P. O. Box 2118
Mono County Supervisor
Katherine K. Evatt
Laurel W. Ames
Board of Directors
Pacific Rim Consultant
American Land Conservancy
Mono Lake Committee
Central Sierra Watershed
University of California
Thorne's Tree Service
|STATEMENT REGARDING THE
QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP PROPOSAL TO TEST A NEW FOREST
The Sierra Nevada Alliance has carefully reviewed the issues and the controversies surrounding the Quincy Library Group proposal in light of the Alliance's strong commitment to community-building processes and to protection of the Sierra environment.
There is clear agreement by both the forest activists and the Quincy Library Group that the national forests in the Sierra Nevada have been mismanaged for decades. Given that there is general agreement that the forests have been mismanaged, it is also clear that the future health of the forests depends on changing the current management practices of the Forest Service. There is not agreement on who should take the lead in proposing new solutions to forest health problems.
The Alliance has supported the Quincy Library Group process since its early stages. It is particularly appropriate for the Alliance to: One, support the Quincy Library Group's effort that is seriously looking at new solutions; two commend the people of the group who have put in the thousands of hours of time and dedication that the process has required; and three, to acknowledge that they have taken enormous risks to attempt to implement the vision they have crafted.
The Alliance understands that it is not easy to become involved in collaborative processes - - it alienates those who are committed to one solution and one solution only, and it generates anxiety, and even fear, in those who are resistant to changing the way we look at information and make decisions about our futures.
It is important to remember that agreements have been reached in the past between the Clinton Administration, the Forest Service and the Quincy Library Group to implement the Quincy Library Group vision, which resulted in more than $5 million being directed specifically to the Quincy Library Group proposal. It does not appear, however, that those funds, in fact have been used for implementation. As a result of the lack of significant action on the part of the Forest Service, the Quincy Library Group determined to introduce legislation that would be broadly supported and that would move the process forward in a focused and timely manner, concluding that, if the Forest Service had both administration and Congressional support, then the Forest Service would begin forest plan revisions and implementation, as directed.
However, the legislative process is a risky proposition in itself, and as the proverbial sausage is ground out, initial intent is often lost in other agendas. Thus, the introduction of legislation has brought out many in the forest activist community to oppose the proposed legislation. The Alliance, while strongly supporting the Quincy Library Group's process, is deeply concerned that the legislation has surfaced a very strong division between forest activists and the coalition of community interests in Quincy, despite common interest in reforming forest management practices.
The Quincy Library Group's 1993 proposal has merit; the environmental protections are carefully constructed, the community effort to seek new solutions is commendable. The forest activist opposition to the legislation is understandable; the legislative process is fraught with potential for mischief. It is up to these interests to bring to the table specific proposals to address the underlying forest mismanagement issues on which they agree. Also, it must be clear what elements of existing practices they agree should be continued. The challenge to both is to quickly reach a resolution and agreed upon mechanism to launch a joint effort that protects the environment, supports the community, and reforms the management of the forests in the Quincy area.
The Sierra Nevada Alliance, as observers and participants in community efforts, is convinced that supporting collaborative efforts that produce results that protect the environment and the communities is of utmost importance in this changing world.
The Alliance, therefore, stands ready and willing to help with that resolution process, through provision of a professional facilitator, outside experts, or other methods to expedite reaching a forward-looking workable solution to the forest management issues in Quincy area.