U.S. Forest Service Chief Lays Out Strategy, Agency Priorities in Senate Testimony

Sierra Sun Times 2/27/2015
Excerpt:     “
February 26, 2015 – WASHINGTON – In testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell cited five focus areas for the President’s proposed $4.9 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the agency: restoring resilient landscapes, building thriving communities, managing wildland fires, promoting safety, and building diversity and inclusiveness.

“This budget will enable us to more effectively reduce fire risk, manage landscapes more holistically, and increase the resiliency of the Nation’s forests and grasslands as well as the communities that border them,” said Tidwell.  …”
Read entire article at http://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/2440-u-s-forest-service-chief-lays-out-strategy-agency-priorities-in-senate-testimony

Timber industry, conservationists forge partnership

Associated Press 3/1/2015
Excerpt:     “
JOHN DAY, Ore. – Logs are piled high in the yard of the Malheur Lumber Co. mill in this small town in northeastern Oregon, ready to be sawed into lumber. Steam pours out of the stacks. Trucks loaded with logs roll in.

John Day, a town of 1,700, almost died two years ago. Its lifeblood, the sawmill, was about to close. So few logs were coming off the nearby Malheur National Forest, the mill’s owners decided it was time to shut down.

But the mill and the town’s economy were rescued by a detente between the timber industry and environmentalists – foes since the battles over logging that erupted three decades ago in the Pacific Northwest. The sides uncovered a shared goal: thinning overgrown forests to prevent catastrophic wildfires.  …..”
Read entire article at http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/business/timber-industry-conservationists-forge-partnership-2805309

Tester lawsuit gaffe reveals real frustration with logging litigation

Missoulian 3/1/2015
Excerpt:     “
Anyone who’s worked a fire lookout knows it’s tough to tell a wisp of morning fog from the smoke of a fresh lightning strike.

Not to excuse last week’s “four Pinocchios” gaff Sen. Jon Tester made regarding timber lawsuits, but it’s really hard to figure out just what the U.S. Forest Service is up to.

And Tester’s misstatements about problems with national forest management may reveal a hotter issue: Congress’ fixation on changing the way people can challenge the agency in court.  ….”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/tester-lawsuit-gaffe-reveals-real-frustration-with-logging-litigation/article_cbcf3abe-21d1-5144-9e52-1084f0baf972.html



Peer Press Release 2/24/2015
Excerpt:       “
Washington, DC —While proposing a larger agency budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the U.S. Forest Service plans to decommission 133 law enforcement positions, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Forest Service law enforcement officers say that this overall one-sixth (16%) force reduction coming on top of an earlier 15% funding cut will mean major cutbacks in security coverage for visitors, staff and the forests themselves.   …”
Read entire article at http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2015/02/24/forest-service-hatchets-law-enforcement/

Hunting dogs exempt from NC dangerous dog law

Asheville Citizen Times 10/22/2014
Excerpt:     “
ROBBINSVILLE – Bear hunting dogs involved in a prolonged attack that injured a camper and her two dogs in Graham County don’t fall under the state’s dangerous dog law, making the owners exempt from criminal prosecution.

Under North Carolina law, dogs “being used in a lawful hunt” are exempt from dangerous dog rules that otherwise require owners to take steps to prevent their animal from harming a person or another animal.   ….”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/10/22/hunting-dogs-exempt-nc-dangerous-dog-law/17723129/

No charges in hunting dog attack in Graham forest

Asheville Citizen Times 10/20/2014
Excerpt:      “
ROBBINSVILLE – U.S. Forest Service officials say they won’t pursue criminal charges against bear hunters whose hounds attacked and injured a hiker and her dogs.  The harrowing, 45-minute attack happened on Oct. 13, the opening day of bear season, in the Snowbird area of the Nantahala National Forest in Graham County.

Kadie Anderson, a 29-year-old visitor from Cleveland, suffered bite wounds to her hands and legs as she fought to protect her two Australian shepherds. The dogs were seriously injured but are expected to recover.  ….”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/10/20/charges-hunting-dog-attack-graham-forest/17623053/

Forest Service chief says news outlets don’t need permits, but some rangers have been requiring them

Yakima Herald; 9/26/2014
  “SEATTLE — When Idaho Public Television proposed shooting a documentary this year about the Wilderness Act, the Forest Service ordered its journalists to get permits.
Never mind that this nonprofit state-owned news outlet had filmed in wilderness for 32 years.  Never mind that the crew planned to walk through the pristine woods with cameras no bigger than those used by still photographers.
In fact, the sticking points in their months-long negotiations often hinged not on whether the video crew might harm the landscape — but on whether the government approved of their story.  …..”
Read entire article at http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/latestnews/2530764-8/forest-service-chief-says-news-outlets-dont-need

Congress eyes widespread public land pay-to-play fees

Summit County Voice 9/25/2014
Excerpt:      “
FRISCO — In a classic bit of stealth lawmaking, House Resources Committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) last month opened the door for more widespread recreation day use fees on federal lands.

Without a committee hearing, Hastings sent HR 5204 (The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014) to the floor of the House, where it could, according to critics, become law without any public hearing at all as a rider to a budget bill.   …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2014/09/25/congress-eyes-widespread-public-land-pay-to-play-fees/

Our view: Is a picture worth a thousand dollars? The U.S. Forest Service thinks so

Dothan eagle 9/25

excerpt:  “Woody Guthrie’s folk song “This Land is Your Land” wasn’t intended as a patriotic anthem when it was written some 70 years ago, but it’s become an iconic paean to freedom in America…..

Apparently that sentiment has been forgotten by the caretakers of the nation’s largest tracts of unspoiled land, the U.S. Forest Service.

Read entire editorial at http://m.dothaneagle.com/news/editorials/our-view-is-a-picture-worth-a-thousand-dollars-the/article_2e216398-442b-11e4-8861-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=jqm

Forest Service says media needs photography permit in wilderness areas, alarming First Amendment advocates

Oregonian 9/23/2014
Excerpt:    “
The U.S. Forest Service has tightened restrictions on media coverage in vast swaths of the country’s wild lands, requiring reporters to pay for a permit and get permission before shooting a photo or video in federally designated wilderness areas.

Under rules being finalized in November, a reporter who met a biologist, wildlife advocate or whistleblower alleging neglect in any of the nation’s 100 million acres of wilderness would first need special approval to shoot photos or videos even on an iPhone…..”
Read entire article at http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/09/forest_service_says_media_need.html