Skip to comments.The destructive recipe – unmanaged public lands with a splash of hot spice – FIRE!
Posted on 09/10/2006 3:58:44 PM PDT by cleelumsledhead
The ongoing wildfires that are currently burning, or that have already burned this summer in Washington State and all across the western United States, may be a shock to some people, but isnt this what some of our appointed public land managers and many of our elected officials have been allowing to happen for quite some time by not properly managing these public lands that belong to all of us?
At last count when I wrote this article on 9/8/06 there has been more than 8.5 million acres that have burned nationwide, with Washington State leading the pack with 310,966 acres that have burned so far this year, and not far behind is Nevada with 279,395 acres, Idaho with 231,400 acres, and Montana with 218,050 acres. Does anyone see a pattern here? Western states with a huge amount of public land that is not actively managed for forest health is the basic problem. This is exactly what has been predicted would happen by many, and now that it has happened, some of the individuals that have allowed this to happen by implementing poor forest management practices seem to be in disbelief.
What is the main ingredient in this recipe for disaster? Well, we can start with public land that has been set aside and mostly unmanaged in designations such as so-called roadless areas, Recommended Wilderness Areas (RWA), and congressionally designated wilderness. These designations allow very little common sense forest land management practices. Add to this mix the dry weather, the fact that many of these forests have large areas of beetle killed trees, and the fact that logging is virtually non-existent these days in our national forests to not only thin out these dense forests, but to also remove the dead and diseased timber that will become the explosive fuel for the next round of devastating forest fires. Much of the lands in our forests have agency designations that flat out ban all forest thinning and logging programs. Take a look at the most recent information at http://www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/nfn.html and see for yourself how bad the fires are this season.
As you may recall, our Washington State Governor, Christine Gregoire, submitted a request to the Department of Agriculture last February to revive Clintons illegal Roadless Rule for the forest lands in Washington State. This is after California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski, had already previously filed suit to bring back the old Clinton plan released just as he left office in early 2001. Clintons original Roadless Rule would have put most of the 58 million acres of so-called Roadless areas, of which approximately 2 million acres are within Washington State, off-limits to most logging.
Governor Gregoire stated at a news conference last February at Recreational Equipment Inc.'s Seattle headquarters that "Joining this lawsuit is our last effort to defend Washington's quality of life and our economy" and We'll do whatever is necessary to prevent the federal government from destroying this national legacy. She must be very proud of these statements and her decisions on how she would like to see our states public lands managed, now that close to 311,000 acres have burned in Washington State, and we are nowhere close to the end of this years fire season. Although the forest conditions that led to these current forest fires can not be blamed on Governor Gregoire's recent actions just yet, down the road if she is successful in locking up the 2 million acres of so-called Roadless land in this state, she can certainly be blamed for how many of those acres burn in the not to distant future.
On August 23rd Governor Gregoire declared a state of emergency due to all of the wildfires burning in our state. Do we really want to lock up these remaining unburned roadless areas to burn another day? And as if our Governors actions arent bad enough, Representative Jay Inslee had already introduced a bill (HR3563) in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005 that would enact Clintons illegal Roadless Rule for all of the 58 million so-called roadless areas throughout all national forests across the United States.
Forest Service Chief, Dale Bosworth, recently unveiled a new plan September 5th during an aerial tour of the beetle infested areas of Grand and Summit counties in Colorado. This plan will supposedly make it easier for the Forest Service to attack the bark-beetle epidemic in the west more quickly. Chief Bosworth states that We've made great progress under the Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) and have improved the health of millions of acres of forests and rangelands across America. U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary, Mark Rey, who accompanied Chief Bosworth on this tour, states "The large stands of beetle-kill trees seen today in Colorado pose a threat of severe wildfire, placing numerous communities at risk. So what is the problem with this plan and their statements? It is the fact that at the same time the USDA and the Forest Service say they have things under control, and are taking aggressive actions to prevent these catastrophic wildfires, the Forest Supervisors of our national forests all across the western United States are proposing to lock up and leave millions of acres of our public lands unmanaged as RWAs. These areas will be treated just like the 106 million acres of currently designated wilderness in the United States that Congress has already enacted into law, and these areas will be off-limits to sound forest management practices where logging and thinning will not be allowed. These areas will be left for nature to take its course of action, which recently has been beetle killed forests and huge devastating wildfires.
