Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Waste and Abuse of Taxpayer Money

A few years ago I was building a small cabin in Yellow Pine.

Around that same time, I heard that the Forest Service was planning to make a fire break around the Johnson Creek Ranger Station on the Boise National Forest.

Since most of the trees they wanted removed were already standing dead bark beetle killed lodgepole, the trees they wanted removed would have been perfect for my small cabin.

I stopped at the Forest Service District office in Cascade,  Idaho to see about BUYING the trees the Forest Service wanted removed.

Much to my dismay, I was informed by the district ranger that they had already hired a contractor to cut down and burn the trees I was offering to BUY, and that they were paying the contractor $19,000 of the taxpayers' money to  destroy premium cabin logs, many of which were green trees.

I had worked out another plan to obtain logs from a friend and property owner in Big Creek, but would have preferred NOT to drive 58 miles of the roughest dirt roads in America. Especially when the logs near the ranger station were only three miles away.

I wasn't the only person interested in the logs. After the contractors chopped up the cabin logs and piled them up for burning, multiple local residents again asked if they could have the remnants which were neatly stacked into firewood sized pieces.

Residents and I were told we would be issued citations for touching the logs which the contractors would be burning in the fall, near the time the EPA says local air quality is at its worst and admittance to hospitals for smoke related respiratory illnesses usually reaches its peak.

The benefit to the public would have been fivefold had the Forest Service sold or given the logs to the local community:

1) No air pollution if the logs were used for building cabins and fences

2) Reduced air pollution by using the wood for heat by reducing the total amount of wood burned (slash piles PLUS additional firewood for heating homes)

3) Revenue generated by pole sales and  firewood sales

4) Cost savings ($19,000) which would NOT have been paid to a contractor to destroy a useable forest product

5) Jobs and increased value to the local community in the form of higher property values and paying to construct fences, cabins, haul firewood.

Since the Forest Service is based in Washington DC,  anything that is good for local communities is seemingly forbidden by the national office. And ideas which are locally based which produce the most benefit to the greatest number of people for the least amount of impacts on the land have no inroads into decisions made nearly 3,000 miles away.

The Forest Service has become an entity which has realized that it can generate the most revenue to itself from destroyed forests. Not actively managed forests. Public opinion  (especially from the local community) be damned.

Scott Amos


  1. Be careful Scott. Opposing a federal agency like the US Forest Service, BLM etc could be hazardous to your health, literally. Any doubts, look at what happened to Lavoisier Finicum in Oregon.

    1. There are more of us than there are of them.