Bridger-Teton National Forest quickly moves to use stimulus money for anti-conservation logging

Traditional logging dwindled on the Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee and Shoshone National Forests because it brought in only pennies on the dollar spent. Stimulus may be used to renew logging at a loss-

The stimulus bill has money for forests, parks, wildlife that can be used in a beneficial or negative way. It appears the supervisors for 3 national forests in the Greater Yellowstone country are quickly moving to use the stimulus money directed to wildfire reduction and forest health to restore traditional logging by means of “salvage” of dead timber. They have asked timber interests for projects. Why haven’t they asked wildlife and conservation groups?

As George Wuerthner points out, stands of dead timber are not particularly flammable. In addition, building new roads into these areas spreads noxious weeds and degrades wildlife habitat. If they wanted to create a lot of jobs, they would hire people to pull the noxious weeds. Because most of the timber mills in the area went out of business long ago, it will be long time before stimulus money will result in new timber mills and trained loggers. Logging is capital intensive nowadays and creates few jobs per dollar spent.

A word to these forest supervisors, use the money to truly improve forest health — eliminate weeds, rehabilitate erosion sources on the national forests, recut overgrown trails, reduce livestock grazing impacts, clean trash out of the forests, improve human degraded stream conditions, repair damaged roads you plan to keep open, close and obliterate vehicle tracks that are degrading the forest.  This is the way to create jobs in a hurry and improve rather than harm the environment.

What is taking place here is a warning to those who love the national forests and want jobs to get involved quickly so that the money does not go to old fashioned projects that create few jobs and actually degrade the forests. Contact your local national forest now!

Remember that forests are more than just the trees.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Bridger-Teton asks loggers for wishes. Letter links logging industry, local mills with health of national forests. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo.



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  1. Wolfy Avatar

    Unfortunately, the Forest Service is about to dump millions of dollars into traditional projects including timber harvest. The stimulus should be seen as a way for the Forest Service to bring itself into the 21st century; instead, its going forward on a “business as usual” course. There’s an unofficial motto amongst the old guard of the Forest Service when it comes to new courses of action: “We’re all for it as long as we can still cut trees.” Obama would be doing a great service to the Forest Service, the public, and our natural resources by getting rid of the upper echelon that were placed under the Bush administration; starting with the Chief of the Forest Service, Gail Kimbell.

  2. mikarooni Avatar

    The GOP has had eight years to embed its stubbornly nefarious minions into every corner of the Civil Service. In the agencies that I work with, there hasn’t been a Democrat promoted since January of 2001. These pukes are going to keep doing everything possible to continue the Bush/Cheney rampage until they are physically shown the door. Believe me; they are doing just that in every agency. No change until they are dug out. It won’t do for Obama to just change out the “upper echelons;” he’s going to have to dig them out of every level like digging ticks out of a dog. This gentle bi-partisan stuff is just giving them more time to do more damage.

  3. Elkchaser Avatar

    Not all logging is bad folks. If you don’t have fire or logging, the forests become stale which is bad for wildlife. Wildlife thrives in a diverse ecosystem which controlled burns (or wildfires) and loggin provide.

  4. mikarooni Avatar

    Like I said, …stubbornly nefarious minions.

  5. Wolfy Avatar

    Not that traditional practices are all bad; the Forest Service has had a habit of calling old things something new, though. And the public and the employees are gun-shy of new FS initiatives; for good reason. Sustained Yield, Biodiversity, Multiple Use, Restoration, Biofuels – all buzz words for new initiatives that end up looking very similar to “business as usual”. The FS, like many govt agencies needs to moderize its practices and attitudes towards the public and our natural resources. Yes, ferreting out the Bush legacy cronies will take some time, but it needs to be done. We don’t have any precious time to waste on old use and abuse practices.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Give money to Western Watersheds Project so they can sue. There are all kinds of public spirited, but suppressed agency folks who know where the bodies are buried!

  7. Salle Avatar

    I believe I heard the new president say that he encourages the “whistle-blowers” to come out and be heard recently. I hope they do and that appropriate action ensues thereafter.

  8. JimT Avatar

    So, let me understand this., Elkchaser…..unless humans manage the forests that we have already screwed up royally with our management approaches, the forests are less healthy? Why is it that we have so many monoculture problems in forests that have been heavily cut and then re-planted? Why is Colorado about to lose tens of millions of acres of monoculture trees to beetle kill? The MUSY ethic is and always has been a myth for the Forest Service. Job ONE has always been to “get the cut out”…

    NATURE embraces diversity; it is the human species who manipulates the natural order for its own benefit at the expense of the resource. I wonder who it was that “managed” the amazing rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, or the southern and north eastern forests when this continent was first settled? Manitou maybe? ~S~

  9. DB Avatar


    OK, about diversity and humans manipulate the environment etc. but elkchaser only said all logging is not bad. The FS has been manipulating and screwing things up for decades by GOTC logging and fire suppression. No argument. But there is a case to be made for timber harvest that thins dense stands in dry types that historically burned frequently at low intensities. We could be doing more of this especially in the “wildland/urban interface that costs so much to supress the too common conflagrations that threaten development close to public lands. Such logging would not require new roads, could reduce insect and disease mortality, prevent future stand-replacing fires, save a few resources from going up in smoke, and make a little work in depressed rural communities. Check out some of this type of logging around Missoula on the Lolo or even in Ponderosa State Park, McCall.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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