From the June 2001 Idaho Observer:

Eureka Log Haul event supports struggling mill

by Don Harkins

EUREKA, Mont. -- Amid the honking and cheering as the procession of trucks bearing logs rolled down Main Street here May 17, it was easy to forget why nearly 3,000 people gathered to give their support to a family-owned sawmill.

After the last log hauling trucks, cars, carts and motorcycles filed past the smiling crowds on that beautiful northwest Montana day and everyone reconvened at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds a couple miles outside of town, it was again easy to forget why we were all there that day.

Property rights activists from all over the nation drove logs to the Owens-Hurst Sawmill to show support for yet another casualty in the federal government's war on the west: The largest employer in a resource-dependent town is dying amid the red tape and regulation being used to enforce the federal government's non-scientific land use policies.

The atmosphere was more like that of a county fair except that vendors were supplying the food and drinks for free. It was a little like celebrating the death of our way of life. Do not get me wrong, the comraderie and the ties that bind were wonderful, but I wondered why we were holding this party at the fairgrounds when all 3,000 of us should have been setting up tents and barbequing hamburgers on the grounds of the nearest U.S. Forest Service ranger station.

The Owens-Hurst mill is finding it increasingly hard to purchase logs to feed the mill which in turn feed the mill's employees and their families. The problem does not necessarily seem to be supply as much as federal bureaucratic nonsense and red tape. The best example is 25,000 acres of harvestable timber in a nearby federal forest that was burned in last summer's fire season. Timber from different fires on state and private land has been harvested already while federal bureaucrats admittedly attempt to negotiate their own hopeless web of rules and regulations to get the federal timber “sale” approved. By the time the feds get around to giving loggers the go ahead to begin salvaging the timber, weather and bugs will have reduced the merchantibility of the wood to almost zero.

The beautiful thing is that, while property rights violations are happening all over the country, activists are coming to the aid of one an other. Current federal land use policies are destroying the economies of traditionally agricultural and/or resource dependent communities all over the nation and property rights activists are coming to the aid of one another.

The reason these things have been happening to us is because we have become estranged from one another. We are family and the sooner we are reunited, the sooner we will deserve to have our country back.

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