FEBRUARY 4, 2010

Forest service merger proposal moving forward

   Leadership teams from both Clearwater and Nez Perce national forests have agreed to prepare a package proposing the two forests be combined into one administrative unit.

   Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will make the decision to combine the two forests or keep them separate. It could be some time before the proposal reaches Tidwell’s desk.

   Rick Brazell, supervisor of both forests, said we want to do it but we might not start on it for six months or a year.

   The two forests have been sharing one supervisor for the past two years to reduce administrative costs and direct money to forest projects to see if the two forests could be managed by one person.

   Brazell said combing the forests would continue to save money and create more management consistencies.

   He said no decisions have been made on where to locate the supervisor’s office for the two forests.  It could be Orofino, Grangeville or Kamiah. That dialogue has not started yet according to Brazell.

   The Clearwater National Forest has about five years left on its lease on their office located on Highway 12 in Orofino and the Nez Perce National Forest just moved into a new building at Grangeville with a 15-year lease.

   Brazell said if the two forests combine they will continue to have a presence in each of the communities that currently have offices.

   The North Fork Ranger District on the Clearwater Forest is located in Orofino and the Clearwater Ranger District of the Nez Perce Forest is located in Grangeville. Brazell lives in Kamiah.