Wildfires bring focus back on importance of thinning

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and federal forest management policy. The issue is hitting especially close to home this year, with the Taylor Bridge Fire (which was 100 percent contained only this week) burning 23,500 acres and destroying 60 homes an hour east of Seattle. Even federal officials are surveying the scene and saying that more active management is necessary to protect forests from wildfires. … Read More

Seattle Times: Taylor Bridge Fire shows need for more active forest management

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Resources has been trying to make that happen. In January, Peter Goldmark, state commissioner of public lands, formed an advisory committee on forest health. After its report was released in July, Goldmark proposed issuing a hazard warning for parts of Washington, including Kittitas County where the Taylor Bridge fire is burning… …The advisory committee’s report noted that in the past, … Read More

Wall Street Journal: West Coast logging makes a comeback

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Fueled by demand from China, the West Coast timber industry is on the rise, according to today’s Wall Street Journal. The story highlights the upswing in timber towns in California but notes that the same trend is happening in Washington and Oregon. Arnold, a town of close to 4,000 people, high in the Sierra Nevadas about 150 miles east of … Read More

Wash. DNR looking for forest owners for conservation program

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For forest owners in Washington State, the state Department of Natural Resources is looking for owners interested in the Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program. The program “buys conservation easements. Two types of habitat can qualify for easements: trees within a channel migration zone and trees within critical habitat for state-listed threatened and endangered species (like northern spotted owls and … Read More

Logging roads bill needs push over the top

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to take the Ninth Circuit logging roads case was great news, but it wasn’t the whole story. Even if the Supreme Court knocks down the Ninth Circuit ruling, the high court’s decision won’t come until sometime next year. In the meantime, a temporary stay on the Ninth Circuit ruling, approved by Congress last … Read More

New study shows forest thinning helps the spotted owl

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The spotted owl has caused untold economic suffering over the last 20 years, as the Northwest timber harvest was cut down to a fraction of its former self and rural communities across Washington, Oregon and California lost jobs and livelihoods. Now a new study by Oregon State University and Michigan State University is saying well, never mind all that. According … Read More

Timber counties struggle for sustainable solutions

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Timber counties in the West got some good news earlier this month when Northwest legislators announced they had secured a one-year extension of timber payments. But it was a Pyrrhic victory. The money barely made a dent in the counties’ financial problems and it did nothing to answer the larger question: how do rural counties historically dependent on timber payments … Read More

Impact of forest fires felt across the West

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Forest fire season is upon us in Washington State. Experts say the season will probably start off mild because of a wet June but rest assured, the fires will happen, especially in Eastern Washington, which is experiencing hot and dry weather. Also adding to the urgency: State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark recently said that several Eastern Washington counties should be … Read More

Rural counties need a long-term solution on timber payments

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Congress just approved a one-year extension of timber payments to rural counties, but you’ll have to excuse local residents for not cheering. The timber payments ran out back in September, so in the Northwest, the massive budget cuts have already happened and a one-year extension won’t help matters much. In Lane County, Ore., the sheriff has already had to watch … Read More

Supreme Court will take logging roads case, but questions remain

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For advocates of working forests, the big news out of the Supreme Court this week wasn’t its ruling on health care reform – it was the court’s decision to take the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals logging roads case. For months, the timber industry has been asking the high court to take the case, in which the Ninth Circuit ruled … Read More