First the governor and legislature suggested that the state stop providing financial support for of all things…state parks. One of the things that most residents of the State of Wisconsin probably agree on is that the state should provide State Parks. But like a lot of other things lately, that seems to have missed the attention under the dome in Madison. I don’t mind paying fees to use the state parks but there is a every cultural and societal reason for the state to maintain state parks for all of its citizens to enjoy…and enjoy affordably.
And now for mistreating state assets redux, the GOP feels that we should increase logging in the state forests. Once again state forests are maintained for all of us…and a great many of us utilize state forests for recreational outdoor activities. Yes, to keep a forest viable some harvesting and restoration is advisable. But it seems that the forest areas targeted are among our most fragile and lie along some equally fragile and beautiful watersheds. Yet other forests that might be better candidates are totally ignored…who thinks this stuff up?
The excuse is that the paper industry is running short of available wood. Considering that paper use is declining and recycling of paper is increasing, this seems rather tenuous. I haven’t had time to go deep diving but it seems to me that the paper industry was shedding privately owned forests in northern Wisconsin just a few years ago based on decreased usage and the migration of paper manufacturing to cheaper labor southern states. So apparently paying to log state property is more cost efficient that maintaining their own source timberlands. So this is part of Wisconsin’s open for business meme?
And the DNR’s Zastrow said that as paper companies sold timber assets, large chunks moved to smaller property owners. Some of those owners are not logging their land, or because they are smaller, they become less economical to cut.
So poor asset allocation and planning for the future by the paper and lumber industry is our problem now?
And one last question…why is this in the budget? Seems more like a policy issue.