From Roy, Utah, a retired Forest Service man writes the President about the problems with "roadless areas"


March 9, 2003

By Jim Trenholm

Roy, Utah, USA


The Honorable George W. Bush, President, United States of America

Dear Mr. President:

Merlin Bartz, a friend of mine and a special assistant to Under Secretary
Mark Rey in the United States Department of Agriculture, recently responded
to an e-mail I wrote him.

He wrote, "I know we are headed the right direction" with regard to natural
resource issues in the USDA Forest Service.

I wrote back, I know we are, too and I believe we will never get there until
we can admit mistakes and not cover them up.

Jack Ward Thomas, a former Chief of the USDA Forest Service, said, "We follow
the law, tell the truth, admit mistakes and not cover them up."

He tried, but it was not possible in the previous administration.

His successor, Mike Dombeck, was a political pawn, whose mission was to elect
Al Gore and eliminate as much National Forest System lands as possible from
forest protection, management and use, was loyal to the previous
administration, at the expense of integrity.

"Bush: Thinning forests best option -- Officials debate how much is needed
for fire protection." (The Washington Post) was a front page story in today's

My friend, Bernie Weingardt, former forest supervisor on the Wasatch-Cache
National Forest and now a deputy regional forester in California, is quoted:
"Catastrophic wildfire here is not a question of if, but when." He points
out the window of his truck at the Hamlet of Quincy, an island in a sea of
green. "This whole place could go."

When Bernie was forest supervisor here, I made visits to planning meetings in
Logan, Salt Lake City and Ogden.

I wrote him several times, expressing concerns about [his] calling areas
"roadless areas," when they, in fact, had many miles of roads needed for
protecting, managing and using the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Bernie never answered.

Neither did his then-boss, regional forester Jack Blackwell.

It is ironic that Jack Blackwell is again Bernie's boss in California.

When Jack Blackwell was deputy regional forester in Ogden, Dale Bosworth was
his boss.

Now Dale Bosworth is Chief of the USDA Forest Service -- and is again Jack
Blackwell's boss.

Dale Bosworth's boss is Mark Rey.

Mark Rey's boss in Ann Veneman and Ann Veneman's boss is you, Mr. President.

In the ten years following my retirement from the USDA Forest Service, I have
been unable to get answers from line officers -- at all levels.

I told that to Mike Dombeck, seven years or so ago, at a meeting that was
attended by over a hundred people in Ogden.

Mike said, "That is unacceptable."

Mike was the biggest offender.

When Dombeck was Chief, regional foresters could not even question a
senseless proposal -- like an 18-month moratorium on road construction and
reconstruction in "roadless areas" -- without putting their jobs on the line.

How is it possible to reconstruct a road in a roadless area?

Dombeck pushed the roadless initiative to the point where there are now
millions of acres of so called "roadless areas" which contain thousands of
miles of road needed for protection, management and use of our national

All roads on National Forest system lands shall be planned, developed and
operated (traffic managed and maintained) for their INTENDED PURPOSES:
considering safety, cost of transportation and impact on the land and

Dombeck directed the destruction (decommissioning) of forest roads without
considering their intended purposes.

Many roads were destroyed because of arbitrary 'road density standards.' He
called 'purchaser credit' a subsidy -- when it was, in fact, an investment in

Mr. President, the Roadless Rule was wrong.

In Idaho, Judge Edward Lodge said so -- and your administration neither
agreed or disagreed with him.

Mark Rey and Dale Bosworth were wrong to agree with the rules for the 11
national forests in the Sierra Nevadas. For practical purposes, they told
Jack Blackwell, there was nothing wrong with the plan, now fix it.

Charles Colson was a palace guard for President Nixon during the Watergate
era. He spent some time in prison and sorted out the virtues of loyalty and
integrity. He came to the conclusion that if we are loyal, we do it because
we are told to and if we have integrity, we do it because it is the right
thing to do. I agree with Charles Colson.

I agree with your Healthy Forests initiative and I know we cannot accomplish
forest management without an adequate road system.

People that work for you fear trying to tell you something you do not want to

It is easier to be loyal to you because you are the President than to risk
trying to correct a misunderstanding or a mistake.

Mr. President, we expect answers. I pray for you and our great country.

I pray for Love, Peace and Understanding (not fear, war and cover-up)

Jim Trenholm

(forwarded from Julie Kay Smithson)


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