Posted on January 19, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Some of Utah’s favorite public lands playgrounds could be privatized under a bill to be introduced in Congress this week. @bberwyn photo.
Fracking in national parks?
Given the extreme anti-federal positions gaining traction around the West, it’s probably not surprising that a new bill by advanced Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop was presented as a moderate proposal for public lands compromise by some news outlets.
But his bill, due to be introduced this week, is only moderate when compared to the armed Oregon takeover of public lands by trespassers. By any other measure, it’s one of the most extreme anti-environmental bills that has ever been considered in Washington, D.C. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, national parks, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Congress, Forest Service, public lands, Rob Bishop, Utah | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Restoration work needed across 65 million acres of national forest lands.
With wildfire costs soaring, agency takes funds from other programs
U.S. Forest Service officials said they were able to step up the pace of restoration projects in 2015 despite facing tough budget challenges during a record wildfire season.
Despite the gains, at least 65 million National Forest System acres are still in need of restoration, agency leaders said, explaining that the rising cost of wildfire suppression has taken funding away from restoration, watershed and wildlife programs, limiting the Forest Service’s ability to do the work that would prevent fires in the first place. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: Forest health, forest restoration, Forest Service, public lands, Wildfires | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budget ‘borrowing’ reaches $700 million as political gridlock prevents meaningful budget reform
A wildfire in Yellowstone National Park. Photo via National Park Service.
With wildfires still raging across the West, the U.S. Forest Service has already used up its firefighting budget for the year. This week, the agency notified Congress that another $250 million will be needed to cover the spiraling costs.
Subsequently, top cabinet officials sent a formal letter asking Congress to change the way the nation pays for firefighting so that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management can invest in forest and rangeland restoration, and make lands less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire.
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests | Tagged: Congress, firefighting, forest fires, Forest Service, wildfire budget, Wildfires | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budgets aren’t keeping up with wildfire risks
Red zone development boom eats up firefighting budgets.
Sprawling exurban development across the U.S. has put more homes than ever at risk of catastrophic wildfires, according to a new U.S. Forest Service report that maps recent expansion of the so-called wildland-urban interface.
The incredible spurt in home building in that fire-prone zone has direct implications for the cost of wildfire fighting. Increasing densities of people and infrastructure in the WUI makes wildfire management more complex and requires more firefighting assets to ensure an appropriate, safe and effective response, Forest Service officials said as they released new report. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming, US Forest Service, wildfires | Tagged: firefighting budget, Forest Service, Wildfires, wildland-urban interface | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Towering flames at the Fork Complex wildfire in California, Photo via Inciweb.
Feds spending $150 million per day and seek firefighting help from Canada, Australia and New Zealand
FRISCO — This year’s wildfire activity in the U.S. has surged to the highest level in 10 years, with the National Interagency Fire Center reporting that about 7.2 million acres have burned so far, and officials said they expect the wildfire season to intensify in the coming weeks.
The drought-stricken far West is hardest hit, with 16 large fires currently burning in Washington, 14 in California and 12 in Oregon. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said federal agencies are currently spending about $150 million per day on fighting fires across the West. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, climate and weather, climate change, Drought, extreme weather, global warming, US Forest Service, wildfires | Tagged: climate, drought, Forest Service, West, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Snowmobiles at Vail Pass, Colorado.
New policy requires designation of motorized winter use
FRISCO — With the recent huge growth in motorized winter sports, the Forest Service has been behind the curve in managing public lands, but last month, the agency released its final policy for managing snowmobile and other “over-snow” vehicle use.
As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: Environment, Forest Service, over-snow use, public lands, snowmobiling | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Glading, lift upgrades eyed in draft environmental study
Snowmass to upgrade the High Alpine lift, add new snowmaking and expand gladed terrain.
FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is looking for public input on a slate of proposed improvements at Snowmass Ski Area, including replacement/realignment of the High Alpine Chairlift, additional snowmaking coverage, and trail and glade projects. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, public lands, ski industry, Ski Resorts, US Forest Service, White River National Forest | Tagged: Colorado, Forest Service, High Alpine terrain, skiing, Snowmass Ski Area | 1 Comment »