DEBATE OF '98- role of government and leaders

Larry Harrell fotoware at
Tue Apr 21 21:04:08 EST 1998


Don Baccus <dhogaza at> wrote in article
<353d034f.0 at>...
> When is forestry, per se, "judicated"?
> Certainly, there are plenty of law suits filed against agencies
> for failing to follow the laws which govern the management of
> our public lands.  
Quite often, lawsuits are filed just to gum up the system. I worked on the
salvage project in the aftermath of the 200,000 acre Rabbit Creek fire on
the Boise NF and lawsuits held up the harvesting of deteriorating wood. The
NEPA document was rapidly and skillfully produced but was challenged
anyway. Only 80,000 acres were in the harvest area. That document stood up
in court and logging proceeded (after another suit filed by a local logger
complaining about a lack of non-helicopter sales in the project was

I see some groups going to court just to try to stop logging without much
to back it up. The Idaho Sporting Congress filed suit after a violent
thunderstorm washed 150,000 cu yds into the N Fork Boise River. They said
it was caused by loggers but the slide started above the harvesting area.

I think the real problem is the frustration of people with the "system".
Their views are not being heard through the FS EA process in their opinion.
Although, the FS is writing better documents and creating better harvest
plans, this is still not enough. 

What is the solution to keeping the courts out of this. Judges shouldn't
have to decide what is good forestry. 
> Now, some would claim that a big part of the problem in the USFS
> (in particular) is that the old-line foresters who have traditionally
> made up the management of the Service in the last few decades are
> insensitive to the desirability of managing forests to meet the
> goals our laws have set forth.  These individual managers, 
> though, not the profession, are the problem.  After all, many
> of the bullets in the legal machine-gun wielded by conservation
> groups like Portland Audubon (I believe I've mentioned I'm a 
> Board Member, though of course the views I express here are my
> own, not the Society's) were cast from molds made by modern
> forestry academics such as Chris Maser and Jerry Franklin.  
Many "ologists" in the FS were selected to permanent positions because they
have "Green Shorts" In other words, they want to get the cut out. Temp
"ologists" come into the FS thinking, "I'm going to SAVE the forest". They
usually leave thinking, "All I did here is give the go-ahead for logging
because I didn't find enough data to go against it". 
Many FS foresters are dinosaurs who long for the "good ol' days" and are
waiting for either retirement or a nice juicy buyout. FS goals are still
measured in volume (that "V" word again) and next years funding levels are
driven by that as well. That alone causes a lot of potential
"over-logging". Yardsticks should be "acres treated" in the timber mgt.

       Larry Harrell Fotoware
Making software out of Fotos for over five years now
Check out my web site at

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