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Tue., March 11, 2014

Public loses in swaps

The land trade proposed by Western Pacific Timber and fully supported by wilderness advocacy groups has been controversial since it was first proposed. If past practices are any indication, the low-elevation public lands to be traded to the timber company will be clear-cut and subdivided. The lands to be acquired by the U.S. Forest Service will be targeted by wilderness proponents for addition to the national wilderness system. The loser in the trade will be the public at large.

The motivation behind the land trade is to turn a profit for the timber company. At the same time, the wilderness advocates within and outside the Forest Service see it as an opportunity to designate wilderness study area that would greatly restrict multiple-use activities on the newly acquired lands.

A clear solution to the problem is to have the wilderness advocates step forward and use some of their vast resources to purchase the land from Western Pacific. Western Pacific makes a profit and the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, et al., can manage their lands as they see fit. And the Forest Service can get back to their charge to manage the national forests for the public at large.

Richard Creed

Sagle, Idaho

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