Idaho godsend: Farm bill boosts forest restoration

Idaho Statesman 2/5/2014
Excerpt:        “
Provisions that will allow the Forest Service to expand logging, thinning and other work supported by collaborative groups in Idaho were included in Tuesday’s sweeping measure.

The bill’s forestry segments brought praise from landowners, loggers and The Wilderness Society, a group seeking additional forest preservation. The projects offer the promise of jobs and healthier forests that are less susceptible to catastrophic fires…..”
Read entire article at

Ag secretary announces focus on climate change

Associated Press 2/4/2014
Excerpt:     “GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Some federal research centers around the country will be focusing on helping farmers and foresters deal with climate change.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is to announce Wednesday designation of seven regional climate hubs.

The hubs will be at U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities, such as the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis., Ore. Others will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico…..”

Read entire story at

‘Wardens’ producer fined for illegal filming on forest land

Helena Independent Record 1/15/2014
Excerpt:       “
The producer of the popular cable TV show “Wardens” pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court for illegally filming on U.S. Forest Service lands in Montana.

Mitch Petrie, the producer of Muddy Boot Productions, said he takes full responsibility for the activity after using forest lands in Montana without a special use permit on five different occasions between Jan. 1 and June 24 in 2013.   The crime is a misdemeanor. Petrie was fined $1,500 and ordered to forfeit the footage he shot.   ….”
Read entire article at

Emails show confusion over timber payments, sequestration

Bend Bulletin 1/15/2014
Excerpt:        “
WASHINGTON — Although U.S. Forest Service and Department of Agriculture officials initially decided the mandatory cuts of sequestration would not apply to 2012 timber payments, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget later changed its determination after $323 million in payments had been dispersed, according to emails released Tuesday by the House Natural Resources Committee.

In a hearing Tuesday, the committee heard testimony and presented a report showing the confusion faced by federal agencies surrounding mandatory spending cuts called sequestration that went into effect on March 1, 2013.  ….”
Read entire article at

Justices press government in Wyo. man’s challenge to Forest Service rail trail

Greenwire; January 14, 2014
Excerpt:   “
The Supreme Court struggled today with a Wyoming man’s challenge to the Forest Service’s construction of a bicycle trail across his property.   Landowner Marvin Brandt argues that the Forest Service had no right to create the trail on an abandoned railroad right of way that bisects his 83 acres about 50 miles west of Laramie.

Forest Service officials claim the government has a “reversionary interest” in the land after the railway was removed from a 200-foot-wide strip under the 1875 General Railroad Right of Way Act.  …”
Read entire article at

Forest Service shakes us down with its Adventure Pass: Editorial

Los Angeles Daily News 12/17/2013
Excerpt:      “
A federal court almost two years ago ruled the Forest Service’s despised, double-taxing Adventure Pass program illegal.

But rangers in our Angeles, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests keep charging the absurd fee, which gouges citizens who have already paid for their forests through their federal taxes, by forcing them to purchase bogus “passes” to enter their own land.  ….”
Read entire editorial at

White House council refereeing Rosemont Mine debate

Arizona Daily Star 12/17/2013
Excerpt:         “
A White House advisory body is now informally involved in the contentious Rosemont Copper Mine dispute.  The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality is, in a sense, acting as a referee among various federal agencies that have taken different positions on the mine, Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch said.

A council spokeswoman confirmed later that the “CEQ has brought agencies together to coordinate with one another on their environmental reviews on this issue.”   …”
Read entire article at

Parts of Courthouse Creek spared logging

Asheville Citizen Times 12/16/2013
Excerpt:       “
WAYNESVILLE — Environmentalists reached a compromise with the government on Monday that will spare some of the most sensitive areas of Courthouse Creek from logging.   The agreement with the U.S. Forest Service means 54 acres of mostly high elevation trees in the Pisgah Ridge National Heritage Area are off the table.

The entire project, which the forest service has said is necessary for habitat improvement and forest health, will now included 368 acres in a bowl-shaped zone in the Pisgah National Forest visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Devil’s Courthouse.  ….”
Read entire article at

Collaboration conundrum Wilderness advocates sharply divided on ‘consensus’ proposals

Great Falls Tribune 12/15/2013
Excerpt:           “
At a June 8, 1997, gathering in Kalispell, former U.S. Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas foretold a vision of the future for national forest management in Montana.According to a newspaper account of Thomas’ address to the Montana Logging Association, President Bill Clinton’s former forest chief predicted a “golden decade of conservation” in which environmental groups and timber interests would work side by side to reach “consensus” on the future of management of federal forest land.  ….”
Read entire article (lengthy) at

Forest plans draw protests

Montana Standard 12/9/2013
Excerpt:      “
MISSOULA — One thing’s certain about the draft management plans for the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forests — they’ve got lots of kinks to work out.

By last week’s deadline, 60 people or organizations had filed hundreds of pages of objections to the draft plans. The two national forests, on the northwestern Montana-northern Idaho border, are the first in the nation to develop new long-term management plans.    ……”
Read entire article at