Gap between forest plan, reality |

Gap between forest plan, reality

Don Rogers

One thing that has troubled us with all the planning – over five year’s worth, by the time you factor in the formulations, draft plan alternatives, public input, public comment, revisions, political changes, more input, and then open houses and all – is that there doesn’t seem quite the commitment of funding to go with the stipulations for comprehensive management.

Let’s be clear that forest officials we spoke with were careful not to complain. We’ll do it for them.

But how is it that while the forest gears up for much more management its funding slips? For instance, the main pot of funding for the forest that will pay for the bulk of carrying out the forest plan, the “NF” fund, slipped from $8.6 million in fiscal year 2001 to $7.8 million in fiscal 2002, and is projected to run about the same as this year in the next annual budget.

The forest’s CM budget, for capital and maintenance – facilities, trails and roads and such – dropped from $3.1 million in fiscal 2001 to $2.5 million this fiscal year and is expected to be flat next fiscal year.

However ambitious the agency gets with planning, the sad fact for all of us in the High Country is that a pitifully underfunded agency has been shorted even more.

There’s a disconnect here between vision and reality. The forest was inadequately funded for its important work already.

The great challenge isn’t balancing man and nature – it’s finding money to carry all this great thinking out.

Simple sage

One of the greatest philosophers of our times is the late Dr. Seuss. Really. His real name is Ted Geisel, and it’s about time he got his due.

So we were pleased recently to hear his immortal words quoted aloud recently at Eagle Valley Middle School’s Continuation Ceremonies. Not “graduation” – Principal Jerry Santoro reminded everyone – because these kids are expected to finish off that next step high school and we wouldn’t want them to forget that trifling detail.

Santoro read from the highly appropriate book “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” We’ve buried the book in a box somewhere, and sadly, our copy of “The Great Thoughts,” a collection of top quotes, leaves Geisel’s wisdom out. It shouldn’t.

In paraphrase of Santoro’s reading, the book explains that brains fit in your head and feet in your shoes. Where you go next is for you to choose.

Actually, that’s quite profound, if laid out simply. And great advice.


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