It is unfortunate Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League is so dismissive of efforts to strengthen local forest collaboration on federally owned lands. To correct a few of his statements, Rep. Raul Labrador is not trying to “pull” federal lands away from the American public. His proposal simply gives Idahoans an opportunity to manage limited portions of local federal forests. It’s similar to an effort among county commissioners to demonstrate how the national forests could be better managed by those who are closest to the landscape. The goal is to protect our communities by actively managing suitable timber lands, while protecting wilderness and wild and scenic river corridors.
Idahoans are frustrated with the federal government’s inability to manage its forests. There is increasing recognition that Idahoans have the expertise, technology and manpower to sustainably manage forests for multiple benefits. Despite our differing viewpoints, Rick and I share a commitment to protecting our forests for future generations. But doing nothing to improve federal forest management, and continuing to minimize the role of local collaboration, will only strengthen the case that Idaho can do a better job managing its lands than our distant landlords in Washington, D.C.
Gordon Cruickshank, Valley County Commissioner