Category Archives: Economy

Colville NF revised forest plan objection resolution meetings April 24-26

A moose roams in a meadow on the Colville National Forest in Washington state, in this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo. USDA Forest Service photo.

COLVILLE, Wash. –  Objection resolution meetings regarding the proposed revisions to the Colville National Forest’s Forest Land Management Plan (“Forest Plan”) are scheduled for April 24-26, 2019 in Colville, Wash.

Meetings will take place April 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, at Spokane Community College – Colville; and April 26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Stevens County Ambulance Training Center.

The meetings are open to the public for observation.

Discussions during the meeting will be opened to eligible objectors (those who filed during the objection-filing period, which closed Nov. 6, 2018) and interested persons granted recognition by the reviewing officer after submitting a letter of interest during the advertised notice period (which closed Nov. 26, 3018). If you believe you have status as an objector or eligible person but have not been notified, or if you have other questions about the forest planning or objections process, contact
hollyahutchinson@fs.fed.us.

Background:

The 60-day objection-filing period began on September 8, 2018, after the Forest Service published its legal notice in The Seattle Times, which is the newspaper of record for Regional Forester decisions in the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service in the state of Washington. The objections-filing period closed on November 6, 2018. View submitted objections here.

The Forest Service has published the revised Forest Plan , supported by a Final Environmental Impact Statement. The draft Record of Decision and other supporting documents are available on this website.

The purpose of the revised Forest Plan is to provide an updated framework to guide the management of approximately 1.1 million acres of National Forest System lands in northeastern Washington.

The revised Plan replaces the existing 1988 Plan, addressing changes in local economic, social, and environmental conditions over the past 30 years.

The proposed revision honors the time and energy invested by diverse interests since the plan revision process began in 2004. The Forest Service received 926 letters containing over 2,000 comments regarding the draft EIS in 2016. In response to substantive formal comments, and following further public engagement in 2016-17, the Forest Service modified the preferred alternative (“Alternative P”) to better reflect public input on recommended wilderness, livestock grazing, and recreation.

Before the final decision is made on the revised Forest Plan, the Forest Service follows the requirements of 36 CFR 219.5 for a pre-decisional administrative review, which provides an opportunity for the resolution of objections.

Visit the Objection Reading Room to view eligible objection letters. These letters were received or postmarked by the deadline (November 6, 2018) and met the objection filing requirements. The Reviewing Officer sent a notification letter to each eligible objector to confirm acceptance of their objection for further review.

Eligible objectors have an opportunity to participate in objection-resolution meetings, and will also receive a final written response from the Reviewing Officer after the review is complete.

Written requests for recognition as an interested person (36 CFR 219.57) must meet the requirements and were required to be submitted by 11:59 pm EST on November 26, 2018. (Please see the legal notice in The Seattle Times for more information).

Eligible interested persons who have been granted recognition by the Reviewing Officer will be able to participate in discussions with Objectors and the Reviewing Officer related to issues on the meeting agenda that interested persons have listed in their requests.

The meetings also are also open to observation by the public.

For documents, updates, and additional information about the Colville National Forest Land Management Plan (“Forest Plan”) revision process, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprd3824594


Source information: Colville National Forest staff report.

Open letter to Blue Mountains communities: First round of objection-resolution meetings a positive step

Leadership Corner - Glenn Casamassa

On Dec. 14, 2018, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa released the following “open letter” to the communities affected by the proposed Blue Mountains revised forest plan (Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests), including those who submitted formal objections or participated in objections resolutions meetings as part of the ongoing plan revision process.

See also:

https://yournorthwestforests.org/2018/11/21/forest-service-looking-to-listen-and-work-towards-resolution-in-blues-meetings/ 

***

chris_french_baker_city

Chris French, Acting Deputy Chief, National Forest System, USDA Forest Service, listens to a participant in Blue Mountains Forest Plan revision objections resolution meeting at High School in Baker City, Ore. USDA Forest Service photo by Travis Mason-Bushman.

