Sunday, January 29, 2023

Loss of infrastructure makes forest plan unbalanced

| May 17, 2006 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

I'd like to answer the question by environmentalists as to whether the new KIPZ forest plan "offers a balanced perspective."

Well, their letter sure as heck didn't offer any balance. Even though I'm a Flathead County lowlife, I did manage to get to both the Happy's Inn and Yaak input meetings. And I have this computer thing that allows access to the public input sticky dot totals from those meetings posted on the KIPZ web site.

So yeah, while "many residents" put their stickies on "designating wilderness," a whopping lot more residents threw down their sticky dots on no more wilderness, no more road closures, improved recreation access, way more timber harvest, and no *$^#$ bears.

I also want to call BS on the letter writers' assertion that "past management actions" caused "economic instability in local communities." To ignore the fact that a bunch of litigation by environmental groups was a contributor isn't real balanced.

And what kind of "stability" do King, Martin, Hernandez and Hough support?

Well, with Lincoln County's economy at the bottom, with Eureka about to become Trophy Home Central, things are real "stable" now, aren't they?

As for this "wildlands" designation, enviros should be grateful. After all, Castaneda's designation has bought time for environmentalists to continue to hack away at targets of employment opportunity so that those pesky resource producers remaining will eventually leave — hopefully in time for the next forest planning cycle.

Of course, it may well be that Congress finally wakes up and realizes that forests need cost-effective managment options not allowed in wilderness. So Bob left that option too — way more balanced than anything environmentalists can think of.

Still, it's a sad fact that no matter the shape of the final plan, it may simply not be implementable given the complete loss of processing infrastructure in Kootenai Country. And in that way, this new plan can't be balanced.

Dave Skinner