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Know the West

Agency cuts timber cut

  Timber cuts in the heavily logged Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota will plummet 25 percent under a revised forest plan released last month. Forest staff studied eight alternatives and recommended setting the allowable timber harvest at 86.7 million board-feet per year for the next decade, almost 30 mmbf less than the current plan allows. Forest Supervisor Roberta Moltzen says previous harvest levels were based on overly optimistic predictions of forest regeneration. Some sawmills in the area have already closed, but the agency says "factors other than the forest's timber supply" are to blame. Kirk Koepsel, of the Sierra Club's Northern Plains office, was pleased with the cut reduction, but disappointed when the plan failed to designate wilderness areas and scenic rivers or preserve enough older stands. "If the planners think this is going to make conservationists happy, they are really not in touch with reality," he says. For information, copies, or to comment by Oct. 24, contact: Forest Plan Revision Comments, Black Hills National Forest, RR 2, Box 200, Custer, SD 57730 (605/673-2251).