Obama’s wildfire funding plan stirs debate and party tension

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A proposal by President Obama to change the way wildfire fighting is funded has received bipartisan support in Congress from Western lawmakers, support from many Western governors and support from many editorial boards. According to the Twin Falls (Idaho) News-Times, Obama’s plan would “treat and fund the increasing number of catastrophic fires around the country as natural disasters, ultimately freeing … Read More

Pacific Northwest sawmills get some uplifting news

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Sawmills are an integral part of their local communities. In many cases, employees have worked there for decades, with different generations of the same families taking jobs at the local mill. The mills are also an important driver of the critical manufacturing sector in the Pacific Northwest, even while high-tech companies often get the headlines. Which is why it’s so … Read More

Forest homeowners are first line of defense for wildfires

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The increase in wildfires — and the cost of fighting them — in the U.S. is well documented. What hurts the most is federal leaders (and many states) aren’t devoting enough money to forest restoration to make the forests healthier and more resistant to large fires. What’s sometimes lost in the shuffle is the role of homeowners who have decided … Read More

Reaction to Oso landslide: “When the mountain fell, the people rose up.”

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Since the Oso landslide in March, the Everett Herald has covered the story with expertise, sensitivity and a compassion that can come only from a paper with connections to the local community. The paper did well again today with a special slate of stories on the disaster, including recollections from first responders, a list of people and groups that pitched … Read More

Effort to kill barred owls gets into full swing in the West

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It’s been nearly a year now since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave final approval to a four-year project to kill barred owls in an attempt to help the endangered spotted owl. The project, which officially started last fall, will remove 3,600 barred owls from four sites in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. That includes 630 owls removed from … Read More

Community leaders celebrate the life and legacy of Billy Frank Jr.

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There were so many people at Billy Frank Jr.’s memorial service this week that some of the crowd of 6,000 people had to sit in an adjacent ballroom or in outdoor tents and watch the service on big-screen TVs. A long list of dignitaries across the political spectrum spoke in his honor. Just like the turnout for his memorial, Billy … Read More

Billy Frank Jr. worked for cooperation and environmental protection

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Billy Frank Jr.’s public life may have started with the “Fish Wars” of the 1960s and ’70s, when he and other Native Americans asserted their fish treaty rights on rivers around Puget Sound. But Frank soon became much more than that: one of the country’s most prominent civil rights leaders, a state and national environmental advocate and the head of … Read More

Rolling Stones keyboardist embodies the importance of working forests

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Many advocates of working forests may not know that they have a friend in the Rolling Stones. It’s not as if one of the biggest bands in the world is a place most foresters would look to for an ally, but they probably haven’t met Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. Leavell, also famous for playing with the Allman Brothers, and his … Read More

President Obama praises spirit of the Oso community

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When President Obama visited the site of the Oso landslide this week, he saw the American spirit at its best. About 900 people, many of them local volunteers, have helped in the search and recovery effort since the March 22 slide. Obama gave his public remarks in the Oso firehouse, standing under a banner that read “Oso Strong,” next to … Read More

The rise of wood building helps sustainable forestry

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One of the best things about all the recognition that wood building has received in recent months is that decision-makers are beginning to realize the value of sustainable forestry. Yale University and University of Washington just released a study showing that “using more wood and less steel and concrete in building and bridge construction would substantially reduce global carbon dioxide … Read More