Public Land & Forest Management

We are a region of fabulous forests resources that are a fabric of life in Oregon. With over 4 million acres of Federally Managed forests in Congressional District 4; real local input into Public Land & Forest Management of District 4 is imperative in the survival of our way of life and economy.

Most all of Congressional District 4 was effected by catastrophic wildfires or debilitating smoke in 2017. There were at least 49 Cal-Ore Air Ambulance flights unable to take off just in Josephine County. Dense smoke threatened the health of all District 4 residence and tourism took a hit from August through October as tourists were told to move on to the Northern Oregon Coast for their safety.

The economic cost is hard to get a handle on but it is massive and will be felt in Congressional District 4 for over a century or more. There was the loss of productivity of employees, much reduced outdoor work and activities, citizens with impaired breathing unable to leave their homes, evacuations, increased medical costs and lack of tourism. We face closed forest access, loss of property and homes, the great loss of Oregon’s iconic Elk Herds, Blacktail Deer along with types of forest creatures and habitat.

Wild and Scenic Chetco River – 80% drainage was burned in the avoidable Chetco Bar Fire.

However the greatest loss was likely the timber itself, the Chetco Bar Fire alone engulfed 191,000 acres burning 80% of the Federally Designated Wild and Scenic Chetco River drainage. It will likely be 50 to 100 years before timber harvest opportunities return to the 191,000 acre Chetco Bar Fire area; which will without a doubt will affect any and all County Timber Revenues until the timber resource regenerates.

County Commissioner Court Boice called meet for Fire Prevention and Awareness before wildfires broke out. In the weeks prior to the Chetco Bar Fire he convened meetings with local fire officials to discuss possible catastrophic wildfire and how to get ahead of a unseen disaster. In attendance USFS, State Forestry and local Rural Fire Departments. 

We had two other catastrophic wildfires in recent history the 100,000 acre Silver Fire in 1997 with major smoke issues then again in 2002 when the massive Biscuit Fire burned 500,000 acres to be Oregon’s largest fire in history at that time. Smoke was so intense from the Biscuit fire with 297 miles of fire line that it threatened Olympic Track and Field Trials being held at the University of Oregon in Lane County.

Fire Prevention and Awareness

County Commissioner Court Boice calls meeting for Fire Prevention and Awareness before wildfires broke out.  In attendance USFS, State Forestry and local Rural Fire Departments.

Court is hyper aware of the loss of life, property, future timber revenue, current economy and hazardous smoke caused by these mega fires. We will always have wildfires in timber country and Congressional District 4 has some of the best timber resources in the nation. Court is concerned that Public Land Management is dropping the ball on forest health and timber management. “Let it Burn” or Minimal Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) and “Learn to Live with Wildfire” policies are not working for District 4.

Not harvesting burned timber is not working, loss of diverse wildlife is not working nor not reseeding burned areas.

3 world class catastrophic wildfires in 30 years support concerns and bolsters fears of mega wildfire #4 lurking.  Much of the areas these fires burned were just dust and ash because they burned so hot, not even a stump or snag left. He is not just concerned he is angry as much of this loss was avoidable. It was caused by bad management objectives and tactics. We must address Public Land Management with local input that is followed, not just a pat on the head and thanks for stopping by.

Chetco Bar Fire Sept. 17, 2017

Court believes we need to manage our Public Lands and Forest Resources for sustainable harvest and forest health. The cry of they are going to clear cut everything is just totally off base. All Forest Service and BLM Timber Sales go through public review and public comment periods. Forest Service & BLM staff put the timber sales together weighing all biological concerns and public input; they then set the parameters of the proposed sale.

Court holds that we should absolutely harvest all salvageable burned timber in an environmentally friendly manner and as soon as possible before the timber values is depleted. Also replanting of burned areas should begin as soon as possible not sometime down the road or if ever. Forest Roads should remain open where feasible and decommissioning of forest roads in fire prone areas need the approval of County Commissioners.

Oregon Public Land Management after 150 Years of un-kept Promises. We have been promised in legislation sustainable timber revenue in lieu of taxes.

OREGON ADMISSION ACTS -ACT OF CONGRESS ADMITTING OREGON INTO UNION

Approved February 14, 1859

Section 1. Announcement of admission; boundaries of state; jurisdiction of river cases. That Oregon be, and she is hereby, received into the Union on an equal footing with the other States in all respects whatever:

Oregon has never been on equal footing with other states as states east of the Rocky Mountains average less than 4% public land whereas a majority of Oregon’s lands are controlled and managed by the federal government and are untaxable by the state.

1916 – 1937

The Oregon and California Railroad Lands commonly known as O&C Lands are approximately 2,600,000 acres of lands located in eighteen counties of western Oregon of which District 4 is apart.

