Tree Rats Doom Forest Management, Restoration

I received the following email from a forester friend and stalwart of SOS Forests who works for the US Forest Service. He may be the only real forester left in that agency. Names have been X-ed out to maintain anonymity.

Just a heads up so you’re not too surprised when this all comes down. You may have heard that the removal of some Survey and Manage species through the annual species review process (authorized by NW Forest Plan Record of Decision) has been successfully challenged in court. Negotiations with the litigants are ongoing to determine what this all means.

For us, this means it is very likely we get the requirement to survey for and protect (with 10 acre buffers) active Red Tree Vole (RTV) nests. If this is what happens, it will likely mean the XXXXX Restoration project will be dead before arrival. I say this because we began RTV surveys for the YYYYY project just before they were removed from the Survey and Manage list. Before the surveys were even close to being completed (we did less than 10% of the area before the FS put a stop to it), we found a high enough vole density, if extrapolated across the entire area, to shut the YYYYY project down [thankfully that landmark project was implemented - ed]. The project area is generally representative of the entire West Cascades mixed conifer forest type.

There is a rumor that these negotiations may result in an exemption for projects in areas with a significant departure from the historic fire regime. I am not optimistic about that. As best I understand, the complaint was mostly based upon the contention that annual species reviews are illegal if not accompanied by an environmental analysis, therefore the solution would be to go ahead and do an EA for such adjustments.

For what ever reason, I am told that will not happen, apparently because folks think we don’t have enough statistically convincing evidence to prove RTV’s are indeed common down this way. Truly surprising, as we have abundant evidence, from surveys for previous projects, that they are all over the place here, and are not at all old-growth dependent. We even found an active nest this summer while topping trees to create snags in a stand of 65 year-old Doug fir that was heavily thinned (ave. spacing about 28′) about 4 years previously. How anyone ever figured that an animal that eats nothing but Doug-fir needles could possibly be rare in an ecosystem dominated by that tree species and subject to periodic fires has always been beyond me. Oh well. Seems likes it’s getting time to retire.

If you don’t catch the drift, let me explain. Radical anti-forest management types shut down forest management across three states (OR, WA, N.CA) in 1994 with the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP). Bill Clinton and Al Gore were the ringleaders. A now-deceased Federal judge gave his stamp of approval, called the Record of Decision or ROD.

As a direct result, PNW Fed forests have accumulated biomass (fuels) in excess of 10 times historical levels. Over the last 10 years the largest forest fires in state history have occurred in all three states (and many other states as well). Those fires were not light-burning and low running but rather hugely intense and severe, far more severe than any in written history and probably Holocene pre-history as well.

Recent catastrophic fires have repeatedly spread from unkempt, unmanaged, fuel-laden Fed land to private land, and even into cities, wreaking $billions in damages and killing hundreds of innocent men, women, and children.

It is worth noting that in many counties in the West, the Feds own more than 50% of the land base, in some counties as much as 90%. By halting all stewardship in favor of catastrophic holocaust, the proponents of the NWFP have slashed and crippled local economies. In many affected counties, more than 25% of the population is on food stamps. Hunger, bankruptcies, home foreclosures, alcoholism, drug abuse, broken families, etc. are at all-time highs. The human suffering has tracked right along with the environmental destruction.

One aspect of the NWFP was a requirement to “survey and manage” [here] for hundreds of species, most of them (99%) common and abundant (and manifestly NOT “old-growth” dependent).

In 2002 Douglas Timber Operators and the American Forest Resource Council were victorious in a lawsuit involving the 2001 ROD Amendments to the Survey and Manage, Protection Buffer, and other Mitigation Measures Standards and Guidelines of the NWFP. The settlement agreement required the agencies to replace the “Survey and Manage mitigation requirements with existing Forest Service and BLM special status species programs to achieve the goals of the Northwest Forest Plan through a more streamlined process.”

After being held up by more lawsuits brought by radical anti-forest management groups, in 2007 the USFS and BLM eliminated the Survey and Manage standards and guidelines.

In 2009, more lawsuits brought by the radicals ended in a judicial decision to “negotiate” the Survey and Manage standards and guidelines. Those negotiations have been going on for two years, with ample pleadings and counter-pleadings to the judge.

Now, according to insiders, Survey and Manage is coming back. That means the final stoppage of all forest management (and forest restoration) projects in the region.

