The Lands Council has undergone a paradigm shift. Originally, it was a strong advocate for protecting the forests. For the last 15 years, Mike Petersen, executive director of TLC, has become a cheerleader for collaboration and a promoter of very large destructive timber sales.
I agree with Russ Vaagen, president, and Petersen, vice president of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition in their Spokesman-Review guest opinion, “Forests are a source of abundance” (Feb. 21). The Colville National Forest acknowledges it has an abundance of roads that it can’t afford to maintain, which in turn contributes to its abundance of polluted streams and abundance of severely depleted native fish populations. This is true for the A to Z timber sales.
They say that they focus timber sales in areas that already have road systems, yet A to Z calls for building an additional 52 miles of new roads. So much for their concern and credibility.
Petersen and Vaagen say that the collaborative process has worked wonders. It has for Vaagen, who is managing and logging the very large A to Z timber sales (approximately 10,000 logging truck loads). It’s not forest health that’s driving collaboration - it’s money.