I don’t know the inside story or much about the process by which Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) agreements between states and the USFS are transacted. But they seem to me to represent a kind of midpoint or way station between convention USFS management arrangements and the Charter Forest plan Shoshone County’s commissioners opted for earlier this week. This report, from KDAL610.COM in Duluth, offers only glowing words about the new GNA plan:
The master agreement is a broad pact allowing the state to supplement the work being done by Forest Service staff on the national forests. A range of forest and watershed restoration may be accomplished under GNA, including: project planning and environmental analysis; project preparation work such as treatment area design and layout and sale preparation; fuel reduction, commercial timber removal, and reforestation; road decommissioning; and noxious weed treatment. Some road reconstruction and maintenance is also allowed. Supplemental project agreements will be signed between the DNR and each national forest in the coming weeks to more specifically identify the nature of the work to be completed in the first year of the master agreement.
Yet, the program is new and still largely untested. One wonders, moreover, whether GNA agreements can actually help the USFS rise to the gargantuan challenges that agency faces in our nation’s overstocked and beleaguered national forests.