Forest science has been corrupted, too, by the same radical crowd, to the point today where most papers emanating from our universities and forest research institutes are complete myth and garbage.

The upshot is more and larger forest holocausts are in store for the region.

No benefit has accrued. Not one species has been “saved”. Many, such as the Northern Spotted Owl, have experienced population crashes. Not Red Tree Voles, however. Their population is burgeoning, but that fact is being used to preclude treatments that restore forests and make them resilient to fire.

Junk forest science leads to junk forest policies, which cause disaster and extreme hardship to humans and wildlife alike. Indeed, every natural resource there is (water, soils, fish, scenery, recreation, etc.) has been damaged and degraded by the BS policies promoted by radicals and endorsed by Federal judges.

Congress, the ostensible overseers of the Federal Estate, has been silent on the NWFP issue for 17 years, to date, regardless of whichever party has been in the majority. They are oblivious, burying their collective head in the ashes of the holocausts.

That’s the situation today — more or less hopeless.

Note: you won’t read this kind of analysis anywhere but here at SOSF. We have not given up, despite the enormous odds against our efforts to save our forests from destruction by virulent pests.

Destroying History With a Vengeance

The US Forest Service has an unfortunate habit of destroying historical structures, on purpose, with glee, even though the structures are on (or qualified for) the National Register of Historical Places.

It happens all the time, mainly in association with “used” wildfires, but also as stand-alone acts of official arson.

Last summer the USFS burned up numerous cabins in the historic Kimberly Mining District of Utah. The weapon used was the Twitchell Canyon Whoofoo Fire [here, here, here, here, here, here], which ignited in July and was Let Burn until it blew up in September. Besides shutting down the Interstate and a key powerline corridor, and eventually costing $18,000,000 to suppress, the Twitchell Canyon Government Arson Project wiped history off the map.

Nothing new about that practice. In 2008 the USFS burned up historic cabins and lodges in Wyoming during the Gunbarrel Let It Burn Monstrosity Fire [here, here, here, here], with typical officious impunity. Good riddance to history said the obsequious functionaries.

It is tough to top the Payette NF, however, when it comes to deliberate arson. They lie, cheat, and sneak around in the middle of the night with drip torches deliberately setting private property on fire. Hard to believe, but absolutely true. Ask any resident of Yellow Pine or Warren, Idaho.

Just recently the Payette NF Gang decided to incinerate yet another cabin, the Bill Timm Cabin in Roosevelt. Yellow Pine resident Scott Amos explains [here]:

According to Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello, the USFS directives require the Payette National Forest to “reduce our inventory” of historical structures. I.E., BURN BABY BURN!!!! Apparently through any means necessary, and without regard for the Antiquities Act, National Historical Preservation Act, or the will of the American people!


The official USFS archaeological report, required to comply with the National Historical Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA 1966), states the following:

1) [Falsely] The cabin was built in 1969, therefore is not eligible for entry into the National Register of Historical Places and will be destroyed (by USFS rangers).

2) [Falsely] The man who built it, Bill Timm, who died in 1963, reportedly did not build his cabin until 1969!

3) [Correctly] Shows a picture of Bill Timm (as a VERY old man) posing for a newspaper reporter in front of his cabin that he built, dated 1950!!! According to people who knew Bill Timms, he would have been in his 80s in 1950. If he died in 1963, he would likely have been in his 90s. And, the USFS account that he was able to build the cabin sometime around 1969 is simply OUTRAGEOUS!

The Krassel Ranger District burned up their own Work Center in 2007 during the phenomenally egregious Summer of Holocaust in central Idaho [see photos here, a collection of 30+ posts here].

Once upon a time Payette NF functionaries trekked to a stream below an old mine and poured a bottle of cyanide into the water. Then they “tested” the water, found high levels of cyanide (surprise surprise!) and blamed it on leachate from the mine. Hard to believe, but absolutely true.

Destruction in the name of “preservation” is standard operating procedure for the US Forest Service. And not just in backwaters like Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. In Southern California the wackos have coddled tick brush, which they call “old-growth chaparral”, forbidding any fuel reduction treatments. Said tick brush frequently explodes into fatal holocausts like the Station Fire [here, here, here, here] and the Cedar Fire (which burned 3,241 homes and killed 16 people).

