What does active management mean for National Forests? When people hear this or read this for the very first time, there are many different thoughts. For those that are in the Forest Industry, it sounds like a good plan that we should have been following for some time. For those who care mainly about recreation, it can create concerns about how the landscape might change and affect areas they hold dear. Anyone who’s primary concern is for the environment might fear that active management might mean developing or damaging some of the last great places on public lands.
If we are going to get better at managing lands we need a better land allocation method. All lands need to be inventoried and grouped together based on desired outcomes. We see three necessary land designations. Actively managed lands, conservation managed lands and protected as backcountry. In doing this we can align management that is appropriate for each specific landscape. We need to create a management strategy that is efficient, compassionate, and effective.
With so many acres facing the imminent risk catastrophic fire, we need to develop a nationwide strategy for effective forest treatment. Many collaborative groups have laid the groundwork for what is appropriate in their local areas. By identifying which lands are eligible for active management and conservation focus we can assign the appropriate treatment for each area. Continue reading “Federal Land Management 2.017”
On March 28th & 29th in Portland Oregon, the second annual Mass Timber Conference took place. Hosting approximately 800 attendees, speakers, and exhibitors to discuss everything to do with mass timber. The well-attended conference was organized by the Forest Business Network.
Things have been very busy over the last month or so. We haven’t posted in a while because of some other pressing obligations. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been working. We have been drafting posts for more National Forest Management discussion. We have also attended the Mass Timber Conference put on by the Forest Business Network (great job guys!) and are working on a write up soon to come out.
Another topic that is important that will be coming is the difference between being right and getting results. So many people want to be right, but is that effective in supporting your interests?
Thanks for your patience while we get our content out. We look forward to more engagement.
I have been meaning to use more video to tell our story. Here’s my first shot at doing that. This is the active management portion of the Era of Megafires presentation that Paul Hessburg with the Pacific Northwest Research Station put together with North40 Productions, both from Wenatchee, Washington. Vaagen Bros contributed much of the raw video.
I was interviewed along with Mike Petersen, Executive Director of The Lands Council. As you will see in the video, Mike and his organization were not supporters of active management during the time known as the “Timber Wars”. However, due to consistent collaboration with other community members in Northeast Washington, there is a new way of managing the Colville National Forest. Mike and I believe that we are getting closer to fixing many of the problems of the past to create a new future for our forests and rural communities that depend on them.
Public lands can and should remain public, with a caveat. These federal lands need to be managed appropriately. Currently, they are not. There is a reason that so many people living in rural America are shouting for a change in ownership or management of public lands. Much of that angst is directed toward the Forest Service, but other federal land management agencies get heat as well.
Is it warranted? In my opinion, absolutely. If the federal government cannot figure out how to manage the lands for the benefits of all citizens, or as the Forest Service says “the greatest good for the greatest number of people,” then another solution will be created. If solutions aren’t brought to bear soon enough momentum could be created to insert new management or sell some of those lands to States, Counties, and other entities. Continue reading “Keep Public Lands Public”
I said I would write more about reorganizing the Forest Service. Before we take a deeper dive, let’s look at our current land management structure. The Department of Agriculture oversees the US Forest Service. The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of land, much of which is forests. The Department of Interior oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. The BLM manages a total of 247 million acres, 58 million of which is managed under Forests and Woodlands. The National Park Service (NPS) manages our National Parks, National Monuments, Historical Sites, and National Recreation Areas. Continue reading “How Many Agencies Does It Take?”
Since the Clinton years, the Forest Service has undergone a great deal of change. The agency was producing over 12 billion board feet of timber in the late 80’s, and by the mid 90’s that volume dropped to 2 billion. To provide context, if that were converted to lumber, it would be a difference of approximately 18 billion feet of lumber. The total consumption of lumber in the United States in 2015 was 44.1 billion board feet. That’s nearly 41% all the lumber used to build homes, apartments, and other stick-framed structures. That’s astounding!
Since the change occurred, the Forest Service has been struggling to create an identity. That identity is unclear, but many of the current Forest Service employees want to do more for the land. What does that mean? Many of the leaders and line officers are doing their best to work with collaborative groups to develop management plans that work for everyone. I applaud the efforts. Praise notwithstanding, I wonder if those efforts will be enough? Continue reading “Is it time to rethink the Forest Service?”
As changes starting happening with the transition of our government, many things are going to be drastically different than they have been for the past 24 years. Why 24 years? That was the last time we had the type of seismic change. I know, George W. Bush was the 43rd President, and he was a Republican and ran things much differently than President Obama. The shift of people (appointees, heads of agencies, etc.major) in Washington hasn’t been this disruptive since President Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1994. I know there significant changes between President Carter and President Reagan, but I’m not old enough to remember that. What’s my point?
In the last blog post, I didn’t get a good chance to wrap the story of recreation and forest management together as well as I should have. I don’t believe that every acre should be managed and I don’t think every acre should be thinned. Different management techniques that can and should be used to manage forests. When it comes to our national forests in the United States, thinning is a great tool to use. We desperately need to reduce the fuel loads in the forests. We have too many trees. I saw a report yesterday that the most recent tree tally of the United States came to 96.6 billion trees with a diameter of at least 5 inches. That means trees outnumber people 300 to 1 in the US. Continue reading “Recreation wrapped in wood”