Reforming Federal Forest Policy
Each summer, our forested communities face catastrophic fires that burn through overstocked forests, choke our skies with smoke, destroy watersheds, and threaten property and lives. Meanwhile, our most rural communities face high levels of poverty and unemployment. It is clear the status quo isn't working for our forests or our communities, and that’s why I continue to push for reforms in the House
Improving the management of our federal forests
I helped write legislation to fix and streamline management to improve the health of our forests and our communities. For example, the House has passed a plan l to repeal the arbitrary prohibition on harvesting trees over 21 inches in diameter on national forests in eastern Oregon. The restriction denies forest managers the flexibility to address site specific needs of the forest on the ground, and is a source of litigation that continues to stall much needed forest management efforts.
Putting people back to work in the woods
I’ve supported a plan that would cut costs and streamline management on Oregon’s unique O&C Lands. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently unveiled new management plans for these lands that would fall short of the needs of local communities for a reliable supply of timber to fund essential local services like schools, roads, and law enforcement. The bill tells the BLM to go back to the drawing board, and analyze a new plan to provide sustainable timber production for Oregon’s rural communities as required by law.
Ending the cycle of “fire borrowing”
We must fix the way we pay to fight fire, and stop the endless cycle of “fire borrowing”— or forcing the federal government to use wildfire prevention funds to pay for fighting fire. I supported a bipartisan plan that would allow the Forest Service to apply for FEMA disaster funds to pay for firefighting. This treats wildfire as the natural disasters they are, similar to hurricanes or tornados, and ensures the cost-effective preventive forest management work gets done.
More on Reforming Federal Forest Policy
The Dalles Chronicle: Walden: We must act to prevent wildfires
Oregonians have faced some of the worst fires in our state’s history this year. We have watched in shock as every day comes with more smoke and reports of new fires. With arrival of the first fall rains, we can and should turn our attention to the recovery efforts after the fires.
Greg Walden on forest management reform: “We have to do better for air quality, for water quality, and for the future of our precious public resources”
Stresses the need for urgent action to prevent catastrophic wildfires, protect air quality in Oregon
Greg Walden helps pass legislation aimed at improving firefighter health
Stresses the need to protect the men and women battling devastating fires raging across Oregon
Scenic Columbia Gorge Restoration Act (H.R. 3715)
Continuing his efforts to improve forest management policy, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) has introduced legislation to ensure the scenic Columbia Gorge is restored after the devastating Eagle Creek Fire.
Enough smoke. Enough fires.
Enough is enough. When Cycle Oregon and performances at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland get canceled because of fires and the toxic smoke, it’s long past time for Congress to address how federal forests are managed and how fires are fought (or not), including policies that affect firefighting in wilderness areas.
Greg Walden calls for answers on Cultus Lake closure
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today voiced his concern about the recent closure of the Cultus Lake Campground on the Deschutes National Forest. In a letter sent to Deschutes National Forest Supervisor, John Allen, Walden called for answers on the process for the identification of the hazard trees that led to the closure, and the timeline moving forward for the environmental analysis required to remove these trees and open the lake to the public.
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) issued the following statement on the successful effort to block a national monument designation in the Owyhee Canyonlands: