Collaborative process builds consensus

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A couple of weeks ago I attended a presentation of a small group of people that came from dramatically different perspectives and yet were showcasing a product of what has amounted to years of working collaboratively.†

The Kootenai Forest Stakeholders group has reached an historical and pivotal moment in community action on management of our national forests. And itís homegrown Ė right here in Lincoln County.

Plenty of folks understand the history of disputes over use and access to our forests much better than I, but that THIS group of people dedicated so much time to LISTENING to each other and really working to address the concerns of all, while UNDERSTANDING the othersí perspectives is noteworthy.†

The ultimate goal is to create some level of predictability for decision-making on our forests and support the Forest Service while addressing litigation. It was especially exciting to see the diversity of participants and their apparent unity in moving the proposal forward in light of the extremely polarizing political climate.

My hope is that as the initiative is converted to legislation and is churned through that process that they remain true to THEIR process that created such an historic proposal for LOCAL participation in the management process. All of us who live in this amazing corner of the world and enjoy itís bounty in so many different ways should applaud the efforts and wish them good luck and Godspeed.†

Kristin Smith is a councilperson on the Libby City Council.

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