Thinning forests will protect the recreation economy

White Mountain Independent (Nov. 29, 2019) by Peter Aleshire

Let’s thin and burn a million acres. And let’s do that in the heart of some of the most heavily used national forests in the country. Count on lots of logging trucks, processing sites and smoke.

Now, maybe that doesn’t make it sound like treating the forest will improve the weekend camping trip, maybe not in the short term: But in the long-term, it should work out great.

And for sure it beats the heck out of another Rodeo-Chediski wildfire – which could devastate the recreation and tourist economy of surviving forested communities for a decade.

That’s the conclusions that emerge from the analysis of the Rim Country Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI). In today’s installment of the series on what 4FRI means to the high country, we’ll look at the impact of the combination of thinning projects and controlled burns on recreation and tourism.

Increasingly, Payson, Pine Show Low Pinetop, Springerville, Alpine, Flagstaff, Prescott and almost every other forested community relies on tourism – the millions of people who flock to the high country to hike, fish, drive, camp and watch wildlife.

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