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Eric Torgerson

"Change the land management policies of our national forest service/"

Eureka Springs, AR, USA
male, age 61
separated, 1 child
Speaks: english
Joined Feb 21, 2015

Stop poisoning, cut and leave, and burning our National Forests

Our organization ( Save Our National Forests ) is actively educating the public, while contacting our representatives as well as U.S.Forestry leaders and decision makers, in order to change the methods they use to manage our national forests. We believe their greatest value to mankind is their ability to sequester carbon.

  Please paste this link into your email recipiant 

  Write Butler Hollow project in the subject line;

September 9, 2015

District Ranger Joe Koloski

Re: Butler Hollow Project

  After much research and consideration, the ONLY reasonable alternative you have offered that I can support is Alternative 1; Do nothing.

I am extremely discouraged that you and your agency tell us one thing and yet do another. Your numbers do not add up (I mean they literally do not add up). You frame the project as if it were a conservation effort, yet you plan on killing well over 50% of the plants and animals living there today.  You are not even familiar with the forest. The only U.S. Forest employee I spoke with ( at several public meetings) that had ever stepped into this woods was the enforcement officer you had posted at the door, yet you claim to be familiar enough with it to declare it in decline and therefore needs to be cut down, burned and poisoned.

Alternative 4 is a ruse! You present it as if it were a scaled back compromise, yet the scope of the work you have presented is much more aggressive than any of your other previous proposals. Granted it is the alternative that involves the least amount of acreage but it is still 3600 acres (approximately 20% of the entire original project). Chute ridge is already a disaster. Now you want to increase the destruction by over 500%. This is nothing more than the beginning of the entire project. It would appear you intend to eat this pig one leg at a time.

Might I suggest you go to back to school, and this time, take some courses on CONSERVATION. Read Aldo Leopold, John Muir, George Becker, Rachel Carson, and Henry David Thoreau You cannot possibly manage a forest in a holistic manner without being familiar with the work of these people. Warehouser and Georgia Pacific very likely funded and wrote the curriculum which defined your degree. You cannot manage OUR forests by serving the wishes of the timber industry. I’ll bet you are very good at estimating the board feet per tree/per acre. But you didn’t even know what a Chinquapin Chestnut, or a Yellow Wood was. On top of that, one of your employees tried to convince us that Ginseng grows in glades.

There is not enough information in your present “collective” to make any kind of meaningful decision on this forests behalf. You are more likely to cause enormous harm to this forest with any of the cutting, burning, and poisoning you intend to do. You have copy and paste, boilerplate, rote dogma that you seek to employ for ALL projects. Butler Hollow is just one more in a long string of misguided, mismanaged projects that the forest service engages in, that benefit a few private corporations, profiting at the expense of American tax payers, under the guise of “historic restoration.”

In 1995 the US treasury spent $499 Million in tax receipts on National Forest timber sales. The Forest Service received $345 Million from sales. After subtracting the cost of pre-commercial cutting, road building and ALL other associated work; (office work/engineering) , the timber industry ended up paying 10 cents on the dollar.  That’s right, the US Forest Service lost $455 Million in 1995 alone. And by your own agency’s estimates, you are currently net losing 1 Billion dollars a year of tax payer money, so you can just give it away to the timber industry’s executives and owners. It is no wonder you qualify your forest plan with the statement that economic costs are not a consideration when designing, scoping, or implementation of your projects. Wow… who else, in what world, would proceed with work based on that criteria?  It is absolutely dumbfounding

I discovered a bazaar reality while researching this project. There are actually mandatory spending accounts, put in place by Congress, unrelated to any other spending bill, which requires the USFS to spend certain amounts of money on certain kinds of projects out of specific accounts. Here’s the kicker, the money spent MUST come from logging and user fees. So the agency is willing to spend ½ Billion dollars, to raise only $50 million from timber sales, to satisfy the mandatory spending set forth by congress. This is insane… certainly not fiscally prudent.

