Damned if you do, Damned if you don't

Big Fin

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I'm posting this, as it is a replica of what happens in Montana when prescribed burns are proposed, as I suspect is similar to responses when fires are proposed in other fire-prone locations in the west. This is so classic of folks living in the fire-prone west, especially those who have built right next to the public-private interface. A shining example of the nearly impossible feat Forest managers have when it comes to managing forest. You couldn't pay me enough to be a Forest Service employee and have to deal with this kind of sniveling.

http://www.cedarcityutah.com/news/a...ge-scale-burn-near-bryce-canyon/#.VXIXv89VhBc

So if I understand correctly, these folks want to bitch and moan about some smoke in the air for one or two days. If a small fire makes them mad, any type of mechanical treatment is surely off the table. I will bet that if a wildfire came through, they would have smoke in the air for more than a day or two. And when it all charred their "viewscape" like match sticks they would be whining first and loudest that the Forest Service didn't do anything preemptive to help reduce fire dangers.

The USFS has tried to do controlled burns around where I live and, just like in Bryce Canyon, people whined and belly ached, even litigated. Yet, some day, under some circumstance, the entire Gallatin face is going to burn and when it does, these same people who have built right next to the forest and complain about temporary impacts of a controlled burn will be the same people blaming the Forest Service for not doing enough to protect them.

If my reading comprehension is correct, the same county commissioners from Garfield County, UT who are pissed at the Forest Service for managing the forests in this way to prevent larger catastrophic fires also vote to become a Silver Sponsor of the American Land Council, a group who wants state takeover of these lands under the premise that they will burn down if the Feds are left in control. So what is it, the Feds are managing fire too proactively, or they are not doing anything to manage fires at all and therefore they need to cede control to the state of Utah? Maybe you can have it both ways in Southern Utah.

http://www.americanlandscouncil.org/utah

Obviously, I'm missing the cognitive function necessary to connect the dots of the kind of logic/illogic these folks are using.



Rant over......... for now
 

Pagosa

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Just wait until Colorado and southern Wyoming burn. The environmental groups wanted all these areas protected as wilderness areas and allowed no mechanized clearing or any type of controlled burn. The pine beetle killed about 95% of the trees. The erosion and landslides post-fire will create major problems. A little bit of logging never hurt anyone if it's managed right.
 

Gr8bawana

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There was a fire in the Spring Mountains 2 years ago thay burned about 28,000 acres. Some people who live in the little shithole of Lovell Canyon complained afterwards because their houses and vehicles were red after fire retardant was dropped. Their properties were saved with no losses.
 

hank4elk

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Welcome to the new world order Randy...................in a sane world it would be called disorder.

I dealt with that very type of situation continually in the Sierra Nevada Mtns.
Our group would work with FS for 2 years to get a thinning/burn permit and some idiot would hire a lawyer and the project would stop instantly when it got smokey one day...
Everytime they try and thin/burn around Santa Fe or Albacrackie the papers is full of complaints about the smoke or some such drivel...
 

shoots-straight

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We've been getting regular fires in the Root sense around 1988. 2000 was the big year when over 300,000 acres burnt. My God the people went nuts. It was bad, but after 100 years of fire suppression what did they expect. Those fire areas need burn again, but good luck with any help coming from "management".

I argued with a Tea Bagger on the American Lands Council Montana FB page about thinning. He thinks the FS should be thinning and logging everything. I asked him who would pay for that and if he would like his taxes raised to pay for the thinning. Most really don't want multiple use as they claim. They want their own little special interest group taken care of at the expense of everyone else.

We live in an entitlement society, and it's only getting worse.
 

BuzzH

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What groups like ALC seem to miss regarding management is that management isn't free.

As a recent example, a ranger district shouldn't have to be applying for grants to spray weeds on their district. Congress, via the taxpayers, should be funding the USFS, BLM, etc. enough so that they aren't applying for grants to conduct necessary management.

Wildlife, recreation, research, tsm, etc. budgets have been declining for decades and the various agencies have been doing more with less for at least a couple decades. Finally, every agency reaches a point where there is no choice but to do less with less.