Now the Gadarene destructionists, led by geriatric Goober “Moonbeam” Brown, want to declare SoCal National Forests as “wilderness” to ensure bigger and more destructive holocausts in the heart of their largest cities.

Hard to believe, but absolutely true.

The list goes on and on. Toxic “environmentalism” is more than a disease, more than a religion — it is a full frontal assault on civilization and humanity fomented by liars, cheats, and thieves.

But you already knew that.

Global Warming, Forest Fires, and SOS Forests

by Mike Dubrasich, Exec. Dir. W.I.S.E.

2010 the warmest year on record!

Or so the Warmistas claim. The drumbeat started back at least as far as last May [here]. And again in July [here]. And in September [here]. And in October [here]. And not surprisingly, this month [here, here, here, etc.] even though all year record cold waves pounded the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.

Let’s accept that premise for the moment. Boy, was it ever hot! Somewhere, not here, but somewhere.

Another premise that has gained huge air play is that forest fires are linked to global warming. It’s a no-brainer, right? It has been so hot that the woods catch fire and burn like there’s no tomorrow.

Or say the pundits. One paper that made a big splash and is cited in every USFS fire study, and every USFWS endangered species lawsuit, and has been anointed as canonical theology by all the High Priests of Ecology is:

A. L. Westerling, H. G. Hidalgo, D. R. Cayan, and T. W. Swetnam (2006) Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity. Science 18 August 2006:
Vol. 313 no. 5789 pp. 940-943 [here]

The authors state:

Here, we show that large wildfire activity increased suddenly and markedly in the mid-1980s, with higher large-wildfire frequency, longer wildfire durations, and longer wildfire seasons. The greatest increases occurred in mid-elevation, Northern Rockies forests, where land-use histories have relatively little effect on fire risks and are strongly associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snowmelt.

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Trophy Wilderness Is a Cruel Joke

Ken Salazar and Bob Abbey planted an eco-terrorist bomb last week. They are undertaking a massive crime by circumventing the US Constitution, the law, and rational stewardship of Federal lands [here]. Other observers are now weighing in:

Wilderness reinventory a cruel joke

By Sen. Steve Urquhart, the Deseret News, Dec. 31, 2010 [here]

“Wilderness” is a joke. Worse, it is a cruel joke to Utah’s education funding and to Utah’s rural economies. “Wilderness” is defined by Congress to mean 5,000 acres of roadless land and … well, the rest doesn’t matter. Although wilderness designation originally was intended for unique, pristine areas offering outstanding opportunities for solitude, it now merely means any 5,000-acre chunk of public land where roads can be ignored or red-lined. The quality of the land or the experience is irrelevant. It is strictly a numbers thing.

The continuous theme of Western public lands is excess. The only thing that changes is the trophy-of-the-day (e.g., land, bison, grazing, timber, and, now, wilderness for the Green Barons). In the West, enough is never enough.

Special interest groups first wanted 3 million acres of wilderness in Utah. Then, 5 million. Now, 9 million acres — which means every other acre in Utah that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In a serious case of grade inflation, every other acre is now the best. Although Congress never changed the standards, protection of unique, pristine areas has morphed into capture of average areas. Why? The argument is that the land is imperiled by use. Imperiled when, without wilderness protection, the amount of wilderness is metastasizing? Hardly.

“Wilderness” is about politics. Sparsely populated areas in the West are Republican. Democratic administrations have nothing to lose in those areas by savaging the local economy. But, they do stand to gain urban votes by protecting the West from yahoos who, well, yahoos who have apparently grown wilderness 300 percent over the past 30 years. … [more]

What is wilderness? According to the law:

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which: (a) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprints of man’s work substantially unnoticed; (b) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (c) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (d) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

Note that “generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable” is a perceptive gloss. It has to do with appearances, not scientific fact. In order to identify an area as wilderness, one must first blind one’s eyes to the imprint that humanity has made over the last 10,000+ years.

Wilderness is a myth because humanity has left substantial imprint everywhere. In order to codify that myth, blindness is necessary. Science must be perverted. The facts must be thrown out the window. Rational inquiry must be squelched and rational findings of fact must be denied. People must be led down a path of increasing stupidity and superstition by “scientists” who are doing little more than alchemy.

The human beings who made substantial impacts on the environment must be dehumanized, ignored, and erased from history and from science. That revisionism is fundamentally racist at its core.

