Here is a letter from a member of SAVE IDAHO COUNTY FORESTS that can be used as an example of what we need to say to our Legislative Delegates. These Delegates are being lobbied hard by Idaho Timber Group, Idaho County Commissioners, Idaho County Republican Central Committee, WPT and many other groups with deep pockets. As Jim states in this letter WE THE PEOPLE only have our votes to sway our Delegates. We need to get active with letters to our Delegates.
If you are not comfortable writing these type letters please consider attending one of our workshops and let our volunteers assist you. The next workshop is this Saturday, Feb. 4th at Riggins City Library from 10am until 4 pm. A second workshop will be on Feb 11th, noon until 4pm at the Grangeville Centennial Library.
To The Honorable Senator Monty Pearce:
A web-based comment was submitted by:
Name: Jim Updegrove
Address: XXXXX (X to protect privacy)
City/State/Zip: Riggins, ID 83549
Phone: (208) 628-XXXX Ext.: (X to protect privacy)
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerning: Upper Lochsa Land Exchange
With the following comments:
Senator Pearce As the Resources and Environment Committee begins to consider quasi legislation to promote the Upper Lochsa Land Swap (ULLE). I ask that the thousands of Idaho people who have been aroused over this painful matter be considered.
Former forest service supervisors, foresters, CPA’s and economists, teachers, policemen, doctors, lawyers, loggers, and most other occupations, have been involved in working with the USFS to arrive at a land swap solution that will be amenable to the U.S. citizens who use and love the multi-use public land. We have gathered volumes of research and information that is available to you on: www.stoptheswap.net or www.lochsalandexchange.com
County Commissioner Skip Brandt set off an explosion with his alternative to swap 45,000 old growth USFS timber acres for 39,000 WPT clear-cut acres. Harvestable timber on the USFS acres was cruised at over 500 million board feet. The cruise on WPT acres yielded a mere 20 million board feet of harvestable timber. Hardly a fair trade!
The acres Brandt wanted to trade were prime recreation public land near Grangeville to Riggins. This land supports our multi-use rural life. We need that land to remain public and open to our use. A conservation easement will not work.
I understand how WPT works through Andrew Hawes, its lobbyist/counsel/agent of owner, CEO of WPT, Tim Blixseth. Money talks, and money flows. WPT’s ally in this land swap, Idaho Forest Group has also been in Boise influencing the Legislature with its luncheons, dinners, political promises, workshops, and campaign funds.
Our grassroots organizations do not have big bucks to protect our interests, we can arm ourselves only with votes, and hope that will secure our land. I am aware that the State Legislature has only quasi-authority in affecting a land swap. The Legislature can be a big influence in bringing about a settlement. The final determination will be up to the U.S. Congress.
We ask that you help us secure our public land so that all the people will be permitted to use it according to the USFS management rules and laws. You could help us to find money to purchase the upper Lochsa Land from WPT. Timber, logs, should be removed from these old growth forests under a management plan. The USFS has already opened more forest to logging. Timber sales were opened and available for Idaho Forest Group’s or WPT’s bids.
The forest supervisior, Rick Brazell, told us at a recent meeting, that timber sales would increase on the Nez Perce/Clearwater Forest. USFS timber harvests have supported our schools and county road systems through SRS and PILT. With your help we would be able to have those bills renewed in our U.S. Congress to continue support for our rural needs.
Private land timber sales will never replace the federal support that we have enjoyed for many years. We need all the help we can get. I hope we can count on the State’s Senate to support its citizenry.
You are welcome to attend our next weekly meeting, Thursday, February 2, in Grangeville at the Senior Citizen’s Center at 5:30. Spaghetti dinner will be served. Speakers and discussion will follow.
Jim Udegrove cc: Senator Dan Johnson