James Lewis: May 12th

April 19th, 2011 by Kelly

Southern Perspectives on the Weeks Act
Thursday May 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Heritage Commons
Plymouth State University

Presented by James Lewis
Historian, Forest History Society, Durham, NC

The Legacy and lessons of Eastern national forests:
This historical program is part of a coordinated New Hampshire effort celebrating the Weeks Act Centennial and the creation of Eastern National Forests. The traditions of citizen-based conservation, land stewardship, sustainable forestry, and partnerships-like those that resulted in the Weeks Act- are a proud legacy, reflecting the passions and interests of New Hampshire residents and visitors, past and present.

To learn more, and for up-to-date information about other events and activities related to the Weeks Act, please visit:
Plymouth.edu/rural
Or
Weekslegacy.org

This celebration of the Weeks Act and the creation of Eastern National Forests provide an opportunity to promote increased awareness of sustainable forestry, land stewardship and citizen-based conservation.

For more information on this upcoming event click HERE

Southern Perspectives on the Weeks Act
May 12th @ 4:30pm
Heritage Commons – Plymouth State University

Broad slate of activities designed to celebrate Weeks Act centennial around N.H.

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

Broad slate of activities designed to celebrate Weeks Act centennial around N.H.
They represent once-in-a-century opportunities, and they’re happening at venues around the state.

Time capsule openings?

Not exactly, but the events slated to celebrate the centennial of the passage of the Weeks Act do provide a glimpse at New Hampshire past, and one of its greatest, citizen-led, legislative victories. They also provide an opportunity to look to the future and imagine what can be accomplished when people of diverse interests unite toward a common goal.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Weeks Act of 1911 established the eastern national forest system and led to the creation of the White Mountain National Forest, today a multiple-use landscape of nearly 800,000 acres managed for recreation, timber harvesting, wildlife habitat protection, wilderness values, and watershed protection for the benefit of the public.

The legislation was named for bill sponsor John Wingate Weeks, a Massachusetts Congressman and native of Lancaster, N.H., who shepherded the measure through Congress.

The landmark legislation came about largely through citizen action. As noted in an earlier column, logging played a key role in White Mountain history, and the region was, and still is, prized for its timber. But indiscriminate and unsustainable logging practices of the day led to huge forest fires and stream-choking erosion.

A diverse cross-section of society supported the Weeks Act, including members of the general public; such organizations as the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Appalachian Mountain Club, which were instrumental in the legislation’s passage; and mill owners downstream, who were dependent on the water power of flowing rivers to manufacture goods.

The need for the legislation was apparent to many, and that need brought together conservationists, manufacturers, policy makers, and others to work toward the common goal of protecting the region’s forests.

The centennial serves as a reminder of what can be accomplished when a diverse collection of people are united in a common goal on a common landscape—certainly a lesson for the future as we look to the next 100 years.

A wonderful repository of Weeks Act-related information, including photos, essays, event listings, news articles, and video can be found at www.weekslegacy.org. Hosted by NH Public Television and created by a diverse group of organizations, the website includes such specific areas of focus as arts and culture, history, and education, while the Memories section encourages visitors to share stories of their connection to the White Mountain National Forest.

The Events section lists Weeks Act-related events and activities, such as the exhibition, “Protecting the Forests: The Weeks Act of 1911,” now at the St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts in Berlin. Call 752-1028 to confirm hours.

The display is on loan from Plymouth State University in collaboration with the Center for Rural Partnerships.

Rob Burbank is the Director of Media and Public Affairs for the Appalachian Mountain Club in Pinkham Notch. His column, “Outdoors with the AMC,” appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News.

