Either we manage the forests or they will manage us

Print Article

Montanaís crisis isnít too much water or hurricanes ó itís fire. Itís smoke filling Big Sky Country and filling our lungs, communities being evacuated, structures lost and tons of fuels just lying on the forest floor waiting for a spark to ignite. In this year alone, over 1,600 fires have burned over 1 million acres in Montana ó thatís nearly equivalent to the entirety of the state of Delaware being on fire.

We are tired of being told that others know better than us while we watch our forests and grasslands burn every summer, our mills close, our neighbors lose jobs and our communities suffer from the lack of management of our federal public lands.

Too many forest management projects have been held up in frivolous litigation from radical environmentalists at our expense. One such project, the Stonewall project in both Powell and Lewis and Clark Counties, was halted and became fuel for two fires that blazed on the very lands that were set to be managed. Our inability to act and treat these acres further deteriorates the health of our forests and the communities that rely on them.

We need litigation relief and we need to cut red tape to get these projects done! The current process has become so bogged down with bureaucracy and litigation that some projects take years to get through, and others never even make it. In the meantime, the forests continue to get more and more overgrown, unhealthy and prone to wildfire.

A properly managed forest is a safer and healthier forest. Itís also good for wildlife habitat, water quality, recreation and minimizing the unspeakable amount of carbon emissions produced by wildfires. And timber jobs are good jobs. Weíre done listening to radical environmentalists when they tell us otherwise.

Mineral County was founded in 1914 and has a long history of being a community that thrives off of the abundant resources surrounding them. The county is home to just over 4,000 Montanans.

The first of many sawmills came to the area around the turn of the 20th century. For decades, the timber industry thrived ó Montanans worked hard and earned good money in the timber industry, but in the early 1990s things changed. Across our state, environmental lawsuits became a barrier to timber contracts that were awarded to Montana small businesses.

A community that once thrived on the abundant resources surrounding them now sits with one of the highest unemployment rates in our state.

Today, Mineral County has just a single lumber mill and folks there today are watching the very resources that supported their grandparents, burn. So far, over 25,000 acres have been torched in Mineral County this fire season and the fires continue to grow.

As your United States senator, I will work with anyone, of any party, and at all levels of government to ensure that forests are managed in a way that reduces the severity of wildfires because Montanans deserve it, the firefighters risking their lives out there deserve it ó and because it makes practical sense.

The bottom line is this: either we manage the forests, or the forests are going to manage us.

Steve Daines, a Bozeman Republican, is Montanaís junior U.S. senator.

Print Article

Read More Letters to the Editor

A fatherís legacy: The man who created the business program at FVCC

June 17, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Anyone who took business classes at Flathead Valley Community College from 1968 to 1992 will likely remember a constantly smiling faculty member by the name of Thomas C. Perry. Mr. Perry was known ...

Comments

Read More

A brush with fame leads to thoughts on over-use of drugs

June 17, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake I met Tom Petty in Bigfork two years ago in a downtown bar, very early in the morning. I had no need to drink and meeting him was a surprise. Petty was drinking, but I assume rock stars have a whol...

Comments

Read More

Gun issues are fueled by emotion

June 17, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Emotions can be a dangerous thing and cause an individual or a nation to act irrationally due to misinformation. Adolf Hitler gained total control because the citizens had no weapons of defense....

Comments

Read More

Letters to the editor for June 17, 2018

June 17, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake To the graduating class of 2018 You have accomplished a lot in the last four years. Now you have gotten the chance to walk across the stage in your unique cap and gown, receive your diploma, the con...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2018 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X