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SoCalSAF Forest Policy Activity 2004

September 15, 2004. Letter to the Governor of California urging veto of Senate Bill 1648 which would have severely restricted scientific forest management within Jackson Demonstration State Forest.

August 23, 2004. Comment letter to US Forest Service regarding DEIS and revised land management plans for the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino national forests.

July 23, 2004. Comment letter to California Wildlife Conservation Board urging approval of improved public access to Soquel Demonstration State Forest.

July 7, 2004. Comment letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein urging removal of language in the 2005 Interior Appropriations bill that would cancel funding for the Forest Land Improvement Program (FLEP).

June 16,2004. Letter to Congressman George Miller urging opposition to an amendment to FY 2005 Interior Appropriations which prohibit the US Forest Service from using funds in 2005 to complete revisions or implement new NFMA forest planning regulations, and halt the revision process begun in 2002. Phone calls were made to six key congresspersons supporting this position.

June 7, 2004. Comment letter to Congressman Charles Taylor requesting the Interior Subcommittee on Appropriations strike language that cancels funding for Forest Land Enhancement Program (FLEP).

May 4, 2004. Letter to George Gentry, CDF, urging that current staffing levels at Soquel Demonstration State Forest be maintained.

February 29, 2004. Letter to the Governor of California urging his support for the revised US Forest Service amendment to the Sierra Nevada Framework

SoCalSAF USFS Land Management Plans Letter

Southern California Forest Plan Revisions                               August 7, 2004
USDA Forest Service Content Analysis Center
P.O. Box 22777
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

The Southern California Society of American Foresters is a unit of the 16,000 member national Society of American Foresters. Members include professsional forest land managers from state and federal agencies, the forest industry, forest scientists, consultants, academics, and forestry students. One of our core values is the sustainable management of the nation's forest resources to meet society's needs, values, and uses.Membership in the Southern California Society of American Foresters includes foresters working and living within the Los Padres, Angeles, Cleveland, San Bernardino, and Inyo national forests.We commend the Forest Service for placing the planning documents on the web and for the progress it has made in land management planning over the years. This is a major step forward. Secondly, we support the basic approach of the EIS/LMP's. Evaluating the four southern California national forests as a larger landscape that transcends political boundaries provides a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of reality.The following observatons and suggestions are offered for your consideration.It appears that not enough attention is given to to forest management and forest health in terms of reducing risk of catastrophic fire loss. The DEIS, referring to Elements Common to All Alternatives, states “Lands with a timber management objective are not suitable to the national forests of southern California”. What is the scientific and economic basis for this statement? Most, if not all, informed observers agree that active, assertive forest management would have significantly contrtibuted to ameliorating the current forest mortality and fire damage within the four southern California national forests. Why did the last sawmill in the San Bernardino vicinity disappear during late in the last century? How will work areas identified as high fire risk be identified and is an annnual program planned? How will fire rehabilitaion work be undertaken? For instance, will salvage logging, site preparation, and vegetation management be aaggressively done to insure quick rehabilitation of fire damaged sites?

Are efforts being undertaken to promote a “local” forest products industry that would alleviate forest management problems?What efforts will be taken to work collasboratively with adjacent landowners to do cooperative forest health/fuel reduction projects?During the early history of the U.S. Forest Service the Secretary of Agriculture wrote to Gifford Pinchot, Chief, of the Forest Service, directing th him to manage the national forests “for the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run.” We hope this direction to the U.S Forest Service continues today.Sincerely,

Douglas Piirto, CF
Chair, Southern California Society Of American Foresters

Joint Resolution on the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan

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Bill Branham, Chair
1851 Hartnell Avenue
Redding, CA 96002
530-224-4904 fax

NorCal SAF Logo
USDA Forest Service
Jack Blackwell, Regional Forester
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, Calif.  94592









Dear Mr. Blackwell;

Enclosed is a resolution developed by the State Societies of American Foresters in response to our concerns regarding review of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan.  Please acknowledge this resolution and provide an appropriate response.  We sincerely appreciate your attention to this matter.

