6 Nov 2008, 10:33am
Politics and politicians Saving Forests
by admin

Nothing Better To Do

What does the election of B. Hussein Obama mean to our national forests?

Absolutely nothing. B. Hussein has no forest policy, has zero experience in natural resources, knows nothing about forests, and has never even seen a forest. The topic did not come up in the campaign.

The people who voted for B. Hussein did so because of his skin color, not because of his forest policy. For the first time in American history, a president was selected on the basis of his race and race alone. B. Hussein is our “token” president.

Natural resource issues were not a factor because John McCain had no discernible natural resource policy either. The word “forests” was not mentioned one time in his campaign. The only glimmer of a resource issue was global warming, and both candidates shared the far out viewpoint that the US should unilaterally shut down two-thirds of our economy in the name of a total hoax.

Hold on to something steady, sports fans. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL WARMING. The globe is cooling and has been cooling for about 9,000 years. Yes, there are minor peaks and valleys. Most recently (for the last 10 years) global temps have fallen to their lowest point in 35 years, effectively wiping out any (minor) temperature increase seen over the 20th Century. The outlook is cold and getting colder.

B. Hussein wants to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant, when in fact it is the KEY NUTRIENT OF LIFE. Last time anyone looked we were carbon-based lifeforms here on Planet Earth. Your bodily carbon, which is to say all of your cells and your basic corporeal existence, derives from carbon dioxide, without which you would not be.

B. Hussein wants to declare war on life, in other words. His opponent, Republican-In-Name-Only John McCain shared the exact same view, so voters had no choice whatsoever, which is why they selected on the basis of skin color, since there were no other substantive differences between the candidates.

Even in Oregon the massive forest crisis we face was not an issue in any campaign, local or statewide. The populace is inured to seeing their watersheds destroyed in catastrophic holocausts. We have come to expect that. No one questions whether forests policies should be any different from No Touch, Let It Burn, Watch It Rot. Our one RINO senator wouldn’t touch forest issues with a ten-foot peavy and neither did the radical Leftist who replaced him.

Oregon’s RINO party has abandoned the state just as they have abandoned our forests. The closest thing to a Republican in Oregon is in Alaska. And Oregon’s Far Left Democommie party is pro-forest holocaust. They “rendezvous” in the ashes whenever the big burns happen. When old-growth forests were incinerated last summer in Oregon in various megafires, the Dems celebrated. Their dream is to declare every square inch of Oregon a free fire zone and burn the whole state to smithereens.

But there is nothing new in all of that. It is the same old, same old. Our state and national forest policy has been Burn Baby Burn for 20 years, and nothing has changed in that regard. In an election touted as the Big Change, when it comes to forest policy, it wasn’t. There has been no change at all and none is expected.

Which is why we must buckle down and teach the new bozos what we tried (and failed) to teach the old bozos, that forest stewardship is preferable to forest holocaust and destruction. It seems like a simple, logical, pragmatic thing, and it is, but we are dealing with some serious bozos once again.

So get out the tow ropes and prepare to drag a new bunch of clueless imbeciles up the learning curve, kicking and screaming all the way (on the part of the imbeciles).

Can it be done? Can you teach the clueless? Can we save our forests from destruction?

Maybe, maybe not. But we’re going to try. Got nothing better to do.

4 Nov 2008, 6:36pm
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

2008 Cal Winegrape Crop Tainted With Wildfire Smoke

A number of sources are reporting that the smoke from this summer’s wildfires in California may have tainted the 2008 winegrape crop. Megafires from Santa Barbara to the Oregon border poured smoke into the prime Cal winegrape growing regions for three solid months, with probable deleterious effect to this year’s wine vintage.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported in September [here] that

Three months after smoke from wildfires carpeted California’s vineyards, some winemakers in the thick of harvest are reporting grapes giving off unusual odors that may be signs of smoke taint.

While it’s too early to generalize about the scope of the potential problem, some troubling reports are filtering in from Mendocino County, which earlier this summer endured some of the fiercest wildfires and worst air quality in memory.

“Winemakers are saying that they think stuff is smelling funny to them, and they want to know what’s going on,” said Glenn McGourty, viticulture adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Mendocino.

Mendocino County and adjacent Napa and Sonoma Counties were inundated by smoke from the Walker, Mendocino Lightning Complex, and Soda Complex fires, to name a few. Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties endured smoke for months from the Indians, Basin, Gap, and Chalk fires. Northern California counties were choked by smoke from over a thousand square miles of fires that burned for over three months. The San Joaquin Valley suffered smoke-related air pollution from dozens of fires including the Clover, Hidden, Tehepite, and Telegraph Fires.

Over 2,000 fires burned well over a million acres in California this summer. Most of those were ignited by a dry lightning storm that swept the state June 21st. Although most of the fires were extinguished with a week or two, many were allowed to burn all summer long. USFS fire management policies of whoofoo (Wildland Fire Use) and hammer (Appropriate Management Response) led to extended burns that were still smoking in October.

Whoofoos are supposed to “benefit” resources, although the specific resources and the specific benefits are never mentioned in whoofoo reports. In any case, California’s wine industry did not benefit from summer-long smoke.

The Cal wine industry is a $100 billion per year affair. From the Business Network [here]:

California wine industry has $51.8 billion impact on state economy, Wines and Vines, Jan, 2007

The California wine industry has an annual impact of $51.8 billion on the state’s economy and an economic impact of $103 billion on the U.S. economy, according to a report released on Dec. 7 by Wine Institute (WI) and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). The two organizations commissioned MKF Research, LLC to prepare the study, which was based on 2005 figures.

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3 Nov 2008, 1:47pm
Private land policies
by admin
1 comment

Higher timber taxes not the answer

By Bob Zybach, Guest Viewpoint, Eugene Register Guard, Nov. 3, 2008 [here]

I am in full agreement with Bill Barton of the Native Forest Council’s characterization of the recent award of $740 million over the next four years to Oregon’s timber counties as “federal welfare” (guest viewpoint, Oct. 21). Very little of that money will be used to create much-needed tax-producing jobs, and none of it would be necessary at all, if only our federal lands were better managed.

I disagree with virtually everything else Barton states, however, and the manner with which he states it.

Barton’s basic argument is that, because the federal dollars equal about $10 per year for each of the 18 million acres of federal forestlands in Oregon, and because private forestlands pay about $1.25 per year tax on each of their 11 million acres, private lands should start paying more taxes and stop exporting timber. That, he says, will help finance schools and roads and allow federal lands to “recover.”

