Forest Service wants ideas | RecordCourier.com

Forest Service wants ideas

Record Courier Staff Reports

Franklin Pemberton is searching for ideas on how to help the ecosystem or watershed of the forest.

As Alpine Resource Advisory Committee Coordinator, he has until the first week in April to receive the suggestions.

Each year counties throughout the U.S. receive funding through the Secure Rural School and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, commonly called Payments to States. This year Alpine County has about $170,000, of which about $50,000 was rolled over from last year, to be used toward the health of the Toiyabe National Forest or providing employment opportunities related to it.

“It’s a great program. It helps rural communities complete projects they otherwise might not be able to. I just love it,” said Pemberton.

Last year’s funding included projects such as: Installing guard rails on the bridge over Silver Creek in Bear Valley; putting in temporary toilets at Lake Alpine; a hazardous materials box for the Alpine County Sheriff’s Department truck; building a water tank in upper Markleeville to supply water for fighting fires; digging a well at the Hope Valley campground; $50,000 in forest thinning (hazardous fuels reduction) in the Grover Hot Springs area; and hiring a fire safe council coordinator, Clint Celio, to create a fire safe plan for the district.

“These are all really good projects,” said Pemberton. “These are incredibly beneficial to the communities.”

According to the Secure Rural School and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, each year from 2001-2006 the law allows counties to receive a payment from the federal government based on the state average of their top three years of payments from federal lands, said information on the Payments to States Web site.

The act has three purposes. Besides enhancing forest ecosystem health and providing employment opportunities, federal funds also go toward helping to support roads and schools and improving cooperative relationships among federal land management agencies.

Since the law is only in effect until 2006, Pemberton said he hopes it will be renewed when legislation comes up for review.

“Depending on the success of it, it could be voted down,” said Pemberton. “It’s gotten great reviews across the nation, so hopefully it won’t be.”

The Alpine County Resource Advisory Committee is a group of 11 volunteers who were selected by the Secretary of Agriculture to advise the forest service on the use of federal funding allocated to the county. The members represent a broad section of the community including, outdoor recreation, environmental, elected officials and other interests.