[MCN] Montana Wilderness Association working to triple industrial logging on Kootenai National Forest?

John Meyer John at cottonwoodlaw.org
Wed Oct 12 12:32:19 EDT 2016


Do you think any timber should be harvested from Forest Service lands?

On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 8:36 AM, Matthew Koehler via
Missoula-Community-News <missoula-community-news at bigskynet.org> wrote:

> It's worth remembering that the Kootenai National Forest belongs equally
> to all Americans, not just a handful of local people in Montana. As you'll
> see below the Montana Wilderness Association and Yaak Valley Forest Council
> are part of a non-transparent, exclusive "collaborative" group that has
> apparently developed a legislative plan to triple industrial logging on the
> Kootenai National Forest by accessing the forest from different areas.  If
> you care deeply about the future of America's public lands legacy this is
> yet another recent example of where some 'collaborative' groups in Montana
> are severely undermining that legacy. Please consider contacting Montana's
> congressional delegation and let them know you oppose these efforts to
> legislate huge increases in industrial logging on National Forests in
> Montana. Thanks.
> *Kootenai Stakeholders Coalition prepare for legislative campaign*
> http://www.thewesternnews.com/news/kootenai-stakeholders-
> coalition-prepare-for-legislative-campaign/article_
> d15464f8-8fd7-11e6-805f-c798d6bb8bae.html
> The Kootenai National Forest covers a vast majority of Lincoln County’s
> natural resources, recreation and wilderness areas. Lincoln County
> currently claims the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, *prompting
> calls for the community to open up the forests for timber harvests*.
> Others demand allocated wilderness areas, while another group maintains
> that *snowmobiling remains a right on public land*.
> About 10 years ago, a group formed to bring those interests to one
> conversation. After about a decade of developing collaborative goals
> between groups of different interests, *the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders
> Coalition is now working on getting those goals stamped with federal
> legislative approval.*
> “Without implementation, or the ability to implement what we’ve been
> working on for the last seven years, it’s really just ink on paper,” said
> State Sen. Chas Vincent, R-Libby, an associate at Environomics, a public
> relations group focused on connecting government affairs and timber
> management. “It’s everyone rolling up their sleeves, and saying there’s 2.2
> million acres here; there’s something for everyone.”
> The coalition formed in 2006, drawing from different groups whose
> interests include timber harvest, wilderness and recreation. During the
> last seven of those 10 years, the coalition has developed a list of
> guidelines that the organization says can enhance all three while hurdling
> the endless advance of environmental litigation in order to get
> Congressional approval.
> Today, the coalition includes officials from lumber companies, Lincoln
> County,* Montana Wilderness Association, the Yaak Valley Forest Council*;
> even the Troy Snowmobile Club. Community members from Eureka, Troy, Libby,
> Columbia Falls and Thompson Falls make up the organization.
> *The current Forest Service plan expects that the Kootenai could produce
> around 40 million board feet of timber, but Vincent said the coalition’s
> plan could draw about 90-120 million board feet by accessing the forest
> from different areas.*
> But before the process goes into legislative form, Vincent said the
> coalition needs public outreach to ensure that everyone’s concerns are
> heard before the bill is brought to Washington, D.C.
> “We need a process that recognizes that there are excellent, diverse
> people working in a collaborative fashion with the agency that will manage
> the watershed for future generations,” he said. “As a Kootenai pilot
> project, we need all the communities supportive of that pilot. That’s what
> we’re beginning to do.”
> Amy Robinson, northwest region field director for the Montana Wilderness
> Association and a member of the coalition, said the organization is
> currently scheduling a lineup of public open houses expected to begin
> sometime this month. The coalition’s website, kootenaifuture.org, went
> live a few weeks ago and outlines the goals developed during the last 10
> years.
> “We no longer want to fight old battles because there’s an amazing amount
> we already agree on,” Robinson said. “People really want to move forward in
> the community. That comes from a lot of different interest groups and
> leadership.”
> Vincent said in order to best prepare for bringing the coalition’s plan to
> Congress, members of the community have to be on board with the coalition’s
> plan.
> “We have to make sure we get those three legs of the stool attached
> firmly,” Vincent said. “We have a lot of work to do before prime time. But
> we’re getting close.”
> Reporter Seaborn Larson may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at
> slarson at dailyinterlake.com.
> -----------------
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John Meyer
Executive Director & General Counsel
Cottonwood Environmental Law Center
P.O. Box 412 Bozeman, MT 59771
John at Cottonwoodlaw.org
(406) 546-0149

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