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The Pioneer Press, at the very top of the State
of California, grants permission for this article to
be copied and forwarded.
Klamath National Forest reduces-- Scott River District expands management area.
By Liz Bowen, assistant editor, Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California,
FORT JONES Ė Losing nearly $3 million in three years has hit employees and programs of the Klamath National Forest (KNF).
The 2005 fiscal year for the federal government and its agencies began on Oct. 1, 2004. This is the third year in a row that the budget has been reduced by about $1 million; and it has become the year for major changes.
Through retirements, transfers and just not filling personnel positions, the KNF did not have to cut many jobs until this year. But by Christmas, some employees had received notices.
"Most of the folks affected are at the supervisors office," said KNF Supervisor, Peg Boland. "This is an attempt by the chief to reduce overhead and get more work and money to the ground."
At the national level, Dale Bosworth, is the chief of the Forest Service and guides the U.S. agency.
This year the budget came in under $13 million for the KNF. Back in 2001, the annual budget was $15.5, said Boland. These funds and reductions have not affected the fire suppression aspect of the Forest Service. Firefighting is important and will continue to receive a high amount of funding, according to Boland.
So restructuring has begun.
What was once more than a handful of districts in the KNF are now being managed with three district staffs. They are Goosenest, Scott River and Happy Camp. This reduces the overhead of management offices and employees. Because the districts are now co-managed, Supervisor Boland said that deputy district rangers will be hired.
Reducing and changes are not new to the Forest Service. At one time, a few decades ago, the Salmon River Ranger District headquarters were located in historical mining town of Sawyers Bar. Then the office was moved to Etna and by the late 1990s, the personnel were moved into the building in Fort Jones, where the Scott River District and Oak knoll Districts were managed.
But this time, the change is even bigger for the Salmon River District.
Chance Gowan, who was ranger of the Salmon River District, found that his job was phased out. The huge Salmon River landbase is now co-managed by the Scott River District. So by November, Scott River District Ranger, Ray Haupt, was traveling through the Salmon District. His background is in timber and he likes finding the "key issues that drive a healthy landbase," he said.
The management of the Oak Knoll District was given to Happy Camp District Ranger, Alan Vandiver. Previously it had been under Hauptís management and staff of the Scott River District.
Laura Allen is the ranger of the Goosenest District.
The KNF is part of the Pacific Southwest Region, also known as Region 5. There are nine regions in the nation and the Pacific Southwest Region had been receiving a lionís share of the national budget: Approximately sixteen-and-a-half percent.
Several years ago, a decision was made at the Washington D.C. level to cut back the Region 5 budget, although it grows the most trees in the Forest Service managed lands. There are 18 National Forests in Region 5 and most average about 2 million acres. KNF manages 1.7 million acres of heavily forested areas.
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