Earlier this year, we sent out information about the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision (BMFP) for the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. Barring a congressional solution promoting active management of federal lands, the updated forest plan would have a major impact on how our forests and its resources will be managed in the future.
The proposed Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision is available at this web site (click here).
Over the past few months, many of you have taken the time to review the planning documents and provide thoughtful comments. But as the BMFP moves towards its next phase, it has become clear that the proposed Forest Plan is deeply flawed. The documents suggest the U.S. Forest Service is not interested in active, multiple-use management we need to restore forest health, keep our forest accessible or protect our remaining forest products jobs and infrastructure.
As written, the plan fails to use the best and most recent science, and completely ignores many of the collaborative forestry principles that have shown some progress. The plan would treat less than 2.5 percent of suitable timber acres annually, and would offer harvest levels far below what is needed to keep many of our workers employed and mills open. In fact the plan completely disregards the social and economic needs of nearby communities. More roads will close and it will only become more expensive to access and manage the forests in the future.
As Eastern Oregon endures yet another catastrophic fire season, the BMFP fails to address the underlying problems that are putting our forests at risk. If implemented, forest density and mortality will continue to increase and serve as fuel for future wildfires. Currently, the majority of the forests in Eastern Oregon have missed multiple fire cycles and none of the alternatives will actually reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire that threatens our local communities, mills and recreational opportunities.
That’s why Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities is joining multiple groups such as the American Forest Resources Council, Boise Cascade and the Blue Mountains Forest Partners in calling on the Forest Service to scrap Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision and urge them to move in a different direction that protects our forests and rural communities. Specifically, we believe that the BMFP Draft Environmental Impact Statement should be withdrawn and each of the three National Forests should work with community stakeholders, including citizens, collaborative groups, industry, local governments and others, to revise the current Land Management Plans.
Please consider offering public comment to the U.S. Forest Service that reflects two simple messages:
–The Forest Service should withdraw its Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision plan and engage local communities to develop forest-wide amendments to the 1990 Land Management Plans.
–The Forest Service should revise, not re-write the 1990 Land Management Plans to utilize the best and most recent science as well as some of the collaborative forestry principles.
Here’s how you can make your voice heard:
1. Submit your comments electronically by using the USFS’s public comment form (click here).
2. Mail your comments to the Forest Service at:
Blue Mountains Plan Revision Team
PO Box 907
Baker City OR 97814
The comment period will end on August 15, 2014
PS– You can also urge your congressional representatives to pass a permanent solution for Eastern Oregon’s federal forest lands. If you haven’t already, please take a moment and click here to tell your congressman and senators that it’s time to restore active management to help create jobs!