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Know the West

'We need to get this stuff on the table'


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Brett KenCairn is the coordinator of the Grand Canyon Forests Partnership. Before joining the Grand Canyon Trust this fall, he was the executive director of the Rogue Institute for Ecology and Economy in Ashland, Ore., and a board member of the Applegate Partnership, a collaborative forest management group in southern Oregon.

"I think we're in danger if we let this become a technical process, and just have a different set of experts tell us how to do forestry better. It's really a social problem. The core of that social issue is the ways in which we've encouraged people to disregard social responsibility for the landscape they live in. They allow and abet mismanagement or malignant nonmanagement in ways that will ultimately hurt us all.

"It's an enormous dilemma - when people think that wood comes from Home Depot, how is it that people have any sense of responsibility for the system? Most people in Flagstaff have no sense of connection to the forest, except recreation.

"Hopefully, this project will help to make the issues clearer - what does it really cost to do scientifically based restoration? How many acres do we need to do it on to meet ecological goals, and how much is that going to cost? Zero-cut activists don't have a sense of how much it's going to cost. We need to get this stuff on the table, and insert experience into the public dialogue."