QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP
P. O. Box 1749, Quincy, CA 95971
February 8, 1996
Mr. Leonard Atencio, Forest
Lassen National Forest
55 South Sacramento Street
Susanville, California 96130
Mr. Mark Madrid, Forest Supervisor
Plumas National Forest
P. O. Box 11500
Quincy, California 95971
Mr. John Skinner, Forest
Tahoe National Forest
P. O. Box 6004
Nevada City, California 95959
RE: Forest Health Pilot Program (1910-6)
We are in receipt of your February 7th letter to the Quincy Library Group, which requests a written response outlining the group's January 25th meeting discussion and also the QLG's expectations for watershed restoration, monitoring, and land management planning. Aside from the irony of being asked to supply a record of a meeting which Forest Service personnel attended, we have reasons which lead us to decline. The QLG has neither the time nor the inclination to get all its signatories together to provide a written response, as is explained below. Instead we would prefer to send a minimum of two representatives to your meeting on Friday, February 9.
So far the "shuttle diplomacy" approach of communicating through various lower level "liaisons to the QLG" has unfortunately resulted in mostly confusion and delays. Recently we have spent increasing amounts of time having to clarify miscommunicated ideas, and have discovered that only bits and pieces of our discussions are being relayed. There is a growing frustration from not having Forest Service line officers involved in discussions of what is, and is not possible as demonstration or pilot projects. We are persuaded that direct QLG member observation of your meeting would help future communications. We would appreciate your direct involvement.
Furthermore, as was expressed to Dave Stone at the QLG's meeting yesterday, we do not think it's appropriate to send written, project specific suggestions on the Forest's Forest Health Pilot projects. First, it tends to perpetuate many peoples' fears about potential Forest Service violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Forest Service seems to be trying to cast us as a special-interest group, and is asking us to micromanage Forest Service projects. The QLG would prefer to see the Forest Service conduct full and fair public participation/public disclosure processes for its Forest planning and project-level activities. Conduct NEPA processes, please! Second, there are more than a few QLG members who feel that we should not have to plan and schedule national forest management: that's what the U.S. Forest Service is paid to do. Third, having written records of our criticisms is viewed by some as reflecting poorly on Forest Service personnel, and therefore undesirable.
We must register our objection to your letter's characterization of the level of QLG agreement with the draft Forest Health Pilot projects. There has not been general agreement with the thrust of the projects proposed. With the exception of the Lassen National Forest's projects (whose proposals we felt were inadequate and improperly focused), we have not been able to obtain any substantive information about projects, due to government furloughs, and holiday and year-end leaves, and other Forest priorities.
It is also inaccurate to characterize the QLG comments at its January 25th meeting as solely focused on higher timber volumes. Much of that discussion centered around strategic placement of fuels management projects that would provide defensible fuel spaces and protection of both resources and communities. It was the QLG's sense (and always has been) that the sawlog volumes would be a byproduct of the strategic fuels management and other active management across the entire landbase of the local National Forests, consistent with the QLG agreements on deferred, off-base, and riparian areas. It is important to note that the volume projections under discussion were based on per-acre treatment cost and output figures found in the Forest Service's Technical Fuels Report.
Its been three months since Secretary Glickman announced the Forest Service's $20 million budget for trying the QLG proposal; to date, not even a quarter of that amount has been proposed for valid Quincy Library Group implementation efforts. We look forward to better communicating our ideas and concerns with you.
Very truly yours,
Linda Blum Ed Murphy
Corresponding Secretaries, Quincy Library Group