June 01, 2010
The memo specified that free use should only occur in inventoried roadless areas on the Tongass and Chugach national forests when the public's needs cannot be met in the roaded land base. It also specified, "When personal use timber is collected from inventoried roadless areas, it shall be done in a manner that maximizes the protection of roadless character, wildlife habitat, recreation, and other values associated with roadless areas."
Last fall Vilsack reserved the right to approve any timber harvest in inventoried roadless areas of the nation's national forests. This included personal use timber harvest in Alaska. Personal use timber harvest in Alaska is legally mandated by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980.
Timber and other products removed under the agency's personal use permitting system is vital for Alaska residents who rely on natural resources from national forests for firewood and building materials. In some cases and locations those resources are only available within inventoried roadless areas. The Secretary's memo re-delegating permitting authority to the Forest Service will speed access to these important forest materials for Alaskans, and, in some cases, allow Alaskans to lay in their firewood supply for next winter.
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