Dear Objectors, Interested Persons, and Blue Mountains Community Members,

I recently had the privilege of meeting many of you during the first round of objection-resolution meetings for the Blue Mountains Revised Forest Plans.  I want to sincerely thank everyone who participated.

Over 300 Objectors, Interested Persons, and public observers attended meetings in John Day, Pendleton, Wallowa, Baker City, and La Grande, Oregon.

I am grateful for the time and effort invested by each of you. I hope you will agree that this first round of resolution meetings was a positive step.

The meetings were led by objection reviewing officers based in Washington, D.C., with support and coordination from the Pacific Northwest Regional Office as well as the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.

The goal for these initial meetings was to bring clarity and mutual understanding to the Blue Mountain Forest Plan objection issues.

The dialogue helped Forest Service leadership and staff to better understand your values, concerns, and views.

Spending time in Eastern Oregon improved much more than our understanding of the issues identified in the objections, though.

Through our initial discussions we also gained a deeper appreciation of local residents’ special relationships with the land.

We had it affirmed that, for many of those who live in and around the Blue Mountains, these national forests are not just places to visit and recreate – the forests are a vital part of your community life, identity, heritage, and livelihoods.

The Forest Service is striving to honor these special relationships in the Blue Mountain Forest Plan’s resolution process.

In doing so, we will better respect the views of many different community members – including our Tribal neighbors, the States of Oregon and Washington, County and other local government representatives, user groups, environmental groups, industry, and business – all of whom seek assurances that the Forest Service will protect their priority resources.

During the initial meetings the Forest Service heard a lot about a wide range of topics, including access; aquatic and riparian conservation; elk security and bighorn sheep; fire and fuels; fish, wildlife, and plants; livestock grazing; local government cooperation and coordination; public participation; social and economic issues; timber and vegetation; and wilderness, backcountry, and other special areas.

Digging into these topics in person gave the Forest Service the opportunity to explore issues that were not as prominent in the written objection letters.  From the dialogue, some issues appear to be close to resolution while others will require further discussion, so there will be more steps to take in this process.

The Forest Service knows that many topics are interrelated, and we will work to pull together the related topics for discussion in future meetings, so all of us can better see the connections and consider the trade-offs of potential resolutions.

The Forest Service also understands that not all Objectors and Interested Persons were able to attend the first round of meetings or have their voices represented by others.

So, as we navigate these next steps, the Forest Service will work ensure we are as inclusive as possible in future objections-resolutions meetings.

Over the coming weeks the reviewing officers will be studying the notes and reflecting on what we heard in the first round of resolution meetings and we will be helping the Washington Office in scheduling the next round of objections-resolutions meetings. We will be in touch again to announce the next steps.

Thank you for your contributions, and I look forward to making more progress together in the near future.

Kind regards,
Glenn Casamassa,
Pacific Northwest Regional Forester 



Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the Blue Mountains Forest Plan planning process and scheduled objections resolution meetings, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r6/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd584707&width=full

In the News: Oregon’s Freres Lumber grows mass timber market

Mass timber is a term for a new class of ultra-strong construction materials produced by cross-grained layers of wood. Freres Lumber Company in Oregon is producing a type of mass timber engineered panel from sheets of wood veneer that is strong enough to be used for framing multi-story construction. Image: Screen capture from video posted by the North American Forests Partnership at www.forestproud.org: https://forestproud.org/2018/04/06/mass-timber-kyle-freres-freres-lumber-co/

The website North American Forest Partnership (NAFP)’s website shares stories from its members, a diverse coalition of forest industry professionals, organizations, and government agencies (including the USDA Forest Service) that focus on relevant, responsible, and innovative efforts for forest management, conservation and sustainable harvesting.

