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North Idaho environmental activist Barry Rosenberg passes away

Travis Burke Photography
Courtesy of Visit Idaho
Forests like this one near Priest Lake were the focus of Barry Rosenberg's professional career.

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.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.