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Re: E-M:/ State Senators want National Forests given to Michigan -- and TIMBER MANDATE!

Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com

Why does the Mackinaw Chapter of SC continue to advocate for logging in our 
national forests when the official Sierra Club policy is to END COMMERCIAL 
LOGGING?  I would at least like to know why the Mackinaw does not support, 
take opportunity, or advocate their own organizations official policy.  I 
think the public and many of the Sierra Club members and local chapters, who 
voted 2 to 1 in support of END COMMERCIAL LOGGING, who expect this "mandate" 
to be implemented, deserve an answer to this.  

I would suggest taking our two national parks, Sleeping Bear Dunes National 
Lakeshore Park, and Pictured Rocks National Park, as examples of what forests 
begin to look like when they are free of commercial logging:  Walk the lush 
old growth Empire Bluffs trail in SBDNPL, then drive, hike or bike hwy 72  a 
few miles east to the Pierre Marquette state forest and stand in a pine 
plantation, or young aspen monoculture, you will notice a profound, startling 
difference.  This is but just one glaring example.  It does not take a rocket 
scientist to figure this stuff out. 

The National Forests and State Forests of Michigan should not be harvested 
commercially at all.  There is absolutely no reason they should not be set 
aside exactly as Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks have.  The Forest 
Service should be abolished or restructered and merged with the National Park 
Service for strictly a stewardship role in dealing with growing recreational 
impacts--like protecting piping plovers, which the Park Service trys very 
hard to do every year with volunteers, myself included.  There are years and 
years of restoration work (not restoration logging) which could employ people 
in the state of Michigan.

The DNR under Engler has a worse track record than the Forest Service, 
yes...and of course i oppose any timber mandate or rolling over of federal 
lands to the politically owned DNR, and will make my calls.  But to continue 
expecting change within these agencies, and without offering a clear, concise 
vision af to what is needed, is like a dragon chasing its tail. 

 Murray Dailey

"From 1980 to 1991 the U.S. Forest Service timber program operated at a net 
loss of $7.3 billion.  In fiscal year 1997, over $1.3 billion was 
appropriated from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury and another $466 
million was spent from off budget accounts for the timber sale program.  Only 
$68 million of these receipts were returned to the Treasury, resulting in a 
net cash loss to taxpayers of over $1.2 billion.  (Hansen, Chad, "Ending 
Timber Sales On National Forests, The Facts,"  1999)."

In a message dated 3/4/2 11:01:50 PM, anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org wrote:

"National Forests, and someday, one would hope, State Forests, are about 
providing for everything from timber, to tourism, to clean water, to 
protection of natural diversity, etc. etc." 

Sen. Concurrent Resolution 53 Wants US to Give National Forests to State

Senate Approps Subcom on Nat Resources Passes SCR 53 day after introduced

Tuesday this past week, Senate Concurrent Resolution 53 was introduced into

the Michigan State Senate, and Wednesday it was passed out of the Senate

Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources (Sen. DeBeaussaert voted

NO, McManus, Gast, Hoffman and Koivisto voted YES). SCR 53 (copied below in

its entirety, with names of sponsors and cosponsors) asks the US Congress to

hand over Michigan's almost 3 million acres of National Forest lands to the

State to be run by the Michigan State DNR instead.  Similar idiotic

resolutions have circulated in other states as the Mine It, Log It and Road

It lobbies try to maximize private profits as public expense.

Proponents argue that the feds are wasting money running the national

forests (in Michigan that "waste" amounts to federal funds flowing into the

state's rural areas at a rate of about $35,000,000 per year in direct

funding of the three National Forests and PILT and other funds given

directly to counties), and claim that the state's grossly underfunded and

understaffed program, which is hidebound by a mandated timber treatment

level, would somehow improve the management.  What is most grossly apparent

is that our legislators just plain don't get it.  National Forests, and

someday, one would hope, State Forests, are about providing for everything

from timber, to tourism, to clean water, to protection of natural diversity,

etc. etc.  The blinders put on their eyes by the timber industry, which is a

smaller and smaller part of any good, diversified forest economy, seems

likely to lead these folks to throw away tens of millions of dollars of

federal funds, throw away the type of programs the national forests provide

that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly, simply because the

timber folks think they ought to have free reign over our forests.

Even though this resolution is worth even less than the value of the sheet

of paper it is on when that paper is recycled properly, the problem here is

that this group of Senators seem eager to brand this state as a timber

industry dominated state that would gladly take over the national forests so

they can be handed up, timber mandate and all, on a silver platter to the

timber interests in Michgan.  SCR 53 will next go to the full Appropriations

Committee in the Senate -- your comments to Senator Gast, chairman of the

Committee, or any of the other Senators, might help change their minds.  The

whole list of Committee members is provided here, and you can find their

contact info at


APPROPRIATIONS: Senators Gast (C), Schwarz (VC), McManus, Johnson, Hoffman,

North, Gougeon, Bennett, Stille, Goschka, Smith (MVC), Koivisto, Young,

Murphy, DeBeaussaert, and Dingell

And, by the way, for those keeping score on the Timber Mandate from past

years:  The Governor's budget included the mandate language just as it

passed last year -- 63,000 acres of State Forests +/- 10% to be "treated" at

a rate averaging 12.5-13 cords per acre, and calling for an old growth

working group.  Senator McManus has modified the language to define old

growth as trees that were established before the 1880's.  Since the

DNR-convened stakeholder old growth working group is working on this now,

and is hoping to complete its work soon, this provision is clearly not

appropriate.   The DNR Budget, with Timber Mandate in place, passed the

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources, on last Wednesday

as well.  It will go to the full Appropriations committee sometime soon.


Senators McManus, Koivisto, North, Gougeon, Schwarz, Steil, Schuette and

Hoffman offered the following concurrent resolution:

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 53.

A concurrent resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to

turn over the management of federal forest lands to the states through a

block grant program.

Whereas, In recent years, our country has benefited from public policy

encouraging the states to assume responsibility for tasks long handled by

the federal government. Experts in many fields have come to accept the

wisdom of utilizing state expertise and resources to deal with problems that

are best addressed locally rather than from Washington, D.C.; and

Whereas, The management of public forest lands is another area that should

be turned over to states through a program of block grants. Michigan, with

more public forests than any other state in the eastern portion of the

country, has compiled an impressive record of success in the management of

its resources.

The condition of Michigan's state forest acreage is a model for other parts

of the country; and

Whereas, There are several sound reasons why forest management would be more

efficiently and productively managed by the state instead of the federal

government. State management offers flexibility, rather than a "one size

fits all" approach; shorter lines of communication; better communication

within local regions; and generally lower overall costs. State control over

forest operations in Michigan will more accurately reflect our citizensí

historic sense of commitment and investment in this vitally important

resource; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That we

memorialize the Congress of the United States to turn over the management of

federal forest lands to the states through a block grant program; and be it


Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of

the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of

Representatives, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.

Pending the order that, under rule 3.204, the concurrent resolution be

referred to the Committee on Government Operations,

Senator Emmons moved that the rule be suspended.

The motion prevailed, a majority of the members serving voting therefor.

The question being on the adoption of the concurrent resolution,

Senator Emmons moved that the concurrent resolution be referred to the

Committee on Appropriations.

The motion prevailed.

Senators Goschka, Stille and Young were named co-sponsors of the concurrent



Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter

109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906

517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108  anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org

visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http:\\michigan.sierraclub.org


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