Friday, March 2, 2012

Timber Decline Makes Recreationists an Endangered Species?

Having worked in the timber industry in Humboldt County during the 1970s, I have watched the tremendous economic hit that rural interests have endured because of impacts to that industry over the last 20-30 years.

HQ wanted to share a recent article about how this downturn impacts both the local economy, forest health, and public access.

SAF Article on Forest Hit

Historically, recreational use on federal timberlands was heavily subsidized by the logging industry. They constructed and maintained many of the roads and trails (old skid roads) that we use today. Those days are gone and recreationists must look to appropriated funding, state grant programs, and use fees to support our activity. All of those support elements are in a decline as well.

As a recreation professional today, I am concerned about how the current political and economic crisis will impact access to, and recreational use of, public lands. This current state of flux (with no end in sight) means that we must continue to future and be pro-active as recreation advocates. Sharpening the existing tools (and adding new ones) in our “land-use toolbox” is the order of the day. If we don’t adapt – or work to effect change -- to our ever-evolving political environment, we could end up on the ESA list ourselves.

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1 comment:

  1. I think that you mean the roads that we can't use. I worked at a mill for 18 years that shut down in 1981 (Eureka) due to the Redwood National Park. I worked as REPP Advocate for the displaced timber workers for 2 years. These mill closures were devastating to the workers. They caused massive job losses, family problems, loss of homes,etc. Our political environment has lost all touch with the working person, partially because there are less and less due to lack of jobs.

    We need to pursue land-use, not just for recreation, but for industry and jobs.

    Carl B