First, the “federal welfare” Barton decries will last only four years, and private property taxes are forever. Second, federal lands pay no taxes at all. But third, and most importantly, federal lands have been all but closed to active management for nearly 20 years, are being incinerated in “let-it-burn” wildfires and left to rot without salvage — and all without producing any meaningful income for our schools and roads. Another way to look at these figures, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest Forest Experiment Station, is that Oregon’s forest industries support 190,000 direct and indirect jobs with a total of $22 billion in annual economic output — about 11 percent of the total output for all of Oregon. Nearly 85 percent of that amount comes from the 11 million acres of private lands, and only about 15 percent comes from the 18 million acres of federal forestlands.

That is, the majority of Oregon’s forestland — those lands managed by the federal government — produces about 27,000 jobs and $3.3 billion in economic output, while only one-third of the land — privately owned and annually taxed — accounts for more than 160,000 tax-producing jobs and more than $18 billion in output. That’s a lot of unfunded schools and roads in timbered counties, and it renders Barton’s $10 vs. $1.25 per acre tax argument nearly meaningless.

Also debatable is Barton’s claim that “there is no sound environmental reason to log.” There are, of course, many sound environmental reasons to log, including homes for shelter, furniture, heat, paper and packaging in our cities; and beauty, sunlight, recreation, robust wildlife populations and reduced wildfire risks in our forests.

Barton touts the values of “standing” forests as producing clean air and water, topsoil and “biodiversity.” These are exactly the same values realized by a managed forest. And what happens when the standing trees are blown over in a windstorm, as often happens, or killed by bugs or fire?

Barton claims that our “precious” lands could be allowed to “recover” and that these lands “would provide carbon sequestration, flood control, clean air, clean water, and a plethora of wildland experiences to a community that treasures them.” Again, these are exactly the same values already realized from our “pre-recovered” forests. What is Barton missing?

Why the seemingly urgent need to stop managing forest lands, and why is that called “recovery”? Do lawns recover after they are mowed, or orchards after they are picked? Or do they just keep growing and producing, so long as they are properly tended?

Finally, there is the inflammatory rhetoric with which Barton expresses his delusional charges. One example is, “the logging industry … has trashed our drinking water, wiped out our fish runs and pushed several species to the brink of extinction.”

Of course, logging has done no such thing, as must be obvious to any Oregonian who enjoys fishing or drinking water — or knows anything factual about the state’s wildlife history.

Another example of Barton’s rhetoric: “the publicly funded death of our forests” sponsored by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio, who are “firmly in the pocket of dishonest corporate interests.”

Why would “dishonest corporations” want to finance the “death” of Oregon’s forests (whatever that means), if that were even possible? Who would vote for such untrustworthy political representatives in the first place? What is Barton really trying to say here about Oregon politicians, voters and businesses? And where is he getting his information?

Barton’s use of such bluster and invective serves only to discredit him and his organization. His uses of hyperbole, dubious statistics and baseless charges likewise undermine his credibility as a critic.

In summary, Barton’s words do not make good sense and should not be taken seriously. Oregon needs more jobs, not more taxes; better forest management, not less.

Bob Zybach of Eugene is a forest scientist with a doctorate from Oregon State University in the study of catastrophic wildfires. The former owner of a reforestation business, Zybach has been program manager for Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project Inc. (www.ORWW.org) since 1996.

New Regional Forester On Meet-and-Greet Tour

Recently named Region 6 U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Mary Wagner [here] was joined by U.S. Congressman Greg Walden at a community meeting in Enterprise, Oregon, last month. The two heard serious complaints about USFS management. From the Wallowa County Chieftain [here]:

FS looks to new tools for new times

Tour conducted by Congressman Walden introduces brand-new regional forester to ‘passionate’ testimony in Elgin, exemplary problem-solvers in Enterprise

By Kathleen Ellyn and Samantha Bates, Wallowa County Chieftain & East Oregonian, 10/30/2008

Brand-new Region 6 U.S. Forest Service Supervisor Mary Wagner wanted to assure rural counties that she was as eager to see management policy changes in the Forest Service as they were.

“We need new tools for new times,” she admitted to a group of more than 30 citizens, timber industry leaders, representatives from environmental, tribal and community organizations and county officials Oct. 22 in Enterprise.

“Today there is a call to experiment with different things because doing what we’re doing is not getting us to the goal we want,” she said. “We have an obligation to look at things a different way.”

She was preaching to the choir.

By the time she rolled into Enterprise in the company of county payments champion U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), who was continuing his 16-county, 63-meeting tour, she had heard loud and clear from every community in her region that what the Forest Service needed was a complete overhaul of its business model.

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Guerrilla Forest Planning

In secrecy, in the dead of night, beyond the view of the public, the US Forest Service has altered Forest Plans across the nation.

Over 30 National Forests today have adopted Let It Burn into their Forest Plans, with no public notice, no public hearings, no peep to the Media, no announcements in the Federal Register, no word to the wise at all.

Like Viet Cong guerrillas, USFS officials have donned black pajamas and ski masks to creep with stealth into the document vaults, and they have pasted whoofoo (WFU, Wildland Fire Use) between the lines in Fire Plans from Washington to New Mexico, from Montana to California.

The Fire Plans are part and parcel of the Forest Plans. Such Plans are required by law (NEPA) to be presented to the public for open and transparent evaluation prior to adoption or alteration. The USFS leadership knows that, but their jiggering of Fire Plans and injecting Let It Burn was so offensive and improper that they knew the public would reject it. So they did it in secrecy.

Like the eco-terrorists who have burned Ranger Stations and schools, USFS leaders perpetrated the Burn Baby Burn Plans under the cover of darkness.

And now, when the terrorist planning is coming to light, the USFS is claiming that the Plans are inviolate and must be obeyed. They are the law, even though they were created illegally.

And now millions of acres of our forests have been in incinerated in whoofoo Let It Burn fires perpetrated by the selfsame guerrilla agents who doctored the Fire Plans.

There was no public announcement, no NEPA process, when the Sawtooth NF scribbled whoofoo provisions into their Fire Plans. This summer the Sawtooth NF burned 38,500 acres in the South Barker WFU Fire [here], in accordance with their altered Fire Plan. When questioned about the lack of NEPA compliance, the excuse given was “we didn’t have time for that.”

The NEPA process would have revealed that Let It Burn wildfires in the middle of summer damage vegetation, wildlife, watersheds, airsheds, public health and safety, recreation, roads and infrastructure, and cost $millions (in the case of the South Barker WFU Fire, $7,041,364 in “suppression” costs alone, but inflicting 10 to 20 times that much in resource losses).

