The Daily Inter Lake posted a friendly editorial on the work of the Whitefish Range Partnership Saturday evening . . .
A group called the Whitefish Range Partnership should be commended for efforts to guide long-term forest planning on the Flathead National Forest north of Whitefish and Columbia Falls.
To say that the group of about 30 people representing highly diverse interests were not on the same page at the beginning would be a huge understatement. But after meeting regularly over a 13-month period, with a specific rule that all parties involved would have to sign onto a complete package of recommendations or abandon the effort entirely, the partnership came to a complete consensus on a 58-page set of recommendations.
They addressed potentially conflicting issues such as recommended wilderness, motorized summer use, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and timber harvesting.
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From today’s Missoulian . . .
The U.S. Forest Service wants to speed up work on national forests, for both timber production and forest health.
“Collaboration is most effective in getting forests managed in a proper way,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a conference call on Thursday. “We want to move beyond the conflicts in the past that slowed progress down. We’re going to look to encourage environmentalists, folks in the forest industry, people who live in forest communities and other stakeholders to work for healthy forests.”
Vilsack pledged the Forest Service would boost its lumber production from 2.4 billion board feet in 2011 to 3 billion board feet by 2014. That would come through a 20 percent increase in forest acres treated over the next three years.
Those treatments also include fuels reduction, reforestation, stream restoration, road decommissioning, culvert work and prescribed fire, as well as timber harvesting.
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