February 2017 Newsletter

Forest Health Task Force   |   Greenlands Reserve   |  Donate Now

Our Public Lands
Use and Protect - Neglect and Lose

(Open discussion) 

The Forest Health Task Force meets Wednesday, February 15, Noon - 1:30 p.m
County Commons, Mount Royal Room
Almost 80% of Summit County is publicly-owned land, primarily managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Recreational activities on our lands include skiing, boarding, snowmobiling, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, motorized vehicle recreation and a host of other outdoor activities. Our public lands are the primary economic driver for Summit County. Economic activities built on, around, and benefiting from our public lands include 4 major ski/summer resorts, real estate, timber, mining and outfitters. Our Summit County way of life is built on citizen access to our great outdoors. Whether monetary or as a quality of life for you, we all have a stake in our public lands. And yet, many times we take our ownership interest for granted.

Along with ownership comes responsibility. If we truly care about our public lands, we must be actively engaged in their management. This means vigorous community engagement with the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, and the Colorado State Forest Service along with volunteer efforts to build and maintain trails and campgrounds are critical. This is our responsibility as citizens, stakeholders and public landowners.    

Summit Daily News reporter, Kevin Fixler, has done substantial research into U.S. HR621, which proposed to sell off 3.4 million acres of public land in the West. The bill has since been withdrawn, but the sentiment among some lawmakers to divest of public lands remains. Kevin has graciously agreed to update us on his research and participate in a roundtable discussion. If you're unfamiliar with the bill and are passionate about keeping Public Lands Public, come hear the local perspective on an issue that's sure to be continued.

Link to relevant articles below:

Public land in Summit County could have private owner under federal bill, Fixler

U.S. Congressman withdraws federal bill to sell off public lands, Fixler

Summit County’s public lands draw more retirees than other Colorado counties, Langley

Nationwide, 3.4 million acres of public lands are at risk of being privatized.  Get informed. Stay informed. Hope to see you Wednesday, February 15 at noon. Lunch will be served.
REMINDER! Future Meetings, 12-1:30:

Wed, March 15, County Commons, Mt. Royal Rm
Wed, April 19, County Commons, Mt. Royal Rm
Wed, May 17, County Commons, Buffalo Mt. Rm
Wed, June 21, County Commons, Buffalo Mt. Rm
Wed, July 19, County Commons, Mt. Royal Rm
Wed, August 19, County Commons, Mt. Royal Rm
Wildland Firefighters' Future

It’s not clear what will happen with seasonal hires such as wildland firefighters.

Federal hiring freeze hits Western land agencies (HCN.org, January 2017)

Editor's note: On Jan. 31, the Office of Management and Budget released a memo for “additional guidance” on the federal hiring freeze. The memo only outright exempted the U.S. Postal Service, military and CIA, but made more allowances for seasonal hires. Without mentioning specific agencies, the memo says seasonal and temporary employees may be hired to “meet traditionally occurring seasonal workloads,” but requires agencies needing those workers to notify OMB ahead of time, before hiring.

President Donald Trump announced a freeze on all federal hiring....


US Forest Service News

Forest Service ‘optimistic’ Trump hiring freeze won’t affect White River summer operations (Post Independent, Feb 2017)

Officials in the White River National Forest are confident they will be able to hire seasonal workers for duties such as patrolling wilderness areas and clearing deadfall off trails despite a temporary hiring freeze of civilian employees by the federal government. White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said the U.S. Forest Service has asked the Office of Management and Budget for....

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Public Lands'
(Bipartisan Agreement)


Keep them PUBLIC!
UPDATED Poll: Trump and non-Trump voters agree on public lands (Reno Gazette Journal, January 2017)

...There’s at least one issue that does more to unite than divide voters in the western United States; public lands.

Polling from seven western states shows Democrats, Republicans and independent voters have similar interests when it comes to federally managed public land. The poll, conducted through the Colorado College State of the Rockies project and led by Democratic and Republican consultants, measured....

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Trump administration backs off plan to scrub climate pages from EPA website (Washington Post, January 2017)

The Trump administration on Wednesday backed away from plans to take down some climate-change information from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, which employees said had been planned for this week. But political appointees are exerting more oversight over the agency’s scientific communications.

Doug Ericksen, spokesman for the Trump team in charge at the agency, told The Hill in an interview Wednesday that officials are reviewing all “editorial” parts of the EPA’s website and discussing possible changes, not necessarily looking to take down all climate data.“We’re looking at scrubbing it up a bit, putting....

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Water for Agriculture


California marijuana harvest

Why California’s Cannabis Industry Will Lead Water Innovation (NewsDeeply.com, February 2017)

...[T]hough California voters legalized recreational marijuana – and its production – last year, many growers in the Emerald Triangle and other parts of the state are not rank beginners. Eager to build their reputations for quality and just as anxious to maximize yields of a crop that’s sold by the gram, cannabis cultivators have been among the most driven and exacting farmers in agriculture.So now we have highly motivated growers, under regulatory scrutiny, in a state that’s been gripped in an epic drought for the past six years. If you ask me, those are the people who will be leading agriculture toward sustainable water management.....

Citizen Scientists

Aerial Photo of fracking operations in Appalachia

Can Citizen Science Save Us From Environmental Disasters? (NationSwell.com, February 2017)

During the rush-hour commute on Tokyo’s trains, it’s easy to spot riders gaming on their phones, sorting sweets in Candy Crush or mustering armies in Clash of Clans. But Kevin Hemphill, a geeky ex-pat, played a different game on his iPad, flipping through images of forests and meadows in Pennsylvania that had been cleared. Tapping the screen, he marked the location of ponds and transmitted the data to a nonprofit halfway across the globe. Through the web-based FrackFinder, a project of the nonprofit SkyTruth, Hemphill, nostalgic for his childhood home in the Rust Belt of Ohio, pored over the images of the Keystone State. He was looking for...

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What's best for the forest...
tree marked for harvest

Tree marked for harvest in Southern Oregon

Forestry analysis must include all the facts
(The Register Guard, February 2017)

We’re tired of the bickering over logging. Tired of people talking past one another: “Logging is good!” “No, it’s bad!”Let’s replace the rhetoric with facts. Compare the benefits of logging against the costs. If the facts show that the benefits exceed the costs, cut the trees down; if not, let them stand.At a recent public meeting in Springfield, staff from the Oregon Board of Forestry said the board took this approach to develop a proposed rule that will restrict logging along....

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Firewise Communities


Home Insurance

USAA Provides Policyholder Discounts in Seven States (Firewise Discount)

...If you are a current USAA member living in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas or Utah, you must reside within the boundaries of a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site to qualify for the discount. In these states that have approved USAA’s Firewise discount, USAA homeowners policy holders living in a recognized Firewise community will automatically receive the discount at their first renewal following the discount’s effective date. New USAA policies for homes in recognized communities also...

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Events & Info


NEXT FHTF Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, March 15, Noon-1:30
Mount Royal Room, County Commons in Frisco (37 Peak One Dr.)

High Country Forest Collaborative
Front Range Roundtable meeting

March 3
9:30-2:30pm, Location TBA
Please contact Brad Piehl at: bpiehl@jw-associates.org

Colorado Water Congress- Summer Conference
August 22-25
Vail, CO
More Info

FDRD: Volunteer Opportunities
Join FDRD for on-going volunteer activities

Colorado State Forest Service Volunteer Opportunities
View opportunities here

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