North Idaho environmental activist Barry Rosenberg passes away
The Priest Lake resident challenged government timber sales for years.
The environmental community of the Inland Northwest has lost one of its founding members. Barry Rosenberg passed away Monday in Sandpoint at the age of 79.
Rosenberg worked for decades in efforts to stop what he viewed as unsustainable and harmful timber harvesting.
In the early 1990s the Lands Council in Spokane hired him to direct its Forest Watch program. He had come to the group seeking help to stop a logging sale that would impact the drinking water on his property south of Priest Lake, where he and his wife lived off the grid for nearly 50 years.
While he lost that initial suit, former Lands Council director Dr. John Osborn said Rosenberg fine-tuned his knowledge of how practices like whole-scale clear cuts could be successfully challenged in the courtroom.
“Barry taught himself how to challenge a timber sale, and then he moved in with people all over the region to help them challenge these timber sales. And Barry in many ways became the voice for the forests. And with his passing on Monday, that voice is silenced," he said.
Osborn says the movement Rosenberg helped spawn had as much impact in the Inland Northwest as the spotted owl lawsuits that stopped logging on the west side of the state.
Rosenberg eventually became the executive director of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance in Coeur d' Alene. Even after retiring from that position, he remained active in advocating for forest health.
Osborn says Rosenberg’s living legacy is a major stand of old growth forest he fought to save near upper Priest Lake. He says it’s an area many people would recognize.