How to help the forests |

How to help the forests

Don Rogers

One incredibly poor idea is selling public lands – forever – to raise cash for the moment.Where did the Bush administration come up with that one?It’s a lose-lose for the future in general. At home specifically, some parcels of national forest factor in this scheme near Minturn, including a chunk at Meadow Mountain. Imagine a new strip mall or wastewater treatment plant in that neighborhood.What should the government do instead that would help? n Well, a line item veto could take care of all those porky add-ons to legislation. That and a president who truly exercises fiscal restraint.n Fund the land management agencies more properly. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are rather severely underfunded for their missions, which leads to harebrained ideas such as selling public lands.n Hire a futurist, with clout, who can demonstrate the long-term value of investing now in America’s wildland to avoid paying through the nose later, primarily for fire fighting. n One thing that futurist might get across is that Healthy Forest is not just a burst of political hot air but something that truly needs to happen. Reference the above. n Remember those timber subsidies? Well, smoothing the way for “gypos” to haul away beetle-killed trees to, say, biomass plants, would be a major, major step forward. Sure, this advice is free. But we’d have healthier forests if it were heeded. And not sold off for a quick buck. Vail, Colorado

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