What does active management mean for National Forests? When people hear this or read this for the very first time, there are many different thoughts. For those that are in the Forest Industry, it sounds like a good plan that we should have been following for some time. For those who care mainly about recreation, it can create concerns about how the landscape might change and affect areas they hold dear. Anyone who’s primary concern is for the environment might fear that active management might mean developing or damaging some of the last great places on public lands.
All are valid thoughts and concerns. Experience gained from the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (NEWFC) has shown that where is as important as what. More precisely, defining where we will manage is just as important as the management practices themselves. The area, depending on the National Forest, is somewhere between 25% and 40% of the land base that would be suitable for active management. There could certainly be exceptions, but it seems to hold true in the forests of the West.