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Local Loggers Add Input to Draft Plan Edits

Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee

 


SWAN VALLEY - Edits made with the input of local loggers to the 2.0 Economic Opportunity Element were accepted at the Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee (SVRPC) meeting Nov. 2.

SVRPC member Diann Ericson enlisted the help of local loggers to add their expertise to the section entitled 2.2 Potential of Past and Current Economic Activity.

The loggers’ edits changed the focus of the paragraph from the industry declining due to pests, disease, climate change and the continuing mechanization to providing economic opportunity through restoration activities and sustainable harvest practices in spite of the continuing mechanization.

The committee voted to accept their edits to the timber-harvesting portion.

It now reads: “Logging activity in the Upper Swan will continue to be a significant contributor to the base economy, although not at the rate of the 1960s. This is due to the need to maintain sustainable forests. Plum Creek Timber Company’s logging was not sustainable over the long term, as most experts, including Plum Creek foresters, agree. But those lands, now part of the Flathead National Forest, will continue to grow trees and provide economic opportunity in the future, as will the original Flathead National Forest lands, as the United States Forest Service strives to increase pace and scale of stewardship and restoration activities. Valley forests will continue to provide economic benefit through restoration activities and sustainable harvesting practices. The private lands in the Swan Valley will need management to reduce the risk of forest fire within the community, providing jobs for local contractors. The industry will not reach the peak employment or harvesting levels of the 1960’s, due to continuing mechanization of the industry and the public’s desire for sustainability. Climate change may also play a role in future timber harvesting to maintain healthy resilient forests.”

Committee members also voted to accept edits that shortened and clarified the Land and Electronic Communication portions of section 2.1 Barriers to Economic Opportunity.

Committee members discussed what the residents of the Swan Valley want in terms of Economic Opportunity and how to go about implementing growth.

SVRPC member Dwayne Forder said, “A discussion is needed with the community about ingredients for a viable sustainable economy in the valley. We need to address issues that are hindering jobs now. There has to be jobs. We need to keep people and our school.”

SVRPC members agreed with member Dave Johnson that a brainstorm session with the community could produce some good ideas. He added that the Swan Valley Community Foundation could hire a consultant to help implement economic growth.

Resident Loretta Thomas said a subcommittee of the Community Council could be formed just to study economic development in the valley.

In addition, the SVRPC voted to add Rohrer Film and Video to the windshield list of Swan Valley businesses in the introductory section of 2.0 in response to a letter from Jenny Rohrer requesting her business be included in the draft plan.

The next SVRPC meeting is Dec. 14, 7 p.m. at the Swan Valley Community Hall.

 

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