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Hope turned to controversy after the US Forest Service awarded a 300,000-acre thinning contract last wee

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Forest restoration contract sparks a firestorm of criticism

The U.S. Forest Service’s choice of an out-of-state contractor to thin 300,000 acres of overgrown, fire-prone forests has drawn a seemingly universal chorus of complaints from groups closest to the process. The selection of Pioneer Associates to undertake the largest thinning and forest restoration project in Forest Service history prompted protests by both environmental groups and county officials. The conservation groups worried mostly about whether the contractor will go after big trees instead of focusing on small trees.

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