Bill Branham, Chair
Northern California Society of American Foresters

Northern and Southern California Societies of American Foresters
Joint Resolution on the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan


Whereas: Sustainability of forests is a cornerstone of the forestry profession

Whereas: The Society of American Foresters was founded in 1900 and was an instrumental factor in the creation of our system of national forests

Whereas: The nine national forests in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range are included in the management document titled the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan

Whereas: The Sierra Nevada Forest Plan was created by a large number of resource specialists (i.e., approximately 102 people are listed as members of the interdisciplinary, collaboration, science, and monitoring teams as shown in the Draft EIS) yet only a disappointing few licensed professional foresters were included on these teams. And, there were no scientists shown representing the silviculture/forest management area on the science team

Whereas: Due to the long-term accumulation of flammable vegetation, the risk of unnaturally hot, catastrophic fires continues to increase in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere in the western United States

Whereas: Prescribed fire is a valuable vegetation management tool, yet its use as envisioned in the Plan is not realistic due to air pollution, public safety, and other factors

Whereas: Sustainable forestry does not preclude the responsible management of forests to accommodate a variety of human needs and values including usable forest products and the benefits that accrue to local economies

Whereas: Foresters are very concerned about the Plan’s planned reduction of annual timber harvest from approximately one billion board feet only a decade ago to something less than 100 million board feet of usable timber as envisioned under the plan by 2010

Whereas: California consumes in excess of 7 billion board feet of softwood forest products per year

Whereas: California now imports over 70% of its lumber from other states and foreign countries

Whereas: Without a sustainable forest products industry, opportunities to modify and thin high risk, densely stocked forests are substantially threatened

Whereas: Foresters utilizing a full range of silvicultural techniques including thinning and prescribed fire can achieve a broad array of positive ecosystem management outcomes

BE IT RESOLVED: That for all of the above reasons and many more, representatives of the Society of American Foresters and California Registered Professional Foresters should be immediately requested to provide assistance to the Regional Forester during his ongoing review of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan.

\s\ Tamara Hanna, Chair
Southern California Society of American Foresters

\s\ Bill Branham, Chair
Northern California Society of American Foresters

Giant Sequoia National Monument    

- A position statement

The Southern California Society of American Foresters is strongly opposed to President Clinton’s proposal to designate a large portion of the Sequoia National Forest as a National Monument. . . . (more follows) Download full document


Roadless Areas NOI    

Dear Project Team Leader:

We write in response to the Notice of Intent (NOI) published in the Federal Register on October 19, 1999. Based on the available alternatives presented, we endorse the no action alternative (making no change in current policy).

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) believes that all decisions about the status of inventoried and un-inventoried roadless areas should be made through the forest planning process, at the national forest level. A rulemaking process that could affect all roadless areas through one national decision cannot address the unique forest conditions of each individual roadless area. Therefore, the Southern California Society of American Foresters, is strongly opposed to a unilateral decision to “protect” all roadless areas, which is the intent of this rulemaking process. . . (more follows) Download full document



SAF Letter Regarding Hazardous Fuels Treatments in National Forests
To: State Society and Division Chairs
State Society and Division Policy Chairs

As I'm sure you're all aware, the wildfire season has become catastrophic and members of Congress and the Administration are working to address the excess accumulation of hazardous fuels on the national forests.
SAF has sent the attached letter addressing these issues to the Senate Appropriations Committee members. The letter is also available on our website at: and

Please forward this email to your unit members. We are asking SAF members to either send a personalized copy of this letter to their Senators or contact their district offices by phone, relaying SAF's position detailed in the attached letter. Remember if you are sending a copy of the letter, fax works best as mail is too slow these days, and that time is short.

SAF has also developed a press release and opinion editorial on this subject to be distributed to various media outlets. Both will be available online at by the end of this week.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Rita J. Neznek
Government Affairs Manager
Society of American Foresters
301-897-8720 ext. 115

Here is some background information on the issue:
In Oregon last week, President Bush announced a new forest management policy "The Healthy Forest Initiative" to reduce the risk of wildfire, assist communities at risk, and improve the application of environmental laws. (Available online at
Congress has also vowed to address these problems. Several Western Republicans are planning to offer legislation similar to an amendment passed in the emergency Defense appropriations bill in July (commonly referred to as the "Daschle Amendment").This potential legislation would prescribe management actions for the national forests, temporarily suspending environmental laws to allow the completion of fuels reduction projects.

SAF has, throughout our history, stated that management decisions should be made at the local level with public involvement rather than through legislative mandate. Also, you might remember the salvage rider which gave the Forest Service these similar authorities, but resulted in little activity and a lot of distrust of the forestry community. SAF feels this approach would simply be a short-term fix to a problem that demands long-term committment and cultural changes in forest management.
SAF acknowledges that the status quo is not sufficient, and we commend both Congress and the Administration for recognizing that existing administrative and legal processes cannot address the fire danger given the urgency of the situation. However, SAF cannot support suspension of environmental laws. Instead we propose the Congress and the Administration address the problems with existing laws.

Given the urgency of the situation we support interim efforts to direct how environmental laws are applied and how and when the public is involved in projects.
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