Many association conferences were negatively affected due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The AFRC reported that on February 12, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a package of wilderness bills that would designate 1.4 million acres of new wilderness in Colorado, California, and Washington State – including the Wild Olympics Wilderness and the Wild and Scenic Act.
The most controversial measure is H.R. 2546, the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2019 sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), which would designate 740,000 acres (more than 1,150 square miles) of wilderness across 33 areas. Much of the area proposed for wilderness is in the district of Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), who opposes the legislation.
The package also includes Rep. Jared Huffman’s (D-CA) Northwest California Wilderness and Wild & Scenic proposal, which would create eight new wilderness areas and designate 379 miles of Wild & Scenic rivers. AFRC expressed its opposition to the proposal when it was passed by the House Natural Resources Committee. Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities (HFHC) has been organizing a grassroots campaign in opposition to the proposal.
AFRC has spent considerable time on the Wild Olympics legislation. In December, AFRC sent a letter to Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) outlining specific concerns with the proposal and requesting a limited number of changes, including removing proposed wild and scenic river designations from DNR state trust lands.
Rep. Kilmer’s office made modest changes to the proposal, but they fell short of addressing major concerns. One of the most significant concerns is the impact of new planning requirements that will shift forest service staff away from preparing timber sales and other on-the-ground work to preparing 19 new “Comprehensive River Management Plans” to satisfy a requirement in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. HFHC is now running an advocacy campaign in Western Washington seeking to educate the public about the impact of the proposal and the need for balanced legislation that meets the environmental and economic needs of the Olympic Peninsula by increasing active management of the Olympic National Forest.
The American Forest Foundation (AFF) announced that the Domtar Corporation has joined AFF and its partner, the Nature Conservancy (TNC), in supporting the newly-created Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) to enhance carbon sequestration in family-owned forestland across the U.S.
Domtar is committed to safeguarding endangered forests and wildlife, respecting the culture and rights of indigenous peoples, and conserving natural forests and biodiversity by sourcing wood from responsibly managed forests. Domtar remains committed to their goal of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from purchased energy at pulp and paper mills by 15 percent from 2010 levels by the end of 2020.
The FFCP incentivizes individual and family forest owners to adopt forest management practices that improve forest health and increase carbon sequestration, incorporating family forest owners in the global effort to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
ON THE COVER
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