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Carol Daly, who helped organize the pre-Congress roundtable in the Flathead area, says local activities have resumed following the 7AFC, but there is no plan to reconvene the roundtable, per se. Ongoing local community forestry activities include the Flathead Forestry Project, the Swan Citizens Group, and Common Ground (a new group of environmentalists and industry people considering larger scale issues). Carol says that most of the people who attended the pre-Congress roundtable are either involved in one or more of these groups or are on the groups' mailing lists.
The FCIC receives the minutes of the meetings of the Flathead Forestry Project. The October 24, 1996 minutes recappped the original goals of the group and recounted some of its accomplishments. The group's main goals have been "to help restart the Forest Service small sale program on a continuing basis" and restore trust between the Forest Service and the public. The Flathead Forestry Project has managed to increase the general level of trust and public knowledge of/involvement in Forest Service efforts, carry out on-the-ground demonstration projects using elements of the small sale program recommendations they are formulating, and develop a new contract format for use in small timber sales on public lands. Some outstanding issues identified included: increasing the number of stakeholders involved; exploring alternative marketing methods; "recycling" sale proceeds back into ecosystem maintenance, enhancement, and restoration; using end results contracts for stewardship work; reducing barriers to access on the part of smaller contractors and/or bidders; gaining greater understanding of the NEPA process and improving its implementation; and overcoming resistance to stewardship contracting at the higher levels of the Forest Service.
Contact: Carol Daly, President, Flathead Economic Policy Center, 15 Depot Park, Kalispell, MT 59901, Phone: 406-756-8548, Fax: 406-752-5739.
Collen Snyder reports that a group of about 20 people who participated in the pre-Congress roundtable in Libby (and some of whom participated in the 7AFC) have continued to meet since the Forest Congress as the "Kootenai Forest Congress Follow Up Committee". The group is composed of people on several sides of the forest management debate who "had been at each other's throats for the eight years prior to the Libby Roundtable", but who have learned to respect and work with one another to find common ground. The group has held a couple of public meetings to discuss issues like fire management. Perhaps more significantly, the group is examining timber sales on local National Forest lands, working through the issues specific to each sale to come to agreement within the group, then advising the Forest Service based on their agreement. The FCIC was the recipient of a letter, dated August 12th, that the KFC Follow Up Committee copied to Secretary of Agriculture Glickman, U.S. Congressional delation from Montana, and the Forest Service explaining what they are trying to do, expressing their hope that communities such as theirs will be empowered to work with agencies to affect the fate of the natural resources around them, and stating their frustration with continued "management by directive" from Washington, D.C.
Contact: Colleen Snyder, Communities for a Greater Northwest, P.O. Box 1320, Libby, MT 59923, Phone: 406-293-8844, Fax: 406-243-4845.
Following the Seventh American Forest Congress meeting in Washington DC in February 96, Hal Salwasser, the Regional Forester, arranged a video teleconference between approximately eleven national forest sites in Montana to bring established community forest user groups and other interested individuals together to discuss the Forest Congress and how lessons might be applied to local issues. A total of 200 - 250 people participated in the 3 « hour session. The session was divided into three parts: the first segment was devoted to a roundrobin where participants who attended the 7AFC shared their thoughts, then the participants at each site worked in small groups to generate ideas on possible local follow up, and the session ended with everyone getting on the teleconference again to share their follow up ideas. The session reportedly generated a great deal of interest to actively follow up on the Forest Congress.
Contact: Laird Robinson, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 7669, Missoula, MT 59807, Phone: 406-329-3316