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Download Jack Ward Thomas: The Journals of a Forest Service Chief epub

by Harold Steen

Jack Ward Thomas, an eminent wildlife biologist and U.S. Forest Service career scientist, was drafted in the late 1980s to head teams of scientists developingstrategies for managing the habitat of the northern spotted owl. That assignment led to his selection as Forest Service chief during the early years of the Clinton administration. It is history’s good fortune that Thomas kept journals of his thoughts and daily experiences, and that he is a superb writer able to capture the moment with clarity and grace.The issues Thomas dealt with in office and noted in his journals lie at the heart of recent Forest Service policy and controversy, starting with President Clinton’s Timber Summit in Portland, Oregon, dealing with the spotted owl issue, and the 1994 loss of fourteen firefighters in the Storm King Mountain fire in Colorado. Against a constant backdrop of partisan politics in the White House and Congress, Thomas discusses issues ranging from grazing in the national forests, long-term pulp timber sales in Alaska, and the Forest Service Law Enforcement Division to the New World Mine near Yellowstone National Park. He considers the timber salvage rider and its linkage to forest health, the Department of Justice and Counsel on Environmental Quality influence on Forest Service policies, and interagency management for the Columbia River Basin.Woven throughout these excerpts from his diary is Thomas’s conviction that the effective, ethical management of wildlife depends on how the management effort is situated within the broader human context, with all its intransigence and unpredictability. Writing in 1995, Thomas says, "Things simply don’t work the way that students are taught in natural resources policy classes--not even close. . . .There is simply no way that scholars of the subject can understand the ad hoc processes that go on within only loosely defined boundaries.” Wildlife management, he says, is "90 percent about people and 10 percent about animals," and when it comes to learning about people, wildlife managers are on their own. This book is the record of how one man met that challenge.
Download Jack Ward Thomas: The Journals of a Forest Service Chief epub
ISBN: 0295983981
ISBN13: 978-0295983981
Category: Science
Subcategory: Nature & Ecology
Author: Harold Steen
Language: English
Publisher: University of Washington Press (April 1, 2004)
Pages: 416 pages
ePUB size: 1831 kb
FB2 size: 1314 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 861
Other Formats: mobi doc lit azw

During his tenure as Chief of the USFS,Thomas soon was given the nickname of "straight talking Jack" by many employees working at the Ranger District level. We had first hand understanding of how the political forces and courts were dictating land management decisions, rather that what was based on sound natural principals. Chief's Thomas diary document that Clinton and Gore were willing to trade off any decisions based on what was best for the land for their own political gain. Thomas diary also certainly demonstrates the difference in decision making by politically appointed and motivated regulatory agencies vs an agency that has direct responsibility for the land. Probably, other Chiefs of the USFS have faced political pressures. However, Chief Thomas was present at a critical point in the agencies history and certainly the right man for the job during that period. He demonstrated for the politically motivated community of Washington DC how a man of principal and a propose larger that personal gain performs his duties. Thanks Jack for keeping a diary! Chuck
Jack Ward Thomas appointed by Bill Clinton as Chief of the Forest Service, was the first Chief that was a scientist. All the others have been for better or worse bureaucrats. For understanding Forest Service policy and how it got that way from late 20th century until now this is key book. Incredible insight from perhaps the most astute wildlife biological scientist and forester of our time, into the inner workings of the Federal government and Congress. Jack Ward Thomas in his tenure was truly a civil servant and not a bureaucrat-- he set a standard for government service.
Book was in great condition.
In the summer of 1986, Jack Ward Thomas began keeping a journal. "This will be a journal of random thoughts," he wrote. "My purpose is unknown to me, but I feel a compulsion to begin. Perhaps it will serve as a tickler of memory for the book I intend to write, but of course never will."
This first book from Jack Ward Thomas is sure to open the eyes of those who think they know how policy and management decisions affecting the nation's forests are made. Though Thomas has authored well over 400 publications, mostly on wildlife conservation, perhaps the most valuable thing he's written is the set of journals he started eighteen years ago - the book he intended to write.
As Chief of the Forest Service, Thomas is quick to give credit to those he respects, particularly his agency employees in the field. But he doesn't shy from battle, and his assessments of some political appointees in Washington and certain members of Congress are brutal.
Thomas was drafted into the chief's job shortly after Clinton took office, and he took the helm of the agency with typical fortitude - and the naiveté of a researcher thrust into the political cauldron that is Washington DC.
"We don't just manage land," he wrote, "we're supposed to be leaders. Conservation leaders. Leaders in protecting and improving the land."
Statements like that surprised some of the people in Washington, but certainly didn't surprise his longtime friends and colleagues. Thomas had been talking about and writing about conservation for most of his life. And the cream of that conservation writing is in his journals.
This book offers not only insight into the mind and heart of a naturalist, but also a perspective on the politics of natural resource management through the eyes of one of this country's finest conservationists. His writings clarify many of the environmental issues we face today: protecting obscure but endangered species, dealing with wildfire and wildfire fatalities, balancing resource needs against the need to preserve, and the development of policies to address forest health.
This book's a treasure, and will be a valuable addition to the collections of those who care about natural resources management.
For those of us who lived through the strife and conflict of the 1990's inside the United States Forest Service, or outside looking in, these journals are a rare epiphany that remind us that hope lives in darkness.

Jack Ward Thomas, the first politically appointed Chief since the first Chief, Gifford Pinchot (a Teddy Roosevelt appointee in 1905) takes us on his very personal journey as he grows from wildlife biologist to agency statesman in a few short years. Along the way he stumbles and wanders, siezes triumph and faces tragedy, and crosses the finish line with grace and understanding.

The politics of natural resource and environmental policy are often ugly, frustrating, arcane. Thomas' lights a candle with often astonishing revelations about people - he names names - that can be highly entertaining and insightful. With humor and pathos he deconstructs the key events of the age and explains his rationale for highly controversial decisions clearly and in real time.

Thomas was a career scientist whose identity and loyalty was to his profession before events in the Clinton White House landed him on the fourth floor in the corner office in the old Auditor's Building on the Mall in Washington, just a few hundred yards from the Washington Monument, in the seat of Forest Service power. His grasp of the breadth and depth of what he would come to correctly identify as the sacred calling of being Chief was slight, but his willingness to tell the story of his transformation was strong and this he did honestly, openly, and often delightfully.

Did he do everything right? Hardly. But neither was he deserving of condemnation. If anything he stepped up to the plate in the face of far worse alternatives and tried to do the right thing, acknowledging his own innocense and failures, coming of age and successes, and in the event creating a personal and agency political history that is both very well written and very compelling.

Expect to be up in the wee hours of the night when you open this book. These journals are a must read for anyone who hopes to understand the politics of the environment being played out right now and for serious and casual students of government policy in public land management.