Northeast Washington tribes focus on forest thinning

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The importance of thinning forests and maintaining active management of the forests is a fact that’s been established even on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., this summer mentioned a video from the Spokane Tribe with time-lapse video showing the efficiency of the tribe’s forest fuel reduction program in the face of a wildfire. Another Eastern … Read More

America’s last logging camp still has an impact

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The histories of the timber industry and Washington are intertwined, so much so that one can’t separate them. The timber industry was active here even before Washington became a state in 1889 and is still the state’s second largest manufacturing sector, supporting 106,000 jobs and $5.2 billion in wages. This deep history is what makes celebrations like the 75th anniversary … Read More

CLT passes the durability test

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Seattle Magazine has a long story on cross-laminated timber in its latest issue, laying out the next steps to make CLT more common in the construction of tall buildings in Washington. Here in Washington, there’s enough raw (CLT) material to immerse us all in that environment. But only a handful of projects in the state have used the material so … Read More

Port Blakely teaches kids about power of forests

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We write regularly about the importance of educating young people about forestry (like this post in May) because it ultimately means nothing less than the future of the industry. New generations must understand the the value of working forests, for the environment, for the economy and for rural communities. Port Blakely, the Seattle timber company, understood this fact decades ago … Read More

New website advocates for science-based solutions to wildfires

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A coalition of forestry companies and organizations (including the Washington Forest Protection Association) have launched a new website dedicated to solutions on how to reduce our country’s number of catrastrophic wildfires and make our forests healthier. HealthyForestFacts.org includes four principles for a healthy forest: 1. Fuel reduction promotes healthy, fire-resilient forests. 2. Attacking fires with early suppression pays off. 3. … Read More

Wildfires are part of complex web of federal, local policy

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Wildfires are complicated, and it’s not just a matter of the fires breaking out and firefighters rushing in to put out the flames. Wildfire as a public policy issue is about much more than just the fire – were there fire prevention measures completed beforehand like thinning, to make the forests healthier and less suspectible to fire? Why or why … Read More

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