What would you think if you heard your local Forest Service was proposing to improve 600 miles of forest roads in need of maintenance? What would you think if the Forest Service was proposing to include an opportunity to provide jobs to small-scale loggers to perform the road maintenance work while they could also salvage dead trees from alongside the roads? The combined actions would make our roads safe to travel and reduce forest fuel buildups alongside roads while providing forest products and the financial means to pay for the road maintenance work. Sounds like a win-win situation for us taxpayers, right?
Not if you’re a member of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies or The Lands Council. These two environmental groups profess to care for our forests, including the road systems that allow all of us to access them for recreational and management purposes. Yet their actions speak louder than their words.
These two environmental groups have recently filed an appeal on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests’ North Zone Roadside Salvage project, which proposes to fix up to 600 miles of forest roads located within the Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint and Priest Lake Ranger districts that currently lack adequate funding to accomplish. The Forest Service is acting creatively to finance this work through the use of small timber sales and stewardship contracts that also provide jobs and forest products.