Gov. Noem and Gov. Gordon Tell Forest Service to Revise Assessments for Black Hills National Forest

Gov. Noem and Gov. Gordon Tell Forest Service to Revise Assessments for Black Hills National Forest

PIERRE, S.D. – This week, Governor Kristi Noem and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon urged the Supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest to produce another set of draft assessments for the Forest’s Plan Revision process. You can find their letter to Supervisor Tomac here.

“We request that the Forest Service produce another set of draft assessments with a public comment period, that those assessments include citations for factual statements, and that they contain discussion of why one authority was relied upon over another,” wrote Governor Noem. “We look forward to meaningful participation in the Black Hills National Forest’s Forest Plan Revision process.”

In recent years, timber mills in the Black Hills have struggled to keep the doors of their business. Under logging constraints, one mill has already closed in South Dakota.

“We are concerned about the apparent desire of the Forest Service to drastically reduce the timber program in the Black Hills National Forest,” continued Governors Noem.

The Governors pointed to flawed statements “not backed by scientific material” in the Black Hills National Forest Plan revision assessments. These flaws included errors in both the data analysis and assumptions in the Black Hills Timber Sustainability General Technical Report.

“If the inaccuracies are not addressed, it will be difficult for our states to have confidence in the outcome of the Forest Plan Revision,” wrote the Governors.


19 thoughts on “Gov. Noem and Gov. Gordon Tell Forest Service to Revise Assessments for Black Hills National Forest”

  1. This is an important issue for protecting the Black Hills. Controlling forest fires reasonably is the biggest benefit of the timbering. The public gets a protected forest for free (actually gets paid to have a better forest). The “Save Every Tree” crowd is the most anti-environmental group out there. Not much to enjoy hiking through a 10,000 acre burn area, or attending a firefighter’s funeral

    1. Well said, Senator. With careful study, we can manage forest growth sensibly and sustainably — a program that benefits wildlife, hikers, and timber generation.

    2. What evidence do you have that the US Forest Service, which employs many foresters, who’s mission is to manage the resources of the forest, are part of the “save every tree” crowd? Contrary to the politicized argument you have made, the USFS has a page with all their evidence and public meetings documented here:

      The letter from SD/WY states they “want citations for facts”, but this same claim was brought up in 2020, and responded to as follows:
      “This is a generic criticism and without any specific, science based assertions or challenges that
      could be evaluated.”

      What specifically do you want more information or citations on that make these recommendations invalid? I’m not a forester, but I can clearly see the loss of timber due to the pine beetle. I’ll take the foresters recommendation over the timber industry any day. I would love to see some specifics, but it seems like you are more interested in playing politics and convincing the sheep anything the fed does is bad since Kristi wasn’t involved.

      1. When BHNF has logging shut down on basis of statistics showing high timber removal one has to understand cause and effect. Pine beetles caused increased harvest to collect dead standing timber and protect existing live forest ergo more logging. Go look at Galena burn and compare other recent fires that haven’t sterilized the ground due to reduced fuel load. We are agriculture so I suspect there are alot of smart folks in SD that know how to grow and harvest timber responsibly. Great to see Gov Noem working with her colleagues to address a concern. (apparently you must not have much to do with building trades otherwise you would be cognizant of lumber prices)

        1. “Pine beetles caused increased harvest to collect dead standing timber” – False, ask any of the BH logging companies, they don’t harvest pine beetle wood. There are a few specialty companies that do it, but the quantity is small. Larger operations like Baker Timber do not harvest dead wood. The USFS thins the forest, and selectively clears, but that isn’t what logging companies want, they want clear cut or it isn’t cost competitive.

          “look at Galena burn” – fires and clearing the biomass fuel load have nothing to do with the rate of timber harvest from OUR national forest.

          “you must not have much to do with the building trades” – building trades have nothing to do with managing the forest resource. You think because someone wants something, they should get it? Let’s legalize drugs then if all we need is a demand.

          How about you address the topic that I posted, what in the management plan conclusion do you not agree with? You just don’t like the scientifically derived outcome, therefore you want to eliminate it. What is next, you not liking the results of an election, and we throw that out too?

  2. If there were actual issues Noem could have talked in specifics instead of making unsupported statements complaining about unsupported statements.

    1. Well then why don’t you enlighten all of us with your vast knowledge of timber management…you know like giving us specifics and factually supported statements instead of complaining about Governor Noem with no factually supported statements.

      1. Well, the OP was asking for specifics in the governor’s statements, then you asked them to provide detailed timber management information……but on what? The issues is the letter just asks to “provide citations for factual information”, but what “factual information”? This leads us to the original question of WHAT DO THE GOV’s THINK IS INCORRECT? That is what is lacking here, maybe someone could provide timber management information, but on what, photosynthesis? Pine Beetle damage? Drought? Tree Gender? This letter is just a political game, and only looks good to those that can’t comprehend the science of these studies.

  3. Forest management is a complex subject. The Forest Plan and the Technical Report actually are “specifics”.
    The deal is that we in South Dakota love “the Black Hills”, but most of us have very little information about how federal forest management works and how we keep the Black Hills we love, lovable.
    Given the disastrous management in other western states, we best learn the subject matter

      1. They can’t, they just want to make a big fuss to start this discussion that the federal government land should be turned over to the state. Then a few people like Kristi and other inner party members can sell off our assets to the highest donors and they profit. This has been going on since the Rounds admin, you have Kristi’s biggest federal accomplishment of getting that pioneer cemetery in the hills turned over to a state agency. Daugaard tried taking over the hills to add to a Spearfish State Park, and failed. With the corruption in this state and zero checks and balances in our government, I think we should all feel safer with these assets in the hands of someone else.

  4. What exactly are the roles of SD and WY in the management of the forest? I was under the impression the Forest Service ran it because it is federal land.

  5. KN is all about knowing ‘scientific materials’ with her honorary degree from SDSU. Is Ian catching up on forest management and assessment?

    1. “her honorary degree from SDSU”

      Care to elaborate? I believe she was awarded a Bachelors in Political Science. Or are you just regurgitating the verbal vomit from Herr Joseph Heidelberger?

  6. Gov. Noem is simply repeating what the timber industry has told her because all they see are dollar signs when they look at the Black Hills. She has not visited the Hills in an official capacity with the Forest Service in years so she has no idea the actual shape the forest is in. The Forest Service release a report stating all the data of the forest and it came back that it’s being over harvested. This report has been analyzed 4 different times by 4 different groups. This report (GTR-422) has been deemed a solid collection of data stating the Hills are over harvested. Industry doesn’t like it so they’ll do whatever it takes to get their way. Before you jump down my throat about being a tree hugger and whatever else, my family lives in the Black Hills, has our own sawmill, owns our own construction company so we value wood highly as it provides our way of life but what’s happening here is ridiculous. Noem is simply a puppet in the timber industry ‘s pocket. Please get out in the Hills and look at what’s actually happening here.

      1. Never said I was against sawmills and logging. As the saying goes, all good things in moderation and when we take too much for too long, we have to cut back. We need logging in the Hills, it would be stupid to say we don’t but if we over harvest, then all the mills shut down and then we’re in a bunch of trouble. It’s all about balance.

        1. I guess I never answered your question about shutting down our sawmill. We get our logs off private property and blow down trees that are already dead. We’re not taking thousands of acres of live trees at a time. So no, we’re not shutting down our sawmill and we don’t want all sawmills to close but there needs to be a cutback for a while.

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