Traditional logging dwindled on the Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee and Shoshone National Forests because it brought in only pennies on the dollar spent. Stimulus may be used to renew logging at a loss-
The stimulus bill has money for forests, parks, wildlife that can be used in a beneficial or negative way. It appears the supervisors for 3 national forests in the Greater Yellowstone country are quickly moving to use the stimulus money directed to wildfire reduction and forest health to restore traditional logging by means of “salvage” of dead timber. They have asked timber interests for projects. Why haven’t they asked wildlife and conservation groups?
As George Wuerthner points out, stands of dead timber are not particularly flammable. In addition, building new roads into these areas spreads noxious weeds and degrades wildlife habitat. If they wanted to create a lot of jobs, they would hire people to pull the noxious weeds. Because most of the timber mills in the area went out of business long ago, it will be long time before stimulus money will result in new timber mills and trained loggers. Logging is capital intensive nowadays and creates few jobs per dollar spent.
A word to these forest supervisors, use the money to truly improve forest health — eliminate weeds, rehabilitate erosion sources on the national forests, recut overgrown trails, reduce livestock grazing impacts, clean trash out of the forests, improve human degraded stream conditions, repair damaged roads you plan to keep open, close and obliterate vehicle tracks that are degrading the forest. This is the way to create jobs in a hurry and improve rather than harm the environment.
What is taking place here is a warning to those who love the national forests and want jobs to get involved quickly so that the money does not go to old fashioned projects that create few jobs and actually degrade the forests. Contact your local national forest now!
Remember that forests are more than just the trees.
Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Bridger-Teton asks loggers for wishes. Letter links logging industry, local mills with health of national forests. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo.