Baseball bats could help lead to federal timber reform

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Several U.S. senators from the Northwest say they are optimistic that legislation to end the practice of “fire borrowing” could finally be approved in Congress. The bill would end the U.S. Forest Service’s practice of raiding other parts of its budget, including money set aside for wildfire prevention, to meet the rising cost of fighting wildfires each summer. The reason … Read More

Washington needs CLT facilities

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There is enormous promise in cross-laminated timber (CLT) for the Northwest timber industry. It seems like every week there is news of talll wood buildings being planned around the country, proposed legislation is in Congress to increase the use of CLT and more states are finding ways to build with cross-laminated timber. One of the challenges, however, is that there … Read More

Active management is key to forest health

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Active forest management isn’t just about providing much-needed jobs to rural communities – it’s about keeping forests healthy. This is particularly relevant as Washington’s forests continue to be overcrowded and fire- and insect-prone because of a lack of management that has lasted too many years. Two recent opinion pieces, in the Seattle news site Crosscut and in the Eugene Register-Guard, … Read More

Friends, family recall Billy Frank Jr.’s legacy

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The late environmental, tribal and civil rights leader Billy Frank Jr. has received many honors in the two years since he passed away. But for a man so great, there can never be enough honors. In December 2015, Congress voted to name the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, near Olympia, for Frank. The wildlife preserve, so close to where Frank grew … Read More

Landowners thin out forests to make them healthier

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As wildfires continue to burn this summer, it’s all the more critical to recognize the importance of forest fuel reduction and more active management of our forests. Even a U.S. senator, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., recently highlighted a video from the Spokane Tribe on the tribe’s successful fuel reduction efforts. The Nature Conservancy just held an open house on its … Read More

Federal leaders show passion for timber reform

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Momentum continues to grow for federal timber reform, as evidenced by multiple exchanges during a hearing last month in the U.S. Senate. We’ve written before about the June 23 hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but it’s worth revisiting because it’s so indicative of the consensus that is starting to build to end the practice of “fire … Read More

How should federal timber reform look?

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As wildfires rage in California, Arizona and Montana, Wenatchee World columnist Tracy Warner is wondering when the inevitable shoe will drop in Washington. You might have noticed from the headlines we are entering our region’s wildfire-a-day phase, or very close to it. Early in the season, it’s clumsy accidents in the dry brush. Later we move up to stupid fireworks … Read More

Restoring forest health in Washington

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Lens, a new political and business news site in Washington, recently took a multi-tiered look at the state’s poor forest health, the various reasons why federal forests here aren’t actively managed and how more management would help. The feds, for one, need to take a more active role, especially as Washington’s federal forests increasingly become a tinderbox for wildfires, according … Read More

Clark County tree farmers win Washington Tree Farmer of the Year

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Randy and Linda Lawffer, whose family has owned its tree farm in Clark County for more than a century, have received the 2016 Washington Tree Farmer of the Year award from the Washington Tree Farm Program. The award was announced today at the Washington Farm Forestry Association annual meeting in Olympia. The 250-acre Lawffer Tree Farm, in northeast Clark County, … Read More

Federal and state wildfire reform is still alive

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There is renewed promise for federal legislation that would end the practice of “fire borrowing,” and editorial boards are calling for wildfire reform in Washington State as well. We wrote a few months ago about the last-minute death of a U.S. bill that would have ended the Forest Service’s practice of raiding other parts of its budget to pay for … Read More