SEATTLE – The Wilderness Society today praised U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack after he outlined the Obama administration’s vision for greatly improving the way forests are managed. Following are highlights of Vilsack’s remarks and reaction to those points by The Wilderness Society. All comments are from Mike Anderson, the Seattle-based attorney and senior resource analyst for The Wilderness Society.
Although a cold one may be in order at the end of a long day in the field, this is not the call to head to the pub, but the call of an Olive-sided Flycatcher — at least it’s the mnemonic device that we ornithologists use to help remember its song. While I find it the most enticing of the mnemonics, it is certainly not the strangest. That distinction would go to the song of the Warbling Vireo, which we represent as “if I sees you I will seize you and I’ll squeeze you till you squirt!”
As the Obama administration sets out to determine the future for the 193-million-acre National Forest System, a coalition of conservation organizations is calling on people to make their voices heard. They’ll get that chance from March 29 through May 12 when the U.S. Forest Service hosts a series of roundtable discussions with citizens across the country to determine how the forests are managed for generations.
Each year an estimated 180 million visitors recreate on national forests and grasslands. In order to serve the needs of these millions of people, the Forest Service manages an existing investment of approximately $4.1 billion in outdoor recreation infrastructure. Recreation is also a key economic driver, representing an estimated 60% of the national forest service’s total contribution to the United States gross domestic product (GDP) — significantly more than logging and other resource extraction activities combined.
We all live in a watershed, no matter how urban or rural the city. For instance, I live in Golden, Colorado, a small community founded more than 150 years ago along the banks of Clear Creek at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.