Forestry

COMMENTARY
The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board, comprised of 16 representatives from an array of interest groups, meets in October 2022 at the forest's Mystic Ranger District office in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

New approach needed as Forest Service fumbles on Black Hills leadership

BY: - September 18, 2023

When I reported back in May that the Black Hills National Forest was on its eighth supervisor in seven years, I made it sound like that was a lot of turnover. Since then, there have been two more supervisors. That brings the tally to 10 in the past seven years, and five this year alone. […]

COMMENTARY
U.S. Forest Service firefighters prepare to battle the Caldor Fire on Aug. 31, 2021, in Meyers, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Wildland firefighter pay gains could go up in smoke

BY: - August 14, 2023

At any given moment during this smoky summer of 2023, hundreds of wildfires were blazing in the United States — more than 850 as of late July, according to the nonprofit Fire, Weather & Avalanche Center. Most of those wildfires ignited in the forests of the American West. Fires were also burning by the thousands […]

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks during a roundtable at Landus Cooperative’s headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 29, 2023. (Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

U.S. Department of Agriculture to spend $300M to boost climate data in farming, forestry

BY: - July 12, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $300 million to better measure the effectiveness of techniques to lower carbon emissions in farming and forestry, the department said Wednesday. The funding comes from a $20 billion allocation for climate-smart agriculture in the climate and social policy law Democrats in Congress passed along party lines and President […]

The One World Trade Center and the New York skyline is seen in the background as a man jogs through the Liberty State Park while the smoke from Canada wildfires covers the Manhattan borough on June 8, 2023, in New Jersey. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

On a record day in D.C. for smoke pollution, U.S. Senate panel debates wildfire strategy

BY: - June 8, 2023

As smoke from Canadian wildfires caused the most hazardous air conditions on record in the Washington, D.C., area on Thursday, members of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said that Congress should lift federal firefighter pay and encourage logging to reduce the risk of future blazes. “Smoke from the wildfires burning right now […]

Ponderosa pine timber from the Klamath National Forest in California arrives at a sawmill in Hulett, Wyoming. (Courtesy of Dan Stone)

Pilot program brings California wildfire logs to Black Hills sawmill

BY: - June 3, 2023

Trains are bringing timber from wildfire-ravaged California to a sawmill in the Black Hills that needs the extra work, as part of a pilot program that could expand nationwide. After a wildfire, some of the burned trees are removed to prevent them from falling on people and to reduce fuel for another fire. Burned trees […]

COMMENTARY
Forested land in the Black Hills. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Open space is at the mercy of development and tax policy in the Black Hills

BY: - March 28, 2023

We’re all lucky to live in the Black Hills for its outdoor beauty. Those who enjoy driving through the Hills may not realize that in many cases the idyllic meadows, timber stands, and meandering streams on either side of the road are private land, very often designated as agricultural. Tree farms, or family owned and […]

COMMENTARY
(Tupper family photos)

In search of a Christmas tree, we found a tradition

BY: - December 24, 2022

My wife and I didn’t realize how much we didn’t know about trees until we moved next door to the Black Hills National Forest eight years ago. That was natural for a pair of small-town, eastern South Dakota flatlanders. I grew up in Kimball and my wife grew up in Armour. Single acres of Black […]

A timber project in the Black Hills National Forest. (Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service)

Black Hills timber sales fall 20 percent

BY: - October 25, 2022

RAPID CITY — Timber sales in the Black Hills National Forest have declined sharply, prompting praise and condemnation. The national forest’s advisory board met recently in Rapid City, where Forest Supervisor Jeff Tomac shared figures from the 2022 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Timber sales in the forest totaled 112,874 CCF, Tomac said – […]