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The Ravalli County Commissioners deserve a lot of credit for commissioning the report by the Bureau of Business and Economic research at the University of Montana examining the history of the timber industry in the Bitterroot Valley.

Facts are always the best source of good policy decisions. However facts are often obscured by political considerations. Management of our forests has suffered from policies adopted decades ago which seem to this layman to be intent on managing people more than forests.

I quote the comments of the Bitterroot Star Nov. 7 2018:

“Commissioner Doug Schalenberger said that he didn't think it was all about the economy. He said it was also about the waste of good resources by letting it burn. “It's about fires and things burning up” he said.”

I think Commissioner Schalenberger is absolutely right. The economic history was bad enough; but as one would expect, the rather bitter history will be explained away by the very environmental extremists that helped create the economic loss.

It is noteworthy that as usual they dodge any iota of accountability. I suggest that the reported economic losses were, if anything, presented in a conservative manner. It would seem reasonable to add the costs of fighting the fires of 2000 and Roaring Lion to name but a few.

Commissioners, hold your heads up high and stick to your guns in forthcoming forest management planning sessions. You just got a overwhelming endorsement by the voters.

— Ed Sperry, Stevensville

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