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Greg Walcher: Forests burn, bureaucracy fiddles – let's act now to save these national treasures

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Senior correspondent Claudia Cowan has the latest form Auburn, California on 'Special Report'

The French historian François-René de Chateaubriand wrote that forests precede civilizations, and deserts follow them.

Looking out this summer at smoke that covered half the country, and mudslides that buried major highways like I-70 in Colorado, we should wonder if we really want that to be America’s legacy, too. It is not inevitable.

Professional foresters know how to manage forests to sustain their yield, their beauty and their health, forever. But professional foresters are not in charge.


For 25 years, politicians, environmental industry groups and the most cumbersome bureaucratic process imaginable have intervened to prevent professional management. The result is that over 100 million acres of national forests have burned to the ground, including the largest fires ever in California, Colorado and several other states, bringing utter devastation to beloved places like Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks.

The Forest Service says at least another 100 million acres are still "at risk" of catastrophic wildfire, such is their unhealthy and overgrown condition. They are doing almost nothing about it.

In fact, a generation of politicians have created such a maze of regulations that "analysis paralysis" has all but stopped the professional management of our public forests. Now, we are witnessing the........

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