Dropping of Logging Ban in National Forests


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  1. #1

    Dropping of Logging Ban in National Forests


    I saw the following article posted on CNN.com today, and thought it was something that we should all be aware of. Whether you agree or disagree is up to you, but I thought everyone might like to at least see what is being said.


    Bush plan drops logging ban for national forests

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Environmentalists are blasting a Bush administration proposal to lift a ban on logging in remote areas of national forests, saying the move ignores popular support for protecting forests.

    The plan announced Monday would allow logging by permitting roads to be constructed in national forests. Governors would have to petition the federal government to block road building.

    "When the Forest Service originally proposed protecting these special places to hunt, fish and camp, the millions of public comments received were overwhelmingly supportive," Idaho Conservation League spokesman John Robinson said. "There's no reason to drag out this fight."

    The rule would replace one adopted by the Clinton administration and still under challenge in federal court. It covers about 58 million of the 191 million acres of national forest nationwide.

    Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, visiting the state Capitol in Boise on Monday, argued that the administration's new approach will end the legal uncertainty surrounding the Clinton administration's attempt to protect forests as it was leaving office in January 2001.

    Veneman said the new plan gives governors a chance to weigh in on how the roadless land in their states should be managed -- something Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said was long overdue.

    "There are areas in Idaho that should appropriately be designated as roadless," said Kempthorne, a Republican. "I don't dispute that. But there is a right way and a wrong way. Today the Bush administration is doing it the right way."

    Administration officials predicted governors would petition to keep areas roadless as well as to open tracts up to development.

    Idaho was one of the first states to go to court to block the Clinton plan since it affected 9.3 million acres in the state, the most in the lower 48 states.

    Jim Riley of the Intermountain Forest Association, which represents the timber industry, embraced the proposal, maintaining that "these decisions are far better made by local folks than through broad national policy."

    But New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, said the Forest Service was "walking away from environmental protection."

    Richardson said he would ask that all 1.1 million acres of roadless land in his state remain protected and planned to urge other western governors to do the same.

    "They should not open these areas, period," Richardson said.

    Under the proposal, the 58.5 million acres designated as roadless among the 191 million acres of national forest will be protected from development for another 18 months.

    In 2006, each governor may submit a proposal either to continue protecting the roadless land or allow it opened to multiple use. The federal government would consider each state petition and then issue a regulation determining the extent of future roadless protection.

    "To take it down to the state level like this really undermines having a national forest system," said Craig Gehrke, spokesman for The Wilderness Society. "You don't have state Social Security plans. Why should we have state roadless plans?"

    Philip Clapp, president of National Environmental Trust, called the proposal "the biggest single giveaway to the timber industry in the history of the national forests."

    "The Bush administration is trying to short-circuit court proceedings that might end up leaving protections for the untouched 30 percent of the national forests in place," he said.

  2. #2
    What is it with Bush. Doesn't he want to leave any resources for future generations. I think the Greens and the Sierra Club go to far to the left and the republicans are going to far to the right. Why can't we get common sense centric middle of the road decision making here.

  3. #3

    "National Take A Friend Hiking Day" :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by noreaster
    What is it with Bush. Doesn't he want to leave any resources for future generations. I think the Greens and the Sierra Club go to far to the left and the republicans are going to far to the right. Why can't we get common sense centric middle of the road decision making here. :argue:
    V O T E ! ! !

    I wonder if we should sponsor a National Take A Friend Hiking Day. I'm thoroughly convinced that if we all got took one new person a year into the woods with us, the number of people who suddenly appreciate the wilderness would expand rapidly. :-)

    BootJockey / Dave

  4. #4
    yet more proof of the degree to which the administration is beholden to big industry.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mryan
    yet more proof of the degree to which the administration is beholden to big industry.
    Good thing Kerry has NO ties to big industry, eh?


  6. #6
    I'm not real big into the wording of legislation, at least in this case. What I do see, on the surface is areas of woods will be open to logging that previously have not. I am not really against that, and I'll tell you why.