The putative “protectionism” of wilderness designation is patently false as well. Wilderness policy leads to catastrophic fire. Virtually every wilderness area in America has either burned catastrophically in the last 20 years or is primed to do so by dint of accumulated fuels and the stated intent of the Federal land management agencies.

Those fires destroy or seriously degrade every natural resource out there including but not limited to vegetation, wildlife, water, air, soil, recreation, and scenery. Wilderness designation is destruction, not protection. As with history, fundamental ecology must be perverted and/or denied for the protection myth to hold sway.

That is more than “politics”. Such blindness is religious at its core. It requires a fanaticism that shuts down common sense and acceptance of plain fact. The perpetrators are not priests, however. Their manipulations are cynical and self-serving. They do not themselves believe the myths that they herald. They disdain the intelligence of the citizenry and treat you like fools.

The extent to which they are successful in dumbing you down is your fault.

The situation we find ourselves in is very frustrating. Our political leaders are cynical manipulators whose goals are destructive of human intelligence, human rights, freedom, history, rationality, and science, as well as our environment. There does not seem to be any way to stop the onslaught.

Your thoughts on these matters are welcome. Please comment.

Death By Wilderness: Mr.Tamper’s Latest Crime

A special Christmas gift was stuffed down America’s chimneys last week by none other than Mr. Tamper (Sec DOI Ken Salazar). Let us parse the announcement:

Update: Salazar, Abbey Restore Protections for America’s Wild Lands

Dept. Interior Press Release, December 23, 2010 [here]

Washington, D.C. - A secretarial order issued today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar restores balance and clarity to the management of public lands by establishing common-sense policy for the protection of backcountry areas where Americans recreate, find solitude, and enjoy the wild.

Secretarial Order 3310 directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), based on the input of the public and local communities through its existing land management planning process, to designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as “Wild Lands” and to manage them to protect their wilderness values.

Mr. Tamper issued a “Secretarial Order”. I invite you to read the U.S. Constitution [here] to see if you can discover where “Secretarial Orders” are listed. They aren’t. What Mr. Tamper did is wholly unconstitutional. He has relegated powers to himself that do not exist in our foundational legal document.

Mr. Tamper did not “restore balance and clarity”; in fact just the opposite. He has circumvented every law that deals with Federal land management and inflicted bias and confusion.

There is zero common sense to his usurpation and tyranny. The Secretarial Order is senseless and destructive, as we shall explain.

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26 Dec 2010, 3:07pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin

Slow Children At Play In Colorado

It’s tough enough to do forest restoration given the hurdles of a corrupt and clueless Congress, a nearly dismantled US Forest Service, and an army of hysterical dis-enviros.

But somehow, once in awhile, the USFS does something right. Today we salute the Boulder Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests for stellar achievement in forest restoration.

The Boulder Ranger District covers 250,000 acres of the Front Range mountains in Boulder County and Gilpin Counties of Colorado. The Boulder RD forests are particularly at risk from catastrophic wildfire due to a-historical fuel accumulations and continuity of those fuels. Planning for the St Vrain Fuel Reduction Project [here] began in 2004, with goals of reducing fuels, opening up ponderosa pine stands to reduce crown-to-crown continuity, retaining and enhancing the old-growth pines, and restoring the meadows and open, park-like stands that are fire-resilient and historically appropriate.

Extensive public outreach was conducted, beginning in 2005. An Environmental Assessment was written and approved calling for treatment of 2,657 acres of mechanical and manual thinning. Treatment areas selected are close to the community of Allenspark [here].

After years of hand-holding with the local residents, the Boulder RD finally initiated the treatments last month.

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2011 Wish List For Congress

As the 111th Congress, the Worst Congress in History, waddles lamely into oblivion (but not before laying rotten egg after rotten egg), our thoughts turn hopefully toward the new 112th Congress scheduled to convene Jan. 5, 2011. ‘Tis the season of hope, after all.

To aid the new batch, we propose a list of tasks that will advance (rather than retard) America. Our suggestions are below. You are cordially invited to add your suggestions to the list.

1. Repeal or radically revise the Endangered Species Act

The ESA has failed to protect species; indeed it has failed to even define what a species is or adequately elucidate what “endangered” means. Under the aegis of the ESA whole regions of this country have been plunged into economic nightmares without any appreciable protection of anything. The ESA is a worthless boondoggle joke that does far more harm than good (in fact, a lot of harm and zero good).

