Commissioner Johnson promotes the removal of beetle-killed trees

Commissioner Johnson promotes the removal of beetle-killed trees

GREEN RIVER – After voicing support for the Greater Little Mountain Coalition in their efforts to extend the public comment period and urge the Bureau of Land Management to have a public hearing on a proposed exploratory well on Iron Mountain, Sweetwater County Commission Chairman Wally Johnson asked for the coalition’s help.

Johnson turned his comments to California and the current wildfire burning in Yosemite National Forest. He said last year hundreds of millions of dollars were spent fighting similar forest fires, including fires in Wyoming due to beetle-killed trees everywhere. With these trees prime fuel, Johnson said Wyoming is doing very little to get these trees out of the forests. “We need to promote the removal of these trees by clear cutting or whatever,” Johnson said. “We need to get them out and put them to a beneficial use before they burn and we spend millions of dollars fighting fires.” Chairman Johnson explained he has mentioned it to Governor Matt Mead and pointed out that California, of all places, understands they need to be cleared out.

When talking about all the money spent on fighting fires, Johnson said instead maybe they could find incentives for logging companies or other industry to come in, clean them up and turn them into something useful.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

While he noted the areas in Sweetwater County, Johnson said the main concern really has to be in the Bridger Teton National Forest where many residents of Sweetwater County recreate. With Monte Morlock and Joshua Courey of the Greater Little Mountain Coalition listening, Johnson asked if they would carry the torch and try to get the environmentalist to understand the importance of this.

Morlock agreed with Johnson, but said he would rather be called a conservationist than an environmentalist. Both Morlock and Courey said they agreed with Johnson and would do what they could to bring this issue forward and try to get support for the movement.