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Bird & Bunny Lovers, Tree Huggers, and Rock Lickers (Oh, My) June 30, 2017

Posted by skinbad in Nature Shit.

This is a little long. If you don’t want to read–watch the video in the post.

Retired Geezer sent me a link to a somewhat “viral” video related to a forest fire a few hours south of me. I had read about it but hadn’t watched it. I’ll link it below, but first a little background. I’m not a bug or forest expert, but here goes: Many forests in the west have been hit very hard by a bark beetle that kills evergreen trees. In my area, it’s mostly big spruce trees. We usually cut two to four cords of wood each fall to keep my wife toasty in our basement where she has her sewing gear set up. There are thousands of dead trees up our canyon and along the mountain range near our home. In some areas there’s more gray than green on the mountain. For $20, you can buy permits to cut four cords–that’s the minimum purchase. There are a lot of rules (I’m sure you’re surprised). You can’t cut more than 100′ from the road; you can’t cut within 100′ of any stream; you can’t use any mechanical help to “skid” logs closer to the road and your truck or trailer, etc.  Of course this doesn’t even get into the idea of timber sales for commercial operations.

As I said, there are thousands of dead trees up there, and, true, some is on very steep slopes, but there’s still a huge amount of dead, standing timber. And it gets harder each year to find wood that you can harvest and stay within the rules. The easy stuff is long gone. A lot of us, of a more conservative mind-set, think the forest service should let us get some of that wood out before there is a huge wildfire. There was a very large one just over the mountain from us a couple of years ago. The one in the video is current and about 50,000 acres and going strong.

The “star” of the video is Mike Noel. He’s a very conservative state representative. I think it’s safe to say he despises environmentalists and they despise him back. Let’s roll the tape:

What he’s saying has “lit a fire” under a lot of people. I think it’s common sense. If the forest has been thinned of dead trees, fire danger will be reduced. Responses from the other side argue that old, dead trees aren’t a big issue because their needles drop and fires will race through and not light the big trees up. Environmentalists also have noted that they have not been opposing timber sales like they did back in the 70s (and as referred to in the video). They’ve moved on to trying to get more areas designated as wilderness so they are protected from development. They don’t like the straw-man Noel beats up on who supposedly said they would rather see the forest burn than see one stump. They also, fairly, I think, note that the policy of trying to put out every fire that the forest service had for 50+ years wasn’t smart. Fire is part of a natural cycle. So combine that policy (which allowed forests to really become dense) with lots of dead trees and you have the potential for bad fires.

In my humble opinion, the forest service could put in some temporary roads and let individuals and companies get a lot of the dead wood out and then close them. I’ve seen lots of areas up our canyon where the dead trees have been removed (close to the road) and within a short time you see new growth. I saw one area where people used chains and trucks (illegally–I wasn’t part of it) to skid the dead trees out. By the next year, you couldn’t tell anything had happened. It was a beautiful meadow–the forest recovers quickly.


1. Retired Geezer - June 30, 2017

Thanks for the insightful personal pov, Skinbad.

My farrier earns a good part of his income by logging trees. He drives his truck and trailer up steep grades to reach mountains 4 hours away. It’s hard work and I don’t see how he makes a profit.
He has told me that we have similar restrictions in Idaho.

On our recent vacation, we saw lots of dead pine/spruce trees in the 6 states we traveled through.

I asked Skinbad to post the video because I haven’t yet figured out how to regain my Editor status after re-installing Firefox.

I also sent that video FYI to Legal Insurrection and they posted it with additional commentary.


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