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Lochsa Land Exchange dead, but people’s forests are alive

Letter to the Editor

The Lochsa Land Exchange began some nine long years ago by the U.S. Forest Service, which could have saved much time, expenses and reputation if it had listened to people.

It is not known the real backroom reason the Forest Service kept harping on trading away public lands for 39,000 acres of clear cut, steep terrain forest lands used by few, if any people, for public timber lands that are used by thousands of people each year for outdoor recreation. Outdoor recreation brings in nearly one trillion dollars to the national economy each year.  

The Forest Service made personal contact with Senator Crapo and inquired if he would legislate the Lochsa Land Exchange trade away in a senate bill. He and Senator Risch agreed.

At a town hall meeting in Grangeville, there were an estimated 400 people who filled the gymnasium and out of the dozens who voiced opposition, only a couple supported the land exchange! Senator Risch shortly withdrew his name from the proposed senate bill with the following words in a letter to Chief of U.S. Forest Service Tom Tidwell: “After reviewing these comments from my constituents, we found 97 percent of those who contacted my office opposed the Lochsa Land Exchange proposal.” The people thanked Senator Risch for his decision to back away.

Cheryl Probert is Forest Supervisor of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Recently, however, she answered a request from one of those opposed as to the status of the Lochsa Land Exchange—she wrote the following: “After consultation with others in the Forest Service, I cancelled the EIS that the Forest Service had been working on to reflect we are not working on the project.”

Harvey Neese

Clarkston, Wash.


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