Washingtonians Celebrate National Public Lands Day

Scott says Congress could learn some lessons from the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, a group that collaborates to help manage the Colville National Forest. He says it’s been years since a timber sale there was challenged, because the stakeholders come to agreement on their own terms.

“Basically, it’s industry and environmental organizations sitting at a table, working out some differences, getting a plan together that works for everybody – works for the community, has sustainable timber harvest in it, and also wilderness area.”

Scott has been on both sides of the public lands debate, he says, as a former logger who is now an outfitter and guide. And rather than seeing groups continue to fight over the many uses of public lands, he thinks it’s time for a different point of view.

“We are blessed in the West with an abundance of land. And when we look at these arguments in that light – instead of thinking like, ‘We’re losing it all’ – if you come at it thinking that we have abundance, it really makes things better.”

On Saturday at more than two dozen sites around the state, volunteers will help with trail-building and maintenance, trash pick-up and invasive plant removal, all in conjunction with state and federal agencies. Find a project near you online at publiclandsday.org.