A recent article in the Chieftain highlighted the milestone reached by Wallowa Resources in providing 25 years of contributions toward embracing a stewardship economy in Wallowa County. The article mentioned comments from Wallowa County commissioners citing the needs to pursue increased timber harvest on the National Forest.

While it is true that the current volume of timber coming off the Wallowa Valley District is far less than the 40-50 million board feet that was suggested, I believe that we share many of the same goals. The Wallowa-Whitman is making progress toward several projects that seek to enhance forest conditions while providing timber volume to support to local economies, including the Lostine Corridor Public Safety Project and the Lower Joseph Creek Restoration Project.

We agree that there is more to be done to make these landscapes more resilient, and we are actively seeking ways to increase the pace and scale of restoration and timber harvest. There is a need for greater balance between the heroic firefighting efforts employed to react to wildfires and active forest management that is needed ahead of time to reduce the severity of future wildfires.

The Wallowa-Whitman is currently developing a proposal to pursue those goals in the Morgan-Nesbit Forest Restoration project, which spans across nearly 90,000 acres and includes a proposed mix of timber harvest, mechanical thinning and prescribed fire. This is an important priority for the Forest Service and has had active stakeholder support from the Northern Blues Forest Collaborative.

The Forest Service is dedicated to continued collaboration with key stakeholders and coordination with Wallowa County, and I stand ready and excited to work to pursue this challenge.

Brian Anderson

Wallowa Mountains Office District ranger

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