Local environmental groups, timber industry representatives, and state and federal agencies will meet in Missoula this week to talk about collaboration. The two-day workshop is put on by the Western Governors' Association.
Earlier this year, WGA chairman Steve Bullock announced a National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative.
Jim Ogsbury, executive director of the association, says that Bullock’s goals are “multifold.”
"On the one hand, I think he wanted to create a mechanism for states and land managers to learn from each other, to share best practices, and policy options, and case studies."
A bipartisan association, the Western Governors' Association seems to be focusing on collaboration before shaping policy.
The workshop’s agenda includes funding forest fire suppression, restoration, and analyzing the ups and downs of the 2014 Farm Bill.
Ogsbury promises that this is one step towards concrete policy decisions across the West.
"Taken all together, this effort will inform future gubernatorial policy on forest and rangeland management."
Ogsbury says that the outcome of this workshop will influence the agenda for the second meeting, in Idaho in October. A third meeting will be held in South Dakota. The date is yet to be decided.
The Missoula workshop runs September 20 - 21 and will be live-streamed on the Western Governors' Association website.