Friday, October 19, 2012

Oppose North Idaho land swap

Express journalist Katherine Wutz’s piece in the Oct. 10 issue about Public Lands being essential to our quality of life (“Poll: Public land ‘essential’ to Idaho”) was outstanding.  

Alas, all is not well with our precious public lands in North Idaho. There is an ominous mega-issue on the Clearwater/Nez Perce National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service inexplicably proposes a horrible land trade in which 39,000 acres of cut-over and denuded private checkerboard parcels in the Upper Lochsa area would be acquired for equal acreage privatized in scattered national forest parcels in several North Idaho counties. The public parcels to be bartered are prime timbered lands with immense wildlife, watershed and recreation values. To liquidate them is unacceptable! 

Please see the excellent eye-opening articles at: 

Thousands of angry citizens are protesting this public land heist, as are Friends of the Clearwater and Friends of the Palouse Ranger District. You can help by writing to Regional Forester Faye Krueger (fkrueger in Missoula and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell ( saying “no way.” Stress that only the “no action” alternative in the EIS is acceptable. 

Economist Clarence Chapman wrote a telling research piece showing that Western Pacific Timber stands to garner $150 million gaining 126 million board feet of harvestable timber. The irreplaceable public parcels would disappear! Gone. Privatized.

It gets worse. Western Pacific Timber has hired the notorious disgraced ex-Sen. Larry Craig and timber lobbyist Mark Rey to grease political skids. Looming behind Western Pacific Timber is the shady Tim Blixseth. Google him up for a shock.

Contact your Idaho senators and insist they oppose this fatally flawed exchange. Demand accountability and no exchange (give away) from the Forest Service. So much is at stake. 

Scott H. Phillips


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