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Selkirk Mountain Real Estate

Value of the Natural Resource Plan

The cherry-picking mischaracterizations and over-simplification by some critics of the Plan misleads everyone.

Natural Resource Plan

Value of the Natural Resource Plan

Guest Opinion by Jeremy Conlin

The misrepresentations of the Natural Resource Plan are reminiscent of the machinations during the period of 1880-1920. “The Progressive Era”, by Murray Rothbard, especially chapter eight regarding Theodore Roosevelt, is useful regarding the Plan and how it relates to the Scotchman’s Peak issue.

As stated by Leonard Bronson, then (1911) the manager of the National Lumber Manufacturers’ Association: “…from a selfish standpoint alone the heavy timber owners of the West are heartily in favor of the (forest) reserves: for the mere establishment of these reserves has increased the value of the holdings very heavily by withdrawing from the market timber which otherwise would be competitive…”. Reduce the supply, raise the prices and the profits for established owners and raise the barriers of entry to newer competitors.

John Hancock Insurance Company owns vast acres of land for long-term investment purposes. By restricting the availability of timber, such as the unnecessarily large proposal for the Scotchman’s Peak, the value of their investment increases. Stimson Lumber and The Idaho Forest Group would also reap the reward of reduced supply and competition.

As illustrated in “The Progressive Era”, the back room dealing between the timber owners and the government decision-makers has to be understood. “Where government takes resources off the market, the aim is to restrict and cartelize lands or resource industries.” (Murray Rothbard)

Pressed by their critics…the forestry advocates …fell back upon enthusiasm, and, on occasion, on duplicity. ….the conservationists, as progressives were wont to do, framed their arguments in moralistic terms by stigmatizing their enemies as militarists, monopolists, traditionalists…” (Rothbard) Sound familiar?

The Introduction to the Plan states it is “… a document for local government to use as a plan and policy statement … representing … a broad spectrum of interests, including Logging, Agricultural, Construction, Business, Recreation, Conservation …”. The cherry-picking mischaracterizations and over-simplification by some critics of the Plan misleads everyone. “Proper management of these lands will insure a stable long term income stream for both State and County.”

The Montana Property and Environment Research Center ( has numerous reports proving how our State has been more efficient and rewarding with timber and recreation resources than the federal agencies. Idaho has shown that it does have the ability to properly manage local resource treasures. Better to pay salaries to local employees than to administrators thousands of miles away. The federal government is already leaving trails and forest unattended. The more their money woes continue, the more our local forests and waterways are threatened.

Appendix C of the Plan references federal Codes and court cases spelling out the need for coordination. Who would complain if any federal agency suddenly stated that they would begin chemically treating Lake Pend Oreille in July without any coordination with local authorities?

Would sportsmens’ groups prefer to see their outdoors cared for by the most qualified individuals and groups possible? Increasingly that means local people who are more personally attached to local values. More local jobs means more local responsibility and care.

Today’s Progressives act as those in the Progressive Era. When facts get in the way, personal attacks and moralistic mischaracterizations follow. Who really benefits?

All Bonner County citizens would benefit by having in place a plan to coordinate with other decision-makers. The Commissioners would be criticized if they did not have a plan for dealing with disaster emergencies. A plan to deal with our natural resources is also needed. Even a waffling Commissioner would be standing on a firmer platform of leadership. Being prepared is better leadership than being dependent.


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4 Comments on Value of the Natural Resource Plan

  1. Stimson Lumber and IFG are the poster children for crony capitalism and corporate prostitution.

    Their crony capitalism is blatantly obvious with their two step program. Mr. Conlin did an excellent job of pointing out their first step; the second step is their never ending conservation easement conquest where they gorge on tax payer dollars all the while getting to do what they want on their private timber playgrounds.

    They also have no moral angst about jumping in bed with environmentalist and securing backdoor deals at the public’s detriment. All in the name of profit. I wonder how loud they would whine when a spotted owl or wolverine should up on their lands?

  2. The Government is trying to keep from the public the wealth of their nation and We the people need to be made aware of our resources and their values and then be granted a Royalty like they do in Alaska .
    Heres the Resource charts,
    Heres what Alaska does ,

    Somebody needs to start a We the People Petition at and get a million signors and force this issue to grant a Citizens Royalty Fund for the people before they use it all for running these huge debts to fund their private benefits packages .
    Even the Alaskan Lawmakers are crying they cant fund Government because of the fund BUT I say maybe Government is To Big like all of the Governments both state and Federal In the USA !!!!

    • I want to be clear that this Idea of a Citizens Fund should pertain to only state and federal lands that resources are harvested and sold from .

    • This is a tough topic with good and bad points on both sides. I am inclined to ask though, “Is it really in our best interest, as citizens, to receive a payment (royalty) from ‘ state and federal lands that resources are harvested and sold from’? Especially when we ourselves have not put any effort into the harvesting; doesn’t that make the payment we would receive sort of like a ‘participation’ payment, just getting paid for being alive?”

      The benefit society at large gets is that the things harvested are then made available for use…with the purchase price being the “fee” paid to the person’s for making the effort to do the harvesting. If we are paid a “royalty” and can then use that money to pay the purchase price for the things harvested…we are in essence getting the harvested thing for free. That does not sound realistic.

      The capability to have surveyed “private property” is one reason for a Government that supports that idea; this support is not a “given” since there are other governing philosophies that would not allow “private property”. But there again, government being an inefficient thing, except when marshalling huge numbers of people to kill other people, the distribution of the wealth of the nation (royalties) and the management of the “effort of harvesting”…tend to be woefully lacking (leading to Gulags and forced labor).

      Is in interesting Thomas Paine’s “Agrarian Justice” can be found on a government website:

      “Land, as before said, is the free gift of the Creator in common to the human race. Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.”

      Paine’s “Agrarian Justice” is a very odd article, and really is outright Communistic, except for one salient point…when an thing can be divided up and owned in its parts…then it is a statistical probability that 100% of the parts can be owned (privately or by “The State”) thereby locking all future generations out of the capability for ownership (and the subsequent sharing of the wealth derived from the land). This situation also does not sound right or good.

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