Nobody bothered to inform the public when the Ochoco NF adopted whoofoo. But altered Fire Plan verbiage was the excuse given to the public when the Ochoco NF burned the Mitchell Watershed in the Bridge Creek WFU Fire [here] this summer. That fire jumped the property line and burned 2,000 acres of private land, too. When the private landowners complained, the USFS spokesperson sneered at them and told them to “file a claim.” Yet no public filing was done when the Ochoco NF wrote secret whoofoo language into their Fire Plan.

Mum was the word at the Sequoia NF when they adopted WFU. But it was tough to hide the Clover WFU Fire (15,300 acres, $8,315,000) [here].

Dead-of-night secrecy was the strategy at the Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, Gila NF, Bitterroot NF, Caribou-Targhee NF, Boise NF, Wallowa-Whitman NF, and dozens of others.

The latest rumor is that 30 National Forests have altered their Fire Plans to include whoofoo. The number of public hearings in that regard? Zero. The cost? $2 billion in direct costs this year alone and perhaps $50 billion in resource damages.

Government functionaries sneaking around altering documents in the dead of night, alterations that “legally” allow them to incinerate vast tracts of public forest, is not the way “open government” is supposed to work. It is more akin to totalitarian-style government.

It is time to root the guerrilla terrorist public employees out their spider holes. We need an office by office search to round up the midnight document forgers. It is time to shine the bright light of public scrutiny on the agents of darkness and to unmask the secret scribblings of the Let It Burn subversives.

30 Oct 2008, 11:33pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
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Global Cooling Is Here!

A new addition to the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Paleobotany and Paleoclimatology [here] is Global Cooling Is Here! Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling For the Next Three Decades by Don J. Easterbrook of Dept. of Geology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.

An excerpt:

Despite no global warming in 10 years and recording setting cold in 2007-2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) and computer modelers who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming still predict the Earth is in store for catastrophic warming in this century. IPCC computer models have predicted global warming of 1° F per decade and 5-6° C (10-11° F) by 2100 (Fig. 1), which would cause global catastrophe with ramifications for human life, natural habitat, energy and water resources, and food production. All of this is predicated on the assumption that global warming is caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 and that CO2 will continue to rise rapidly.

However, records of past climate changes suggest an altogether different scenario for the 21st century. Rather than drastic global warming at a rate of 0.5 ° C (1° F) per decade, historic records of past natural cycles suggest global cooling for the first several decades of the 21st century to about 2030, followed by global warming from about 2030 to about 2060, and renewed global cooling from 2060 to 2090 (Easterbrook, D.J., 2005, 2006a, b, 2007, 2008a, b, Easterbrook and Kovanen, 2000, 2001). Climatic fluctuations over the past several hundred years suggest ~30 year climatic cycles of global warming and cooling, on a general rising trend from the Little Ice Age.

For more excerpts and a link to the full article, see [here].

30 Oct 2008, 11:16am
Federal forest policy The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

South Barker Aftermath

We have previously posted about the South Barker WFU Fire [here, here, here, here, here]. Last week retired District Ranger and Forest Supervisor Glenn Bradley toured the South Barker Burn with personnel from the Sawtooth National Forest. This is his report:

by Glenn Bradley, USFS ret.

Several of you asked me to report back to you after I toured the South Barker Fire area with Forest Supervisor Jane Kollmeyer.

Actually, I have made two visits to the burn. Carolyn and I spent Saturday, October 18, looking at some of it. On Thursday, October 23, I went there with Jane and her people.

Before I start, I would like to say that I appreciate Jane’s willingness to meet me in the field and discuss various aspects of the fire. She was accompanied by District Ranger, Mike Dettori, Forest Public Information Officer, Alicia Bennett, and District Wildlife Biologist, David Skinner. By chance, we connected for a few minutes in the field with District Forester, Alan Young. All of them treated me politely and our discussions were open and candid.

We met first in the Fairfield District Office where we looked at maps showing the various intensities of burning, the area burned on different days, and the boundary line called the Maximum Management Area, which was drawn after the fire was allowed to burn to guide the fire team as the outside allowable perimeter of the fire. Two points came out that are significant. First, no prior project-level planning had been done except a proposal to burn 1,000 acres per year for four years in the Barker Gulch area and a decision in the revised Forest Plan that Wild Fire Use would be an option in that part of the forest. Second, was a statement to me by David that this had been by far the biggest thing that had ever happened to the district and it had been so all-consuming that no time had been available for any other work since the fire started.

We left for the field visit and our first stop was in Barker Gulch. I was surprised by several things. One was that the large trees seemed to burn about as readily as the younger ones. Another was that I was the only one in the group who was concerned about the burned-out riparian zone along the stream and the probable accelerated erosion which will occur from the steep granitic slopes left bare by the fire. Mike asked me why that concerned me and I told him I thought it was important to keep the streams running clear water and to not fill Anderson Ranch Reservoir with silt. He replied that those canyons were formed by water erosion and he viewed it as part of the natural process and it didn’t worry him much.

As we drove on up the river, I expressed concern that for three miles the entire hillside on the north side of the river was black with almost all of the trees killed. I told them that in the old Multiple Use Planning system, that would have been mapped as either “Water Influence Zone” or “Travel Influence Zone”. In those zones, recreation and scenic values would be considered dominant, and every effort would be made to protect the beauty of the area. In this case it is even more important because it is the foreground scenery to the Abbott, Chaparral, and Bird Creek Campgrounds. Mike said he agreed that it did not look very good, but in their panic in the early stages of the fire they had purposely back-burned that area to try to keep the fire within the MMA. He said in hindsight that it would have been better to let the fire back down those slopes with a cooler burn and less crowning. I suggested they should have considered some of those things before they decided to let the fire burn. It should be noted that, even though the meager news reports in the Twin Falls paper called it a creeping, underburning fire, it did a lot of crowning and even jumped the South Boise River near the mouth of Bird Creek and also burned 3000 acres outside the MMA in Cayuse and Little Cayuse Creeks.

The next area we looked at was in Marsh Creek. In 1959, I marked a large timber sale there. One of our objectives was to clean out some decadent stands of Douglas fir that were heavily infested with dwarfmistletoe and to replant with Ponderosa pine. Those plantations were established in 1962, and have grown very well. Further investments have been made in thinning them in recent years. I am very sorry to report that those plantations have sustained about 50% mortality according to Forest Service monitoring studies. A fellow who lives in Featherville wrote to me last night and expressed my feelings very well. He said he and his wife went to Marsh Creek the first day the road closure was lifted. He said he was glad they went alone because he doesn’t like for other people to see him cry.

In the 1959 timber sale, we saved some mature Ponderosa pines as seed trees in some of the units. I was surprised again to see some of those big trees completely charred from bottom to top even though they were not near any other large trees that could have carried fire up them. Some areas simply burned so hot that everything in them got cooked.

