Honey Badger Introduction

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Years ago, the Forest Service planned its timber harvest activities in sale sizes up to maybe 1500 acres.  In recent year the agency has moved its planning to much larger units. Typically, management is planned for tens of thousands of acres over many years.  Such plans do not just plan the timber harvest of the area, but also road creation and destruction (decommissioning), controlled burning of forest stands, trails, and stream protection and restoration.  In short, most every management action the agency can foresee over a twenty-to-thirty-year time horizon. The Honey-Badger Planning Project is just such a large area (60,000 acres) planning effort that has been in progress for three to four years.

Honey-Badger is important to those of us concerned for the welfare of Hayden Lake, because 63% of Hayden Lake’s watershed is managed by the Forest Service and all that acreage is being planned for in the Honey Badger Project.  It should not be lost on any of us that the quality of Hayden Lake depends on the proper management of its watershed from whence its waters flow.  The HLWA has tracked this project since its announcement by the agency and has provided input at every step.  You may review our comments and concerns in the documents provided below and see the materials supplied by the Forest Service to which we have reacted.

It might be simple to comment that the Forest Service should just leave the lake’s watershed alone.  Yet we must understand that the forest ecosystems that populate the watershed are not static, but are themselves in constant long-term flux.  The natural long-term behavior of our mixed coniferous forests is to grow from massively burned over areas, producing initially young fast growing sun loving trees, but as time progresses slower growing, more shade tolerant, more disease susceptible, and greater biomass stands develop.  Left to its own devices such forests eventually encounter a dry year and one or many ignition sources that create stand replacing wild fires. Such fires recur roughly every 300 years in this area. The 1910 fires legendary in this part of the Northwest are the best-known example of one of these stand replacing conflagrations.  Fire history information tells us the forests of Hayden Lake’s watershed suffered their last stand replacing fires in the 1750s.  Our lake’s watershed is near due.  So we manage it wisely through management efforts charted by the Honey Badger planning to forestall such an event or we face a massive conflagration that we surely affect the lake over many years.

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