As to this particular case, I wouldn't be as nice as the FS representative in the article. I would have told the whiners if they don't like dealing smoke, you'll like dealing with your house burnt to the ground even less. I would also tell them they're more than capable of leaving for vacation on the scheduled ignition day(s).

The same people bitching to the FS about a couple days worth of smoke, that provides needed forest health management and fuel reduction, sure wouldn't be bitching about the FS, or smoke, when they save their homes from wildfire.

If the residents in this case wanted the FS to mechanically treat 2K acres, then maybe they should write their Congressmen and Senators to get an appropriation for funding the FS at levels that allow that to happen.

These kinds of issues happen almost daily, the public demanding all sorts of management from the various Agencies, while systematically allowing their elected tea party idiots to slash needed funding.
 

hank4elk

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+100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so tired of A-holes complaining about our government and lack of ability to do their job,while 99% of of Gov. Agencies have had their budgets slashed and given 10x's the work load since handing out the free ride passes to the folks that benefit most..................and can afford to pay their taxes out of the tax returns they got. Corp. welfare is ruining our country.
 

Corax

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Most really don't want multiple use as they claim. They want their own little special interest group taken care of at the expense of everyone else
.

Here we go again.
 

shoots-straight

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Quote:
Most really don't want multiple use as they claim. They want their own little special interest group taken care of at the expense of everyone else
.

Here we go again.

I said:
I argued with a Tea Bagger on the American Lands Council Montana FB page about thinning. He thinks the FS should be thinning and logging everything. I asked him who would pay for that and if he would like his taxes raised to pay for the thinning. Most really don't want multiple use as they claim. They want their own little special interest group taken care of at the expense of everyone else.
Put the whole paragraph together, please.
"Most" refers to the Tea Baggers complaining about smoke and lack of logging. I probably should have used a different word to refer to Tea Baggers. Any four letter suggestions?
 
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roadhunter

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What groups like ALC seem to miss regarding management is that management isn't free.

As a recent example, a ranger district shouldn't have to be applying for grants to spray weeds on their district. Congress, via the taxpayers, should be funding the USFS, BLM, etc. enough so that they aren't applying for grants to conduct necessary management.

.
LOL.

Maybe if the USFS didn't squander the grazing resource they are in charge of they might actually have enough money to operate.

But instead they get pennies on the dollar for the grazing they are in charge of and whine to the taxpayers that they need more money to operate. LOL. Gotta love the government employees.

I had a conversation with my neighbor who leases some federal land. He explained that what he pays for grazing would not even cover the taxes on the property. His best guess was that an AUM was worth around $30 in this area and he pays less than $2 for an AUM on federal land.

So asking for more money won't fix the problem. It's time we held the USFS responsible for what they have done with grazing leases. And if you think states will do a worse job go look at what they charge for grazing. At worst they are getting 10x what the feds are and in many cases much more. The system is broken and giving the USFS more money will not fix anything.

It's ridiculous to ask taxpayers to subsidize grazing that only a few landowners benefit from.

I'd love to see someone else get the chance to do a better job managing the grazing rights that the USFS has squandered for decades. Go add up the difference in what the USFS gets for grazing versus what the fair market value for that grazing is and you will quickly see the problem. Lots of taxpayer money spent to subsidize a few ranchers.
 

roadhunter

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I'd love to see how well a proposal to increase the grazing rates would go over. I can hear the crys of "the Goddamn Feds" through the internet.

So what would you propose to fix the situation?

I understand that logging is difficult with all sorts of lawsuits in play but the grazing is not. The cows will be there grazing regardless so it's just a matter of charging more like states do.

Imagine a spot whee private, federal, and state all come together at a corner section. Cows on private cost about $30 to graze per AUM. Cows on state cost Around $20 per AUM, and the cows on Federal cost less than $2 to graze compliments of incompetent management and taxpayer funding.

The cows are the similar, land is the similar, but one gets substantially less than the others for the same grazing rights.

And now Buzz wants us taxpayers to give them more money? That won't fix anything IMO, just makes it worse.

When is enough enough?. Imagine what could be done with that money.
 