As we ate lunch looking into Cayuse Creek, we talked about what the area would look like in future years. We had very differing ideas. I said I would expect the areas that burned hot on the upper west slopes to have significant raw gullies.
Mike said he expected aspen to sprout in those places. There were aspen in the moist bottoms, but not on the dry, west-facing slopes. I’m still betting on the gullies.

Jane did some probing into my background in fire while we were eating. I told her I had been on some large fires, but I preferred to keep them small. For the record, under the old Red Card system, I held qualifications beginning as a Crewman and advancing to Crew Boss, Sector Boss, Division Boss, Line Boss II, and Line Boss I. I served on Class E fires in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and California. South Barker was not my first exposure to large burned-over areas.

The road up Shake Creek was blocked at the second crossing. No burn was visible from there. I do know that the fire got from Marsh Creek to Willow Creek and Shake Creek is in between, so I expect the plantations in upper Shake Creek are no better off than those in Marsh Creek. Carolyn and I walked into the burn in Willow Creek on October 18 and saw long steep slopes completely denuded by the fire as well as burned out riparian areas along the creek with ash and debris in the stream.

From Willow Creek on up the river, the fire only burned in the upper portions of the drainages, so most of it is not visible from the road. The down sides of that fact are that the heads of the drainages have the most fragile soils and there was no need to burn them for fuel reduction.

After spending the whole day, it was not clear to me why they wanted to let this fire burn. Other than a brief private visit with Dave about woodpeckers and owls, there was no mention from Jane or Mike about the objectives centered on those species. All three objectives stated by the Chief related to the Ponderosa pine type, but 80% of the burn was outside the Ponderosa pine type.

I believe the potential of the fire was grossly underestimated from the beginning. It was first reported as “slight potential to spread”. Mike said that after the first few days of the fire, he thought it might run to 10,000 acres and cost 1.5 million dollars. I detected no feeling of failure from the resource loss or from the fact that they burned 37,000 acres and spent over 7 million dollars.

Neither Mike nor Jane knew if they had complied with Idaho DEQ smoke management requirements. Although people along the river told me they were choked by smoke from about 1:00 AM to about 2:00PM each day and it was not possible to see well enough to run boats on Anderson Ranch Reservoir during those hours, Mike said there were only a few days that it was severe enough to be hazardous to health, so he didn’t think it was too bad. When I told him that the smoke in Sawtooth Valley had practically precluded recreation use there for several days, there was no response.

I detected no real concern about the fact that all recreation use along the river was curtailed for about two months. The only comment Jane made was that if the campgrounds had been concession-operated, they would not have let the fire burn because the concessionaire may have sued them for lost income.

While some small areas within the burn may have benefited from the reduction of fuels, the natural character of the vegetation in the burned area was a mosaic pattern with drastic changes from aspect to aspect without continuous fuel that needed broken up. An objective to reduce fuel loading could only be justified in spotty areas within the early part of the burn.

No mention was made of the expected changes the fire would cause to the grazing permittees, but it did burn on at least one sheep allotment.

We met District Forester, Alan Young, in Marsh Creek. He was working with burn intensity maps to determine which areas of the plantations needed to be replanted. I asked him how he would finance the reforestation efforts. He said they would get fire money to do that. (Is there something wrong with this picture? You burn it on purpose with money you don’t have, and then you get more money to replant it!) I asked him how he would feel if he got it all replanted and tended it for fifty years and then some Ranger decided to burn up his plantation. He didn’t respond.

Near the end of the day, I pursued the issue of NEPA compliance with Jane. She said it is impossible to do the kind of analysis and public involvement required by NEPA because there was no time between the ignition and the decision. I believe that is a cop out. I do not buy the excuse that it is “natural”. Whether a forest officer starts a fire or simply lets one burn, I believe he or she is responsible for it. There is no question in my mind that it qualifies as a major federal action. If the NEPA compliance work was not complete, the fire should not have been allowed to burn.

Relying on lightning to ignite fires, even where a decision has been made to do some burning, guarantees that it will come as a surprise and at a time when the people involved are less than fully prepared. It would be much smarter to do burning projects by lighting the fire at a time and under conditions when results can be predicted.

Letting fires burn in the peak of the fire season ties up resources that are needed for “real fires”. Letting fires burn for long periods of time in mid-summer assures that there will be days of high winds or other dangerous weather. Letting a fire burn for a long time in fire season impairs visibility so that “real” fires might not be discovered while they are small.

Landscape type fires cannot be controlled to do what is needed. If they are too big to handle, they will do as they will.

Letting fires burn when there is no fire money robs all other programs of funds and infuriates the congress. They are less inclined to fund fire management if they know money is being needlessly spent on purpose.

If there are any benefits to the South Barker Fire, they are minimal and questionable. There is no denying of the fact that a lot of area is damaged and a lot of money was spent. I still believe letting this fire burn was at least a 7 million dollar mistake. The lack of concern about accelerated erosion is troubling to me. I have watched this country gradually heal up over the last 60 years from severe damage done by heavy grazing and trailing of sheep in the early 1900’s. It took a giant step backwards this summer.

I hope the Forest Service will change the policy so that intentional burning will be done on a planned, rational, legal, and controllable basis, rather than the “Flying by the Seat of the Pants” way that South Barker and a number of other WFU fires have been handled lately.

29 Oct 2008, 9:02am
Saving Forests
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Restoration Forestry

Our forests are beset by disease, insect infestations, and especially megafires. Millions of acres of unhealthy forests burn every year, denuding whole landscapes, filling the air with smoke, killing wildlife and destroying their habitats, baking soils and causing massive erosion into rivers and streams, and draining the budgets of our public land management agencies. The crisis of catastrophic forest destruction seems insoluble.

But there is a solution, one that protects, maintains, and perpetuates forests, wildlife, water and air, public health and safety, heritage, and our economy. The solution is restoration forestry.

Restoration forestry is the art and science of returning forests to heritage conditions of fire resilient, open and park-like structures. Our forests today are often crowded thickets, overladen with fuels, and prone to catastrophic fires. Restoration forestry removes the excess fuels and puts forests back into their historic condition, as they existed before Euro-American contact.

Restoration forestry is a silvicultural system, broadly speaking, that is neither even-aged nor uneven-aged. The objectives of restoration forestry include maintenance and enhancement of multi-aged, low density stands with a predominance of older, fire-resilient trees. Those are forest goals, not tree farming goals, but they are silvicultural.

Restoring historical conditions sustains forests by protecting them from total mortality canopy fires, by maintaining fire-resilient old-growth trees, and by enhancing the capacity of forests to grow trees to old ages.

