Loggers must adapt to changing forest service guidelines

Loggers must adapt to changing forest service guidelines

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by Ty Brennan

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 2:45 PM

CAMBRIDGE -- Logging is a way of life for those who live in the Salubria Valley - the "Gateway to Hells Canyon."

Over the years, those who survive by means of the timber industry have had to change they way they operate, balancing business with environmental regulations.

KTVB spoke to one logging family who said the regulations have made it hard to produce over the last decade.

The U.S. Forest Service said as a way to protect threatened species in the area, they have had to make some more rules.

Some loggers and ranchers are not happy with those changes, while others say they're learning to adapt.

Joe Mahon and his family have been in the logging industry since 1969. Over the years they've seen a lot of changes.

"It's a lot more sensitive," said Mahon.

More sensitive because of the regulations that have been placed on them from the U.S. Forest Service and other environmental agencies.

"It used to be that timber was the objective and now the objective is restoration," Mahon explained.

"There's frustrations at a local level cause a lot of folks don't understand the national environmental policy act, NEPA, and the so called red tape," said Greg Lesch, the District Ranger with the Council Ranger District.

Lesch says the regulations that are put in place are all in an effort to protect threatened species, like the Idaho ground squirrel, Canadian lynx and other animals that call these mountains their home.

"I think if all the players can come to a table and agree on something, where not everybody gets a pendulum shifting their way, but agree on something that's for the benefit of the community and the species and economics that's great," said Lesch.

Mahon agreed, "See a genuine effort on their part to make it work for us and to make it work for them, but you know they're answering to people above them and they have rules and guidelines they have to follow."

Mahon also said although some of the rules have hampered they way they work, they'll continue to adapt, just as they have the past 42 years.

Right now, the forest service is focusing their attention on an area northeast of Council. They are conducting an analysis of the white-headed woodpecker habitat.

 

That could affect how much grazing and logging could be affected in that area.

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