The Black Hills National Forest timber debate

Nick Smith listed this South Dakota Public Broadcasting program in his Dec. 10 HFHC news email. The show lasts almost an hour.

In the Moment brings you an hour of conversations about the Black Hills National Forest plan and the debate over the timber count.

Seth Tupper joins us (back & forth with audio clips) for a conversation about the Data Quality Act and administrative action from the Black Hills forest products industry seeking corrections to a scientific report that recommends significantly reducing the timber harvest.

Ben Wudtke with the Black Hills Forest Resource Association discusses the Data Quality Act challenge and detailed examples of challenges to the General Technical Report published by the US Forest Service.

Kevin Woster joins us with thoughts from his conversation with U.S. Senator Mike Rounds regarding the loss of his beloved wife and his return to work in Congress.

11 thoughts on “The Black Hills National Forest timber debate”

  1. One need look no further than the Black Hills National Forest for how politics has completely altered a landscape but there are plenty other public lands examples that illustrate the red state, blue state divide. Here in New Mexico public comments on the upcoming forest plan will look way different than how they’ll read in my home state of South Dakota and in the Wyoming Black Hills.

    A century and a half of domestic livestock grazing and care less land management practices created an unnatural overstory best controlled by the mountain pine beetle, prescribed fires and periodic wildfires. Native Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are virtually extirpated from the Hills but the BHNF is trying to restore native limber pine (Pinus flexilis) in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.

    Hulett, Wyoming Republican Jim Neiman waited until Donald Trump was forced from the White House then shuttered his sawmill in Hill City, South Dakota and blamed the Forest Service.

    • Yes, Larry, people think differently in different parts of the country. In fact, they are different in different parts of the same state (Calif, Ore, Colorado) which are all blue states.

      I can’t say I know the reason for the business decision Neiman made with closing the sawmill, but I can tell you the folks in Montrose, Colorado, are glad about his taking over the sawmill there. I also saw him on a WGA panel, and his reasons for not getting involved in 4FRI seemed reasonable. Just because you see everything through an “R’s are bad” filter, doesn’t mean that that filter is the truth. We need people who can run sawmills successfully, providing goods and employing people, and paying taxes, especially here in the fire suppressed west. Even if we disagree with them politically.

      • I’ve known Hulett, Wyoming’s Jim Neiman for over forty years. He’s a ruthless negotiator and committed capitalist who would log the Black Hills into the dirt since he controls the Black Hills National Forest leadership and South Dakota’s Republican congressional delegation. You can bet he’s using the same tactics with the Bucks and the Boeberts of Colorado.

        Most of today’s wildfire potential in the United States is clustered in Republican counties and according to the National Interagency Coordination Center that trend will continue through at least May.

  2. If you want to hear a different side of the story, I am supposed to be on the “In the Moment” show on SDPB today (Tuesday) and tomorrow 11:00 MT, to respond. It’s good journalism when they try to provide different sides and I applaud SDPB for doing that.

  3. The “Data Quality Act.” Interesting that there doesn’t seem to have been much interest in this “news,” maybe because it’s just a process and the results probably aren’t judicially reviewable. This is only the 26th “request for correction” to the Forest Service in the 20 years since the rider passed that requires the process. Interesting to look at them here, and there is a link to the Black Hills request (178 pages).


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