Not good enough



Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act unfortunately displays a lack of adequate comprehension and balance in addressing urgent management needs for our seriously fire-prone federal forests. What is really needed is policy change by the U.S. Forest Service opening forests to timber management at a level that will significantly reduce the threat of massive catastrophic fires increasingly destroying watersheds, environment and wildlife. This could be accomplished at minimum taxpayer expense. Closely related are the causative bug infestations spreading throughout the forests and feeding fires of the Northwest. All can be tracked back to inept, cultist philosophies pressuring a lop-sided, misdirected environmental movement.

Environmentalists and government appear so obsessed with protecting these lands from "loggers" that they refuse to acknowledge that density reduction by productive, selective thinning of timber and fuels (not limited to dead, dying and burned) is the only feasible solution. It would correct this massive problem, while enabling the forests to pay for their own hospitalization and restoration. Missing is respect for "profit," the essential ingredient for funding the worthwhile things in our country and our lives. It even provides the taxes for government operation. We certainly do not do well on "credit." Unfortunately, our green regime is busy destroying what is left of essential, well-directed profit motivation and opportunity.

Blind power being applied largely through the judiciary, combined with lack of knowledge, contributes to the ongoing human-caused catastrophe killing our forests. Obsession with recreation and locked down human access under the pretense of "protecting" endangered species and trees overrules common sense solutions, thus producing destruction by ignorance. Dispersing consolation crumbs to a starving timber industry hoping that somehow a few mills might still survive is not a solution. Token fuels reduction projects are a gross under-estimation of what is needed.

Tester's basically timid approach lacks comprehension of the magnitude, and reflects the misguided perceptions of the environmental community. Only a sound, healthy industry with long-term assurance of supply established by firm governmental policy can produce needed industrial infrastructure and long-term job security. Random group-managed projects cannot correct the present man-made decline in forest health. Success can only be achieved through realistic prioritization, sound goals and objectives, and the application of proven science and technology under professional timber management with freedom to operate.

Failure has proven inevitable when management is attempted by a variety of unskilled but well meaning special interest groups. However, professional stewardship can and should incorporate guidelines and controls that will satisfy public and environmental interests.

Clarice Ryan

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