Editor’s note- Gaining new perspective is how we obtain new insight, helping others and building trust is how we grow as people. Over the next few weeks, I will be hosting different perspectives on the current state of our forest and views on the future. I encourage readers to write in their commentary as well to entice further conversation.
How many times have you heard someone complain about the United States Forest Service (USFS) and how they manage our Public Lands? I hear gripes all of the time about how the USFS is letting our forests burn, how they need to cut more trees (or cut no trees), how they need to build more trails, how they need to decommission roads or maintain more roads, how they need to do a better job.
Here is the thing. The management of forest lands is hard work and navigating government bureaucracy can be a daunting task. Across this nation you can find examples of failed management of our Federal lands and with recent droughts paired with millions of Federal forest acres that are out of balance, catastrophic wild fire is the current expression of how the USFS is failing at their job.
Instead of focusing on these problems and blaming others, we should try to focus on those examples where forest managers are getting it right; where trends are being reversed, where lumber mills are being re-opened, where shifts are being added, where environmental groups and timber companies are finding common ground. There are National Forests that are making good things happen, forests are being thinned of crowded trees and electricity, heat and other products are being made from biomass thinning projects. I want Plumas County and our local National Forest lands to get there.
Here in Plumas County we must find long term solutions that allow us to take advantage of our Federal lands in order to help our communities thrive. In order for this to happen, we need young energetic people to get involved with thinking big and finding innovative solutions to the management of our Federal lands.
Now is your chance. The Plumas County Fire Safe Council is taking the lead to develop a new community based effort to re-think how to bring the public back into the management of our Public Lands. This effort will only succeed if we are able to engage members of the public. We want to hear your input. We want to learn from you. Please consider attending one of our upcoming public meetings so that we can collectively envision how to better manage our Public Lands.