7 Feb 2008, 3:45pm
Saving Forests
by admin

Never Give an Inch

by Bear Bait

Perchance, Mike, some in the Piss Fir Willies outfit have read and understood the Franklin/Johnson turnabout, and now have no underpinnings on which to stand. If you think the poor Mama Polar Bear and her cubs in that tiny ice floe weren’t looking for a 4 stroke Honda and a fast way outta there, you have to know the vestigial USFS True Believers are. There is no topo map or compass that might guide them out of their hell hole of agency fouling now. If the USFS is looking for a sponsor like a slow NASCAR driver, I would suggest Old Tanglefoot, the finest name in flypaper. The Old Hooktender would have described Ms Kimble as “She don’t knowed if she’s been punched or bored.” The rats would have abandoned the ship, but nobody has the correct forms , and besides, they haven’t held hands enough this month to be able to make a conflict free decision.

You may never know your impact, Mike, but you can be sure you have exposed some sensitive nerves. The USFS has lost its institutional memory, which would be criminal except we can’t forget it is a bureaucracy. They honest to God no longer know how to get there from here. Lost in a wilderness of their own making. Lots and lots of earnest, dedicated, wanting to do the right thing people, all without the Big Picture leadership that was built into the agency until that Rat Bastard Bill Clinton canned Dale Robertson and replaced him with JW Thomas, an experienced biologist running, at that time, a meaningful experimental forest. But not a candidate for Pimp of the President’s Forests. But that is what he became, and he knew and bailed when he could. So then they got Babbitt’s toady, Dombeck. Big whoop. And it has been political appointees since then. The agency is not providing its leadership on merit and vision and experience. It is grooming political appointees to carry out the wishes of whatever flavor of political whim is this month’s fad. They have walked the NGO streets and don’t have any tricks left to turn except let it all burn. What a sad, sad state of affairs. I have little faith any change in political leadership will change the now highly green charged zombies of the USFS. Unbuilt and not fit to rebuild.

But, I once knew a pretty good street fighting scrapper, and he was always a target for some punk looking to build a reputation. I was with him when such a thing happened, and my guy just knocked the snot out of the punk, and then beat him some more. Scared, I grabbed his arm, missed a shot aimed at me, and asked why he was beating a beaten man. “I don’t want him to ever, ever come at me again.” I sort of think that is OK to do to the USFS and the Regents of Fire. If you get them down, keep on kicking them until they can’t get up, in a metaphorical way. Don’t ever stop hammering them, Mike. Don’t give them a chance to breathe, come up for air. If you do, they will bite you as soon as they can, as sure as the sun will shine tomorrow somewhere. Give no quarter. Pile on. Run the conveyor belt two notches faster. And never, ever, doubt that you are right. Many, many people know you are right, believe in the history of forests formed by the hand of aboriginal man, understand that to keep some things, you have to rid yourself of others. No way to have 100 year old understory trees crowding old growth, heritage trees, the cumulative survivors of multiple low level fire events, without the distinct and very real threat that the next fire will kill every tree as we have seen so many times in the last two decades. I can take the most inexperienced person in the oldest of Oregon forests and in an hour, have them be able to see and designate the trees that need to be removed in order to protect the stand as a whole. No 8? diameter maximums, or minimums. No species specific marking. That tree belongs and those trees do not. That copse over there can stay, and those trees there need to go.

I truly believe that man evolved on the savanna, and is most comfortable with a view of prairie with well spaced trees and groves, with his living quarters backed up against something, with water close at hand. It is innate. Large trees and large rock structures are comfortable for humans. So you go look at a 200 year old college campus, or village, and you see that layout in man made structures and amenities. What is a golf course, for heaven’s sake, but the perfect savanna on the edge of the forest. Totally man made, and so was the ancient forest. A guy with a fire brand cleared those lands many, many times to provide the ground level plants and animal killing opportunities that provided for his health, welfare and well being. We call them ancient forests, or old growth or heritage forests. It is who were are and it is our creation and not that of any other animal or force of nature. As civilized as we think we are, we are still building the open forest and the savanna because that is our idea of beauty and usefulness. Nobody wants a tangle of peckerpoles but Weyerhaeuser and their bean counters trying to interupt the capitalization schedule at the earliest time for the greatest gain. The apex of mean annual increment is too long for them. And the USFS is not about them or their economic interests other than Weyco would like the USFS never to produce one log in competition with their tree growing efforts. Saving the heritage forests is too important a work to trust it to the likes of the USFS or any other public agency with a commitment to first manage for the welfare of its employees, and then the resource if there is time or money. Never give an inch… now, ain’t that a Kesey line we all remember? — bear bait



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