Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Kristi Noem (R-SD) have introduced the bipartisan Healthy Forest Caucus to focus on the state of forest health, forest management practices, conservation efforts and engagement with communities that depend on the health of our forests.
Often the lifeblood of our nation's rural populations, the health of our federal and private forests is being overlooked. Litigation, insufficient funding and lack of active management have made our forests susceptible to drought, insects, diseases and wildfire. America's forests can and should be managed and conserved to provide jobs, ensure overall forest health and allow for recreational opportunities that current and future generations can enjoy. With the help of the Healthy Forests Caucus, a platform can be provided in Congress to address these issues that our forests and rural communities face every day.
"As our economy continues to recover, it is important to remember that many of our rural folks have been hurting much worse and longer than urban areas," Rep. Schrader said. "It is the commitment of this bipartisan caucus to ensure that our forests in Oregon and across the country are healthy to turn that around and stimulate the revitalization of our forest dependent communities."
"Our forests have been mismanaged for too long and our economy, natural resources and wildlife have suffered as a consequence. We must shift our strategy. As a congressman, I have fought and continue to fight for pro-active solutions that restore the environment, improve public safety, and put people back to work in our forests," said Rep. Gosar.
"I'm proud to join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in this effort to raise awareness and focus on the state of our forests, including the importance of forest health to our economy and our environment," Rep. Kilmer said. "In my region, our forests are the lifeblood of our communities. Improving sustainable forest management and conservation practices is the key to creating jobs, protecting our natural resources, and reviving the economy of rural America."
"I continue working to find ways to advance the fight against the mountain pine beetle that is devastating the Black Hills National Forest," said Rep. Noem. "This bipartisan caucus is a great way for members of Congress from the Mountain West to work together to find solutions that can help us save our forests and protect our communities."