Julia Altemus

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation

The U.S House has approved a $585 billion defense bill that includes unrelated provisions to expand wilderness areas. The vote was 300 to 119.

The measure allows President Obama to expand America's military mission against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. It now moves to the Senate where some Republicans object to the unrelated wilderness measures announced yesterday.

Montana's congressional delegation heralded the suite of included land bills as a historic, rare display of collaboration and Congressional bipartisanship. Some Montana environmental groups agree.

Montana’s Forest Products Week

Oct 14, 2014

October 17 through the 24 marks the fourth annual Montana “Forest Products Week”.  In 2011, the state legislature set aside a week, every October, to recognize the importance of Montana’s forest products industry, their contribution to the management of our forest lands, to Montana’s economy, and to the stability of our timber-dependent communities.

Megafire Trends

Sep 15, 2014

This week, the Montana Wood Products Association holds its annual convention marking 42 years as a trade association dedicated to preserving and promoting Montana’s wood products industry. 

The Need For Comprehensive Federal Forest Reforms

Aug 19, 2014

There has been quite a bit of opinion writing lately about whether members of congress should focus on place-based federal forestland pilots, or whether they should work to pass comprehensive federal forest reforms.

On the one hand, place-based efforts are homegrown initiatives that carve out temporary solutions to meet local needs, while a comprehensive reform package offers sweeping changes that land managers, timber companies and timber-dependent communities can rely on for the long-term.

Well, it looks like the Forest Service has done it to themselves again.  By this I mean the recent Federal Register notice announcing the agency is undertaking the writing of national Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Water Quality Protection on National Forest System lands.

Don’t be fooled by false and inflammatory statements

Apr 29, 2014

I simply have to shake my head at the blatantly false accusations and statements made in the press lately by a few fringe environmentalists concerning Governor Bullock’s priority landscape recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The accusations are so false and so out-of-line that they must be corrected.

Forestry provisions in the Farm Bill are the direct result of several national concerns, fire budgets, fire risk to public safety and infrastructure, lack of management on federal lands, litigation and jobs.

Building tall with wood supports rural America

Apr 1, 2014

If cities are serious about tackling climate change, then the solution may be found in building the city of tomorrow to look more like the city of yesterday.  As glass and steel towers continue to rise, wood skyscrapers are likely to start sprouting alongside.  Multi-story and high-rise wood buildings are already planned or rising in Europe and Canada.  They are architecturally distinct, and they are made of the original green building material. 

One could debate whether the recent recommendations by Governor Bullock’s Greater Sage Grouse Advisory Council went too far to protect the bird or not far enough.  There certainly have been concerns expressed from both camps.  However, one thing is certain, the best way to protect the bird, and the people that share its habitat, is to keep the sage grouse off the Endangered Species list.

Sustainable growth in the forestry economy

Jan 7, 2014

With the global financial crisis of 2007 (hopefully) behind us, it is time to look at the future and what opportunities lay ahead for the forest products industry.

The world is increasingly becoming a single market, with interdependent production systems, consumption of similar goods and consumers responding to similar conditions.  We no longer compete only in a local economy.

A season of goodwill and cherished memories

Dec 10, 2013

A season of goodwill and cherished memories

I must confess I am one of the roughly 30 million people in the United States that bought a Christmas tree from a tree farm lot this year.  I do have fond memories however of many a cold winter’s day in December, as a youngster, trampling through a deathly quiet forest – with only the sounds of an occasional “thud” as huge clumps of snow would fall from pine tree branches, and my own heavy breathing from struggling to extract myself from waist deep snow – in search of the “perfect” Christmas tree.

Building with wood connects us to our environment

Nov 21, 2013

World demographic statistics report that one person in three, or one billion people, actually live in slum conditions.  One hundred million people across the globe are homeless and over the next 20 years, three billion people, or forty percent of the world’s population, will need a new home.  The scale of the challenge facing society is staggering.

Two tales of one industry

Sep 16, 2013

Two recent opinion articles in a local newspaper highlighted the fact that Montana’s forest products industry continues to suffer from two tales of one industry. 

Forestry and the Farm Bill

Jul 23, 2013

As the U.S. House and Senate inched towards a Conference Committee on the farm bill last week, some believe the failure of Congress to pass a farm bill in 2012 (instead passing a nine-month extension), and the current stalemate, illustrates how impotent this policy has become.  Some believed the extension was a gift to the taxpayer, who would have been stuck with paying for potentially exorbitantly expensive insurance, and price support subsidies, while others believed the extension eviscerated a score of important programs.

Nothing is quite as loud as the silence of a sawmill not running.  Unfortunately, the sound of the closure of 28 sawmills in Montana since 1990, and the loss of over 3,200 direct, good paying, mill manufacturing jobs has been deafening.  These closures and job losses are the direct result of the increase in federal timber harvest litigation during that same time.

Our “last full measure of devotion”

May 28, 2013

Today is Memorial Day!  For some, this holiday marks the beginning of summer barbecues, blockbuster movie premiers, and retail sales events.  However, for many Americans, it is a day to pause, reflect and honor the many men and women who, as President Lincoln stated in his address to Gettysburg in 1863, “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”  Taking time to acknowledge the sacrifice of service is documented as far back as 1862, when women in Savannah, Georgia decorated the graves of soldiers.  After the Civil War, an annual Decoration Day was created to commemorate the loss of 625,000 U