Our old-growth trees arose under much different conditions than today. The forest development pathways of pre-Contact eras were not punctuated by catastrophic stand-replacing fires but instead were the outcomes of frequent, seasonal, light-burning fires in open, park-like forests. Those fires were largely anthropogenic (human-set by the indigenous residents). Because the fires of historic eras were frequent and seasonal, they gently removed fuels without killing all the trees. The widely-spaced trees thus survived repeated burning and grew to very old ages.

As more and more forests have been investigated for actual age distribution, a gaping hole in the early theory of stand-replacement forest development has arisen. The anomaly is that many forests, particularly older, untouched forests, are not even-aged. Instead, many (if not most) older forests are distinctly multi-cohort. That is, forests often have two or more widely divergent age classes of trees.

This fact tends to disprove the “stand replacement fire” theory, at least in regards to older forests. Their development pathways must have been different than that. It is now widely concluded that many (if not most) North American forests were at one time (120 to 500 years ago) open and park-like with widely spaced, large, old trees, and that forests were conditioned to be that way by frequent, non-stand-replacing fires. The new theory holds that historical frequent fires were light and low-burning, and that those fires did not kill the bigger trees.

That is, the actual historical forest development pathways for many (if not most) of our forests involved frequent light fires, not stand-replacing fire.

Modern fires in dense thickets, untempered by frequent, seasonal, anthropogenic fires, cause total tree mortality. No trees survive the infrequent holocausts, and so no trees attain old-growth status. In fact, modern fires routinely kill old-growth trees that withstood multiple fires in bygone eras. Modern fires, burning in dense, build-up fuel conditions, often convert heritage forests to more or less permanent brush fields

By restoring thicket forests to their historical norm of open, park-like conditions, and in addition restoring historical anthropogenic fire regimes, forests can be saved from catastrophic incineration and conversion to brush.

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27 Oct 2008, 9:32pm
Climate and Weather
by admin

Most Americans Think Global Warming Is a Crock, Despite Lurking Psychographers

A new survey [here] done by an enviro-Left extremist group has found that only 18% of Americans polled expressed strong agreement that global warming is real, that it is caused by humans, and that it is harmful. In other words, 82% of those polled were not in strong agreement with those propositions.

This despite the fact that the polling group, ecoAmerica, is fully committed to proselytizing the scare hoax that global warming is real, caused by humans, and harmful. Their push poll report conclusions identify the enemy: those darn “Deniers”:

Support for action on climate is significantly weaker among most Americans than it is for action on traditional environmental issues. Global warming Deniers are the likely culprit for this fall off.

More about ecoAmerica, in their own words:

ecoAmerica is a nonprofit agency that uses psychographic research, strategic partnerships and engagement marketing to shift awareness, attitudes and the personal and public policy behaviors of environmentally agnostic Americans.

I’m not sure what “psychographic” means, or “environmentally agnostic,” but the whole thing smacks of pernicious propaganda perped by politically manipulative zealots.

However, the enviro-Left extremists’ propaganda is failing to convince the vast majority. A near-consensus rejects their claims. I guess we are mostly all “Deniers,” which is a bummer for the enviro-Left extremist cults.

Despite that, ecoAmerica and their sponsor/partners the Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Alliance for Climate Protection (founded by Al Gore), Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and League of Conservation Voters are planning a multi-faceted campaign to “sway” the “Deniers.” Their strategy includes: lobbying for public policies that punish “carbon users,” “grassroots activism,” carbon offsets, “partnering” with colleges, “seniors outreach,” and a Climate Media Center:

The Climate Media Center would be a ‘War Room’ tasked with building a values majority for the environment by a) undermining the Deniers; b) reframing global warming from a longer term catastrophe to an immediate economic/ jobs, American leadership/national security and health/safety issue; and c) connecting it to Americans daily lives (e.g. Bad Weather). With a staff of marketing and media professionals the Climate Media Center would aggressively provide information and resources on a pro- and reactive basis to media, corporations and NGOs.

They also suggest that:

Highly leveraged impact is possible through partnerships with the American Association of Museums and Association of Zoos and Aquariums to develop and implement support programs for climate education.

and that a Climate ‘MoveOn’ political campaign would be an effective “marketing tool.”

They also admit that enviro-Left extremist cults “have an image problem”:

Eco-terrorism? Soy and granola? Partisan liberals? Regulations with huge taxpayer cost? America’s environmentalists have an image problem. They have disconnected with Americans, or Americans have disconnected with them. The AEVS also revealed that many Americans view the environmental movement as traditional dated and out of touch. The result? – only a very small percentage of Americans are consciously environmentally active. Advocates would help advance their cause if they were perceived as part of the mainstream rather than on its fringe, and by more strongly relating to other groups and values.

Fringe eco-terrorists are perceived as outside the mainstream? Whoda thunkit? Evidently promoting megafires and throwing jugs of gasoline into school buildings kinda turns off the American public. We have disconnected with them. Our bad.

It’s a perception problem. But don’t worry, ecoAmerica to the rescue. They “use psychographic research coupled with other marketing research to determine which groups of Americans are susceptible to changes in awareness, attitudes and behaviors.” Your susceptibility is being targeted by the psychographers. Soon you will change your attitude.

Or possibly not, if you consider that there is no global warming, the planet has been cooling for the last 10 years, carbon dioxide has no effect on global temperatures, human activities do not affect the climate, warmer is better anyway, and sacrificing economic prosperity and freedom for a non-solution to a non-problem is widely viewed as insane.

But who knows. The mere fact that I wrote this post could attract the psychographers, and I could be psychographed when I least expect it, possibly while sleeping. Upon awakening I might discover that my attitude has inexplicably changed, and I no longer Deny the Global Warming Hoax. I will have become One of Them.

I shudder to contemplate it. Beware the Psychographers!!!

And happy Halloween.

26 Oct 2008, 12:11pm
2007 Fire Season Saving Forests
by admin

Forest Health and Fire

Six years ago the National Association of Forest Service Retirees (NAFSR) issued a prescient report entitled Forest Health and Fire: an Overview and Evaluation. Written by Richard J. Pfilf, John F. Marker, and Robert D. Averill, the report detailed critical problems and offered wise solutions to the growing forest fire crisis in our public forests.

Since that report was issued our forest fire crisis has worsened significantly. Megafires have ravaged every western state. Annual fire acreage has doubled, fire suppression costs have increased 5-fold, and resource damages have skyrocketed.

All that was predicted by expert observers. Implementation of the solutions offered by Forest Health and Fire: an Overview and Evaluation could have prevented much of the destruction.

More forest and landscape destruction by megafire is predictable today. The ongoing crisis has not been averted or lessened in any way because the obvious solutions have not been adopted, as yet.

