Opinions Vary Widely At Forestry Policy Conference

Jun 25, 2013

U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek(M-1)
Credit WXPR

Dialog was evident Monday during the Forestry Policy Conference held in Carter.

Three Congressional members, U.S. Forest Service represenatives, state legislators and department heads, tribal representatives, and business interests discussed timber management, mainly in Wisconsin and Michigan's national forests.

Michigan Republican U.S. Representative Dan Benishek from Iron River says there has been a push to get more production from the forests...

"...I know what we've been working on to try to fix some of the individual parts of the process, making it easier to harvest out of the federal forests. Some ideas came up today that I hadn't thought of, so that is good..."

Benishek says in his Upper Peninsula district, they have three national forests. He says the needs of the forests in this region are different than in other parts of the country. Lawsuits from environmental interests have delayed contracts the Forest Service would propose to let.

State Senator Tom Tiffany has been a critic of Forest Service allowable cutting policies...

".....it's very clear when we heard from many speakers today that forest health is a major concern..."

Forest Service Regional Forester Kathleen Atkinson says the possibility of collaboration is an outcome from this type of meeting. She says the national forests face challenges...

".....(climate change), a lot of invasive species, so there's a lot of threats to our forests, there's a lot of fragmentation, private land, so there's a lot of challenges facing the forests these days. That just makes it more incumbent upon us to work that hard to make sure we're managing the forest well to maintain the health..."

Wisconsin Congressmen Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble also attended the conference.