Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is currently trying to move a bill through Congress that would overhaul forest management east of the Cascades. In December, we talked with some key players in the timber industry and environmental conservation who support the plan. The idea is to approach publicly owned forest land with an eye towards environmental protection and economic gain.
Contentions between loggers and environmentalists have a long, bitter history in the forests of eastern Oregon. Some have said Wyden’s bill could mark a turning point in the divide. Stakeholders on both sides still have some concerns about the compromise, which has yet to make its way out of committee.
Cultivating environmentally healthy tree stands while encouraging economic growth is not an entirely new concept. There are several examples of this balance on privately owned timber land. Whether or not it could work on public land is an open question on the minds of many people who make their home and their living in Oregon’s vast eastern territory. In Enterprise, forestry issues have been even more pronounced in the past couple of weeks, as federal agencies investigate the fire that engulfed the U.S. Forest Service headquarters there.
Do you work in the woods? Do you live near public forest land? Have you built a business around logging smaller trees or using biomass for energy? Do you manage private forest land? What would Wyden’s bill mean to you?
- David Schmidt: President and owner of Integrated Biomass Resources and board member of Wallowa Resources
- Bruce Dunn: Forester for RY Timber in Northeast Oregon and chair of Wallowa County’s natural resources advisory committee
- Brian Kelly: Restoration coordinator for Hells Canyon Preservation Council