I can only hope that the fires this season in Washington State, and other states across the western United States, are a wakeup call to our elected officials and appointed public land managers that support the various hand-off designations such as wilderness designations, RWAs, and Clintons illegal Roadless Policy, and that they will comprehend the need to properly manage our forests. We cannot continue to lock up our forests and leave them to nature, unless of course, we do not have a problem with a good portion of these forests burning to the ground each year.
The article fails to mention that this is really Bush's fault.
I guess I fail to see the "problem" here.
For thousands of years, great forests burned once in a while. In fact, some species need fire to regenerate (jack pine comes to mind here in Michigan). In other words, it's a completely natural thing.
However, some natural things are not pretty nor convenient to modern humans. Most bodily functions are not especially pretty (although they ARE pretty when you haven't been able to perform them due to a medical condition). Death is neither pretty nor convenient, but it's completely natural (not a result of a screwup, as the press would have you believe).
I can understand why snowmobile enthusiasts don't like forest fires. They turn very beautiful scenery into ugly collections of burned "matchsticks". In addition, a roadless wilderness would be hated by snowmobile riders 'cause there's no easy place to ride. However, I fail to see how humanity should, or even can, prevent forest fires, and certainly don't see their connection between roads and preventing fires.
Who is blaming Bush? His policies are a quite a bit better than Clinton's on this issue.
Also, snowmobilers do like wide open clear hills to recreate on, I would just rather see them logged then burned to the ground.
"Also, snowmobilers do like wide open clear hills to recreate on, I would just rather see them logged then burned to the ground."
Being a Michigan guy, I'm not totally unfamilier with fires and logging, or snowmobiling for that matter.
1. I've yet to see a logged area that lacked brush piles, ruts and stumps. Maybe you've got enough snow in your part of the world to cover all that, but here most places don't come close.
2. Loggers can in fact log out much of the forest areas. Some areas are wilderness areas, which mean that we've decided to let nature take its course, including fires.
3. The last I checked, managed forests do in fact burn if you've got a prolonged drought.
4. I also wonder if a clear-cut area is any less ugly than a burn area.
Yes, given the choice, it would be great to log out an area that is gonna burn the next day. The problem, of course, is that we don't have a clue what's gonna burn until it's too late to get in there.
From Fox News Report Hannity and Colmes program,
William La Jeunesse said; "Sean, what I want to say, this was brought under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. There was and amendment to the forest plan in the Pacific Northwest United States that applied to Washington, Oregon, Idaho. Not just this forest, and what it says and I am quoting right now "If helicopter operations must take place, quote, "within a Riperian habitat conservation area, (that is a stream,) AN EXEMPTION MUST BE GRANTED BY A RESOURCE ADVISOR, (thats a biologist,) with the advoidence of adverse effects to listed species as a primary goal."
What the above means is - That while some dumba$$ envirowhack figures out if any fish, will be threatened by scooping up water to fight the fire with. Of course four fire fighters and ALL the fish in the fire area died while a decision was reached.
It *really* sucks when a Democrat does something that is actually correct, because by default to Republicans, it is then incorrect.
I frequent one of those "roadless areas" in southern Oregon. The Kalmiopsis Wilderness area in the Siskiyous. It is one of the most unique areas in the world, and some species only exist there.
Of all the places we've been in Oregon, it is the most pristine. The rest of Oregon, especially the coast, you can see clear cuts about anywhere you go. I understand there needs to be some logging. But a big part of even moving to areas like this is to experience the wilderness. Fishing, hiking, etc., are all great family experiences, and it is very beneficial to my children.
