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Regional Forester Announces His Retirement

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Undated — A prominent forestry official has announced his retirement this afternoon.

Regional Forester for District five Jack Blackwell says he will step down June 3rd. He will be replaced by Deputy Forester Bernie Weingart.

Blackwell authored a 2004 revision of the Sierra Nevada Framework Decision initially drafted in 2001. The plan set out guidelines for the management of 11.5 million acres of Sierra Nevada forests. The revision relaxed some of the restrictions on the forest service and revised certain management procedures.

Blackwell says he feels work to implement the revision will go on and that he´s “leaving the region in good hands.” However Steve Sias with the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union says the news comes as somewhat of a surprise and Blackwell´s retirement could be seen as a setback for proper forestry management.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer recently filed suit to have the 2004 revision set aside and have the 2001 Decision re-instated. Blackwell refused comment on the pending lawsuit, but said he appreciates the union´s concern. Blackwell says he chose to retire because he simply feels its a good time to do so.