This month, the site features a video on the Freres Lumber Company, which is expanding the marketplace for a new wood product called mass timber, which they are doing with some help from a $250,000 “Wood Innovation” grant, awarded in 2017.

The USDA Forest Service’s Wood Innovation grants are awarded annually invest in research and economic development that expands the wood products and wood energy markets.

From the website:

For more than 90 years, the Freres family has been a steward of Oregon’s forests. With responsibility for more than 17,000 acres in the Pacific Northwest, the family-owned Freres Lumber Company has long been a pioneer in sustainable forest management and manufacturing.

Today, Kyle and his family continue that tradition, blending technology and sustainability to create the building materials of the future: Mass Timber. The same sustainable and renewable wood engineered to replace steel and concrete on a scale not previously possible. #forestproud.

View the video on the #forestproud website, or below:



Source information: Shared by the North American Forest Partnership: https://forestproud.org/2018/04/06/mass-timber-kyle-freres-freres-lumber-co/.

Regional Forester: Forest Service looking to listen and work towards resolution in Blues’ meetings

Leadership Corner - Glenn Casamassa

By Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester  –

Next week, I will be participating with a team of folks from the Forest Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., in Objections Resolution meetings for the Revised Forest Plans for the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. We will also be joined by other representatives from the Regional Office in Portland, Ore., and the involved National Forests.

Throughout this process, we received about 350 objection letters and have invited objectors from across the communities of Eastern Oregon to join us to discuss them.

I have worked closely with the Reviewing Officer, Chris French, for years and I know he and the team are as deeply committed to understanding your concerns as we are in the region.

We are coming to listen and hopefully begin the process of resolving your concerns and refining a shared vision for the future of these forests we all value.

It is important to all of us that we get to just sit down and talk with objectors and interested persons face-to-face.

The team has reviewed the objections and now, with this first round of meetings, we will all have an opportunity to work toward resolution—not in a room back in D.C., but rather there in the communities with you as citizens and stakeholders directly.

We hope to engage in meaningful dialogue and really listen to the issues of concern and to understand the underlying values that are important to each of you, your neighbors and the communities at large.

We’re committed to openness and are looking forward to the dialogue and opportunities for resolution that may surface.

I have had the opportunity to meet with several of your elected officials and our Forest Service partners thus far, and I have been moved by their commitment to the land and all of you.

Your communities are proud and resilient.

We want you to know that the team and I will be engaging directly with those who submitted objections during this process and we are ready to listen.

I hope to meet many of you next week.

Kind regards,

Glenn Casamassa
Regional Forester;
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region


Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the Blue Mountains Forest Plan planning process and scheduled objections resolution meetings, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r6/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd584707&width=full

 

In the News: First-of-kind torrefaction plant to open in eastern Oregon

A forested hill, with snow-dusted mountain tops in the distance.

Northwest News Network reporter Tom Banse explains “torrefaction” in this story about a first-of-it’s-kind facility for converting wood chips into a material that can be used as a substitute fuel in coal-fired power plants.

The facility will be located inside the Malheur Lumber Company mill in John Day, Ore. Wood chips will be supplied from biomass produced by stewardship work on the Malheur National Forest.

A major challenge to the Forest Service ability to coordinate stewardship work is the lack of commercially viable markets for biomass, which includes small-diameter trees and branches of the type removed during fuels reduction and forest thinning projects. The agency contributed financially to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. wood-to-energy grant program, which funds research towards developing new, commercially-viable wood-based biofuels products .

Full story, via Spokane Public Radio: http://www.spokanepublicradio.org/post/your-word-day-torrefaction-first-its-kind-plant-open-eastern-oregon

Matsutake mushroom season opens on Central Oregon forests

matsutake mushroom cap grows on a forest floor

BEND, Ore. – Aug. 28, 2018 – Matsutake mushroom commercial season opens immediately following Labor Day weekend on four National Forests in central Oregon.