We raise the alarm again, and offer the solutions again, by posting excerpts from Forest Health and Fire: an Overview and Evaluation. The full text is [here] (3.5 MB). The National Association of Forest Service Retirees is a non-profit, non-partisan, science-based organization with members consisting of Forest Service retirees, associates and sustaining members. Their website is [here].

Selected excerpts from Forest Health and Fire: an Overview and Evaluation:

by Richard J. Pfilf, John F. Marker, and Robert D. Averill, October, 2002

The National Association of Forest Service Retirees (NAFSR) offers its experience and expertise to establish a factual basis on which to build public policy regarding forest health and fire mitigation; specifically:

1. To Identify Misconceptions about Forest Health and Fire

Misconceptions often influence public policy. We must challenge some of these, listed below, that hinder understanding the problem and steer discussion toward more productive courses of action.

* The Balance of Nature Myth: The imagined forest often consists of a continuous forest cover of large trees, individually having indefinitely long lives. This idea often ignores all the changes in vegetation states that the forest undergoes over time.

* Long-Term Care for the Aged, Sacrifice the Young: Many advocate managing fuels by removing only small material by “thinnings,” “clearing underbrush,” and removal of trees only up to a certain diameter. It would be a mistake to arbitrarily preclude removing trees above a given size or age.

* One Hundred Years of Aggressive Suppression Caused the Fuel Buildup: Fire suppression forces were few and the tools were primitive for most of the 20th century. Forest growth that greatly exceeded removals, and fifty years of cooler, wetter climate had an effect on forest biomass and burning conditions.

* Fires are Bigger and More Destructive than in the Past: There is little historical support for this assertion. Western North America has been beset with large fires since the glaciers receded.

* Selective Logging is the Answer: We must be wary of applying blanket prescriptions. Selective logging is appropriate only in certain forest types and under certain conditions.

* Only Protect Human Communities: While protecting communities must be a high priority, we must not neglect the other values of the forest.

* Big Trees Don’t Burn: Large trees are only more fire-resistant. Hot ground fires and crown fires kill them also.

* Cutting Cookies: Forests are complex. Solutions must be temporally and spatially tailored to specific conditions.

* Prescribed Fire is THE Solution: Prescribed fire is not the total answer. There are many locations and situations that will render it infeasible.

* Logging is the Problem: Current use of best management practices has not had long-term detrimental effects.

* Let the Taxpayer Subsidize Forest Health: Maintaining forest health is a matter of establishing sustainable stand conditions and reducing risks. This has significant economic impacts, and forest products can help finance them.

more »

21 Oct 2008, 12:19pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin

Forest Fires Degrade Soils

New findings by a team of Oregon forest scientists reveal that the Biscuit Fire (2002) not only incinerated 500,000 acres of forest, it also stripped soils clean off the landscape. Millions of tons of “sequestered” carbon were emitted by the Biscuit Fire, but more than that, the soil was sucked up into fire plumes and blown off the site, leaving a only a rubble of heavier stones.

The study, Intense forest wildfire sharply reduces mineral soil C and N: the first direct evidence by Bernard T. Bormann, Peter S. Homann, Robyn L. Darbyshire, and Brett A. Morrissette, is to be published in the peer-reviewed Canadian Journal of Forest Research [Can. J. For. Res. 38: 2771–2783 (2008)] in December. Extracts and a link to the full text may be found in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Forest and Fire Sciences [here].

The study was unique in that soil measurements were taken before the fire and the same plots remeasured after the fire. Most studies examine burned and unburned post-fire plots, and retrospective assumptions must be made regarding pre-fire conditions. In this case, however, the Biscuit Fire burned through a portion of a 150 ha Long-Term Ecosystem Productivity (LTEP) experiment (Bormann et al. 1994; Homann et al. 2008), and the forest scientists were able to examine soil changes in paired pre- and post-fire plots.

Bormann et al found that more than 10 tons per acre of carbon and between 450 to 620 pounds per acre of nitrogen were vaporized by the fire. Some 60% of soil carbon and 57% of soil nitrogen losses came from mineral soil horizons (below the duff and humus top layers). In addition they found that 127 megagrams (127,000 kilograms) of soil per hectare disappeared. The scientists conjectured:

An intriguing alternative explanation for most of the missing fine soil is transport via the massive smoke plume. The elevation of the smoke column and the spread of the plume provide a plausible convective erosion process for off-site transport of substantial material. Large plumes of smoke, some more than 1500 km long, were visible most days during the months of the fire from the NASA MODIS satellite (Fig. 9). Fine soil particles have been detected in smoke (Palmer 1981; Samsonov et al. 2005), and wind speeds near the soil surface — driven by extremely strong vortices resulting from fire-driven atmospheric convection (Palmer 1981; Banta et al. 1992) — can carry smoke to the lower stratosphere (Trentmann et al. 2006).

They called this an “alternative explanation” because their first thought was that post-fire water erosion carried the soil away. However, erosion box measurements accounted for only a third of the missing soil. The plume explanation was based on speculation because the plume contents and volume were not accurately measured (for obvious reasons).

Total soil carbon losses from the Biscuit Fire were estimated to be 9 teragrams (9 million metric tons). That does not include carbon emissions from the incinerated vegetation, which we estimate to be an additional 35 Tg. The sum (44 teragrams or million metric tons) is roughly equivalent to the carbon emissions of 9 million cars driven all year.

The fire was hot enough to melt heavy-duty aluminum tags on steel grid posts placed as part of the LTEP experiment. The scientists estimated that fire temperatures were hotter than 700 degrees C (1300 degrees F) based on kiln tests on similar tags. At those temperatures tree mortality was near total as was fine fuel consumption.

The result was a seared landscape, devoid of living organisms, charred beyond recognition, and cooked deep into the soil. Fine soils were blown away, seed banks destroyed, and the essential productivity of the site vastly depleted. Bormann et al concluded:

The intensity of wildfires and magnitude of losses of fine soils and soil C and N have additional implications for soil fertility and subsequent rates of plant production and C sequestration. Soil C losses lead to increased bulk density and reduced soil water-holding capacity, cation-exchange capacity, and sources of energy for microbial communities. To the extent that soil N, soil C, and soil structure control productivity, these changes should result in major declines that will last as long as it takes to return to prefire conditions.

That could take decades or perhaps centuries.

It is stunning to realize that the US Forest Service calls such fires “beneficial” to resources. The USFS has embarked on a program of Wildfires Use For Resource Benefit (WFU). They have not specified which resources benefit, or how, or quantified the alleged benefits. It is abundantly clear from this study that resources are seriously degraded by wildfire, at least by this fire. Soil, biological, air, and water resources were severely damaged and those damages will remain and continue for perhaps many human lifetimes.

