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Kootenai needs a lot more than a $50 MAACO paint job

| August 10, 2005 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

I read Bob Castaneda's letter in the August 5 issue of The Western News, and then re-read it, as it was included in the packet that was distributed to the participants at the Thursday evening Aug. 4 meeting of the so-called "working group" of the "new" KNF planning process where we were presented the "starting points" for the latest round of meetings to "revise" the Kootenai National Forest Plan.

Yes, Bob, this is terrible marketing. To endeavor to sell a "product" without a "business plan" is going to ensure a very bumpy ride. A venture doomed to some very tough times at the very least.

It's been said that if you don't recognize where you've been, it's hard to know where you're headed. In other words, without a serious review and analysis of the history and performance of the current KNF plan it will be mighty difficult to chart a well- chosen course for any new direction the Forest Service hopes to go in the future.

Hopefully, there is a recognition that we, as a "forested county," are at a major turning point in our history and economy. We have given and given of our natural resources, not unlike a third world entity, and must make some serious physical and mental adjustments before the hole gets so large the task seems indomitable while things are still somewhat "whole."

That you have picked an automobile as the metaphor for the planning process just launched is quite interesting. Most folks considering a vehicular upgrade would probably visit their favorite "used car dealer" and trade up for a solid, dependable unit to get them around for the next several years.

That you have decided to "build" a pickup/SUV is even more interesting. As a more than casual observer, all I can envision is possibly a cab and chassis up on blocks and missing many important parts.

Forget the selection of body style, color and horse power. This project needs a windshield and headlights (vision), rear view mirrors (perspective), steering wheel (guidelines) and a box to carry the load (science, biology, etc.)

The cab and chassis (starting point) are hopefully substantial enough to provide the foundation (standards) for a vehicle that hopefully doesn't turn out to resemble an "OSHA horse," or turn into a "lemon."

My hopes were that we would find some wheels sufficient to rush this "project car" into the shop and give it a frame-up restoration. But that dream is fading rather quickly. It's time to get past the sophomoric, "me first" mushiness of this initial " non-plan" proposal and roll up our sleeves and start banging the dents out of this project vehicle so we can put it to work "caring for the land."

We need a lot more than just a $50 MAACO paint job!

Bob Zimmerman