Many of the species on the List are not endangered in any way, shape, or form, such as Gray Wolves, Grizzly Bears, and Polar Bears. Others have seen their populations plummet after listing. Still others do not even exist, but are imaginary species. The cost/benefit of the ESA has never been examined by Congress.

Please fix all that, 112th-ers, in open, public, transparent fashion.

2. Repeal or radically revise the National Environmental Policy Act

NEPA is another worthless boondoggle that does more harm than good.

3. Repeal the Equal Access to Justice Act

This misnomered law excludes equal access to justice by the people most affected. The EAJA has squandered $billions on monkey-wrenchers whose mission is to rob the Treasury while fomenting environmental and economic disasters.

4. Stop incinerating America’s priceless heritage forests

Here’s a thought: maybe our land management agencies should practice stewardship instead of catastrophic annihilation of our natural resources.

5. Fund forest restoration

$Trillions have been squandered on pork barrel boondoggles that are truly bridges to nowhere. It would be nice if the 112th Congress could invest a few $million in restoring our forests instead of $billions in burning them down. One first step: define forest restoration in an open, public, transparent fashion.

6. Restate through statute the USFS mission

The USFS has lost its bearings. Every new Chief brings in his or her own agenda that has no relationship to the statutory mission. Past Congresses have failed to direct the agency through law. Nobody is steering the ship. It has run aground on rocky reefs of nonsense. If Congress cannot or will not lead, then they should give all those acres back to the states for the states to manage.

7. Terminate the Global Warming Hoax

The globe is not warming, but if it were it would be a good thing. Federal agencies have run wild with pseudoscientific calamity-inducing programs based on a complete lie. Congress should quash all that immediately, starting with (but not limited to) the EPA and NOAA.

8. Repeal or radically revise the Wilderness Act

Wilderness is a pernicious and racist myth, ala Hitlerism. The proponents are deluded, which is a nice way of saying it. Wilderness designation leads directly to environmental catastrophe, holocaust, and extirpation of species. It is the opposite of “protection”; wilderness is live sacrifice to gods that do not exist.

9. Terminate the “Roadless Rule”

See #8 above. The Roadless Rule is illegal. Congress writes the laws; they should not have so much trouble obeying them.


I can think of a great many more instructions to the 112th Congress, but I want to give you the chance to chime in. Please use the leave-a-comment app to expand this wish list. If we don’t tell our elected representatives what we want, they won’t do the right things but will continue to do all the wrong things.

Owl My Regrets

SOS Forests has been quiet for awhile because I have been working on some special projects. One of those is my “comments” on the 2010 Draft Revised Revised Revised Revised Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl [here, here].

I am sad to say that I have not finished with that project, and the time has passed for official comment submitting. It’s not a big deal, since my comments were sure to be ignored anyway, but I regret not having met the Federal Gummit’s deadline.

One problem I encountered is that nearly every sentence in the 181-page DRRRRRP-NSO is replete with offensive, atrocious, egregious eco-babble. I would sit down with the steaming pile, read a paragraph or two, and groan with agony. Then the dog, who is very sensitive, would start barking like the terrorists from the USFWS were at the door. Then my long-suffering wife would get upset at me for upsetting the dog, and threaten to put the offending DRRRRRP-NSO into the woodstove.

I tried but could not control my emotions. The neo-fascist enviros have managed to incinerate millions of acres of America’s priceless heritage forests and shut down Oregon’s economy behind their outrageously junk pseudo-scientific lying crap about the Spotted Owl.

Their 20-year stranglehold has left Oregon in ruins. And the New Plan is worse than the Old Plan!

Somebody needs to call the USFWS on their horrific bullshit. I have volunteered. And I will complete the job. All will be posted here at SOSF.

But not today. I need a break from the agony. ‘Tis the season of goodwill and peace on Earth, and I need to get in the spirit. Later, after Christmas, I will take up the Owl burden again.

Meanwhile, here’s wishing that your next two weeks are cheery and bright, and may you be graciously mindful of the Reason for the Season.

Ripping Up History

The Middle Fork Watershed Restoration and Road Closure Project Environmental Assessment (EA) is now available for public review.

