Locals write white paper on forest health

 Locals write white paper on forest health

23 July 2016

published by http://www.siskiyoudaily.com

USA —   Three men from Siskiyou County have come together to express their professional views regarding management practices of Pacific Northwest National Forests that they believe will help to not only sustain a healthy forest but also resist catastrophic fires.

Ray Haupt is a professional forester. Larry Alexander is a former biologist. Bruce Courtright is an Organizational Psychologist with over 40 years consulting with natural resource agencies. Courtright’s last job involved working as a part-time assistant to the chief of the United States Forest Service and part-time as an assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Each man has sported several titles over the course of his life, and most of those titles pertain to creating sustainability in commerce and nature. Their experience, know-how, and fear of the current predicament facing forests of the Pacific Northwest is why they came together to write “Our Dying National Forests; A Disaster or Perfect Opportunity For Bold Action By A New President.”

“The project sort of came out of my head. I had a feeling that the plans by both political parties contain little on natural resource management and all of us were so aware that there is little work in rural communities while the forests are in terrible condition. Communities are imploding, families are breaking up, and it is very scary. I didn’t think that political candidates were aware of this. I wanted to put together a paper that really enumerated on what are the casual factors and what actions could be taken that could be built into a political plan or platform, “ Courtright said.

The paper is a call to action for the next presidential, congressional, state or county candidates, and it highlights the policy framework that the authors feel threatens healthy forests, while also offering solutions they feel would revitalize the forest while improving the economic integrity of rural communities. Haupt, Alexander, and Courtright each have a plethora of experience in forestry science, forestry administration, biology, hydrology, and consultation on forest management. Together, they created a paper that is only three pages long, and worded in an unintimidating light for the most novice of reader to understand a situation that the authors call “dire at best.”

has dramatically decreased in the last 10 years since the logging industry has fallen into the hands of big business. Alexander recollects a time when many smaller communities in the area had mills, and small time logging companies could make a livelihood for themselves.

“Our impetus for doing this is that over the last six years, it has become evident that the state and congressional decision makers seem to know very little about forestry management in the Pacific Northwest, so we set out to create a bigger voice for the community and for the whole Pacific Northwest to educate decision makers about our rural communities because the rural communities have suffered and still are. We’ve done fairly well at our efforts to bring potential administrative change to a high level of attention. The need is there, and we keep hearing about creating jobs. This is a vehicle to do that and revitalize communities, but someone has to pay attention to it and some legislative change must come at some level,” Alexander said.

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