March 09, 2005

Crapo: Fire, Forest Health Plans Begin With Jobs In Cascade

Senator co-hosts town rally as nearby fires threaten salmon habitat

Boise - A small Idaho town now nearly ringed by forest fires may be a key to building consensus around forest health plans before Congress and the American people, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo is joining Cascade Mayor Larry Walters, Valley County Commissioners, and nearly 50 local residents, workers, conservationists, and agency leaders for a town rally Thursday to celebrate the creation of jobs and potential for growth in the utilization of forest biomass and small-diameter timber under federal forest health plans.Crapo, as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committeeâ??s subcommittee on forestry, authored forest health legislation that is headed for the Senate floor. On Thursday, he is co-hosting a demonstration of the potential benefits of such legislation on the ground in Idaho, where jobs are being created as recycled forest biomass is turned into fire and flood restoration products. â??Cascade lost much of its job base when the local mill closed,â?? Crapo said. â??Now, through collaborative efforts to improve the health of our forests by removing small-diameter timber, we are actually creating new jobs and at the same time producing an all-natural product to repair the damages from fire and floods. My hat is off to the pioneers in Cascade and Valley County as well as the agency folks and rehab experts working to make this a model of success for the entire country.â??Through the guidance of Crapo and others, workers in a building purchased by the City of Cascade using federal fire plan money, are producing a product called â??Flow Check,â?? which can be purchased by federal agencies through a contract established at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise. While production is underway to fill orders of the material from the private sector, future purchasing could complete the cycle to remove overgrowth from forests, produce jobs, and a product restoring damage from fires and floods.A news conference featuring Crapo, Cascade and Valley County leaders, etc. etc. is planned for 12:00 Noon, Thursday, August 14th, at the Cascade industrial area south of town, across Idaho Highway 55 from the Cascade Airport. Lunch will be served.â??We want to showcase Idahoâ??s efforts as to what the potential benefits of this legislation can be,â?? Crapo noted. â??It is indeed heartening to see the broad range of support for a project just now beginning---but with a potential as broad and wide as the landscape itself. Jobs, a healthier forest, and repairing the damage on our public lands are all possible when we work together in an example like this.â??Some of those in attendance and expected to speak include: Cascade Mayor Larry Walters; Valley County Commissioners Terry Gestrin and F. Phillip Davis; Larry Hamilton of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise; Deputy State Director for Idaho BLM Mike Ferguson; Supervisor Dick Smith of the Boise National Forest; Bob Giles of the Payette National Forest; John Robison of the Idaho Conservation League; Steve Thorson, Forest Concepts Director of Marketing; Richard Tromblay, U.S. Economic Development Administration. # # #