by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
The forest health crisis in America has reached such staggering proportions, it is no exaggeration to say, that one generation of national leaders has squandered the greatest legacy of the conservation movement — our national forests.
During the last 20 years, more than 100 million acres of national forests have burned to the ground, including the largest fires ever in Colorado, California, and several other western states. Another 10 million acres were added to that national disgrace in 2020 alone, including utter decimation of 400,000 acres in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Despite the urgency of the crisis, the U.S. Forest Service has told Congress it will take nearly 30 years to “treat” another 100 million acres it still considers “at risk” of catastrophic fires. For the agency entrusted with managing and protecting these irreplaceable national treasures, that is virtually an admission that it has no intention of doing anything about it, other than watch it all burn.