I wish to provide additional context regarding a story published Oct. 12, “Skamania in ‘state of emergency‘: County commissioners say federal forestland has been badly mismanaged.” The story highlights the multitude of issues resulting from 90 percent of Skamania land being owned and mismanaged by state and federal government: Eroded funding for schools, county and emergency services, and risk of catastrophic fires.
I am a professional forester with nearly 60 years of experience in timberland management; 26 of those years were spent with Crown Zellerbach, where I retired as resource manager, responsible for more than 800,000 acres of timberland in Oregon and Washington. I own 138 acres in Skamania; however, due to restrictive land management by the state of Washington’s Table Mountain Natural Resource Conservation Area, I am unable to access my property, preventing me from effectively managing my timberlands.
Negligent and deplorable management practices have made Skamania timberlands susceptible to catastrophic fires, similar to the Yacolt Burn of 1902. The U.S. Forest Service is not capable of managing its lands, and this land should be turned over to Skamania County or the state of Washington for proper forest management.