The authors of this study point out that resource degradation is contrary to the legal mandate and mission of the USFS:

Any potential loss in productivity is relevant to the US National Forest Management Act of 1976, where the Secretary of Agriculture is required, ‘‘through research and continuous monitoring, to ensure that management systems will not produce substantial and permanent impairment of the productivity of the land’’. The US Endangered Species Act of 1973 is also relevant to the management of high-intensity fires, for example, in the case of the northern spotted owl that nests primarily in stands of large trees averaging only 32 large trees ha–1 (Hershey et al. 1998). When soils can no longer produce such trees, the area of suitable habitat that could redevelop after fire is also lessened.

It is hugely unlikely that spotted owls will ever reoccupy the Biscuit Burn. The area has been rendered unfit to grow large trees, and current USFS policies virtually guarantee that severe, catastrophic fires will revisit the area periodically.

There is no question that prevention of the kind of forest destruction inflicted by the Biscuit Fire is desperately needed before all our public forests are similarly destroyed. Current USFS policies of WFU and unrestrained forest incineration must be altered. Restoration forestry, which prepares forests to receive fire in a manner that protects, maintains, and perpetuates forests, must be mandated and implemented on a landscape scale as soon as possible. From Bormann et al:

Much of the recent debate has centered on the effects of post-wildfire management on tree regeneration, wildlife habitat, and future fire risk (Donato et al. 2006; Newton et al. 2006; Shatford et al. 2007; Thompson et al. 2007). In light of the first direct evidence of major effects of intense wildfire on soils — based on extensive and detailed pre- and post-fire soil sampling — we think that soil changes, especially the potential loss of soil productivity and greenhouse gas additions resulting from intense wildfire, deserve more consideration in this debate. In forests likely to be affected by future intense fire, preemptive reduction of intense-fire risks can be seen as a way to reduce losses of long-term productivity and lower additions of greenhouse gases. Preemptive strategies may include reducing fuels within stands but also improving fire-attack planning and preparation and changing the distribution of fuels across the landscape to reduce the size of future fires. Practices can include thinning and removing or redistributing residues and underburning.

In forests already affected by intense fire, amelioration to increase C sequestration, tree growth, and eventually late successional habitat should be strongly considered. Amelioration practices might include seeding or planting N2-fixing and other plants, fertilizing, and managing vegetation and fuels through time. To the extent that receipts from pre- and post-wildfire logging are the only means of paying for these practices, such logging should be balanced against other management objectives and concerns. Harvesting before and after fire to generate revenue, if done improperly, has the potential to harm soils, but this outcome needs to be weighed against the outcomes resulting from increased high-intensity fire and from not ameliorating after soils have been burned intensely.

This forest science paper is cutting edge and a breakthrough (we hope) from the typical dull and pointless pseudo-science we have been subjected to over the past two decades. It is late, but not too late, for the general public to realize that forest stewardship is preferable to forest incineration. The public must demand responsible forest stewardship, and particularly restoration forestry, from our public land management agencies.

This year we have (again) witnessed massive forest destruction by deliberate burning, from Idaho to California. Old-growth forests have been decimated in the South Barker, Rattle, Middle Fork, Iron, Siskiyou, Ukonom, Blue, Clover, and dozens of other fires. The resource degradation from fires of past years has been amply evident and continues. The situation is intolerable. The USFS MUST learn how to care for forests and MUST engage in forest stewardship right away. Resistance to stewardship is untenable and should serve as grounds for immediate dismissal of any who advocate or engage in forest destruction.

This paper quantifies some of the destruction inflicted by catatsrophic forest fires. Let us hope that the lessons learned are taken to heart.

Monckton to McCain: the Fate of the World Is At Stake

In one of the greatest essays of our day and age, the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley has warned Senator John McCain that his (McCain’s) “climate change” policies present a terrible threat to the economies of the U.S. and the entire world.

Lord Monckton is more than a global warming skeptic; he is the most rational and lucid voice in the world today in opposition to the global warming alarmists. His essay, posted today in the American Thinker, is the clearest and most penetrating debunking of global warming theory ever written. More than that, Lord Monkton presents the case that addressing this non-problem by crippling the economy of the U.S. will thrust the entire world into a darkness of deprivation and authoritarianism unmatched in human history.

John McCain has adopted Gore-ism. Barack Obama has, as well. We cannot survive either man as President, and yet we have no other choices. This country is hurtling toward a terrible catastrophe.

Please read Lord Monckton’s letter. You deserve to know what hit you. Some excerpts:

An open letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to Senator John McCain about Climate Science and Policy

By The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, American Thinker, October 18, 2008

Part 1 [here]
Part 2 [here]
Part 3 [here]
Part 4 [here]

Dear Senator McCain, Sir,

YOU CHOSE a visit to a wind-farm in early summer 2008 to devote an entire campaign speech to the reassertion of your belief in the apocalyptic vision of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change - a lurid and fanciful account of imagined future events that was always baseless, was briefly exciting among the less thoughtful species of news commentators and politicians, but is now scientifically discredited.

With every respect, there is no rational basis for your declared intention that your great nation should inflict upon her own working people and upon the starving masses of the Third World the extravagantly-pointless, climatically-irrelevant, strategically-fatal economic wounds that the arrogant advocates of atmospheric alarmism admit they aim to achieve.

Britain and the United States, like England and Scotland on the first page of Macaulay’s splendid History of England, are bound to one another by “indissoluble bonds of interest and affection”. Here in this little archipelago from which your Pilgrim Fathers sailed, we have a love-love relationship with what Walt Whitman called your “athletic democracy”. You came to our aid - to the aid of the world - when Britain had stood alone against the mad menace of Hitler. Your fearless forces and ours fight shoulder to shoulder today on freedom’s far frontiers. The shortest but most heartfelt of our daily prayers has just three words: “God bless America!” For these reasons - of emotion as much as of economics, of affection as much as of interest - it matters to us that the United States should thrive and prosper. We cannot endure to see her fail, not only because if she fails the world fails, but also because, as the philosopher George Santayana once said of the British Empire and might well now have said of our sole superpower, “the world never had sweeter masters.” If the United States, by the ignorance and carelessness of her classe politique, mesmerized by the climate bugaboo, casts away the vigorous and yet benign economic hegemony that she has exercised almost since the Founding Fathers first breathed life into her enduring Constitution, it will not be a gentle, tolerant, all-embracing, radically-democratic nation that takes up the leadership of the world.

