At the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Tuesday’s meeting, California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners, with the assistance of Supervisors Ed Scofield and Hank Weston brought a guest speaker in all the way from Arizona — Doyel Shamley, CEO of Veritas Research, and Consultant for Apache County Arizona. Doyel led a major change in how his county interfaces with the federal government specifically the U.S. Forest Service. This new methodology is based on solid Constitutional principles and can be a way forward for not only Nevada County, but all counties that have Federal land holdings within their county jurisdictions.
A couple of years back, Apache County sustained a major wildfire, named the “Wallow Fire,” in which over 600,000 square acres of national forest, on county land was destroyed. This fire took out large areas of old growth trees, private homes, buildings and destroyed many, many wildlife habitats including over 30 nesting areas for the Spotted Owl. As one Apache County Supervisors stated: The US Forest Service, loved the owl to death!
So what makes Apache County and this “wildfire” special or different from other wildfires? Well, it changed how county governments can be the active force to protect and preserve our national forests. Shamley, the Apache County supervisors and the Apache County Sheriff all had enough with the failed policies of the U.S. Forest Service and came together with a plan to bring the forests back to natural health and to secure a safe area for residents of Apache County to enjoy. They did this through the re-establishment of the principles of states rights as being senior to federal obligations on public lands. Remember the “several states” founded the federal government, not the other way around.
With these basic Constitutional principles in place, Apache County put forth emergency resolutions to protect the “health, safety and welfare” of the people of Apache County. These resolutions outlined their authority to go into the national forests and “fix” the problem since the county has jurisdiction over federal lands. The county directed, managed and placed working teams into the national forests to reduce the fire burn loads, fire ladder debris and to ensure the health of the forests. And they did this with the full support of the U.S. Congress. (CABPRO filed a similar jurisdictional brief with the Nevada County Board of Supervisors in August 2012, outlining these same authorities).
As stated in an article by Samantha Bare of Cronkite News July 20, 2012: “Apache County’s forest-stewardship agreement with the U.S. Forest Service was held up at a congressional hearing Friday as a model for other governments trying to tame the growing problem of wildfires.”
A win-win? Sure sounds like it! We in Nevada County can get our forests back to good health. We can use the cleared wood and debris for numerous local needs and create new jobs that do not currently exist to stimulate our local economy.
CABPRO is very supportive of Doyel’s presentation to the combined Board of Supervisors and will be presenting an executive summary and direction plan to the Board of Supervisors. This will be a guide in the implementation of this very important project to help save our national forests and help Nevada County overall!
So how do we do it? Remember this is a county managed project so we need the county supervisors to get behind this and to bring this into action, maybe as soon as this spring. So if you like this idea, please call your supervisor and let them know!
Chuck Shea is the executive director atCABPRO, www.cabpro.net.
With these basic Constitutional principles in place, Apache County put forth emergency resolutions to protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ of the people of Apache County.