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Posted on March 29 at 12:36 p.m.
Greenbean - it might help your understanding of the issue if you read ForestWatch's comments to this article (the 10th comment of this list). Seems like they tried to work with the Forest Service for two years to resolve this issue before issuing a Notice of Intent. Are you condoning illegal behavior by government agencies because they are broke and underfunded? Should I be allowed to break the law if money gets tight? I just do not understand how people are willing to look the other way when it comes to complying with the law of the land. What happened to accountability? You can throw a dog a bone, but you can't make him chase it - but a judge can.
On Fuel Break Squabble
Posted on March 28 at 1:16 p.m.
Thumbs down to Los Padres Forest Service spokesman, Andrew Madsen, for attempting to turn public opinion against ForestWatch for trying to get the Forest Service to comply with a law that has been on books since 1918. "Us versus them" politics and rhetoric are not what this community needs to understand emotionally charged issues such as wildfire and species protection.
Where are the quotes from independent bird experts on the value of migratory bird species? A further discussion on why the Forest Service cannot seem to accomplish this work during the other EIGHT MONTHS of the year? How about an objective review of the fuel breaks by fire personnel - do these things even work?
I have been up on West Camino Cielo and I have seen these supposed "fuel breaks" and they do not look like any other fuel breaks I have ever witnessed. The areas are constructed haphazardly with some located near the road while other penetrate deep into the chaparral, with patches and stands of untouched vegetation located even within their perimeters. Few, if any, look like they would be useful in a wildfire situation. What I see are fire hazards that contribute to habitat fragmentation, new areas for invasive weeds to take root, and miles of illegal trails constructed where the formerly lush vegetation has been ripped out (you want to start a fire, then keep letting the off-roaders ride their combustion, yes that means fire, engine machines on illegal trails). If money is an issue, then help homeowners who live in and near the forest create defensible space around their structures - this has been shown over and over again (throughout forests of all types in this country) to be the most effective way to prevent loss of life and property damage in a wildfire. Don't waste it on some Idaho contractor, who no local knowledge of the area, to drive his giant lawnmower randomly around our incredible Los Padres Forest.
Posted on March 1 at 3:31 p.m.
Greenbeans - methinks your studies in natural resource management have not given you the "decent knowledge on resource management" that you think you possess. Section 4 (d)(1) of the Wilderness Act of 1964 clearly states, "In addition, such measures may be taken as may be necessary in the control of fire, insects, and diseases, subject to such conditions as the Secretary deems desirable." The use of power tools, aerial retardant drops, and even bulldozers have all been used and will continue to be used in fighting wild land fires both in and out of wilderness areas on public lands. During the Zaca Fire that burned much of the San Rafael Wilderness, high winds and limited on-the-ground resources forced fire responders to focus efforts on limiting the spread of the fire toward inhabited areas (mostly south and north of fire ignition point) while allowing the fire to spread into the uninhabited wilderness (primarily west to east - same direction as the prevailing winds). This was a reasoned choice given the circumstances and not one mandated by limitations set forth in the Wilderness Act. Protection of public safety and property will always be the first criteria used when allocating resources to fight wild land fires. I challenge you to cite any law that states the contrary.
On Protecting Los Padres Wilderness — and Dirt Bikes?
Posted on March 1 at 9:37 a.m.
I think this is a good first step toward better protection for the Los Padres Forest - wilderness and wild rivers are our strongest protective laws for public lands. It is highly commendable that conservation groups and a conservative member of Congress are even engaged in a dialogue on these issues. Yes, there are some bad provisions with respect to conservation within this legislation, but isn't that to be expected from an elected official with a zero environmental voting record? While I am sure there are people in this community who will be reactionary and quick to condemn the efforts of others and this bill, I hope that most will patiently allow the legislation process to take its course. This bill is far from law as it must go through the House and Senate before being presented to the President for his signature. At any point during that process, the bill may be changed - provisions removed or added. And while the House is an unknown at this point, I trust that our champion senators, Feinstein and Boxer, will not allow any bill to pass the Senate that opens roads that have been closed for years and decades due to public safety issues, allow an unfair land exchange to go through that permits United Water to get out of following endangered species requirements, nor create any new mandates which unreasonably micromanage the USFS. So scream at the top of your lungs at those you think are to blame or take part in the democratic process and write a letter to your representatives asking them to improve the bill, but don't forget that it is springtime in the forest so go spend some time out there!
Posted on June 23 at 9:16 a.m.
I think it is important to note that this proposal started out with close to 400,000 acres under consideration. The current proposal of roughly 200,000 represents the significant compromise wilderness advocates have made in order to ensure other forest uses would be minimally impacted, if at all. This campaign has been a model of community participation, regardless of political persuasion. The final result will be a wilderness and wild river bill for which all the communities around the forest will be proud.
On Making the Los Padres Even More Wild