I have heard people say that the timber sales are vital for their turn-back money to the States schools. So I looked into it. It turns out last year the US Forest service remitted $285 million to school districts in 41 states and one US territory. Split that $285 million by 42 and we have approximately $6.8 million average per state. I realize there is a very complex formula for how that money is used, so I am going to do some averaging and extrapolating to make my point. The State of Missouri has 518 school districts, 3261 schools and 886,432 students enrolled in 2014-2015. The State of Arkansas has 257 school districts, 1064 schools,(1/3 the schools of Missouri), and 476,083 students (a little more than ½ the students of Missouri). So I do understand how complex the formula is, not even including the money going to roads.

It does make sense that you remit payments to county roads because the logging trucks you invite do a lot of damage to these roads, but there is no way these counties are adequately compensated for road maintenance, made necessary by logging.

Back to the schools, $285 million is remitted to counties in 41 states plus 1 Territory for schools and roads. I do not know how each county breaks down the split, but let’s pretend ALL of it goes to schools. I add Missouri and Arkansas together to average a larger state with a smaller state. Between the two states, they have 1,362,506 students. Divide $285 million between 42, you get 6.8 Million times 2 states makes $13.6 million divided by 1,362,506 students comes out to $9.98 per student. AT BEST. Take away the road money and who knows how little is spent per student. With school districts spending thousands of dollars per student, your contributions are an insult.

I know some schools get a bigger piece while others get none, but lauding your contributions to the schools and roads is unwarranted considering you break the roads and bridges with logging trucks and under value the wood you sell so fair taxes are never collected for what you peddle. Money for schools is a ruse.

 The US Forest service has set policy that requires specific spending on wood product development. Really?  You think developing new wood products by the USFS is tax money well spent, while we have massive deforestation going on all around the planet? Why aren’t you researching alternatives to wood products instead, so you might better preserve the forests in your charge.

Due to climate change your agency has predicted half of our National Forests will suffer from wild-land fire in the near future. So your solution is to burn it all before 1/2 of it burns. I contend burning as a forest management tool is counterproductive rendering the soil less productive and more subject to erosion, diminishing water quality downstream. It is simply a lazy mans way to “manage” a forest.

The leaf mold on the forest floor will be obliterated. Leaf mold is the “skin” of the forest. You cannot burn 50% of the skin of any creature and expect it to survive. The loss of the phosphorous in the soil from burning renders the soil barren for most future growth. Leaf mold is an incredibly complex bio-system in and of itself. The symbiosis is vital to a mature forest. The diversity that exists here now, makes it more resilient and better suited to survive climate change. If you proceed with any alternative (other than alternative 1), you will destroy the very diversity that gives the forest its resilience.

Commercial logging is the ultimate need for you in your plan, in order to meet your mandatory spending, but the way you go about it destroys the forest, for private corporate gains. There are much less destructive ways to remove specific logs that might be utilized by local loggers, rather than cut down the whole forest to make it easier for large corporate commercial mega companies to come in and easily remove the remaining trees, leaving only destruction. Small scale local loggers can come in with mules or small quads and place axils with tires under the logs and pull them out with little or no disturbance of the soil. Supporting the local economy is a ruse. Local loggers seldom get the contracts.

“Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone.” This makes the petition I circulated pertinent to this discussion. I have over 650 people from every continent except Antarctica. Many are world travelers and are drawn to the natural places left in the world. They believe as I do, for many reasons they are ALL asking you to execute alternative, 1 DO NOTHING, they hope our existing mature diverse forest as it stands now will be protected so they and or their children might have the opportunity to visit and see the beauty that currently exists here.

Let me put this in another way; We lose $1 Billion tax dollars per year supporting a PRIVATE timber industry, or we make $13 Billion by keeping the forests natural and encouraging ecotourism. 

“Those same lands provide 20% of the of the nations clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year.”

