Alliance will examine proposed forests merger
By Mark Huffman, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
January 21, 2013
A meeting to explain and oppose a proposed Forest Service merger will be held Tuesday in Jackson.
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance meeting will focus on an idea being studied to combine the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee national forests. The Bridger-Teton, from its headquarters in Jackson, manages Forest Service land in northwest Wyoming. The Caribou-Targhee, with its headquarters in Idaho Falls, manages Idaho national forest land, including land on the west side of the Tetons.
A combined national forest would be about 6.5 million acres. Cost-cutting is the idea behind the merger.
A study group composed of Forest Service officials came up with a draft response to the merger talk last week, but hasn’t released its recommendations.
The merger has been opposed by the town of Jackson and Teton County, which fear the loss of jobs and also the loss of political clout if the Bridger-Teton offices move out of Jackson.
The alliance has opposed the merger, arguing that the two national forests have divergent uses and that recreation programs around Jackson would suffer.
The meeting will be held Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance offices at 685 S. Cache. Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Jacque Buchanan will attend to answer questions.