This year’s commercial season for Matsutake mushrooms on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, and Willamette National Forests is Sept. 4 through Nov. 4, 2018.

Permits for the 62-day commercial season will cost $200. Half-season permits, valid for 31 consecutive days, will be $100, and day permits will be $8 per day with a three-day minimum purchase (picking days do not need to be consecutive).

The permits are valid on all four Central Oregon forests, and is required for all gathering of Matsutake mushrooms for re-sale.

Harvesters must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid ID in order to purchase a permit. Permits will be available at ranger district offices on the forests during regular business hours.

Each purchase of a permit will include an informational synopsis and map. The map shows areas open to harvest. The permit is NOT valid on state or private property.

Areas closed to harvest include Crater Lake National Park, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, and Research Natural Areas, Wilderness areas, Oregon Cascades Recreation Area (OCRA), campgrounds, and other posted closed areas.

The Forest Service requires commercial harvesters to have written permission from the agency to camp on any National Forest, except in designated camping areas.

Ranger District office locations:

Camping:

A campground for harvesters has been established at Little Odell Mushroom Camp near Crescent Lake, Ore. Hoodoo Recreation Services will manage the camp. The per-person rate for camping is $125 for the full two month season, $75 for a half-season and $40 per week. Site occupancy allows up to 8 persons and 2 vehicles. Water, garbage, and toilet services are provided. The camp will open on September 4, 2018. For more information about rates or services at Little Odell Mushroom Camp you can contact Hoodoo at 541-338-7869 or www.hoodoo.com.

Fire Safety:

Mushroom harvesters are reminded that Public Use Restrictions are in effect and must be followed due to VERY HIGH or EXTREME fire danger within the Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, Deschutes, and the Willamette National Forests. Harvesters should call the numbers listed for more information on site specific public use restrictions.

For more information about the Matsutake mushroom program, contact:

  • Fremont-Winema National Forest (Chemult Ranger District): (541) 365-7001,
  • Deschutes National Forest (Crescent Ranger District): (541) 433-3200,
  • Umpqua National Forest: (541) 957-3200
  • Willamette National Forest: 541-225-6300

Source information: Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette National Forest Matsutake Mushroom program (joint press release)

Gifford Pinchot NF huckleberry season opens Aug. 6

A young boy picks huckleberries

VANCOUVER, Wash. Aug. 5, 2018 – Gifford Pinchot National Forest commercial huckleberry permits for the 2018 berry season will be available at the forest’s ranger districts and the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters beginning Monday, August 6. A permit is required for all people harvesting more than three gallons, or selling any quantity of berries, on forest-managed lands.

The following regulations apply to commercial huckleberry permits:

  • Permits are $40 per permit for 14 days, or $75 for a season.
  • Permits will be issued beginning August 6, 2018.
  • All huckleberry permits include camping conditions that require all garbage and human waste tobe contained and removed from national forest land- “pack it in, pack it out.”
  • Berry harvesters may camp up to 14 days.
  • Rakes or mechanical devices for berry harvest are not permitted, as they damage plants.
  • A free map issued with permits shows areas on the forest that are closed to all harvest.
  • Violation of any regulation for commercial harvest is subject to a citation and fine.
  • For the safety of all forest users, berry harvesters are asked not to park vehicles in the roadway. Remember that parking in some developed recreation sites requires a Northwest Forest Pass.

Under Washington State law huckleberry buyers and sellers must register their sales transactions. For more details, visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forests’s forest permits page: www.fs.usda.gov/main/giffordpinchot/passes-permits/forestproducts.

A free-use permit is also required for harvesting smaller quantities of berries, for personal consumption, and can be obtained at no cost at the same locations commercial permits are sold.

For more information, contact: Cowlitz Valley Ranger District (360) 497-1100; Mount Adams Ranger District (509) 395-3400; or Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (360) 449-7800.