“The agency has either direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80% of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S. of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.” “Urban forests store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon, with an estimated value of $50 billion” according to a U.S.F.S. study.

“Annual net carbon uptake by these trees is estimated at 21 million tons worth 1.5 billion in economic benefit.” USFS Chief Tom Tidwell stated “carbon storage is just one of the many benefits provided by the hardest working trees in America. I hope this study will encourage people to look at their neighborhood trees a little differently, and start thinking about ways they can help care for their own urban forest.”


“National carbon storage by trees in forestland was estimated at 22.3 billion tons in a 2008 forest study: additional carbon storage by urban trees bumps that to an estimated 22.7 billion ton.”

“Urban areas in the continental U.S. increased from 2.5% of the land area in 1990 to 3.1% in 2000. An increase equivalent to the area of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. If that growth pattern continues urban land could expand by an area greater than the State of Montana by 2050.”

Nowak and Greenfield (a forester with Northern Research Station) found “Urban tree cover is declining nationwide at a rate of about 20,000 acres per year, or 4 million trees per year. “climate change will exacerbate the stress already occurring from weeds insects and disease. Increases in the incidents of extreme weather events will have an increasing influence on agricultural productivity.”

With the decline in urban forest acreage, rural forest survival becomes even more important.

We need to let this forest remain intact so the best suited species that exist there now will have the opportunity to adapt to the new climate that is overtaking us. It is not realistic to think you can predict what plants and trees will be best suited to our climate 100 years from now, but your actions today will surely decide what CANNOT grow here then.

“Successful adaptation will require research to identify management practices that enhance the resilience of these systems to climate change effects, develop stress tolerant plant and animal varieties and establish new approaches to conserve soil and water resources.” This suggests to me it is time to put ALL PLANS based on an antiquated forest management policy aside until, new standards that address our current changing climate needs are implemented. If you proceed with alternatives 2, 3, or 4, you will be acting in direct contradiction to current mission statements made by your bosses, Tom Tidwell, and Secretary Vilsack.  

It is my opinion that the single greatest beneficial property that mature wooded forest possesses, is its enormous ability to sequester carbon. I believe it is imperative to manage our forests in a manner (above all others) that will accomplish this goal.


Eric Torgerson

Tell District Ranger Koloski we want Alternative 1 do nothing
  Thank you We only have until September 10th to respond
Personal Professional Contact Singles
Joined Feb 21, 2015 Activist Aspirations Enthusiastic 
Here for Support a Cause 
Group Host of none yet
Groups Animal Advocates, DNC - Democratic National Committee, Get Out The Progressive Vote!, NAACP
Hometown Iola 
Birthday April 23, 1958  
About Me Deeply concerned for other species that we are destroying, as well as our own.
  Introduce yourself to Eric
Activist Aspirations Enthusiastic
Political Leaning Very Liberal
Wild Fact About Me I have smoked the moon and eaten Mars.
My Philosophy be here now
What Gives Me Hope Children
If I were Mayor, I'd make the world a better place by I was a city alder person for 5 terms and spent 7 years trying to build a water system for our community. Conservatives prevented our success.
What/who changed my life and why When I met Ram Das
Quotation "May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need."
(Buddhist mentality - the bodhisattva heart)
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    Apr 23, 2018 3:17 AM

    Nijn E. (73)
    Happy birthday!
    Apr 23, 2017 3:21 AM

    Nijn E. (73)
    happy birthday!
    Sep 27, 2015 10:18 PM

    Tatiana M. (178)

    Sep 23, 2015 9:23 AM

    Eric T. (15)

    This is how I see us in my mind Pablo. Two kindred spirits clinging to our values, hopes, and asperations. Just a couple of  tree huggers. Protecting All the Americas forests.

    Sep 23, 2015 9:15 AM

    Eric T. (15)

    Thank you Pablo. This trail through the forest represents my calm place. My heart dwells here. This is Carson,Thoreau, Hammerstrohm, Muir, Wittman, Frost, and Leopold.

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