The Legal Notice starting the 30-day public comment period appeared in the Eugene Register-Guard this morning, Nov. 29. See attached letter [here] for details.

Musings From Long Ago

by Bear Bait

I worked with a yarder engineer in the late 1960’s who was raised in the Dexter area. He related a story about he and his older brother and their summer job.

He was maybe 10 or 11, and his older brother was 14 or so. The date was pre-WWI. They would take a team with barrels and salt, and their camping outfit, and drive up the Willamette River on the old military wagon road that skirts the south side of Diamond Peak. Way up the Willamette, which he said had lots of horse graze and great camping spots. Their job was to catch fish and salt them. Fill the wagon. And then drive home with a wagon full of salted fish.

He said salmon trout and salmon, mostly. I was not smart enough to ask how they caught them. He said they picked apples all the way home, from trees along the wagon road.

My Uncle Carl, now 82, attended the Boy Scout camp at Camp Lucky Boy, which is now submerged under the Lookout Point Reservoir. He said his favorite activity was fly-fishing for cutthroat trout, which were mostly about a foot long to maybe 16″.

In those days, before dams, the cutthroat migrated seasonally in river. Down river in the spring to feed in the mainstem, and up river in the fall, and then up small tributaries to spawn from January through April. I can remember walking down to the fish ladder on the Mary’s River at Corvallis, in spring, to see the big cutthroat going up the fish ladder to spawn in the upper reaches of the Mary’s River.

The dam was there at the mouth to make the log pond for the Corvallis Lumber Company, a division of Willamette Ind. They had a rail dump, and then later trucks only. The rail came in from Beaver Creek and out the east face of the Coast Range south of Corvallis.

One day early in my log buying career, I was looking at some Starker logs due south of the Mary’s Peak turnoff, across the highway, and the logger’s landing was set up where the last rigged tree for Willamette still stood, hayrack and squirrel and the works. Loading trucks under a rigged tree. They left the tree rigged when the job was done. Probably about the time the mill closed.

I also was looking for a BLM sale on Prairie Mountain one afternoon, late, in the rainy season, and I came around a corner in the road, and there was a rigged tree with a hayrack and a loading bitch over one side of the landing, and the yarder on the other, and rain drops were still making steam hitting the still warm exhausts of the two donkeys. But nobody there. I had missed the crew, I suppose because they were on the Hull-Oakes private road.

I think I was looking for some Pope and Talbot wood for sale. Or BLM… But that was the last full rigged tree and loading pot I ever saw in the woods. I worked on lots of rigged trees in my life, but always we had a shovel loader with tongs… until grapples… which lasted about 15 years, and then all hydraulic loaders after that. Man, some of the grapple runners could put those grapples anywhere. And pitch a cull over the side, and it looked like the shovel actually was holding its nose like something smelled bad…

Musings from long ago… bear bait

Public Comment Period Extended On Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan

In September we posted the announcement that the 2010 Draft Revised Revised Revised Revised Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl is now out for your inspection and comments [here].

The USFWS has extended the comment period to Dec. 15th.

Public Comment Period Extended On Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release [here]

Public comments accepted through December 15, 2010

A 30-day extension to the public comment period for the draft revised recovery plan for the northern spotted owl, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1990, was announced today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Public comments on the draft plan will now be accepted through December 15, 2010. … [more]

The Draft Plan is [here]

Emailed comments can be sent to: Written comments should be submitted to: Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE 98th Avenue, Ste. 100, Portland, OR 97266.

Dry Cow

One irony: because of the GOP gains in the US House and Senate (no thanks to Oregon), Wyden’s monkey-wrencher eastside forest bill [here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here] is now effectively DOA, AFRC support or not. They bought a dry cow.

12 Oct 2010, 8:32am
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin

Fire Retardant DEIS Scoping Letters

The two letters below, one from W.I.S.E. and one from the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, have been submitted the US Forest Service as official scoping comments for a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) regarding the use of aerial application of fire retardants.

To: James E. Hubbard, Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry
Joe Carbone, Assistant Director for Ecosystem Management Coordination
U.S. Forest Service, Post Office Box 26667, Salt Lake City, UT 84126-0667

From: Darrel Kenops, Executive Director
National Association of Forest Service Retirees

Comments on the Proposal to Prepare a DEIS on the Aerial Application of Fire Retardant

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your proposal to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) as outlined in your September 3, 2010 document to Forest User under file designation “1950/3120”. The document indicates that the focus of the environmental impact statement will be the continued use of aerial application of fire retardants to fight fires on National Forest Land.

