Happy Tenth Anniversary New Century of Forest Planning/The Smokey Wire!

As part of our tenth anniversary celebration, from now (the actual anniversary) for the next month, we are going to feature NCFP/TSW faves. Anyone can submit one and email me. All I ask is that you submit the link to the post, why it is your fave (or one of them), and why you think it’s still relevant today.

In Google, you can search a website like this site:forestpolicypub.com.

So, say you remember a post with Leiberg as a topic or possibly Leiburg (as it turns out I may have spelled his name wrong). Just Google using “leiberg” site:forestpolicypub.com. Or “Andy Stahl” (who wrote my personal favorite post of all time) or ….

So if you remember one that’s your fave, tell us why and email it to me, and I’ll repost. I’m also interested in other ideas for our anniversary celebration.

Here’s our original post from November 11, 2009:

The University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation and the Forest Service are initiating a blog focused on the new forest planning rule. Our goal is to solicit broad participation from a cross-section of interests in a respectful atmosphere of mutual learning.  We seek to hear from academics of all stripes, scientists, practitioners of planning and other past, current and future agency employees , lawyers, members of interest groups, and members of the public who will be working with local forest plans.

We believe that ideas will be stronger and choices clearer if developed through such a multidisciplinary, multi-perspective dialogue. 

The blog is administered by Sharon Friedman (USFS) and Martin Nie (University of Montana).

4 thoughts on “Happy Tenth Anniversary New Century of Forest Planning/The Smokey Wire!”

    • Jon, that is a really long story, I’ll try to hit the highlights. I have italicized the parts that might be helpful to current employees:

      As an employee, I think I took more initiative to start NCFP than my superiors felt comfortable with. As a Regional Director, I had had a great degree of latitude in many areas. This turned out not to be one of them, but I didn’t realize it until it was too late. As I’ve said, the FS does not go ahead in a new direction unless all the toggles are on, and there are many toggles. Some you know about, some you don’t know about, and some toggles folks won’t tell you about until it’s too late

      As I’ve said before, I thought starting NCFP was simply an opportunity to have the discussions that our RF and I were having with law schools (we were authorized to do that, apparently) with a broader group. Not all schools are close enough to an FS office to have FS people in person discuss forest planning. To my mind, I was expanding what we were already authorized to do, in a logical way that took advantage of current technology. But it turns out that it was seen by others to be freelance public affairs (no one likes to be called on the carpet by the Department). I thought that forest planning was an arcane topic, needing broader understanding and discussion, and they, perhaps, thought it was important to get a Rule out with the least potential for unnecessary drama. The more political a topic, the less likely people are to communicate directly. If you require direct communication to understand what people are thinking, you may become political roadkill. As our RF used to say “you need to read between the lines” or “I shouldn’t have to tell you.”

      So first someone told me that I couldn’t use the FS logo without authorization. I took it off. Then they said that I couldn’t say it was the Forest Service, so I took that off. Then they said that I couldn’t work on it on government time, so I started doing it on my own time. (big mistake, here).

      In retrospect, I should have stopped right then, with a last post. But I lacked imagination as to what to say , e.g. “it’s been fun, but I’m done”. So I put it off, thinking I would get a better idea for how exactly to phrase it, or a logical stopping point would happen. Since no one followed up, I thought they didn’t care anymore. Well, of course, no one can go on record saying “you can’t do this in your spare time”. But you can become highly unpopular with important people.

      And that is how the FS and NCFP were parted.


Leave a Comment