100th Year of Restoration

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

100th Year of Restoration

FOLLOW UP: Bill would force water authority to make records public

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

For article click HERE

WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR

Over the last several months, growing concern among CWSWA customers about their rates, water quality and the financial management of the authority drew the attention of Bushweller and Blakey. At a public meeting last month, CWSWA Chairman Mark Dyer dismissed or failed to adequately address many questions from citizens — including allegations that the authority made personal loans to employees. Bushweller and Blakey asked for specific reasons why CWSWA rates are the second highest in the state for a public water company, but Dyer said the authority would not release its financials or salary information to the public. In consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, the legislators learned that the CWSWA is likely not covered by the Freedom of Information Act and therefore not required to make its records public. In light of the AG’s opinion, Bushweller and Blakey crafted a narrowly focused bill that applies only to the CWSWA.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

Seeing the Forest for the Trees ARTICLE

Seeing the forest for the trees
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 19:30 | Written by Matt Kanner
A century ago, the Weeks Act paved the way for the creation of White Mountain National Forest and 40 other federally protected lands. Locals look back on the law’s history and ahead to the next 100 years of forest conservation.
Covering roughly a quarter of New Hampshire, the White Mountains are a defining feature of the Granite State’s natural identity.
This northern section of the Appalachian range includes the towering, wind-blasted peak of Mt. Washington and the plummeting, glacial slope of Tuckerman Ravine. It features oft-visited state parks like Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch. It’s home to more than 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the former perch of the Old Man of the Mountain, and ski resorts like Loon, Wildcat and Cannon.
As visitors travel the White Mountains today, taking in its stunning vistas, it’s hard to believe this forest was in danger of vanishing a century ago. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, rampant logging cleared vast swaths of trees from the forest. The resulting erosion and runoff caused massive floods that shut down mills, and fuel spills led to wildfires that blackened whole mountainsides.

Celebrating the Centennial of the Weeks Act

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

Celebrating the Centennial of the Weeks Act

Date Forests Were Established
In 1911, the Forest Service bought 8,456 acres for a price of 7 dollars per acre. These were the first lands acquired under the authority of the Weeks Act in north Georgia. These earliest national forest lands were managed as part of the Cherokee National Forest. On July 9, 1936, these lands became part of the newly established Chattahoochee National Forest.
Later, in 1935, the Weeks Act again provided the authority for the Forest Service to acquire 18,013 acres in the Piedmont of Georgia. At this time, it was not part of the young and growing national forest system in the eastern United States. In the years that followed, more land was acquired under the Weeks Act and other authorities. In 1959, President Eisenhower issued the proclamation to establish the Oconee National Forest from 96,000 acres of federal lands in middle Georgia.
Current Acreage
At the end of 2010, the Chattahoochee National Forest contained 750,611 acres and the Oconee National Forest included 116,292 acres for a total of 866,903 acres in federal ownership.
Significant Watersheds Protected by Weeks Act Purchases
The Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Conasauga, and Etowah Rivers are just several of the large watersheds in north Georgia that have enjoyed protection as a result of their acquisition though the authority of the Weeks Act. The Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Little Rivers are three noteworthy river systems located in middle Georgia on the Oconee National Forest. These lands provide clean water for the millions of people who live in and around them.

Mandate removal bill is still in committee

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

For access to the full online article click HERE

Mandate removal bill is still in committee
Little concern has been raised about bill that would remove outdated or unneccessary mandates
By: Patrick Johnson
Published: 3/31/2011 9:46:09 AM
SALEM — A bill that would remove 28 outdated and unneeded mandates according to the Oregon Department of Education had its first hearing last week, and so far there has been little concern raised.

Senate Bill 800, a bill that was created over a two-year period by the Department of Education (DOE) meeting with the Oregon Education Association, the Oregon School Boards Association, the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts, the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and other interest groups to garner more support for the bill this time around.

Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) is one of the chief sponsors of the bill, as is Senator Suzanne Bonamici (D-Portland), who sits on the Senate Education and Workforce Committee which heard the bill last week.

Officials from the DOE said they don’t know exactly how much money the bill will save, but “considerable staff hours” would be saved by removing the mandates.

“In a time of diminished budgets, we need to focus our scarce resources on the programs and services that truly impact student success,” Cindy Hunt, government and legal affairs manager for the DOE, told the committee. “SB 800 began with a challenge by Superintendent (Susan) Castillo to Department of Education staff to identify unnecessary, outdated and redundant mandates.”

Hunt said that in addition to the 28 legal changes that the DOE would like made by the Legislature, there are also more than 100 administrative rules and policies that are also being reviewed.

