RHINELANDER, Wis. (WXPR) - State Senator Tom Tiffany is supporting Oneida County's call for increased cutting in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest. The county board passed a resolution Tuesday asking federal officials and members of Congress to bring the national forest harvest up to its allowable level.
Senator Tiffany says after widespread clearcutting a hundred years ago, the pendulum has now swung too far the other way. "Now, we have a national forest that's not being harvested hardly at all, and it's creating an ecological problem where you have too much undergrowth, too many trees in many instances." Tiffany blames environmental lawsuits and complicated federal bureaucracy for holding things up. And he says that's creating an economic problem for the Northwoods. "We have a mill up in Mercer, where they used to get their hardwood solely from northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula. And they now import 40 percent of their raw material from Canada. It's ridiculous that that's happening, because there's plenty of hardwood growing in the national forest." Managers in the Chequamegon Nicolet are only cutting about half of the 130-million board feet allowed by the national forest plan.