It will be a radically-tyrannical dictatorship - perhaps the brutal gerontocracy of Communist China, or the ruthless plutocracy of supposedly ex-Communist Russia, or the crude, mediaeval theocracy of rampant Islam, or even the contemptible, fumbling, sclerotic, atheistic-humanist bureaucracy of the emerging European oligarchy that has stealthily stolen away the once-paradigmatic democracy of our Mother of Parliaments from elected hands here to unelected hands elsewhere. For government of the people, by the people and for the people is still a rarity today, and it may yet perish from the earth if America, its exemplar, destroys herself in the specious name of “Saving The Planet”.
more »

17 Oct 2008, 8:09pm
by admin
1 comment

New Look

Sorry for the recent hiccups. Had to get a face lift.

New look. A little cleaner. Will have a key word cloud soon, too. More functionality. More security. Better for the admin.

Hope you like it too. If you find any bugs, let me know.

14 Oct 2008, 8:43am
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

Let Them Eat Smoke

Last summer the LA LA Times ran an excruciatingly idiotic series about what a waste of money it is to fight forest fires. It was written by a prune-faced commie hack journalist whose only claim to fame is defamation, and I did not mention it here. Many people wanted me to, and there were some comments in reference, but I heaved it into the trash where it belonged.

Today, however, as fires rage through La La Land, the stinking memory of the LA LA Times trash article returns, and I wonder why in the world are we spending one dime on fighting fires there?

They don’t want it, they are opposed to firefighting elsewhere, they think firefighting (particularly with aircraft) is a huge waste of precious taxpayer dollars better spent bailing out Wall Street billionaires, so why fight fires at all in LA County?

Why not give them a taste of their own medicine?

You never know when some brave firefighter might lose his life or twist an ankle defending the home of a prune-faced commie hack journalist who is on record in emphatic opposition to firefighting. Why spend money trying to save buildings belonging to the LA Times? They are, after all, in the tree killing business, and it would be a boon to Nature globally if they went belly up.

Let them burn, baby, burn.

It might sear some sense into the survivors, if there are any.

Fraudulent Wilderness, Part 3

Wilderness designation is wrongly thought to provide the “highest form” of environmental protection. In fact, wilderness designation destroys land by eliminating stewardship, stewardship that has been ongoing for 13,500 years.

Wilderness designation has wrongly applied, in denial of the actual history of our landscapes, and catastrophe has ensued. The elimination of human stewardship and wholesale destruction go hand in hand.

We have given some examples in Parts 1 and 2 of this essay. Here are some more:

The 19,100 acre Boulder Creek Wilderness was incinerated last summer by the 20,200 acre Rattle Fire. That was the second fire to decimate the Boulder Creek watershed since designation in 1984. The first was the 16,500 acre Spring Fire in 1996. Those fires burned in accumulated fuels, and crowned, plumed, and killed most of the old-growth trees.

One special area within the Boulder Creek Wilderness is Pine Bench, an old-growth ponderosa pine flat in the midst of a predominantly Douglas-fir forest. The pine are artifacts of thousands of years of human occupation. Frequent, seasonal, anthropogenic fires maintained the pine in an area of traditional use for food production. The wilderness designation of “untrammeled” was applied even though the evidence was clear that this area had experienced thousands of years of human use and the imprint of man was strong and well-documented.

The 100,000 acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness has been roasted by severe fires twice since designation in 1964. In 1987 the Silver Fire burned 110,000 acres of which 53,600 acres were in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. In 2002 the Biscuit Fire ignited in the Kalmiopsis, burned the entire wilderness area, escaped the boundaries, and burned an additional 400,000 acres beyond. Over $150 million was spent to stop the Biscuit Fire from burning down towns 20 miles away from the Kalmiopsis.

The 286,700 acre Three Sisters Wilderness was designated by the original 1964 Wilderness Act. Since then it has been burned by the Cache Mountain Fire (2002), Eyerly Complex Fire (2002), B and B Complex Fire (2003), Link Fire (2003), Black Crater Fire (2006), Puzzle Fire (2006), Lake George Fire (2006), and the GW Fire (2007), to name a few. The old-growth ponderosa pine forests that were destroyed in the Three Sisters Wilderness were there because that area had hosted extensive human activity and stewardship for millennia. Santiam Pass has been the main trafficked way in the Central Cascades for the last 6,000 years, at least. Obsidian Cliffs have been the principal obsidian quarry for much of Oregon for all that time.

The Ventana Wilderness, 240,026 acres, established in 1978. This year 244,000 acres burned in the Indians/Basin Complex Fires, the second largest fire in California history and most expensive at $120 million. Most of that fire was in the Ventana Wilderness. Contrary to political perceptions, the Ventana has been home to human beings for more than 10,000 years.

Last year the Zaca Fire Fire burned 240,000 acres and cost $117 million to fight. Significant portions of the San Rafael Wilderness (197,380 acres), Dick Smith Wilderness (64,700 acres) and Matilija Wilderness (29,600 acres) were burned. Again, the areas were designated wilderness in defiance of the established historical fact that they had been occupied by humans since the dawn of the Holocene.

The Jarbidge Wilderness in eastern Nevada was established in 1964 and expanded to 113,000 acres in 1989. This year it was decimated by the 54,500 acre East Slide Rock Ridge WFU Fire that spread well beyond the wilderness boundaries. It is well-known that the area was home to the Shoshone and other northern Uto-Aztecan language groups for millennia.

Other designated wilderness areas subject to catastrophic fires since designation include Alpine Lakes, Bandelier, Black Canyon, Bob Marshall, Bull of the Woods, Frank Church-River of No Return, Golden Trout, Gospel Hump, Hells Canyon, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth, Manzano Mountain, Marble Mountains, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Okefenokee, Rogue Umpqua Divide, Saddle Mountain, Selway-Bitterroot, Siskiyou, South Sierra, Tatoosh, Yolla-Bolly, and many others.

Every single one of these wilderness areas has documented and extensive evidence of human occupation for millennia. Yet that well-known human use has been denied repeatedly.

For instance, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, in concert with the University of Montana, both ostensibly scientific organizations, make this claim about the Siskiyou Wilderness [here]:

Many authorities on the subject suspect Bigfoot could be hiding out in the untrammeled regions.

That is crap, pure crap, and racist jibber-jabber to boot. Our “educational” institutions have sunk to pure bullshit in their efforts to deny real history, real science, and real traditions. So desperate are these politically motivated (and taxpayer funded) organizations to inflict destructive wilderness designation that they gladly heave all their scientific integrity into the burn barrel to do it.

This is not a yuck-yuck moment. Real destruction and enormous costs has ensued from fraudulent wilderness designation. The wilderness promoters are in utter denial, and their denial is a-scientific and racist without a doubt.

To be continued…

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