Bringing back good old days of logging difficult

July 1, 2013 • Business

This May 29, 2008 file photo shows Jake Hamann of Butte Falls, Ore., on a U.S. Bureau of Land Management stewardship project near Selma, Ore. The BLM is working on a new management plan for its forests in Western Oregon to replace one that failed to meet Endangered Species Act requirements.(AP Photo/Jim Craven/Mail Tribune)

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Nothing came to symbolize the difficulty of bringing back the good old days of logging in Oregon like the Bush administration’s plan to boost timber production on 3,750 square miles of federal land in 18 counties, an area about three times the size of Rhode Island.

Big promises of logs and revenue for timber counties won the Western Oregon Plan Revision the nickname of “The Whopper,” spoken affectionately by timber interests and contemptuously by conservationists. But after five years of planning, it all came crashing down. Unable to pass muster under the Endangered Species Act, it was withdrawn by the Obama administration in 2009.

Now, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is working on a kinder and gentler approach. Though some people are calling it “Whopper Junior,” the BLM pointedly is not. In a preliminary planning document released this month, the BLM’s state director, Jerome E. Perez, said the new approach will be based on what the public wants, science, the law and on the goals of healthy forests, not board feet of timber.

“These 2.5 million acres have an important role to the social, economic and ecological wellbeing of Western Oregon, as well as to the greater American public,” he wrote. “In an effort to try to change the dialogue, besides changing how we engage the public, I want to focus our discussions around outcomes, not Login to read more

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