Westerman Visits USFS Management Site
Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) toured the United States Forest Service (USFS) Osgood Stewardship Project. Westerman was joined by USFS Undersecretary Jim Hubbard, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.).
“It’s a common misconception that protecting forests requires leaving trees alone and untouched,” Westerman said. “However, no action on our forests is still a management decision. By allowing pests, dead and decaying trees and brush to remain unchecked, we are opening up our nation’s forests to devasting wildfires and disease. I introduced the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019 earlier this year to address some of these systemic issues. That’s why sites like the Osgood Stewardship Project are vital, because they engage the community in active forest management that enhances wildlife habitats and reduces the risk of fires. I’m so glad to be able to participate in this bicameral visit today, and hope to see the science incorporated into future management activities.”
The USFS contracts projects to promote community relationships and teach best natural resource management practices. “These projects shift the focus of federal forest and rangeland management towards a desired future resource condition,” USFS wrote. “They are also a means for federal agencies to contribute to the development of sustainable rural communities, restore and maintain healthy forest ecosystems, and provide a continuing source of local income and employment.”
The Osgood Stewardship Project, based in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., focuses on sound forest management practices. During their site visit, the members received insight into what’s happening on the ground, especially in light of wildfire season approaching.
Westerman introduced a comprehensive forest management bill on May 8, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019. Daines and U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) are also preparing to introduce a bipartisan forest management bill later this fall.