US Forest Service is replacing the windows in a permanently closed building with stimulus funds.

I’m not kidding.  You simply can not make this stuff up.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest on Tuesday received a sizable shot of federal economic stimulus money to improve visitor attractions at Mount St. Helens, upgrade aging buildings and replace a boat ramp at Goose Lake.

Yet, out of the $6.2 million worth of improvements, one big-ticket item stands out: New windows for the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center.

That’s the same visitor center the Forest Service closed in 2007.

“It’s permanently closed?” said Allison Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The money, which U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday, is part of $274 million in stimulus funding distributed to national forests across the country. Much of the money is intended to improve energy efficiency in older buildings.

Officials with the Gifford Pinchot in Vancouver and the Forest Service regional office in Portland deferred questions to the agency’s national headquarters.

Officials have said previously that replacing the windows at Coldwater could cost as much as $1 million.

Faced by chronic budget shortfalls, the Forest Service opted to permanently close the center just 14 years after it opened as the first major visitor center on the rebuilt Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. It’s unclear whether the new windows would enable the Forest Service officials to reopen the center, or if the project is simply intended to keep their options open.

Agency officials in Washington didn’t know, and those in the Northwest wouldn’t say.

Don’t know and won’t say, your govenment at work.  Perhaps they could use some stimulus money to buy some Bastiat.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.


About Paul Stagg

Husband, lifter, MBA in Baltimore, MD. Will post about Powerlifting, politics, Classical Liberalism, Economics, building wealth, self improvement, productivity, heavy music, wine, food, beer, and almost anything else. View all posts by Paul Stagg

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