Letters to the Editor-April 3, 2014

Stop the lawsuits and let forest managers do their job

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed reading about the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest (BDNF) plans to move forward with timber harvest in response to the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

I am in full support of the working group moving forward with their pursuit of outside funding. However, I would like to make it clear one reason why the forest does not have the budget to make timber harvest a reality.

The general public does not realize that any group who successfully sues the forest (over birds, logging, other wildlife, streams, fish, motorized recreation, etc.) is paid out of pocket by the forest or even district where the topic of litigation is occurring. In other words, if the BDNF loses a case they are not only responsible for the legal fees won buy the opponent, but also the litigation fees incurred by the opponent. Money paid out is not made up elsewhere. It is a reduction of funds that are no longer available for proper management of the resource.

There are groups in the area who make a living by robbing the BDNF of their operating funds in this way. These groups are taking away from the management of the resources they claim to be protecting. If this cycle continues, how will the BDNF ever have enough money to properly manage our forest? By not allowing forest managers to do their job and move forward with timber harvest, we put our homes and cities at risk of catastrophic, out of control wildfire. Forests are losing operating funds in lawsuits daily. Stop the lawsuits and let managers do their job.

Joshua Monroe


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