29 Feb 2008, 6:44pm
Federal forest policy
by admin

The US Forest Service is losing the war

By Allen Schallenberger, Sheridan, Montana

District Rangers in the US Forest Service no longer range and supervise their districts, but instead tunnel through never-ending piles of paperwork in offices and fight huge forest fires. Since 1990 the USFS has lost 2/3 of its employees, including many of the ones who knew how to accomplish things outside on the actual forest. Morale is very low amongst the remaining ones, and many want to retire or find another job.

The forest products industry associated with our US national forests is all but dead. The large loss of skilled employees and a tremendous loss of equipment and milling capacity may be impossible to replace. The USFS — which is supposed to have a multiple-use mandate — has alienated many former supporters by systematically restricting access to public USFS lands and resources.

How did the once proud and efficient Forest Service become people standing in a soup line?

The answer lies with Congress, which has passed many laws restricting wise use; a thicket of Presidential executive orders; budget cuts; radical environmental groups desiring power and control over the land; abuse of the court system by these groups; and finally, apathy on the part of all of us. The original mission of the USFS was to produce water and wood products for domestic use. Over the years the USFS has strayed widely from that mission.

Now our forests are badly overgrown, home to dense tree stands with 10 to 100 times as many trees compared to when the Indians managed the forests years ago. Many trees are dying due to competition for groundwater and thus are impacting stream flows. That currently results in 1/2 of the USFS budget going to the fighting of fires. Hot, catastrophic fires have burned 90 million acres since 1993 in the US. Total cost of these fires is not considered, including costs like trees burned, watersheds damaged, homes, ranches, wildlife, and livestock burned, and streams boiled. The GAO and the USFS only consider the cost to put fires out. They don’t consider that the government is responsible for the other damages.

Make no mistake: the Indians managed our land for at least 10,000 years with relatively small, cool fires they intentionally set, usually in spring and fall. They also felled and used a surprising number of trees. The first white settlers encountered open forests with large trees, savannahs and prairies, abundant water and wildlife, all resulting from Indian management.

The current chief of the USFS is a woman engineer. Promotions within the agency which used to be based on merit now sometimes seem to be based on gender quotas. One of her goals is to increase the burning — with huge, catastrophic fires allowed to burn at the least cost per acre, which is a very poor accounting and management practice.

Recently she came out with an open lands project in which she wants to take over 400 million acres of private lands adjacent to the 193 million acres of USFS lands and stop the development or clear the development from the private lands. One way she would do that is with catastrophic fires burning from USFS lands onto private lands. Also, she wants lots more wilderness where the land is basically unmanaged and unused. And, yes, she would incinerate it with huge, very hot fires called Wildland Use Fires, or whoofoos. Also in the news is that she plans an 8% budget cut, and the USFS workforce will be reduced by another 2,700 workers. Many of them will be people who work on the land. Forest fires are allotted 48% of the budget.

We need to turn around this USFS war and get them moving again on wise management on the ground. Perhaps the best way to do that would be to bring in, as the Forest Service chief, a very smart US combat general with the toughness, political savvy and management foresight to get the USFS back on track. Restoration forestry — as defined by Thomas M. Bonnicksen, PhD, retired forestry professor, in his DVD “Protecting Communities & Saving Forests 2007″ — would be an excellent management guide. This DVD is available free from your local library.

We all must help this new proposed USFS chief get the needed top staff people in key positions. The slackers, the fence riders, and the “can’t do it” types should all leave. Congress must help on this by cutting the red tape load and improving and explaining the budgets with which they’ve burdened the USFS. Radical environmental leaders filing more than one lawsuit every five years against the USFS should find themselves on forestry work gangs learning the value of forest management and hard physical labor.

Reprinted from Agri-News, Tami Jo Arvik Blake, ed., February 22, 2023 [here]

2 Mar 2008, 1:28pm
by J Z


To achieve renewal, you must let the organism fail utterly.

As a veteran with 26 years in the forestry and logging industry in an ownership role, we have moved on. Our base is now Eastern Russia, a more profitable business climate for resource industries.

When America falls, and it will now that the socialists have achieved control, those of us with ability will return to rebuild the nation.

However, until it fails completely, this renewal cannot occur.

6 Mar 2008, 5:41pm
by Joe Constitution


Well, I hope you don’t mind my refusal to go down so easily.

Sincerely,

The Constitution of the United States

6 Mar 2008, 5:55pm
by Raul T. Check


To The Constitution:

Look at your history during the last 30 years. You’ve gone down more times than a San Diego hooker when the ships are in.

7 Mar 2008, 12:49pm
by Joe Constitution


To Raul T. Check,

I haven’t changed in the past 30 years, it’s just that the morons who are supposed to be living under my umbrella have gone to their knees, not to mention all those people who aren’t protected under my umbrella that keep funneling into the country in search of work.

I think it’s a basic problem in reading comprehension. And some really incompetent judges.

Sincerely,

The Constitution of the United States

7 Mar 2008, 2:11pm
by Raul T. Check


Joe:

I think you’re right and stand corrected. Keep up the good work and don’t give an inch.

7 Mar 2008, 3:20pm
by Joe Constitution


If I’m going to give an inch anywhere, it would be that blasted 16th amendment. It made me fat.

Sincerely,

The Constitution of the United States

7 Aug 2008, 1:16pm
by Martin L.


Mr. Sallenberger touched on, but did not hit squarely on the head the fact that the US Forest Service is a feminist organization. For years the agency has failed to take into account the enormous differences, both physical and psychological between the sexes. This dimorphism, which exists in modes of thinking as well as reacting to danger, were uncovered during the 1990s by scores of studies that took place in all parts of the world. At a 35% disadvantage in physical strength alone, not taking into account emotional and cognitive deficiencies, a firewoman is not even a firefighter, let alone a fireman.

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