried to point out further what he was trying to explain about the photo’s origin. Again more oil/coal vs clean alternative energy and clearly no one including you wanted to hear that. Coal vs Alternative Energy was NOT the original subject, but it scared off the BLM employee who deleted all five of his posts. I private messaged him and apologized for the way you all treated him and how I hoped nothing I said made it worse. Here was his response which I saved and will always want to remember.

    “Nothing I said was out of line with policy or was confidential. It was more a matter of keeping a lower profile. My job is to speak publicly about the BLM and its mission. But that doesn’t mean that my personal profile should be associated with individuals who advocate for any particular position. This is doubly true if I identify myself as a BLM employee. The job of the BLM is to be the neutral arbiter in the many uses of public lands. Often there is some public assumption of balance. This isn’t always the case. Nothing is so cut and dry in “multiple use and sustained yield”. Often lands will see one use to near exclusivity. I’m not sure that the audience on that post was ready to really know that. They’re also not ready to know that the last administration presided over the most approvals of Applications for Permit to Drill of any presidency in history. All of this while protecting more acres of the public lands than any other presidency. Our mission, in all of its facets, goes on no matter who is in the Whitehouse. We just talk about different parts of it more at times. Thanks for your concern.”

    A week later right on time the next Friday, just like the BLM Employee explained, the Coal Seam photo was replaced by a guy fly fishing in nature. Here was your response as Admin_

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WT1GQQMtLW4/XVKqOkx5W_I/AAAAAAAANsY/2wNRlmK35a8OCjEMa-ndKH2wxUOFZbwhACLcBGAs/s1600/chaparell.png

    All around the globe every single environmentalist chanted and pushed the same false narrative about the new photo. The people spoke and the powerful evil Empire backed down. Except that’s not exactly what happened as the next following Friday’s photo (April 21st 2017) a new image below appeared on the BLM website’s homepage again, but this time it showed an Oil Pipeline going through a pristine looking wilderness with huge wild river.

    https://rtfitch.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/heroimage_oilgas3_0.jpg?w=699&h=198

    So tell us, what happened to all those power to the people activist voices ??? The website’s IT improvements, the selected rotating photographs were all the brain child of the previous USA’s Administration just like you were told by the BLM Employee and had nothing to do with your new President. But not one Eco-Activist site or organization nor mainstream News Media bothered to do their homework and ironically no one really commented again after that new oil pipeline image in the wilderness appeared. With the exception of one WordPress blogger that I am aware of.

    One thing you should remember about the BLM, they take hard flack from both political sides (irrespective of the ideological flavour) for what ever nonsense ideological reasons. It seems many times they are stuck in the middle in a thankless job. This goes true for the employees at the US Forest Service. I don’t have time to address the other nonsense regarding the HUD Funds at the moment, but it’s safe to say many , but not all consider Patrick Koepele, Executive Director of the Tuolumne River Trust to be not telling the truth.

    Reply
  9. Ohh… so we wondered why you all of sudden had a change of heart about what CCI does and who we are. So it was our April 6, 2017 post on the BLM coal seam thing? I remember now. Not sure why that event was so personal to you.

    First, lets address the defining issue you have not mentioned. The current president is a pathological liar. This is a demonstrable fact. As a consequence, everything he says, everything his employees say, is questionable based on what we know about him. So whatever explanation his administration had for the coal seam photo is suspect. Like it or not, that is the reality we must face. Blaming the whole thing on Obama fits a pattern that has been repeated over and over since the coal seam controversy.

    Regarding your defense of BLM (in your 2017 post comment), there should be no doubt that it is indeed run by the ghouls of Mordor now with their efforts to destroy the pinyon-juniper forests of a national monument (the subject of this thread). Then again, that effort should not be a surprise as the current acting director of the BLM has made a career off of advocating the sell off public land, promoting extreme anti-government views, and hating the Endangered Species Act. Not sure this is the outfit a Nature lover should be defending.

    Since you had no personal knowledge or first hand knowledge of the coal seam situation, your perspectives are merely opinions, such as your apparent disapproval of our political activism as opposed to just talking about shrubs and Nature. You wrote in the post’s thread back in 2017,

    “Kevin Franck: Brady Owens – Thanks, So all of this had to do with the last Administration ? You do realize that’s not going to please the locals here wanting a conspiracy angle to all this ? More and more this is becoming more about politics and less about admiring Nature. But I must say from the beginning I thought it was probably something like toational program to their site, but wasn’t sure. When I think of BLM, I I’ve always thought of mining, not just coal, butmetals copper, gold, etc. Unfortunately in today’s tiring political climate, many on both sides have the need to nitpick anything in hopes of one side scoring some imaginary brownie points against their perceived opponents. This is all too common now and sad. Nature takes major hits from both ideological worldviews.”

    We wrote back,

    “California Chaparral Institute: To clarify, the Chaparral Institute is in the final analysis, political. Politics is how policy is shaped, which determines how we treat nature. Clearly, ripping apart mountains to extract coal is driven by misguided policies that need to be addressed. We do share the beauty of nature and conduct research, but it would be shortsighted of us not to shine bright lights on policies that encourage the destruction of what little wild nature is left.”

