Apache Tribe Blames US for Forest Ailments

By Brandi Buchman
Taking the United States to court, an Arizona-based Native American tribe blames federal mismanagement for putting their once thriving timber industry against the ropes.

Describing itself as the country’s 11th largest Indian reservation, the White Mountain Apache note that their vast natural resources “are of enormous economic importance to the tribe.”

“If managed correctly, the reservation’s natural resources would sustain the tribe and its members into the foreseeable future,” their complaint states, filed on March 15 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Though the United States has held these resources in trust for the tribe since at least 1871, the White Mountain Apache say mismanagement has resulted in substantial losses — the full extent of which is not yet known.

Source: Apache Tribe Blames US for Forest Ailments – Courthouse News, 2017-03-21

Forest Service, BLM begin outreach over future plans for Bears Ears

by Dave-Cawley
…The BLM and the U.S. Forest Service share the job of forming a management plan for all 1.35 million acres of Bears Ears National Monument. It’s a new approach for the respective agencies in Utah, where prior monuments have been the exclusive purview of either the National Park Service, as with Natural Bridges, Timpanogos Cave, Cedar Breaks, Hovenweep, Rainbow Bridge and Dinosaur National Monuments, or the BLM with the sprawling Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The Manti-La Sal National Forest is already nine months into the process of updating a decades-old forest management plan. That process is estimated to last three to five years. The Bears Ears management plan could take just as long, though the people responsible hope to expedite the effort.

During that time, staff from both agencies will solicit public input and craft policies governing the future of all uses on the public lands within Bears Ears’ boundaries. The proclamation instructs the agencies to give special consideration to input from a tribal commission, though the Forest Service and BLM will have the final say on any decisions.

Source: Forest Service, BLM begin outreach over future plans for Bears Ears | Deseret News

Tongass National Forest Plan Moves to Young-Growth Timber

By BECKY BOHRER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Plans for managing the nation’s largest national forest call for changes in timber harvests that one critic says will be “the demise of the timber industry as we know it right now.”

The Tongass National Forest released a management plan update Friday that it says will emphasize young-growth timber sales in the forest, which covers much of southeast Alaska, and allow for a logging rate that it says will meet projected timber demand.

This stems from a 2013 memo from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, directing Tongass managers to speed the transition from old-growth harvests toward a wood-products industry that mainly uses young-growth timber. The move was to be done in a way that preserves a viable timber industry. The transition goal was 10 years to 15 years, compared to the prior target of 32 years.

The decision released Friday calls for a full transition in 16 years and expects most timber sold by the Tongass to be young growth in 10-15 years.

Source: Tongass National Forest Plan Moves to Young-Growth Timber -ABC News

Million-acre forest plan designed to make Black Hills more resilient to fire, bugs

DEADWOOD — In roughly two decades, the Black Hills mountain pine beetle infestation has decimated approximately 215,000 acres of pine trees in the Black Hills, leaving drastically changed woodlands in its wake.

Designed to reduce fire hazards and promote biodiversity on more than one million acres of public land in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, the framework for the major new management plan, is set forth in a document titled the “Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project.”

Source: Million-acre forest plan designed to make Black Hills more resilient to fire, bugs – Black Hills Pioneer: Local News