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Off the Leash - By Hank

As I sit here in the office staring out the window looking for the neighbor’s cat who is surely planning his next assassination attempt, I can’t help but notice the hickory flavored air hanging low in the valley. We’ve had a fire year again, especially in the Northwest. Many of you fine loggers have been right in the middle of it, doing what you do best…saving America’s forests. The safety boys tell me that without your hard work on the fire line that we would lose a lot more ground than has already happened. Thank you for the continue dedication to our forests.

It’s disheartening to lose all this timber ground year after year. It’s a missed opportunity to manage our resources and grow a healthy forest. Most of these areas have burned so hot that we won’t see recovery for generations. The public seems to support our efforts of active forest management while it smells like a barbeque outside but often once the smoke goes away, so does the support.

I know what some of you are probably thinking. “For a dog Hank, you sure are depressing!”. I don’t want to come off like some stinking cat so rest assure, there are clear skies ahead!

Groups like American Forest Resource Council, Federal Forest Resource Coalition and American Loggers Council, (which through your continued support of the MLA, we are members of), are fighting hard for us. Their continued pressure in Washington D.C. and at the local forests are making a big difference. We have Senators like our own Steve Daines working across the political isle to make common sense changes to put tools in the hands of the USFS to move projects forward. You are seeing more and more posts on social media supporting our work. There is even a documentary on Netflix called “Fire in Paradise” telling the story of how a wildfire wiped Paradise, California off the map. There are serious talks about delisting the Grizzly Bear as we celebrate its recovery. The nations appetite for wood is only increasing and more people are understanding that wood is the environmentally friendly way to build. And I can personally tell you that the staff here at the MLA are working diligently doing everything they can do to keep the ball rolling in a positive direction.

A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finds American forests may convert from being carbon absorbers to significant carbon emitters. Researchers say the shift is due to the increasing destruction from natural disasters and the aging of forests, which is reducing their carbon-absorbing capabilities. Our forests currently absorb 11 percent of U.S carbon emissions, or 150 million metric tons of carbon a year, equivalent to the combined emissions from 40 coal power plants.

However, starting in 2025, their ability to hold carbon may start plummeting and could emit up to 100 million metric tons of carbon a year as their emissions from decaying trees exceed their carbon absorption. Without action, forests could become a “substantial carbon source” by 2070, the USDA report says. This is the eyeopener that may turn the tide in people’s perceptions of our forests.

On top of all that, we have you Montana Loggers continuing to do great work on the ground. The work you are doing is saving our forests and you should be proud to tell your story. Maybe the next time that Subaru shows up on the landing lost looking for the next perfect backdrop for their Instagram post, don’t chase them off before sharing what you are doing and why. There is so much misinformation out there about forest management, a little truth can go a long way. Especially when its right in front of you.

Staring out of the backdrop of the MLA headquarters, I have seemed to spotted the neighbors cat with what appears to be a sniper rifle so I will have to end this month’s ramblings. I want to leave you with this, the future may appear smokey but clear skies are ahead. Thank you for your continued support of the MLA and your dedication to our forests.

Keep the treats coming….

Handsome Hank aka ½ day Hank

Keep the treats coming

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