127 Am I wrong, or is the Forest Service missing a good bet?

Comments

Tom Garrett 1 year, 2 months ago

I am definitely not in favor of people going into the national forest and cutting down whatever they want, but reading the article about the man who was fined a thousand dollars and sent to jail for a week for trying to cut down an alligator juniper brings up something I've often wondered about.

Now, I could be wrong. Maybe there's a good reason for what I have seen, but if there is no one has ever told me what it is. So I'll bring up an idea and ask you about it.

Driving up on the Rim, I have several times see large stacks of tree trunks and branches along the road, waiting for the Forest Service to set fire to them.

I stopped to look at a few of those piles one day. Back when I was burning wood I could have collected enough firewood from one of them to have lasted me a long, long time.

I know that the wood has to be disposed of somehow or other. I agree with what they are trying to do, and I fully understand that it is in our best interests to create fire breaks and do the other things they are doing. But what would it hurt if there were a sign on those stacks?

FREE WOOD. HELP YOURSELF.

Why not burn it in someone's fireplace or wood stove? Why not let anyone who needs it, take it? And I mean even someone who plans to cut it into handy sizes and sell it?

Is there anything wrong with that? If there is I don't see it, but I'm ready to listen.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

Tom, I don't think there is any thought that goes into the stupidity of the things the F.S. does or doesn't do.

Brings up another thing. F.S. land is supposed to be sold to the highest bidder after being advertised they are going to sell some land. What kind of deal do you think was cut with what is going on with ASU?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 2 months ago

" F.S. land is supposed to be sold to the highest bidder after being advertised...."

I didn't know that. I've never seen them sell anything; they're always trading land for some swamp in Florida to get rid of privately owned land in the forest. I often wonder what happened over the years. Back when I was a kid there was a great program going on. You could apply for a small bit of land in the forest to build a cabin on.

Had to be right on a forest service road, had to be built to fit in with the natural look of the area, and was not something for the rich (not big, fancy, or whatever). And you obviously had to take care of your cabin the way that forest land should be taken care of. It was a real "people" program, intended to allow Americans to enjoy the forest in a way that would not interfere with the animals or damage the environment.

When I read about it it was advertised as a way to get people involved in conservation, to let them feel they were a part of the program, enjoying the lands we own, being close to it and caring about it.

Where did all that go? Every time I turn around I read about another lawsuit being filed against the Forest Service by people who never go into the forest. When I look into the details I see that the case is over some poorly written phrase in some federal law. The way to handle that it to change the phrasing to make it absolutely clear. Wasting money on lawsuits does nothing to help the forest, or the animals in it.

"What kind of deal do you think was cut with what is going on with ASU?"

I don't know, Pat. I'm still waiting to hear ASU say anything about the program going forward. We hear a lot of people saying something, but the comments never come directly from ASU, which concerns me. I'd like to see ASU up here. It's a state university. It would be a natural addition to Payson. But it has been a long time, and frankly I'm just taking and wait-and-see attitude. When I see it I'll believe it.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

There were quite a few cabins in the forest over in the White Mountains and then one day the FS came in and said tear them down. I think they were on a 50 yr lease or something but the 50 yrs wasn't up.

Have you heard what finally happened to the trailer court at Roosevelt?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 2 months ago

Pat,

Last thing I knew the county planning commission was getting involved. Whar has happened since then is anyone's guess. The whole thing looks like another move to shut the people out of their own forestlands.

That's one of the many things that are wrong with this nation. Congress creates a bureau of some kind. Its purpose it to manage a program created by Congress to benefit the nation, often in a way that people everywhere applaud. At first it works that way. Then the bureau evolves; it changes the rules under which it was made, becoming more of a rule-making agency than a law-driven one. Little by little the administrators in the agency see themselves, not as caretakers of the land, but as owners of it. They begin to squeeze the people out. Barriers go up; many of the barriers are rules that make our own forest lands unpleasant places to visit. The agency takes police powers unto itself, writing laws. People start staying away. In the end there is a vast tract of land that is unseen. That's what the administrators want: A place where they can sit on the pot, collect their salaries, and do nothing, so they are happy. End of story.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

The park at Roosevelt does not look like people imagine a forest looks like. The front of it is almost on the highway. I was surprised to hear it belonged to the FS.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 2 months ago

I've been there, Pat.

For some reason or other that I can't....

Cut that. We stayed in some place over there one time when Lolly's sister and her husband brought their boat to Roosevelt. It seemed a nice quiet little community. It's too bad that it is part of the national forestland. Too much of the west belongs to the feds. It was never intended that it be that way. Each state was to have owned its land, just as originally, but right toward the end of the formation of states someone in DC got the bright idea of holding onto state land as part of the agreement for territories to become states. The territories had no choice. If they didn't agree, they stayed territories.

It has always seemed so odd to me that there is more free and open land in the smaller eastern states than in the giant western states. You can wander all over states like New York and Pennnsylvania, free as a bird. Out here, where the lands are empty, you feel the cold hand of Big Brother on your shoulder every time you step out in the woods.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

The F.S. manages people, not the forest.

When I was a kid here in Payson a long time ago. ( I left for over 40yrs.) There was a small FS office, a barn like structure with a Ranger and one or two helpers. Now there is less forest because it has been traded or sold, and look at how many F.S. people are here now.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 2 months ago

Pat,

You remind me of something Dick Campbell told me. That little house of his? The one on the corner of Old County Rd. and 87? He said it used to be the ranger's office in Pine. It had the only telephone in town. You could go over there and place a call, but only to the ranger's office in the valley, where your relatives would be waiting to receive it.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

It was the same way here in Payson. The ranger station had the only phone for a long time.

Oh for the good old days. You didn't lock your door, everyone watched over every one else's kids. You didn't have to worry about them . We roamed around and felt perfectly safe. One Deputy that seemed to be everywhere. Then someone decided Payson should be a tourist town or people wanted to move here because it was so nice and quiet.

See what we have now. You have to keep your doors locked in the daytime because of a neighbor.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

The newcomers changing the town to be like what they didn't like where they came from. Anyone that hasn't lived here 50 yrs is a newcomer. (:

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Bernice Winandy 1 year, 2 months ago

Pat, about 4 days ago you said the FS came in and told some people in the White Mountains to remove their cabins. I thought it was the Indians that came in and that the cabins were on Indian land? Can someone clarify this matter for me.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 2 months ago

Tom, The people I knew that had a cabins there have been dead a long time. If I remember right it was back in the late 1960s. My next door neighbor at the time had one.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 2 months ago

"Anyone that hasn't lived here 50 yrs is a newcomer."

That includes me except for one thing. I came through here in 1958, saw what the place was like, and came here to live in what I had seen. In truth, it wasn't all that much different in 1983 when I first saw it again. The roads were better, and there were more shops, but I would say the people were pretty much the same.

I did some research, folks. I'll give you some bottom line facts, and a link where you can go to read the rest.

First of all, there is still a program, but it seems to be as screwed up as anything else that's left to some bureau to handle. The program seems run more to scare people off than to encourage them.

Some facts:

"Today, land set aside for this purpose is less than .002% of all National Forest lands."

"Congress eliminated this obstacle in 1915 with the passage of the Act of March 4, 1915 providing the authority to set aside land, not exceeding five acres, for construction of summer homes with multi-year occupancy permits. These permitted, privately owned cabins may be inherited - and, in some cases are now used by the fourth and fifth generations of their original builders -- or the improvements sold, however, in either case, the Forest Service continues to retain ownership of the underlying land."

For the rest of the story, click on this link:

http://www.nationalforesthomeowners.org/cabin_history.php

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