Idaho U.S. Senator Mike Crapo was in Lapwai Wednesday as members of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative work group met to consider proposals for land management projects aimed at improving habitat and forest health in north-central Idaho.
The citizen-led CBC was convened three years ago by Sen. Crapo in an effort to find common ground on land and forest management projects that will enhance habitat for elk, fish and other species; improve forest health, prevent catastrophic fires and promote recreation and conservation ideas in the Clearwater River Basin.
Sen. Mike Crapo comments on Wednesday’s CBC meeting in Lapwai.
During the meeting, Crapo and the work group members reviewed plans by the U.S. Forest Service for forest projects funded in part by the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. Those projects in the 1.4 million acre Selway-Middle Fork region would integrate new employment opportunities in the forest by thinning trees, removing weeds and improving habitat.
Crapo says that the collaborative has met the high expectations he had when he convened the work group in 2008.
Crapo talks about the CBC’s progress so far.
Upon its creation in 2008, CBC leaders predicted that ten years of landscape restoration and related work could create more than 300 jobs in central Idaho.
Crapo adds that reducing the risk of devastating wildfires on public lands is key to the initiatives. As such, the senator visited a group of U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers based out of Grangeville, to discuss their firsthand knowledge of fighting major wildfires on public lands.
Crapo comments on his visit with smokejumpers in Grangeville.
Crapo also toured the Idaho Forest Group mill in Grangeville to discuss active management plans for area forests.