"America once had half a million loggers. By 2022, the government estimates it will have 3,800." So reads the teaser text on a recent news article highlighting the life of one Idaho lumberjack. Today the number of people so employed stands at just more than 5,000 with a mere 320 in the state of Idaho. To anyone who grew up in or knows the heritage of the Pacific Northwest, that number is as startling as it is disheartening.
There are multiple reasons for the decline including mechanization, but the most significant impediment is certainly government policies. Some may cite growing competition from overseas, but such competition is only financially viable due to the ever-increasing costs of abiding by oppressive federal rules and regulations imposed by a government that appears to care far more about spotted owl and sage grouse populations than it does about individual liberty or human wellbeing.
In addition to the millions of acres of land off limits to productive use altogether, even a completely harmless use of national forests has been severely curtailed. Here in Idaho, crews working for Idaho Public Television's "Outdoor Idaho" show have been told on multiple occasions that they need permits even to film on the land.
As the federal government continues to do what it does best—restricting liberty—it is becoming increasingly clear that the best way for Idaho and other western states to preserve their independence, their populations and their heritage is to obtain control of the lands currently being claimed and disastrously mismanaged by the federal government.
Fortunately, states like Idaho and Utah, along with organizations such as the American Lands Council, are already working toward that critically important goal.
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