The comments have been prepared by the National Association of Forest Service Retirees’ (NAFSR) Fire Committee. Committee members have significant fire management experience in managing National Forest Land and leadership in fire management and suppression activities at the national, regional and local levels.

NAFSR understands this proposal is to apply to National Forest System land nationwide. One concern is that to the general public your “background section” leaves the impression that all National Forests are the same. There is no recognition of regional differences, vegetation types, fuel condition, relationships to communities, etc. and great variations in weather both current and long term. The first paragraph under background is biased to the management of wildfire to restore fire-adapted ecosystems. In many National Forests, aggressive suppression is the only option available, including in the wildland-urban interface where aggressive initial attack with all available tools is necessary. We suggest the following rewrite should be considered:-

“Forest Service management direction for National Forest System Lands includes restoring fire-adapted ecosystems through prescribed fire, other fuel treatments and effective management of wildfire to achieve both protection and resource benefit objectives. In many circumstances fire must be suppressed to protect life, property or to preserve natural resources and critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. In addition the current and long term weather conditions are essential factors to be considered in suppression strategy. Fire retardant is one of the tools necessary to suppress fires.”

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23 Sep 2010, 5:08pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
leave a comment

Request For Scoping Comments On USFS Fire Retardant Use

Fire Retardant Scoping Letter [here]

United States Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Sept. 3, 2010

Dear Forest User:

As someone who previously expressed an interest in the nationwide aerial application of fire retardant on National Forest System lands, I invite you to submit comments about this proposal and its anticipated environmental effects. I have included information about the proposal and where to send your comments. [see below]


The Forest Service is working to restore fire-adapted ecosystems through prescribed fire, other fuel treatments, and effective management of wildfire to achieve both protection and resource benefit objectives. However, in some circumstances, fire must be suppressed. For example, it might be necessary to suppress a fire to protect life or property or to preserve natural resources and critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. Fire retardant is one of the tools to suppress fires.

Aerially applied fire retardant reduces the spread and intensity of fires and slows larger, more damaging, and thus, more costly fires. In many situations, using retardant to fight fires is the most effective and efficient method of protecting people, resources, private property, and facilities. Sometimes it is the only tool that will allow fire fighters to accomplish the job safely.

In October 2007, the Forest Service issued an environmental assessment (EA) and decision notice and finding of no significant impact (DN/FONSI) entitled “Aerial Application of Fire Retardant.” In February 2008, the Forest Service amended the DN/FONSI by incorporating the reasonable and prudent alternatives proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries during the consultation process prescribed by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision included the continued use of the “Guidelines for Aerial Delivery of Retardant or Foam Near Waterways” (2000 Guidelines) adopted by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2000.

On July 27, 2010,the United States District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision in Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics v. United States Forest Service, 08-43 (D. Mont.) that invalidated the Forest Service’s decision to adopt the 2000 Guidelines based on violations of NEPA. The Court also held that the FWS and NOAA Fisheries’ Section 7 consultation with the Forest Service violated the ESA. The Court directed the Forest Service, FWS, and NOAA Fisheries to cure these NEPA and ESA violations and for the Forest Service to issue a new decision no later than December 31, 2011.

Estimated Dates

The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) is expected to be available for public comment early in 2011 and the final EIS is expected to be completed by the fall of 2011.

more »

The Scenic Vegetation Mosaic Effect

The Fishlake NF offers a novel reason for their Twitchell Holocaust By Idiots Fire [here, here, here]. In numerous pronouncements the USFS claims their purpose in incinerating 20,000+ acres is:

“to manage the fire for a scenic vegetation mosaic effect”

Yup. It’s for the scenery — the old “Blackened Dead Forests Are Beautiful” campaign cooked up by the Wilderness Society on behalf of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council.

Just in case you don’t know what high severity fire does to the viewshed, here are some pics of other “successful” Let It Burn Because It’s So Lovely Projects inflicted on America courtesy your Helpful Federal Bureaucracy.

The esthetically pleasing aftermath of the 2007 Let It Burn fires in Central Idaho.

More of the same.

The beauteous Zaca Burn (2007, 240,000 acres, Los Padres NF).