Source information: Gifford Pinchot National Forest public affairs staff

50,000 acres of forest restoration work approved on Okanogan-Wenatchee NF

A stand of ponderosa pine with limited brush and healthy tree spacing

TWISP, Wash.  —May 19, 2018 — Beginning as soon as this fall, work will begin to restore forest health in Washington State’s Methow Valley, as part of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest‘s Mission Restoration Project.

The 50,000 acre project includes mechanical forest thinning, prescribed fire, and other restoration work in the Libby Creek and Buttermilk drainages, located between Carlton and Twisp, Wash.

“This decision is a win for wildlife, water quality, reducing fire risk, the local economy, and so much more,” Paul Nash, Timber Management Assistant for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State, said. “In strong partnership with the local community and forest stakeholders, we are proactively restoring the Libby Creek and Buttermilk landscape.”

Final decision highlights:

  • Over the next 15 years, good fire will be returned to the landscape, reducing hazardous fuels on approximately 10,200 acres (with no more than 2,000 acres burned per year).
  • Long-term water quality and aquatic habitat would be improved throughout the watershed with the replacement of eight undersized culverts.
  • Commercial thinning would help restore dense, overcrowded forests on 1,853 acres while non-commercial thinning is planned on just over 8,300 acres.
  • Elevated risk of crown fires, which spread rapidly and do more damage to mature trees than ground-level fires, would be reduced across the project area – including areas where private or state lands meet federal lands.
  • The project is projected to generate more than $3.2 million dollars in timber value at the mill and support more than 172 jobs.
  • More than 66 miles of roads would remain open to provide for sustainable and safe forest recreation access.
  • Firewood cutting opportunities would exist wherever feasible, after commercial and non-commercial thinning operations have been completed.
  • More than 460 sites are planned for soil restoration to increase watershed function.

“We reviewed feedback and concerns from more than 900 comments over the past two and a half years to reach this decision,” Nash said. “Thank you to everyone who lent their voice to the important work of forest restoration.”

The project record and decision notice are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=49201.

The first commercial thinning sale from the project will be a stewardship sale whereby proceeds from the sale will be utilized to fund additional restoration work including aspen regeneration and wetland habitat enhancement.


Source information: Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest public affairs staff

Siuslaw NF Matsutake commercial permits on sale Aug. 13

A basket of matsutake mushrooms.

REEDSPORT, Ore. Aug. 1, 2018 – Annual commercial-use permits for Matsutake mushroom collection on the Siuslaw National Forest lands will be offered for purchase 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area office, 855 Hwy. 101, in Reedsport, Ore.

Anyone gathering matsutake mushrooms within the Siuslaw National Forest for the purpose of selling must carry a commercial-use permit while picking.

One hundred permits will be available for sale at a cost of $250 a permit. Permits will be sold on a first come, first served basis, and there is a limit of one permit per person.

To purchase a permit, the following information must be provided:

  • Valid identification card issued by a state or U.S. federal government
  • Vehicle make, model and license plate number
  • Permits can be purchased using cash, check or credit card.

After Aug. 13, unsold permits can be purchased out of the Siuslaw National Forest headquarters in Corvallis, the Central Coast Ranger Station in Waldport and the ODNRA office in Reedsport.

No permits are needed if gathering matsutakes for personal use. Personal use restrictions are six matsutakes per person a day, and the mushroom must be cut in half length-wise immediately upon harvesting to remove its commercial value.

Please be aware that similarly looking poisonous mushrooms exist in the same area as matsutakes. Do not disturb topsoil when searching for matsutakes by digging or raking. Upon harvesting a matsutake, return soil or debris attached to the stem back into the cavity created by the removed mushroom and cover the hole.

For more information: Contact the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Siuslaw National Forest) office at (541) 271-6000.


Source Information: Siuslaw National Forest public affairs staff

In the News: Eagle Creek fire, then & now

a batch of green is visible between two waterfalls in a valley below a burned forest ridgeline.
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