An open letter to Sen. Jon Kyl:
I assume, that by now, except for the most far out followers of Earth First, the majority of your peers realize that something must be done about the state of stasis governing our national forests. Essentially our national forests are being run by the federal court system, guided by the attorneys for the more active environmental organizations.
The system obviously isn't working.
The U.S. Forest Service, if left to its own devices, could do better than we are currently doing, but its best efforts would be hamstrung by the ESA, the EPA and other micro-management imposed by your peers, past and present.
Also, since I am a believer that bureaucracy never finds the best way, whatever program that would be produced by an unfettered U.S.F.S. could be improved on. What we need area a number of competing plans.
I have suggested to you, several times, that the federal government should give 100,000 acres of national forest to each and every organization that develops a unique plan for managing that 100,000 acres. When the acreage is assigned, it should be for a period of at least 20 years. The U.S.F.S. should, of course, monitor what happens during that 20-year period, but should have no authority to interfere with the implementation of the plan.
Also, all countervailing and contradictory rules (ESA, EPS, etc.) should be lifted for the areas in question.
In other words, let's find out in the real world what works and what doesn't work, as far as forest health, animal and plant diversity, water retention, fire adaptability, etc.
Since the U.S. has some 200 million acres of national forest, and there probably aren't more than 15 truly different ways to run a forest, we wouldn't be taking much of a gamble to embark on such an experiment.
The important thing is to do it now. We have spent from 70 to 10 years following various mismanagement programs, generally dictated from Washington. The result is a disaster, or a series of disasters. Any new program from Washington will be a poorly balanced compromise of the desires of the timber, grazing, mining, tourist and other industries, and a far ranging panoply of environmental organizations. What is truly best for the forest will hardly be considered, because very few of the interests listed above are really interested in the forest, per se.
You have told me, in the past, that no changes in national forest operation are likely until a significant portion of the public realizes that our present legally managed program is inadequate. Maybe this summer the public is awakening to the realization that we need to change the way we manage our forests.
Please do all you can to make something like this happen.
Dan Adams, Payson