November 7, 2000
Mike Dombeck, Chief
United States Forest Service
Sydney R. Yates Bldg.
201 14th St. SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Chief Dombeck,
Conservationists with Common Sense (CWCS) takes this opportunity to join St. Louis County and Senator Rod Grams in urging you to provide a Chief’s Emergency Situation Determination for fuel load reductions on St. Louis County land within the Superior National Forest. The area is encompassed by the Little East Creek Fuel Reduction EIS.
This request comes on the heels of the storm of the past millennium – the July 4, 1999 windstorm that flatten over 400,000 acres of trees in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, fuel loadings are normally 12-20 tons per are, but are now at 80-150 tons per acre as a result of the storm. This level of danger has led to a strong, coordinated effort between the federal, state and local governments to ensure public safety.
CWCS asserts that the number one priority of elected officials and federal agencies should be the protection of the lives and property of northern Minnesotans. Secondary to this is upholding the wilderness values and regulations of designated wilderness areas. The only way in which the federal government can advance these goals is to provide state, county and private landowners with quick access to their property for clean up and to remove downed timber that pose a danger to their lives and property.
CWCS requests that you provide immediate authority for St. Louis County to access county owned land in the Little East Creek area to remove downed timber. It is very clear that an emergency decision exist in regard to the Little East Creek area and in other areas across northern Minnesota devastated by the 1999 storm. Your swift response to this request will allow St. Louis County to begin operations this winter.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.