    In past years, folks have been complaining about clear cutting, "raping the land". Has anyone been to the Flume in New Hampshire? This area was clear cut several decades ago. There are, here and there, unusually large trees throughout the park. At least one has a sign stating that this area was clearcut, with only a few trees, such as this one, remaining. This at a time when replanting was not really done. The place looks great, and is marketed as such. Also, when up in the "north woods", I can often see blocks of lower height trees. They look really good, but they are obviously growing in a clear cut area. I'll agree when an area gets clear cut, that it does not look good. Give it a couple years, though, and it looks real good.

    Last year, we were hiking Paugus MT, around Wonalancet, Big rock Cave, and a little west of Mt. Chocurura (sp). There was a sign that this area is soon to be part of a clearcut. I read it and continued on. Let me tell you, there were vast areas we hiked that were in dire need of a clear cut. There was more dead and down wood than there was standing wood. What was standing was a little more than half dead. While we were hiking, a tree very close to us fell over. We were never in danger, but with that small breeze, we were a little worried about a tree falling on us. We did quite a bit of climbing over dead wood across the trail. In short, this area could use a real severe culling.

    For all the complaining against clear cutting, all I ever hear from that side is stumps don't look good. Oh yeah, some times I hear that there may be erosion issues. I agree that stumps don't look good, but then, neither do vast areas of dangerous dead wood. I have yet to hear a valid argument against the results of a clear cut ten years after the fact. Is there one? Or have I just never heard it? Ten years after the fact, the clear cut areas are looking pretty good.
    lovin life,


  7. #7
    In response to uphillklimber; If you want to see an area that has been clear cut more recently and is recovering nicely take a hike down Caribou Valley Road to Mt. Redington in Maine. I'm not sure when the area was cut, but trees range in height from 6' to 30'. The vast majority are pine, so I'm also not sure if the area was replanted or if the trees moved in naturally.

    Another thing you never hear mentioned in the clear cutting argument is the fact that one forest fire will clear an area much larger than any timber company could do in the same amount of time. I was in Yellowstone about 5 years after their big fire and even then you could see the forest recovering nicely.

    I'm not sure how I feel about clear cutting. I believe we need responsible forest management, but at the same time I would hate to see big sections of the Whites striped down to stumps.

  8. #8
    TenPeaks, I gotta say after I reread my post, that I would not like to see the whites stripped right down either. Areas do need to be thinned and cleared of the dead wood, since we basically prevent all the smaller fires that would consume them naturally. You know, a little here, a little there, this year, next year, the following year....

    It's a similar allegory with the dear population. We wiped out the wolves that preyed on them and kept the herd thinned and healthy, now they would starve if we didn't hunt them. In the woods, we prevent forest fires and the dead wood rots ever so slowly, and then there are massive fires when they do occur. Clear cutting helps to prevent that, most of the brush and excess limbs are either buried, burned or shredded, from what I see.
    lovin life,


  9. #9

    All things in moderation...

    "All things in moderation..." That's my view on life. It seems to apply so well to nearly every aspect of life. :-)

    I believe responsible forest management can have room for lumber harvesting. But I (personally) don't see clear cutting as a moderate approach, but a bomb-and-burn approach. I know it'll grow back, eventually, but it still seems like an extreme approach to me.

    I'd rather see selective harvesting.


  10. #10
    I believe logging should be donein the Whites, in a responsible manner, so that we don't end up with out of control blazes during a dry season. A forest can actually benefit from careful cutting as the remaining trees can thrive without having to compete for water, sunlight, and soil nutrients.

    I saw a bumper sticker in town the other day that made me think:
    "If you're against logging, try going without toilet paper."

    It (paper products) has to come from somewhere, so lets take a little from everywhere instead of a lot from just a few places.
    You have to do the hard things in life sooner or later. -- Earl Hickey's Karma Guide

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