It’s time for responsible forest management
| July 31, 2021 12:00 AM
Regardless of why it is so hot or dry, one thing is painfully clear. The increase in forest fires and the smoke that fills our skies and poisons old and young alike is led by the rich environmentalist elite and their cadre of “activist” judges who, by judicial fiat, mandate mismanagement to the Forest Service. These so called “activists” care not at all for the citizens of Flathead County.
In the 70s the average harvest in the Flathead was 140 million board feet per year, whereas now it is often less than 30 million – over 100 million board feet of fuel build-up per year and the main cause of our disastrous fires.
This type of environmental led forest mismanagement has led to the following: Between 1990 and 2016, 27 lumber mills, mostly from western Montana were closed at the cost of 2,883 direct jobs, thousands of related jobs, plus thousands of other jobs lost by closures before 1990.
The Forest Service now spends millions of taxpayer dollars every year to stop the fires that these very practices have caused.
But the costs don’t stop there. The heavy smoke from the fires impacts everyone of us with the inhalation of the toxic particles especially for those who have heart conditions, implant patients, pulmonary embolisms, auto-immune problems, lung transplant patients, our children, and Covid victims.
British Columbia was exporting 130 million board feet to China in 2010. If they can do this right across our border, what is the problem here?
Our elected officials are tasked with our health and welfare. This hasn’t happened. It is time for our county to declare a state of emergency, come up with a forest management plan, take over management of our forest from the Forest Service, log the forests, rebuild our mills, return our jobs, protect our air and homes, and stop the rabid environmentalist management policy of “just let it burn.”
Max Agather lives in Kalispell.