Idaho communities have depended on the U.S. Forest Service for seasonal jobs, collaboration with universities and a dependable employment base of educated professionals who had pride in “Caring for the Land and Serving People.”
The Forest Service was considered high-caliber public land management as contrasted to industrial timber throughout history. It has disintegrated over several decades. Reasons are complex, but the bottom line: We must fight for the Forest Service’s viability or public lands will be privatized.
The Lochsa Land Exchange represents a knockout blow to the Forest Service in Idaho, with implications for the entire West. As Congress is saying “no” to selling surplus federal property, the Forest Service is proposing to trade large tracts of Idaho public land to a limited liability company with no loyalties, unless to a Timber Investment Management Organization (TIMO).
TIMOs and REITs – real estate investment trusts – are based elsewhere and traded on the stock exchange for the highest return to investors. Millions in assets are necessary to be a qualified investor. This is not you, me, or most of public land ownership.
It’s up to us to stop the destruction of the agency’s mission. Call Clearwater/Nez Perce National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell (208) 983-1950 advising no action on the Lochsa Land Exchange.