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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions February 5, 2016


9/14/2013 2:10:00 PM
Editorial: Big chance for 4FRI to get moving

Stalled like a chainsaw caught in an ancient knot, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, known colloquially as 4FRI, has had a lot of promise and a lot of problems. Given the unparalleled nature of the project by the U.S. Forest Service, all of that was to be expected.

So, there is great hope the most recent development will slingshot 4FRI beyond the frustrations and fully realize the potential. With a stewardship contract transfer, the project is, in effect, under new management. That is a good thing.

The next order of business is to move, move, move.

4FRI took on the decades-long and much-needed management of four national forests in Arizona. That means correctly thinning and treating to prevent not only out-of-control wildfires but also the destructive bark beetle and other insects from taking over our spectacular ponderosa pines. The other end of the plan is to use product from the woods for 800,000 tons of saw logs and 450,000 tons of biomass to convert into biofuel every year.

With 300,000 acres and many new jobs at stake, the Forest Service has never taken on such a task before. Success in even organizing 4FRI has meant drawing together disparate people with differing interests in the forests for a "shared vision of restoring Arizona's forests."

Friday, as the principals gathered to announce the transfer of the stewardship contract, there was a lot of sturdy talk about collaboration and working hand-in-hand. Not quite "Kumbaya," but clearly everyone wants to get this project going full steam.

4FRI has had a hitch in its giddy-up from the start. The talk Friday was about moving on, go big or go home, driving technology forward. Lots of action words are just what 4FRI needs.

Is the new steward up to the task? Good Earth Power AZ is a newbie when it comes to Arizona forests. Its experience is in the forestry of Africa. Even bringing local experienced forest specialists on board, GEP will have to be a quick study to meet its own goals.

GEP has a lot to do and they want to do it soon. They want to jump into action. That is good to hear. A big dose of moving forward is exactly what 4FRI needs.




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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Arizona Logging and Timber Harvesting

I have read HR1526 in it entirety and the one thing that I don't get is why in AZ were we have some of the largest forestry issues there is only one of our elected officials on board... Thank you Paul Gosar for supporting this legislation.

Fact is that this legislation only has about a 5% chance of being enacted so we must do what we can do locally here in AZ.

As for what "4FRI sounds good but in reality is not enough We need HR 1526" I somewhat agree with part of their opinion however not all of it. Pioneer is still active and out harvesting. True the super mill that they had planned and envisioned will never come to reality they are still contracting.

As for all the wood being shipped out of state this is false. There are several milling and processing operations up and running all over the state. There are several mills in PHX that produce everything from pallets, decorative log poles, lumber, mulch biomass etc. There are various biomass electric generating plants around the state, Wood stove pellet mills, and a huge national firewood producer plant right over in Camp Verde. Now don't get me wrong this is nothing compared to the hey day pre 1991 in Arizona however it is a start and we can all work together to bring the infrastructure back into Arizona and the jobs but we must support all efforts like 4FRI, HB1526, White Mountain Stewardship Etc. and be diligent and patient in our efforts. Get educated and support Arizona Timber harvesting not uneducated and protest it.


Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: 4FRI sounds good but in realtiy is not enough We need HR 1526

Pioneer jumped ship because although as big of a company as they were, they couldn't get any lender in their right mind to finance them $300 million to build a plant and get logging going. Wow, 300,000 acres! Wait over 10 years is only 30,000 acres/year, that isn't a lot considering how large these destructive fires are now. This is the result of the environmentalists and the bureaucratic federal government allowing it to happen now that nearly all infrastructure is gone it is really hard to get large financing based on "action words". After Rodeo-Chedeski the San Carlos Reservation cleaned up their forest quickly - thing was though they had to train the trees to California to handle the supply since nowhere in the southwest could handle and process it.
Any of these other 1-2,000 acre projects are just feel good projects and are not a result of 4FRI, they are on areas that already have had a NEPA such as power line and road easements etc. The USFS and enviros will tell you that see there is a logging truck coming out of the forest right there, so it is working, there is logging. Give me a break, this is not hobby logging, we need INDUSTRY to do this. America needs the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526) enacted now!


Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Article comment by: Arizona Logging and Timber Harvesting

Ok here is the deal.
There are "local outfit with roots in Arizona and with local skin in the game" A LOT OF SKIN IN THE GAME!
It all sounds good to say "Put able men and woman who aren't afraid of a physical challenge to work" but reality is that there are not a local shortage of workers and we are working in the woods daily. I have crews in Flagstaff, Williams, Prescott, Mingus Mountain and The Clints Well Area actively logging and harvesting timber day and night 365 days a year, the real issue with Arizona Timber harvesting "logging" is the huge investment and operating costs involved to do it! Then you have the issues with needing buyers of the timber so that you have the money to keep harvesting. In Arizona logging it is always robbing peter to pay paul.....
This is were you get out of state and or out of country entities stepping in to accept the HUGE cost of doing business in the 4FRI arena! It is not that we local Az logging and timber processing companies have not been given first opportunity at heading this we just cant.
On that note, we are however all working with, contracting with or other wise involved with the companies like Pioneer and Good Earth Power AZ to do the actually logging and or timber processing of the 4FRI areas and project.
Truth be told I am always hiring and get very few that can make the cut and stick with the work locally so it is not as many see it that jobs and money are going somewhere else. The lions share of monies do pay local, stay local, spend local and provide employment for the few and rare that work in the Arizona Timber Industry.

To Slater???? not sure what you are talking about with terrorism?? Off in left field comes to mind.. Forest fires are the result of decades of neglect caused by Arizona timber industry stoppages back in the early 90's because of incorrect studies of the white spotted owl, Gosshawk, Red Squirrels and Mexican Grey Wolf. Those studies and the incorrect information within them killed the logging industry in Arizona alone. This mills closed the loggers left and the forests over grew to now the extremely dangerous condition they are now in, in turn creating catastrophic wildfires that we have seen over the last several years not terrorists or terrorism!

MORE INFO ALWAYS AVAILABLE AT
www.4fri.org
www.fs.usda.gov/4fri‎


FYI- AZDOC does have several active wildland fire crews that work the fires and the forests that are house at min security locations like Douglas, Perryvale and Springerville.


Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

We'd rather spend a billion dollars a year to
put Hot Shots out there.
I haven't seen the investigations even one time
consider home grown Terrorists mentioned.
It's a great way to burn money and homes.
Life in jail if proven you started a wild fire.
Airplanes are only one cost,if you can find one.
Pay prisoners to work in the woods(low risk)
offenders to work off some steam.They might
gain some respect from the general public.


Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Put able men and woman who aren't afraid of a physical challenge to work.State and Federal
Gov to pay.Save Millions just on fire costs.


Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013
Article comment by: Good Question

Don't we have indigenous forest management outfits who could handle a project of this size?

If not, why not?


Posted: Sunday, September 15, 2013
Article comment by: Would much rather have local contractor

Good Earth's parent is based in Oman.

I would much rather see a local outfit with roots in Arizona and with local skin in the game take over this project.

Always better to see our federal dollars recirculated locally than to send them overseas.




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