Scenic splendor of the B&B Burn (2003, 90,000 acres, Deschutes NF).

More of the same.

Evidently the USFS has adopted the position of Cascadia Summer, a Eugene “environmental” organization affiliated with Earth First! and the Oregon Natural Resource Council (now Cascadia Wild). In their own words [here]:

Last week [one week before the pictured B and B Fire was ignited] Cascadians paid a visit to the Clark Fire which burned 5,000 acres near Fall Creek earlier this summer. The area is still off-limits to the public, but we wanted to get a first-hand account of just how bad it was… so we quietly hiked in after crossing the stream a ways before the road-block.

The forest looked amazingly beautiful… stark contrast to the lush green forests we were used to seeing along Fall Creek, but beautiful nonetheless. Ferns had already begun sprouting back up through the ash. Scorched Doug Firs and cedars sparkled in the sunlight.

Yes, sports fans, the Federal Gummit wants to beautify your neighborhood and your watershed by turning it into a moonscape. It’s a stark contrast, but what the hey. The Scenic Vegetation Mosaic Effect is all the rage among the arsonist set, and it’s now the Official Mission of the USFS. Gaze in awe at your Gummit in action.

Doghair and Elk

Foresters call them doghair thickets. The 9th Circuit Court calls them “elk habitat”.

If you have ever seen a thicket with 3,000 stems per acre, you know why we call it doghair. But our esteemed Federal Judiciary is as stupid as ticks.

9th Circuit blocks Gallatin forest logging project over elk concerns

By the Associated Press, The Missoulian, September 17, 2010 [here]

HELENA - A proposed logging project in the Gallatin National Forest would remove too much vegetation that elk use for cover from predators, a federal appeals court ruled in blocking the project.

The U.S. Forest Service must revise the proposal to thin trees over 810 acres in the Crazy Mountains to ensure it meets the elk hiding cover requirement that is detailed in the plan for the forest, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling Wednesday.

Two environmental groups and a woman who owns a cabin in the area where the logging was to take place sued the Forest Service over the Smith Creek Project, which was meant to reduce the risk of severe wildfires that could threaten about 30 nearby homes and cabins.

The plan called for removing conifers near aspen trees to promote the growth of aspen groves in some areas, while thinning trees in other areas from densities of up to 3,000 trees per acre to between 300 and 500 trees per acre. …

The lawsuit, filed in 2008, claimed the Forest Service didn’t take into account the effects the work would have on the soil and wildlife habitat.

The plaintiffs appealed, and the 9th Circuit agreed with one of their claims: that the project would remove too much cover that migrating elk use to hide from predators and feel secure. …

Elk are fine out in the open. They do not feed or hide in 3,000 stems per acre lodgepole pine thickets where nothing else can grow. Or move.

The trees to be removed can hardly be called “logs”. They are more like whips. So the removal can hardly be called “logging”. It’s more like “whipping”.

Since when do the enviro-litigious care about elk anyway? Other than as wolf chow?

Some great comments were attached to the article:

… the same lobby that opposes the logging on the grounds that it’s bad for elk probably also supports wolf reintroduction, which is bad for elk. Judges, lawyers, and activists all determine the fates of these animals and their surroundings quite independently of facts.

… one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Rebecca Smith, is the very same tree-sitter who was convicted of illegally holding up a Forest Service sale in the Bitterroot a few years ago. She was convicted by a jury and part of her sentence was to stay off of any Forest Service lands. Now she is using her law degree for her personal vengeance… all at we the taxpayers’ expense. The MT Bar Assoc. should disbar her.

… This was a thinning project done cooperatively through a Community Firewise Program, and lots of local public comment. I wish the Missoulian had mentioned that. The project prevailed through Molloy’s court too. But heck no… one part-time resident and two conflict-based “non-profits” get to monkey-wrench the whole thing.

… This is ridiculous. This woman with the cabin will be crying later to the FS to save her cabin when a fire in bearing down on it. Besides, a stands with 3000 tpa don’t benefit anything. That’s too thick for anything but a squirrel to squeeze through.

I don’t know how to fix this set of problems: enviro-nut jobs with law degrees, a Judiciary with no common sense, a Federal Government with too much land and money, a Congress that represents the most anti-social elements in society, a citizenry at the mercy of all of them.

If you have any solutions, please send them in. I give up.

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