THE WESTERNER sez
Twelve years ago, Ric Frost with the Range Improvement Task Force at NMSU testified to the House Resources Committee:
...In February 1999, the USFS of that region contacted our department to help them develop plans to bring back the loggers as the USFS has a substantial area that needed to be worked or a catastrophic fire equal or greater than the Yellowstone fire of years ago would occur. They had a contract for sale and had no takers or even inquiries. Our reply was that it would take tens of millions of dollars and at least 2 years to put the logging infrastructure back in place. The loss of the economic structure due to endangered species has created the situation that when the USFS has timber to harvest, there is no one to do it.
Roads need upgrading. Equipment needs to be brought back in. The whole area would have to start from scratch in rebuilding the infrastructure to help the Forest Service do its job in managing for catastrophic fires and fulfill the original mission of the Forest Service found in the Organic Act of 1897: to manage for timber production.
Concerns over endangered species litigation has so overwhelmed the federal agency and has been infiltrated with environmental idealists, that this agency has lost sight of its original purpose. Managers are now so hesitant to use common sense in their approach to manage rationally, they irrationally make decisions or make no decisions out of fear of incurring litigation from non-profit environmental agencies such as the Forest Guardians, The Southwest Center for Biological Diverstiy, the Sierra Club and a host of other groups. They are unable to manage effectively with sound silvicultural practices. Thus we have the catastrophic potential for wildfires that exist today...