Confessions of an Angry Villager
by Darr Moon
I’m much obliged to the USFS for their accurate and compelling description of those local residents who attended a USFS sponsored meeting held in Salmon, Idaho last Spring to discuss the Salmon-Challis Draft Assessment for a new Forest Plan as “Angry Villagers”. The mediator for the forum, without hesitation or forethought of consequence, summed up the very essence most of us feel who live in the shadow of the omnipotent Forest Service. For those of you unaware of this coming plan introduced to the Salmon-Challis National Forest please take note. This plan will become the template used to reorganize management priorities for every Forest in Idaho, and eventually the nation.
Take heed my friends, after years of uncontrollable forest fires, a diseased ridden and in many areas already dead forest, the USFS has given up on the concept of fire prevention and has instead embraced the idea of serving the public best by prewarning them with a provocative presentation that has been held across the West last summer entitled “How do you want your smoke, how do you want your fire”? A real barn burner of a topic and one to set you guessing as to the Forest Service’s proposed solution.
No, there isn’t a solution, they’re not joking, the forest is going to burn, that’s the plan. The reality horror show that plays every summer has been extended indefinitely. This “fire play” is by no means alarming to those writers of the script who hail from every institution of higher learning in the country, Smokey had it so wrong! In fact, human medaling in fire suppression has interfered with the natural process of conflagration and must be avoided at all costs so say these playwrights. Fire is the new vogue solution for this fashionable clique of environmental scientists. Their thoughtful fix all nicely wrapped with a bow as the consequence of anthropogenic climate change. Who knew?
How convenient too are our State Senators who have lobbied FEMA to manage such natural fire disasters. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on firefighting has bankrupted the Forest Service making it harder for them to do their job, (emptying out-houses, locking up trails, enforcing penalties for firewood gatherers and other such necessary functions of the forest). Now FEMA steps in to let them off the hook. FEMA specializes in natural disasters so whether its flood, tornado, earthquake or budget deficits at the USFS, these are the guys to call? FEMA somehow is now the all-knowing and all capable firefighters too. Comforting to know Uncle Sam realizes that throwing the USFS out of the fire business makes such beneficial national sense.
I’m feeling a bit angry about the situation and am not looking forward to another summer filled with smoke. My usual good humor has gone up in flames, guess I’m an “Angry Villager”.
Not to get lost in all this fire talk, but there is more to make you reach for the Tums, especially if you live in or around a National Forest. Don’t think that just because you abide in Idaho that any of the protections of liberty or property provided in Idaho law will hold back this federal folly. None of the many political subdivisions from the Governor’s office to your City Mayor have much sway with the process. The masters of forest management will gladly herd you to a meeting, direct your concerns by misdirecting the issues and say that your comments are appreciated. Then they go on to do what is necessary under the pretense of best science, ecological welfare and the necessity to spend millions studying everything but how to prevent forest fires.
By Constitution, we are guaranteed a Republican Form of Government. Not however in the federally occupied territories of Idaho. In fact, none of the federal masters who rummage about their rarified ways through 62% of Idaho are accountable to voters. Even where local interest or State interests’ conflict, the Forest Supervisor rules. No ifs, ands or buts about it. This is where the buck stops and unless you’ve got a ticket to plead your case at the White House, the only elected official with any capacity to undo this big doo-doo, then you’re just plain out of luck. So much for the protection of minority rights and my fleeting civic lesson memories that government governs best closest to the people. Ha! What a way to run a Republic!
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