In light of the dubious contract award to the company, headed by a retired Forest Service official, that was supposed to protect our forests by thinning trees under the 4FRI but has failed miserably to even make a start, I have a question or two.
Why limit such contracts to only one company? There are millions of acres to be thinned; more than enough for as many companies that are interested and that meet the standards set by the Forest Service, to get a piece of the pie. These companies could be working all over Arizona, and the rest of the West, not just around Flagstaff. Any chance the Forest Service might think outside the box and get our forests fixed?
Editor’s Note: Supporters of the 4FRI process like Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin originally favored a contractor focused on restoration to complete what amounts to a pilot program for an approach that could work on millions of acres throughout the West. They feared involvement of a major timber company would make it harder to pursue a different approach. However, many of those original supporters now fear the Forest Service simply picked the wrong contractor, given the year-long delay in getting started. So far, the Forest Service seems to have trouble with that whole “outside the box” approach.