Until forest managers get that they are being preyed upon by the Akers and the Neimans to take legacy trees and leave the doghair for someone else to deal with, they won't be focused on hardwood release, prescribed fire and restoring the Hills bioregion to what it was 150 years ago.
The Black Hills are broken because the US Forest Service is broken.
Alan Aker is a long time campaign supporter of earth haters like John Thune, Kristi Noem and Larry Rhoden. He is a vocal critic of equal rights for women and American Indians. The GOP former lawmaker now Meade County Commissioner has billed that county $31,000 for logging on federal ground under an unwritten agreement with the Forest Service.
Sometimes, things are just stranger than anything you could make up. Turns out, those charged with putting sound forest management into practice perhaps didn’t actually know what a MPB-infested tree looks like, or at least couldn’t agree on it. In that knowledge vacuum, most any tree was fair game, apparently including many with no MPB presence but with one or two turpentine beetle pitch tubes (close enough?) Of course, the side story is that Meade County commissioner Alan Aker, who has been “involved in overseeing the work of the county”, just happens to also own a logging company, Aker Woods, which has been “responsible for determining which trees to cut.” Commissioner Aker has also been a leader in the “The Bug Stops Here” campaign (their slogan: “Enough talk. It’s time for action. Donate Dollars. Kill Beetles)” [Guy Knudsen, New Century of Forest Planning]Aker responded, linked here.
The collapse of the Black Hills hydrologic region was forecast in 2002 even as the mountain pine beetle fights to save Paha Sapa water supplies.
In a 2013 survey, two million federal workers were asked about the quality of leadership, the level of morale, and other management conditions in their agencies. The responses ranked the Forest Service as worse than 260 out of 300 similar federal agencies. [Robert H. Nelson, Taking an ax to traditional forest management, The Western News]There aren't enough litigators to sue the Forest Service allowing Republicans to infiltrate management of the Black Hills National Forest.
Insect mapping was a cooperative effort between Neiman Timber Company, South Dakota Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry, State of Wyoming Forestry Division, Weston Natural Resource Conservation District, Weston County Weed & Pest, USDI-Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA-Forest Service. [press release, Black Hills National Forest]There is no evidence to support the claim that logging is effective insect control so the logical conclusion is that BHNF chief Craig Bobzien is on the take.
Wasicu have stolen the ground, plundered the resources, encouraged ponderosa pine to infest lands once dominated by aspen and sage, pollute waterways and deplete watersheds. Nine tribes have sued to force the courts to act on Forest Service and BLM mismanagement.
President Obama: it's time to wrest control of these sacred mountains from earth haters and put the original owners back in charge.