Oak

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roadhunter, who do you think put the grazing regulatory mechanisms in place? FS and BLM employees?
 

roadhunter

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Let me guess. It's not their fault so we should give them a pass. Buzz will tell us the same thing in a few minutes.

So essentially we should just accept what they are doing as good enough and give them some more $ to squander?

I don't see it that way. If we want to improve the situation we need to give someone else the opportunity to manage the resource. Our current management is not going to change anything, that's for sure.

What is your solution OAK, JR?
 

shoots-straight

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So what would you propose to fix the situation?

I understand that logging is difficult with all sorts of lawsuits in play but the grazing is not. The cows will be there grazing regardless so it's just a matter of charging more like states do.

Imagine a spot whee private, federal, and state all come together at a corner section. Cows on private cost about $30 to graze per AUM. Cows on state cost Around $20 per AUM, and the cows on Federal cost less than $2 to graze compliments of incompetent management and taxpayer funding.

The cows are the similar, land is the similar, but one gets substantially less than the others for the same grazing rights.

And now Buzz wants us taxpayers to give them more money? That won't fix anything IMO, just makes it worse.

When is enough enough?. Imagine what could be done with that money.

Actually the states is closer to $11 per AUM. Just pesky facts again. Carry on!
 

jryoung

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Proposed solutions:
- FEMA pays firefighting costs
- Modest, tiered increase to grazing fees
- Increase to oil/gas/coal royalties
- Congressional increase to FS/BLM budgets

But, go back to the article Fin posted. No matter what you're damned if you do damned if you don't. The folks don't want fires, but they really don't want fire management. People have got to give somewhere....and no one has a monopoly on roadblocking good ideas.
 

Topgun 30-06

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Roadhunter---Instead of castigating Federal employees like BuzzH who are having to work within the system they were dealt, why not direct your attack at the source of the problem? The formula used to determine the grazing fee, set by Congress in 1978, is based on market conditions, including private grazing lease rates, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production. Until Congress changes the formula to determine the AUM rate on Federal lands, you can bitch all day and all night and it will get you nowhere!
 
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BuzzH

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Roadhunter,

This may come as a surprise to you, but I happen to agree with you on the fees associated with grazing Federal Lands. No question they should be set higher, in particular when similar fees are much higher on comparable lands.

There is the problem though, COMPARABLE lands. While you seem to always cherry pick and compare apples to aardvarks, I believe a reasonable comparison based on market, other leases, etc. is definitely long over-due. But a couple things for you to consider: 1. There is no mandate, regulation, law, etc. that forces the USFS and BLM to maximize profit from grazing. 2. There is regulations in place regarding the grazing fees...those fees were NOT set by the BLM or USFS(hint). 3. There are things that the Agencies must do to ensure, by law, regulation, and mandate that equal consideration is given to all resources, not just grazing. There are regulations on grazing...ask any Range Con. if the only things they have to worry about is how much livestock to put on an allotment and endorsing the check from the grazing fees...not hardly.

But, I do agree that the grazing fees are too low, but its a pipe dream if you think that most BLM and USFS leases are going to demand the same fees as private or even State. Forage quality, amount, timing of grazing, water, accessibility, etc. etc. etc. are going to impact what someone is willing to pay for a grazing lease. There's a big difference in USFS and BLM grazing leases based on elevation, topography, plant communities, just to name a few.

Your bagging on the USFS and BLM is a joke though if you want increases in grazing fee. It is 100% a congressional deal and that's who you need to be working through them to get your changes. Good luck with that, as its political suicide for any Western Politician that takes up your case for increases in grazing fees.

You get the ball rolling, and I'm 100% in your camp...something tells me though, that whining about the issue is as far as you'll get. I could be wrong.

Its also intuitively obvious, that the same Congress that is on a constant bitch-fest about backlogs in road/trail maintenance, facilities, fuels management, etc. is the same Congress that has hamstrung the Agencies by 20+ years of budget reductions. Of course, your average conservative member of the teaparty is also pretty much on the same page, cut funding and whine because the Land Management Agencies don't get anything done. Management of any lands (federal, state, private, corporate, etc.) takes money...and without money, management cant happen.
 
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