The Hill: Trump must put rural America to work

November 29, 2016 – Many rural communities, especially forest-dependent communities, have yet to recover from the economic downturn. In fact, some areas like northern Maine or parts of the South are still losing forestry and manufacturing jobs as we speak.

These communities have taught us difficult lessons that if rural America is not working, then rural lands, both public and privately owned, aren’t working either. Without strong rural economies, landowners and land managers struggle to care for our forests to provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and the wood products all Americans depend on.

We need look no further than the West. As the forest industry has disappeared across this landscape, so have the mills, rural jobs for foresters, and private and public land owners’ capacity to manage forests. The result is overgrown and dying forests with over 100 million dead trees. These forests are just waiting to burn at catastrophic levels, wildfires which are not just devastating for landowners, but also destroy drinking water supplies for urban and rural areas, and wildlife habitat.

Yet, this problem can be solved. When rural economies thrive, so do our rural lands.

Read the full article by Tom Martin on The Hill.

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