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Forest Bill Goes Before Senate Committee

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A bill that would set timber harvest goals for national forests throughout the West was the subject of a U.S. Senate Committee hearing last Thursday. The “National Forest Jobs and Management Bill” sponsored by Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is promoted as a way to bring more money to rural schools and create timber jobs. Retired Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton says the legislation was a surprise because it wasn’t crafted based on local input.  She explains that without involving people at the local level – like forest supervisors and community members, citizens, people like that – she is doubtful about how workable the legislation  is going to be. Hamilton says such collaborations have long been the model for decisions about national forests in residents’ backyards, and it was local input that crafted the Bridger-Teton management plans.  Hamilton says the forest has three wilderness areas and it just has incredible wildlife and scenery; and it has always been more of a backcountry recreation forest. The “National Forest Jobs and Management Bill” does not have funding attached to it, so if it becomes law it would need an appropriation to be carried out.

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