You have the opportunity to stop the privatization of desirable national forest land. Western Pacific Timber Inc. (owned by the infamous billionaire Tim Blixeth) purchased denuded, entirely clear-cut private industrial timberland bordering the Clearwater National Forest. They then announced their intention to trade for 17,854 acres (28 square miles) of pristine national forest land scattered in the Clearwater, Nez Perce and Idaho Panhandle national forests.
The Forest Service completed a draft EIS analyzing the exchange in 2010. About 92 percent of the people who commented opposed the trade. Then the Clearwater National Forest supervisor went to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo to explore introducing a bill (probably a rider) to legislate the exchange.
The Upper Lochsa Land Exchange is the national model to privatize desirable national forest land. It must be stopped.
A Senate fact-finding hearing is planned in Grangeville 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Grangeville Elementary School gym. You know this is a big deal, otherwise the two senators, Gov. Butch Otter, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Regional Forester Marten wouldn’t be there.
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Senators Crapo and Jim Risch will accept the oral testimony of 30 people. They are also accepting written testimony. Please tell them how you feel by sending a letter to their offices.
Details are available online by searching “lochsa not one acre.”
Dick Artley (USFS retired), Grangeville