Photo by Pete Aleshire.
The Eastern Arizona County Organization wants the Forest Service to shift contracts from the Four Forest Restoration Initiative contractor Good Earth AZ to loggers in the White Mountains where mills will shut down if they can’t get more wood.
The Eastern Arizona Counties Association has made a desperate plea for the U.S. Forest Service to knock loose enough forest thinning projects to keep the struggling timber industry in the White Mountains alive.
Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin joined with supervisors from five eastern counties in a letter pleading with U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell to immediately shift 4,000 acres from the Four Forest Restoration Initiative contractor to existing forest products companies in the White Mountains – in addition to 15,000 acres annually going forward.
With the backing of U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, the county organization urged the Forest Service to act quickly, since mills and logging companies are now starved for wood — while the 4FRI contractor remains unable to start on already-approved thinning projects.