I could not believe my eyes when I read in the Roundup that the Tonto National Forest Service had not yet done an appraisal on the land earmarked for the new ASU site. And then to read further that the appraiser and his helpers, the only ones who can perform this seemingly small task, have all retired before completing what seems to be the most important job ever assigned to them. They seem to be spitting on their life’s work. Most of my retired friends left no strings dangling when they left their jobs ... most everyone I know has too much pride to dash before taking care of business.
What were the forest supervisors thinking that allowed this fiasco to take place? The investors in the university, the mayor, the university officials and all the individuals who have dedicated so much time and money to bringing the school to Payson must have patience beyond belief to not tell these inept Forest Service supervisors to go pound sand.
The regional headquarters for our national forests — consisting of Coconino, Apache-Sitgreaves, Prescott, Tonto, Kaibab and Coronado — is located in Albuquerque. These forests cover over 11,000,000 — that’s ELEVEN MILLION — acres in Arizona and are controlled by one man, the regional forester in New Mexico. He is not an elected official and answers to none of us.
This seems to be a disproportionate amount of power placed in the hands of one person who has shown little foresight into managing our forests in Arizona over the years.
It’s now going on two years since the 4FRI contract to thin 10,000-20,000 acres per year was awarded to a company run by a retired Forest Service official. This contract was sold by the first company because the company was inept; but it was then sold to a another company with this same inept man at the wheel, and this company is based in Abu Dhabi! So far, from what I read in the Roundup, the total acreage thinned is around 1,000 acres total over two years. Please senators and congressmen, step up to plate and straighten this mess out. If you can ...