Montana Makes Sense…

Dear Editor,

It appears Montana is ahead of Idaho in recognizing that we need to start managing our forests before we lose all of them to fire! U.S. Senator Steve Daines and U.S. Congressman Greg Gianforte, both of Montana, are working to bring back forest management on our National Forests, with a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is now being reviewed by the U.S. Senate. The bill cuts red tape, reduces predatory litigation, accelerates common sense fire reduction projects, modernizes how we pay for catastrophic wildfires and forces the Forest Service keep it’s promise to manage our public land. The Forest Service estimates there are 6.3 billion dead trees now in 11 western states, setting the stage for increased catastrophic fires. Last year, Montana lost 1.2 million acres to wild fires, and Idaho lost 686,000 acres. According to the two legislators, decades of mismanagement, environmental lawsuits and excessive red tape have kept responsible forest management projects from moving forward on much of our public land.

The fires in Idaho have burned over the last five years, on average more than 2.5 times that which had burned in the first five years after 2000. To think that we are considering more wilderness in Idaho, land that will assuredly never be managed, is beyond comprehension. It is time to come to our senses and put a stop to this.

Bonner County needs to defeat the proposed Scotchman Peaks wilderness on May 15 and send a message to Sen. Risch that more wilderness is the last thing Idaho needs. What we really need is the federal government to actively manage the forests entrusted to them!

Please join me on May 15 and vote NO

Russell Schenck
Clark Fork

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