There is no time to waste. We are way behind the eight ball. Right now there should be hundreds of trucks on our highways hauling a variety of wood products to their intended markets, removing fuel from future fires, locking carbon into our homes and the other plethora of wood products that we all use every single day, and sick trees that are subject to serious insects and disease. All of us should get behind Congressman Ryan Zinke’s Forest Stewardship Program. Friend’s of the Bitterroot and Alliance for the Wild Rockies need to stand down – just get out of the way. If you don’t, you will pay a dear price in the court of public opinion.
I am a decorated veteran of the U.S. Forest Service, where I served as a professional forester and certified silviculturist from 1977 to 1991 in the big tree state of Oregon, Region 6, USFS. I am offering my services to Zinke. My hope is that other Forest Service veterans will come out of retirement and do the same.
I believe that the northern Rockies are in the early stages of a major insect and disease outbreak. The east face of the Bitterroot Mountains is in serious jeopardy. The tree stand conditions are ripe for a very scary spruce budworm outbreak. If it happens, we will all wake up some late spring day to a brown forest, and people will literally freak out!
And just how do I have the right to make this prediction? My last big project in Oregon was to evaluate the impacts of a massive spruce budworm outbreak on 550,000 acres of the Ochoco National Forest, near the central Oregon town of Prineville, in 1990.
Chris A. Linkenhoker
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