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Proponents of monument designation met with many questions in Taylorsville

 

By Andrea Singer

[email protected]

Many are aware that Friends of Plumas Wilderness have been making their way around the county, holding meetings to discuss a Monument designation for portions of the Feather River watershed and April 3 it was Taylorsville’s turn. Approximately 70 residents turned out for the presentation at the charter school in Indian Valley. In the crowded classroom it was standing room only, and several people left because of the over crowding. The meeting was not held on Zoom, because according to the organizers, it was out of respect for citizens who wished not to be recorded.  

The Friends of Plumas Wilderness were quickly confronted with concerns ranging from their private funding from Patagonia, to land management and wildfire protocol. As an area recently ravaged by wildfire, accepting the “let it burn” policy that dictates wildfires in National Monuments is a bitter pill to swallow. The thought of an uncontrolled wildfire in Indian Valley’s backyard leaves many already traumatized citizens feeling especially vulnerable.

Holding the Forest Service accountable for properly maintaining the forests is already a struggle, this proposition could potentially help do exactly that, but not without risk of it becoming a monster further out of our control. Taylorsville resident and Conservation Project Coordinator, Brad Underwood shared his thoughts,”My concern is that the proposal could potentially hinder the Forest Service’s ability to do work in areas outside of the National Monument. The special designation does not come with extra funding, so the Plumas National Forest would have to use money within their existing budget to conduct management activities within the monument. My worry is that this would detract from projects that the land managers and communities within Plumas County would consider higher priority, such as fuels reduction work around communities and travel corridors. Forest Service projects already take time to develop and implement, and in the current state of our environment where conditions change quickly, the USFS and their partners needs the ability to get work done quickly and in the areas that need it, and I don’t see how a National Monument contributes to that ability. It is hard to see this proposal as anything other than a burden on the Forest Service and its already limited ability to do work.” 

Overall the meeting left many questions unanswered. The general consensus was a desire for forest restoration and proper land management practices resulting in an overall healthier forest. The question is: how can that best be accomplished?

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