Since 1916, the 18 counties where the O&C lands are located have received payments from the United States government as compensation for the loss of timber and tax revenue, beginning as a 50% share of timber revenue on those lands but changing over the years as timber production decreased. The governments of several of the counties have come to depend upon the O&C land revenue as an important source of income for schools and county services.

1994

The Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 during the Clinton Administration promised a reduced harvest but maintain sustained levels of harvest; while retraining displaced timber and mill workers, jobs were to be created to replace those lost in the woods and mill jobs, none ever were.

One of the stated goals of the Northwest Forest Plan.

“to produce a predictable and sustainable level of timber sales”.

Today timber sales are near zero. Timber revenue is near zero.

We are left with few options, we can’t tax our way out of the deficit hole the loss of timber revenue created do to state property taxing laws and the fact that our citizen could not afford the massive property tax increases it would require. We would not support tax increases anyway.

Federal Land Managers have failed to live up to Timber Harvest levels promised and Public Land Management Fire has been just awful for the last 20 years as the Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 has firefighting recommendations of “Learn To Live with Wildfires”.

Every time our forest burn District 4 Counties lose millions or billions of dollars of harvestable timber for 5o to 100 years or more, fish & wildlife, recreation and tourism. “Learn to live with Wildfire” where the heck are these people writing this stuff from, a guess would be Washington D.C. not Congressional District 4.

We desperately need to establish local control in Public Land Management decisions. Forest Service and BLM should have a seat at the table but not at the head of the table.

Article: Wild Horses and Fire Control

Congressman Walden Points to Wild Horse Fire Control Plan to U.S. Forest Service and BLM

How often do we find ourselves as citizens complaining when legislators overlook cost-effective ideas and plans that could arguably provide some relief or a solution for a serious societal issue, and instead seem to prefer solutions that add more taxes to the burden already upon weary taxpayers?

With the recent evolution of catastrophic wildfire, Americans are now faced with a new kind of devastation that transcends anything we’ve seen before. Make no mistake; there is nothing ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ about catastrophic wildfire. And we would be made into fools if we even tolerate that insane premise by some NGOs and their leaders, and that we should allow these highly unnatural fires to occur in the first place.

These new-breed of wildfires are so hot, in fact, that in addition to devastating everything in their path (defensible space or not), they pasteurize the soils, killing all of the beneficial microorganisms that create bio-available mineral analogs, which support many other organisms and healthy plants. The intense heat of catastrophic wildfires also sublimates the bio-available mineral analogs in the soils made by the microorganisms and those gaseous compounds add to the mix of deadly toxic smoke from these fires.

But this article isn’t just about gloom and doom; it is about a refreshing breeze of change that I am cautiously optimistic about. A glimmer of hope that alludes to a possible development in the status quo of government, where kudos are due to some of our local legislators and citizens who are indeed seeking genuine solutions and seem to be considering all options to our shared nightmare.

Congressman Greg Walden speaking at a House Natural Resources Committee meeting in 2016.
Congressman Greg Walden speaking at a House Natural Resources Committee meeting in 2016.

Oregon Congressman Greg Walden has recently authored a letter to the Chief of the United States Forest Service (USFS) Tony Tooke, and to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Brian Steed, asking them to give the Wild Horse Fire Brigade (‘WHFB’) Plan their attention, which was attached to the Congressman’s letter for their use.

This is yet another encouraging development in a long string of developments, and I for one am thankful for Congressman Walden’s tacit endorsement of the WHFB and the work of citizens such as Britt Ivy Boice and her husband, Court Boice, a Curry County Commissioner.

And there are tens of thousands of other American citizens who also support the WHFB as well as numerous scientists, politicians (i.e. Colleen Roberts- Jackson County, Oregon) and firefighters. One Oregon Dept. of Forestry fire captain recently wrote to me and said this:

“I still like the idea of the horse and I would love to see a controlled area with them to really see what they are capable of. I have seen the work they have done on your property and it looked good but spotty with the low numbers they have. Additionally I really think they have a place in the fuel reduction world.”

Foregoing excerpt taken from: https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2017/12/14/congressman-wild-horse-fire-control-blm-usf


Greetings:

Recently, noted wildlife ecologist Craig C. Downer completed a seminal report on the BLM wild horses in Oregon and their management in Herd Management Areas (HMA) by the BLM.

This same report is being provided to the administrative heads of BLM, USFS and DOI and was provided to me by Craig Downer as a courtesy, and in turn, I am extending that same courtesy to others in the spirit of truth and education via science, versus layman’s hear-say and fiction.

For those folks who abhor ignorance (as I do), this just-released scientific study on Oregon’s wild horses (including those on the Oregon-CA border in KF) will be most informative. It is attached as a PDF, and is also available at this link.


WILD HORSE FIRE BRIDGADE Hooked on Oregon Radio Interview (click to listen) with Cam Parry and Bill Simpson