    Kevin, sorry you saw the political climate as tiring. We saw, and continue to see the need to discuss politics as vital to our continued survival. And yes, there is indeed a conspiracy. That should be pretty clear to you now – a conspiracy to damage our public lands for the benefit of extractive industries. And please stop characterizing it all as if this is merely an argument between two equal “sides.” There is only one reasonable side in this situation – the side of truth and the public’s interest in protecting the land that the government promised to protect.

    The Trump administration is clearly trying to void several generations of environmental protections along with disregarding the future of our children due to its rejection of human caused climate change science and promotion of policies that are making the situation worse.

    On Friday, a lot of us talked about the violence the Trump administration is causing the world as we participated in the international Climate Strike. You know, the 4 million plus people in 161 countries who decided to fight for our future?

    The questions I’m asking myself is, why you still harboring ill will over a Facebook discussion from two years ago, and why you don’t seem to comprehend the damage the Trump administration is causing to our children’s future? Many of your arguments on this page border on the absurd. Let’s discuss what really matters, like what we can do to reduce the worse impacts of climate change and figure out how we don’t screw things up like this again.

    Reply
  10. Rick: “The current president is a pathological liar.”
    ===
    Thanks for confirmation that your non-profit organization has little to do with nature and is mainly an ideological beast of a machine promoting a certain political worldview over another. Doesn’t that hurt your tax exempt status ?
    —————

    Rick: “And please stop characterizing it all as if this is merely an argument between two equal “sides.” There is only one reasonable side in this situation – the side of truth and the public’s interest in protecting the land”
    ===
    LOL – Salman Rushdie in a BBC interview in 2013 said this about our world when he labeled it a “Culture of Offendedness.” Neither side sees this, not your’s not their’s. Mr Rushdie said:

    “Classically, we have defined ourselves by the things we love. By the place which is our home, by our family, by our friends. But in this age we’re asked to define ourselves by hate. That what defines you is what pisses you off. And if nothing pisses you off, who are you?”

    So the message here is, if you cannot identify yourself by something you hate or something that pisses you off, then you’re a loser and a nobody. Sound about right ??? If you’re not for us, you’re against us.
    ………………………..

    Rick: “why you still harboring ill will over a Facebook discussion from two years ago, and why you don’t seem to comprehend the damage the Trump administration is causing to our children’s future?”
    ===
    Unbelievable, you still don’t want to get this. Still playing dumb. This opponent (your country’s President) you hate so much still had NOTHING to do with that website’s software and rotating images. Is he pro-coal, oil & gas ? Sure! But the photos belonged to the previous guy and his organization. It does NOT matter who gets elected, the present system drags down no matter who’s in charge. But that’s just the one inconvenient truth neither side can admit.

    Rick: “Many of your arguments on this page border on the absurd.”
    ===
    This is nothing more than Hand Waving!
    ——————

    Rick: “Let’s discuss what really matters, like what we can do to reduce the worse impacts of climate change and figure out how we don’t screw things up like this again.”
    ===
    There are no real no solutions for climate change. The technology does not exist yet to correct anything, the point of no return came and went decades ago and the present worthless (Solar & Wind) business models being pimped by all the eco-activist sites are grossly inefficient. Here is a recovering ecoactivist’s honest take on climate change today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_s8Vo00Xug&t=31s&

    After intelligently and logically laying out where ecoactivism went wrong in the past when it delved into identity politics (culture of offenedness), at exactly time point 9 minutes, Paul Kingsnorth says this:

    “The interesting thing about kids when you have them and especially if they’re running around in the fields, which our’s do a lot of, is that you see that they already have this intense intrinsic relationship with everything else anyway, it’s not theoretical. They notice things, they have this great awareness. They see the spiders on the underside of the leaves, and they see the colours of the grasses, and they see when something has changed and my daughter sees fairies in the trees and is absolutely sure that they are real. They notice things that you don’t notice as an adult where there is a process of teaching yourself that none of that stuff is real when you live in a city and if you could remember back on that intense connection you had as a kid with nature it becomes heartbreaking because you remember as you sit in an office all day.”

    So he noticed a positive side effect from his departure from the environmental movement and reconnecting with rural location in nature which provided his kids with a better education classroom, than all the disconnected eco-activism. By human nature those protest kids who want to ditch school where they are exploited with adult agenda driven talking points. How many of those kids would have gone out and protested had it been a Saturday time off instead of a Frida ditch day ? How many would go out and actually volunteer in some restoration project instead of engaging in civil disobedience actions which seem to come naturally with elementary school age youth through their 20s ?

    *crickets*

    Reply
  11. Kevin, how we went from hanging out together in the wildlands and sharing drinks to this kind of internet road rage, I have no idea. Something has deeply upset you.

    When this happens to me, I do the deep work to figure out what pattern within has been triggered. Ultimately, I find my reaction has nothing to do with the other person, but something I have yet to reconcile inside.

    Sorry this has happened. We had fun.

    Only wishing you the best.

    Rick

    Reply

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