It would *great* if they'll be able to have those experiences with their children.
There is absolutely *no* good reason to log the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area. None. It is full of unique species such as Sugar Pines and Port Orford Cedars. When you're there, you know you are someplace special.
Of course this area became federally protected during the Clinton years. Unfortunately. Because since he did it, this means it's wrong, and that means they should be able to log it.
Bush changed this last year, and opened up the area affected by the Biscuit fire to logging. It's a pretty easy sell to most that if the area has burned, you mine as well log it. But once you've experienced those areas, and then educated yourself on how this area remains unique, you come to the understanding that the fires are a natural part of those forests. That in order for those species to exist, the fires are a necessary, natural part of life, and that if you remove all of the burned trees, it needs to be replaced with something. And the answer is not to replace it with a bunch of Douglas Firs the exact same size, although that is the favorite of the loggers.
On the east side of the Kalmiopsis, you have Babyfoot Lake. After Bush allowed the logging, the loggers "accidentally" logged the wrong areas, cutting down those Sugar Pines and Port Orford Cedars they weren't supposed to.
2 weeks ago my family visited the west side, which is Vulcan Lake. There are no roads to the lake, but you can camp just outside the wilderness area, and take a 2 mile hike to get to the lake. Next year, we'd planned on visiting the east side, and once we got home, is when I started researching it.
That's how I found out what Bush did. I don't believe he had any evil intent, but if you check out "Babyfoot Lake" in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area, you can find pictures of the devastation the loggers did.
I'm not blaming their accident specifically on Bush. They logged the wrong area, but even still, they shouldn't have been logging the burned areas, as those unique species that used to exist there, will have much less of a chance at survival now. Bush gave them that chance, but again, he prolly has more important things to do, like focus on terrorism.
I'm just uncertain of how we as a generation will be able to explain and justify this to our future generations. Once a species is gone, it's gone. It's not like God just snaps his fingers and re-creates them. He gives them to us once, and if we destroy them, they're gone, never to return.
Again, I understand the importance of logging, but there are plenty of Douglas Firs out there to log, and there is no reason to go into federally protected areas and log, just because Clinton made them protected. You could look at it as him accidentally doing something right. I didn't vote for him either, but I'm talking to you 2 weeks after the most exciting, pristine, adventures I've taken my family on yet. I simply want future generations to be able to experience that too, but maybe for many, you have to see it for yourselves to feel like that.
If you look up anything about the Kalmiopsis, be sure to check out the insect eating plant called the Darlingtonia. Or the Kalmiopsis flower. Pretty amazing species. Next year I plan on still taking my family to Babyfoot Lake on the east side, although it will be a much different experience now that it has been logged.
I was kidding. Bush is blamed for everything.
I was kidding.
I know Bush didn't truly even know what the effects would be of allowing them to log those areas. The experts tell him what the deal is, and what choice does he have but to listen to the experts.
Although I am 100% confident that if he had taken his kids there too, he may have thought twice about it.
Maybe I could write to him, and let him know I'm a conservative, but I still like taking my family to these areas, and to please not log them.
Bump to that!
(No more Olmert! No more Kadima! No more Oslo! )
I just came through that area from the coast, and you are so full of crap I can't believe it.... sure there are some clear cuts, but in a forested area that stretches 80 miles from the coast to I-5, you've got millions of acres of trees that haven't been cut and the underbrush is a fire trap. My wife and our friends could not believe that depth of the slash underneath the canopy and what will happen when we have another major fire. Log the blasted trees!!!!!!
"Maybe I could write to him, and let him know I'm a conservative, but I still like taking my family to these areas, and to please not log them".
Burn baby burn. Thin them by logging, or let em burn to the ground. I prefer logging in the roadless areas. And the wilderness areas and RWAs only allow forest fires as the sole means of forest management.
