|Frustrated timber rep walks out on forestry group||| Print ||
|Written by Associated Press|
|Sunday, 25 August 2013 05:55|
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — The sole timber representative on a Southern Oregon forest-management group has resigned.
Dave Schott says the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative didn't do enough in his eight years on the board to merit participation.
Schott says the group is overly focused on the priorities of environmentalists and fails to take into account the needs of the timber logging industry.
"This is coming to a head," Schott said of the timber debate. "People are realizing something has to be done. We can't keep kicking the can down the road."
At the outset, the local group agreed to base its work on a three-pronged approach that included economics, environment and social considerations, Schott said.
"We agreed we needed all three together to make things work," he said. "But the economic leg became secondary to the others."
Schott is executive vice president of the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association.
The collaborative's director, George McKinley, says Schott's resignation is "short sighted," The Medford Mail Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1fabUMu ).
"It's unfortunate," McKinley said of Schott's resignation. "Special interest groups are hard to bring to the middle, no matter how big that middle may be."
McKinley acknowledged pilot timber projects didn't yield as much timber as the collaborative would have liked.
But McKinley says the collaborative was making progress to reach common ground on ecological issues and reforestation.
Fellow longtime board member Joseph Vaile, executive director of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildland Center, said he understands Schott's frustration.
"I get his frustration," he said. "It would be better if there were more good projects moving forward."
But he noted it takes a long time for change to occur, particularly when it includes moving from logging old-growth timber to a focus on thinning and restoring forest health as recommended by scientists.
"I think there is progress in terms of the objective people want," Vaile said. "We just need more buy-in from the federal agencies to move forward with projects that restore forests, protect clean water and have an economic component that doesn't sacrifice the environment."
Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/
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