After reading Doc Hastings guest column entitled, “Don’t let forests burn, work them” and after helping complete a salvage timber sale named: Windstorm Quartz, just east of Republic, and experiencing first hand federal forest management, I’ve come to the conclusion that renewing “the federal government’s commitment to manage the forest resources” is not the answer.
When it comes to timber resource management and the federal government, there is an analogous parallel between the Ariel Castro trial and the federal government’s forest management program. The American taxpayer’s timberland under the fiduciary trust management of the U.S. Forest Service has been held hostage for a couple of decades now. The timber land of this nation has been fondled, molested, abused, raped, tortured and wasted. But, just like Ariel Castro the Forest service can plead, we have a sickness, we are addicts. We are addicted to socialist management practices which include threats, useless exercises, timber waste…, for no other purpose than to show the forest worker who is in control, arbitrary rules that have nothing to do with resource utilization, blame shifting, avoiding responsibility for the mess that was a by- product of their management practices 20 years ago and prostituting ourselves to the people who really run the forest. And because of this addiction, the victims, our forest land and the American taxpayer have been sentenced to life plus 1000 years (or so it would seem).
The examples of obtuse forest management practices are to numerous to mention, but a few are needed to understand some of the problem: 1.) Acres of perfectly good blown down timber left to go to waste. 2.) Cutting smaller good growing trees that will be the future forest and leaving the more mature trees to die or blow over. 3.) Access to our forest lands blocked, roads closed for no other reason than to keep the real owners of the forest from using what is theirs. 4.) Expensive studies and programs that produces nothing more than more studies and programs that pretend to put people to work. 5.) Helping nature by “fixing” some problem that doesn’t exist whether it is in the area of watershed management or wildlife habitat. 6.) Blowing the tops of perfectly good trees off with dynamite to “make” bird habitat. 7.) Letting timber that has been burned and still has value go to waste because of “environmental” concerns and endless paper work. The idea that the federal government can “renew” its commitment to fix a problem that it causes, will not work.
As a proposal to Doc’s Resolution1526, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, an amendment to that bill should be to “Flip the Forest,” by this I mean put the forest in the hands of those who value it, the people who use it. Take it out of the hands of those who purposely waste millions of dollars pretending to manage it, and who continue to neglect what needs to be done in the area forest health. Put the citizens of the communities you wish to help, in charge of managing their own forest, and then get out of the way, don’t allow the federal government to put its fingers on the plan the local people seek to implement.
I would challenge Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Cantwell and Murray to come and take a tour of some of our “managed” forest and see if throwing away good timber is the pathway to healthier forests. The biggest enemy that our forests have, isn’t fire, or a strong wind now and then, or disease, or bugs, it seems to suffer the most under the “management” of the federal government.