Ride down the Nehalem River road, or US26 towards the coast. Clear cuts everywhere. Alot of that is private property. Let them log it to their heart's content. There are plenty more Douglas Firs they can cut down.
Check out the Trask River road too. And the Nestucca River road. More clear cuts. Lots of them. Let them log that to their heart's content.
But why go in to one of the most unique areas in the world, and destroy species that future generations won't be able to experience ?
I'll guess I'll ask it this way. Is there *any* place in then entire world that should be off limits to logging ? If there is a single place in this entire world to *not* log, the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area is just that place.
You could always go there. Visit Vulcan lake first, then check out Babyfoot Lake. The latter is the area they logged.
You are sick.....there are millions of acres of trees, so what if we harvest what is there? Managed forests are so friendly to wildlife that more should be cut...clear cuts are deer habitate disneyworlds. Get off you butt and get into the forests... you are a perfect example of why we have the three S's.
The tree huggers are firmly in control of the asylum. A big tree hunter just discovered a "Worlds Tallest Tree" in Redwood National Park and the park service will not disclose the location to common peasants because we might love it to death. This is the fifth "Worlds Tallest Tree" this guy has found in the Redwoods in 15 years and each one was in a "secret location".
Can't have the peons enjoy what their taxes paid for that were used to confiscate the land from lumber companies putting hundreds out of work.
"I'll guess I'll ask it this way. Is there *any* place in then entire world that should be off limits to logging ? If there is a single place in this entire world to *not* log, the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area is just that place".
It is obvious that you do not understand forest management and Forest Service regulations. There is NO logging allowed in ANY wilderness area, including the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, so if you are seeing bald hills in this wilderness, then it is from fire. Unless of course this wilderness was illegally designated as wilderness even though there were previous clearcut areas.
When did a democrat do anything that was remotely correct since 1846?
This nonsense about choking off natural habitat from loggers is just that...nonsense.
I just got back from a marathon trip up to Eureka and from there to Yreka via the Klamath river gorge. There are fires burning in the Trinity Mts. just north of the Marble Mt. Wilderness area and have been since July!
But let a logger propose a road and a plan to harvest some trees and the "Spotted owl" or "something or other flying squirrel"....
But..let her burn!
Absolute Nonsense! Proper forest management would provide trees for loggers, habitat for deer and bear, spawning areas for salmon and steelhead trout.
Underscore PROPER. We do not have it. But we could have it.
And then the forest would be available not just for the rich or indolent but for the family man or widow(er). It would be there for children as well and not just school teachers on summer leave.
So, RigidPrinciples, I have my principles and I guess we clash. What I see is more reckless mismanagement.
I bet one of the reasons for the forest fire in Humbolt is to clear the Mt sides for marijuana growing. And no one but the indians can get in there!
The tree huggers have found a new asylum flying the Republican label, too.
I think you keep misunderstanding what I'm asserting. Sick ? How so ? I agree there are millions of acres of trees. What if we harvest what is there ? Read what I've been posting. Harvest to your heart's content in the areas that are not designated wilderness areas. Get off my butt and get into the forests ? Since May, we've been out practically every weekend. The Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness area around Mt. Hood, Summit Lake near Mt. Hood, and recently did the Barlow Road route to show the kids a route of the Oregon Trail. It was great to be able to teach them about that before going out, and being fortunate enough to show them the actual trail.
In addition to that, we've covered most of the NW coast this summer. As I mentioned, the Nehalem, Nestucca, Trask, Necanicum, and Wilson rivers are some of our favorites. We'll be frequenting the heck out of those in the coming months with the rains and fresh Pacific salmon on their way.
I have literally thousands of pictures from our adventures this summer. That's what we do. We go into the forests. After years of doing that, we've started wondering about the wildlife around us. The trees, plants, etc. It seems like a logical step if you're going to be spending the large amount of your recreational time in those forests.