Tricia Yates, Legislative and Public Affairs associate executive director for the OSBA, told the committee the bill was one of three bills produced by OSBA and other education groups that were aimed at giving school districts some relief from state mandates.

The two other bills are Senate Bill 560, a bill that would not require school districts to redo a continuous improvement plan if there were no substantial changes to it, and House Bill 3370, which would require a local financial impact statement if any new measure out of the Legislature adds new duties or programs to school districts.

“The passage of this bill would be the first of many steps we can take together to conserve our scarce resources and redirect them to support student achievement,” Yates said.

However not everyone was in favor of deleting some of the legal requirements placed on the Department of Education.

Officials from the Oregon School Activities Association raised concerns that under the bill, the DOE would no longer provide legal help during conflicts that arise around everything from redistricting to specific sport rules changes.

Brad Garrett, assistant executive director of the OSAA, said the current system allowed the DOE to act as an appeal board, and without their oversight there could be added legal costs for his nonprofit.

“What would happen if something was appealed above us?” Garrett asked the committee. “We would be in circuit court.”

Garrett did point out, however, that the OSAA was not opposed to the bill.

Senate Education and Workforce Committee Chairman Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) put the bill on hold until a financial impact can be created. He also pointed out that if the bill passes his committee, it would head to the Ways and Means Committee.

Wingard said late last week that despite some delays, he still expected the bill to pass. He also said he was monitoring the bill.

Legislative staff said that the bill could come back to Hass’ committee in the next few weeks.

Asheville Adventure of the Week: Spring Forest Festival

April 5th, 2011 by Kelly

For access to the full online article click HERE

What: Bent Creek Spring Forest Festival.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Bent Creek Experimental Forest administration campus, 1577 Brevard Road.

Details: The U.S. Forest Service is celebrating its birthday, and everyone is invited.

“The festival is a great opportunity to learn about Bent Creek and what we do here, and the Forest Service, and the Southern Research Station,” said Julia Murphy, festival organizer, “and to celebrate the establishment of the national forests in the East with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Weeks Act.”

The federal Weeks Act established the first national forest in the Eastern U.S.

The first — and only — celebration of its kind at Bent Creek will have more than 20 partners at the fairlike festival, which goes on rain or shine, Murphy said.

Some of the exhibitors include the National Wild Turkey Federation, which will have a youth BB range, the Blue Ridge Parkway with an “invasive species game” for kids, Trout Unlimited with fly-fishing demonstrations, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission with a live fish aquarium, and Smokey Bear.

The film “Magic at the Cradle” will be shown, and a Cub Scout pack will sell lunch and snack items.

“The festival is free, it’s family-oriented and has something for everyone, and all ages,” Murphy said.

Information: Contact Julia Murphy at 667-5261, ext. 104, or juliamurphy@fs.fed.us or visit www.srs.fs.usda.gov/news/464.

Tomorrow: Spring Forest Festival Celebrates National and Experimental Forests

April 4th, 2011 by Kelly

To access online article click HERE

Tomorrow: Spring Forest Festival Celebrates National and Experimental Forests
Posted by Susan Andrew in Environment | 3 days, 8 hours ago
From the Forest Service Southern Research Station, ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The USDA Forest Service invites people of all ages to a Spring Forest Festival on Saturday, April 2, at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest campus to celebrate the national and experimental forests of North Carolina and the centennial of the Weeks Act that helped create the forests.

“We’re encouraging everyone to join the Forest Service and its partners for a Spring Forest Festival to recognize the numerous benefits the national and experimental forests of North Carolina provide residents of the region,” said Katie Greenberg, project leader of the research unit that includes the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. “The festival will be a fun celebration of the forests, their creation, and Southern Appalachian culture.”

The Forest Service will host the Spring Forest Festival from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at historic Bent Creek Experimental Forest, 1577 Brevard Road in Asheville. Event sponsors include the Forest Service’s Bent Creek Experimental Forest, Southern Research Station, and National Forests of North Carolina.

