The Forest Service is proposing obliterating 103 miles of public roads on the Krassel Ranger District "to prevent sediment".
Krassel Ranger District Ranger Anthony Botello once told me that the Forest Service was closing Sugar Creek Road to stop "12 tons of sediment, annually " from entering the Salmon River. I then asked him why the Forest Service wasn't doing anything about the MILLIONS of tons of sediment entering the Salmon River from the landscape erasing megafire known as the "Cascade Complex Fire ". His response? Road sediment is "bad" and harms fish. Forest fire sediment "adds needed silt to bury eggs, nutrients, shade and snags that is beneficial for fish ". Proof that in the world of make-believe at the Forest Service: you can have your cake and eat it too.
Forest Service sign on South Fork claims that the 395,000 Cascade Complex Fire and the BILLIONS of tons of sediment that goes with it is "good" for fish.
Here is my response:
Thank you in advance for considering my comments.
I have lived in the travel area since 1983.
I find it very troubling that the Forest Service's answer to everything is to destroy public access, close roads, in the name of "helping the environment".
When I was young, it was very hard to find dead trees on the Payette National Forest. We would often have to travel 30 miles or more from the town of Yellow Pine to find firewood for heating our home.
Bark beetle infested trees were quickly removed as they made the best firewood.
Over 70,000 elk lived in Idaho. Compared to the 15,000 or fewer estimated to live in our great state today.
We often saw moose 6-8 at a time in Big Creek or trailing along the South Fork somewhere.
Plus the ever present logging truck or logging helicopter on Lick Creek or Profile Summit.
More than 700 people lived and worked in Yellow Pine and the surrounding areas. High paying jobs could be found everywhere.....you could literally quit one company, walk across the street and be working again the next day.
Nowadays, those jobs are gone. Logging has stopped. Mining and the dozens of claims which used to be up and down both sides of the South Fork are gone.
More importantly: the promise that giving up those jobs would "benefit wildlife" and "a vibrant recreation based economy" never materialized.
The school I went to closed. It had 23 full time students the winter of 83-84.
The store, Silver Dollar, Corner Bar all but dried up and blew away.
395,000 acres of pristine public lands was incinerated in "managed"(not fought) landscape erasing megafires known as "the Cascade Complex Fire".
Four BILLION dollars worth of timber was left to rot and waste.
Now, that timber is creating log jams that clog rivers, impede fish passage, strip away a thousand years worth of topsoil, and contributes far more than the "12 tons, annually" of sediment that the Forest Service used as an excuse to close Sugar Creek Road.
Since 2007, the Cascade Complex Fire has dumped more than a BILLION tons of sediment and debris into the Salmon River drainage.
If the Forest Service is really concerned about "sediment".....why are they piddle-farting closing roads? Which generate almost no sediment? While ignoring the elephant in the room....landscape erasing megafires?
Historically, logging and thinning has shown to REDUCE sediment through wildfire mitigation.
The facts on the ground do not support closing public roads.
Which brings me to my next subject: the Forest Service failed to hold a single public comment period before unilaterally declaring the roads in question "closed".
Anthony Botello and Payette National Forest supervisor Keith Lannom are more than aware of this, were sued because of this, and a federal judge ruled that the Payette National Forest violated federal law by failing to allow the public to comment before declaring roads "closed" to the public.
The Payette National Forest then went through the appearance of "collaboration" to placate the judge, However, "the collaborative" was always told by the Forest Service that "those roads are already closed".
The shove it down their throats mentality by the Payette National Forest was on full display while the Forest Service pretended to be "involving the public" in 2016, while obliterating Sugar Creek Road before "the collaborative" was even given an opportunity to discuss the illegal road closures.
Here is undying proof that failed Forest Service management policies are destroying our forests, our communities, our ecosystems and economic opportunities......while claiming to "protect" it.
Photo credit: John B.
Photos: Kat A.