Now, from the research I've done, the forest fires are a natural part of the forest life. If human lives are at stake, sure put out those fires. But otherwise, many of those species actually require the fires in order to thrive. I haven't even looked into the "spotted owl" assertions made by others HERE, but really, the only animals you typically see are deer anyways.
The bottom line is, if you take something out of those forests, it needs to be replaced. Again, I'm *not* talking about the private lands or the forests with the abundance of Douglas Firs that the loggers like. I'm talking about wilderness areas, such as the Kalmiopsis. And the makeup of those soils is so unique, that it's practically impossible to replace it via human intervention. Let those forests remain unique. If you look on a map, you'll see that it's a small portion of SW Oregon. It's unnecessary to start loggin those areas, even under the ruse of "They just had a fire, mine as well log it all now".
I'm pretty sure that anywhere, if human lives are endangered, they will extinguish the fires. Show me where they allow the towns to burn to the ground, otherwise, I don't really believe that assertion.
Never hugged a tree, and never plan on it.
I read that same article about the new "tallest tree". I agree they should give the coordinates to the tree, but it would be a much better experience for most if they didn't cut down a bunch of trees to make a road to this "tallest tree". Just post the GPS info, and let the folks who want that solitude in the forests go check it out. We'd make the hike, and it would be great not seeing anyone on the way. That's what makes these areas unique. Being able to go for miles, without seeing another human.
The other places in Oregon, you are surrounded by city folks who set up their temporary homes in the forests, and it seems like they brought more from their homes to the forests, rather than going to the forests for what they can provide. You lose the entire feel when you are surrounded by people. We don't go camping to be surrounded by city folks.
And as liberal I think this state is too (they supported Gore/Kerry ugh), still, the recent logging measure for the Clatsop-Tillamook forests went towards the loggers. The measure was to make those forests 50/50, i.e. 50% would be retained for recreation at any time, and 50% would be allowed for logging. As it turns out, it will remain 80/20, meaning at any time, they will be able to log 80% of the forests, and only keep 20% for recreation.
That was my first initial favorite forest out here. I've covered all of the back roads there, and even with the clear cuts, it's amazing.
But still, it's crowded. Super crowded, and if you try to go on a weekday, you'll be flipped off by loggers who think they own the road, and in a sense they kind of do. I'm unsure of the specifics, but I believe the loggers do pay for alot of those road upkeeps, which in turn allow fishermen like me access to those remote areas. But once you have a road there, it gets crowded.
With all of those other forests to log, it just doesn't make sense to go into the Kalmiopsis and log. It's roadless for a good reason, and once you log, you have to make roads there, and then the experience is gone. Even after forest fires, you need to leave the remnants in order for those unique species to survive. How many other places can you take your children to show them the insect eating Darlingtonia plant ?
You are correct. Technically they're not allowed to log there. It's been like that since it was designated "roadless". However, after the Biscuit fire, laws were changed in order to allow logging in the affected areas. However, the loggers made a "mistake" and logged the wrong areas, i.e., they actually did log the eastern side of the Kalmiopsis near Babyfoot Lake. But they shouldn't have been able to log there in the first place, as there are, as was posted here, many other millions of acres to log, rather than a unique areas that folks from all around the world come to visit, just to experience the unique plant life. We drove 400 miles to get there, and plan on going twice a year for the rest of our lives, because it is simply that great of an experience.
"You are correct. Technically they're not allowed to log there. It's been like that since it was designated "roadless". However, after the Biscuit fire, laws were changed in order to allow logging in the affected areas".
Wilderness and Roadless are not one in the same. Wilderness designated areas can NOT be logged. Current Roadless policy allows logging, but Clinton's illegal roadless did not. U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer ruled in July 2003 that the 58.5 million acres in Clinton's roadless policy was a "thinly veiled attempt to designate 'wilderness areas' in violation of the clear and unambiguous process established by the Wilderness Act." So Judge Brimmer tossed the policy out the window.