The festival will feature educational activities, interpretive programs and special guest Smokey Bear. Fun activities include:
East Fork Gals – Interpretive program introducing the history of the Southern Appalachians through songs and traditional fiddle tunes, 10:30 a.m.;
James Lewis, historian, The Forest History Society – Presentation on North Carolina’s central role in passage of the Weeks Act and creation of the national forests and experimental forests in the East, and how they benefit us today, 12 p.m.;
Henry McNab, Bent Creek research forester – A tour and history of Bent Creek Experimental Forest and research projects, meet at Rice Pinnacle parking area at 1 p.m.;
Carolina Coal Rollers – Interpretive program introducing the history of the Southern Appalachians in the early 1900s through stories and songs, 1 p.m.; and
Paul Aderegg – Introduction to the history, styles, music and steps of Appalachian percussive flat-foot dancing, 2 p.m.

The Spring Forest Festival also will feature:
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission mobile aquarium;
Plant identification nature walk;
“Magic at the Cradle,” a new movie by the Cradle of Forestry in America;
Booths, games and displays by participating groups and organizations; and
Food will be available for purchase.

For more information about the Spring Forest Festival, contact: Julia Murphy, ph: 828-667-5261, ext. 104, or juliamurphy@fs.fed.us. More information also is available online at: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/news/464.

Mandate removal bill still working through committees

April 4th, 2011 by Kelly

To access online article click HERE

Mandate removal bill still working through committees
Unneeded mandates is the topic of conversation

By: Patrick Johnson
Published: 4/1/2011 10:39:44 AM
A bill that would remove 28 outdated and unneeded mandates according to the Oregon Department of Education had its first hearing last week, and so far there has been little concern raised.

Senate Bill 800, a bill that was created over a two year period by the Department of Education meeting with the Oregon Education Association, The Oregon School Boards Association, The Oregon Association of Education Service Districts, the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and other interest groups to garner more support for the bill this time around.

Matt Wingard, R-Wilsonville, is one of the chief sponsors of the bill, as is Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Portland, who sits on the Senate Education and Workforce Committee which heard the bill last week.
Officials from the DOE said they don’t know exactly how much money the bill will save, but “considerable staff hours” would be saved by removing the mandates.

“In a time of diminished budgets, we need to focus our scarce resources on the programs and services that truly impact student success,” Cindy Hunt, government and legal affairs manager for the DOE, told the committee. “SB 800 began with a challenge by Superintendent Castillo to Department of Education staff to identify unnecessary, outdated and redundant mandates.”

Hunt said that in addition to the 28 legal changes that the DOE would like made by the Legislature, there are also more than 100 administrative rules and policies that are also being reviewed.

Tricia Yates, Legislative & Public Affairs Associate Executive Director for the Oregon School Boards Association told the committee the bill was one of three bills produced by OSBA and other education groups that were aimed at giving school districts some relief from state mandates. The two other bills are
Senate Bill 560, a bill that would not require school districts to redo a continuous improvement plan if there were no substantial changes to it, and House Bill 3370, which would require a local financial impact statement if any new measure out of the Legislature adds new duties or programs to school districts.

“The passage of this bill would be the first of many steps we can take together to conserve our scarce resources and redirect them to support student achievement,” Yates said.

However not everyone was in favor of deleting some of the legal requirements placed on the Department of Education.

Officials from the Oregon School Activities Association raised concerns that under the bill, the DOE would no longer provide legal help during conflicts that arise around everything from re-districting to specific sport rules changes.

Brad Garrett, assistant executive director of the OSAA, said the current system allowed the DOE to act as an appeal board, and without their oversight there could be added legal costs for his nonprofit.

“What would happen if something was appealed above us,” Garrett asked the committee. “We would be in circuit court.”

Garrett did point out, however, that the OSAA was not opposed to the bill.
Senate Education and Workforce Committee Chairman Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, put the bill on hold until a financial impact can be created. He also pointed out that if the bill passes his committee, it would head to the Ways and Means Committee.

Wingard said late last week that despite some delays, he still expected the bill to pass. He also said he was monitoring the bill.

Legislative staff said that the bill could come back to Hass’ committee in the next few weeks.