Come to the table
Local environmentalists fought hard to all but wipe out timber extraction as a primary source of our local economy and family wage jobs. They told us that the future of our economy should be based on tourism.
Here we are now in our second straight year of over a month of breathing hazardous smoke. The local tourist industry is again wracked by cancellations of outdoor plays, concerts, river rafting, hiking and general sightseeing. Word is spreading around the West that Southern Oregon is not the place to come in the summer. Minimum wage seasonal jobs aiding the tourism industry are being reduced due to lack of tourists.
We are told that the costs of fighting this year’s fires are now at $135 million. Those same dollars could have been used to pre-commercially thin 135,000 acres. Add in some commercial extraction — I’m not advocating clearcuts or harvesting of old growth — and you could have treated another 30,000 acres.
The public deserves better than breathing this foul air, as do our forests and our economy. It is way past time for these environmentalists to come to the table and agree to some level of forest management instead of constant litigation.
Blair Moody, fellow, presidential field forester, Society of American Foresters
Not a moose
I don’t know whether someone was trying to be funny, but the photo submitted as a bull moose in Grand Teton Park was way off! As an avid wildlife enthusiast I can tell you that is a pronghorn antelope!
Hell hath descended
Spotted owls have been incinerated, protected species living in protected forest lands have been destroyed. Millions of trees that could have been used to build affordable housing have gone up in smoke.
Thousands of Southern Oregonians who don’t have the money to buy air purifiers or leave the valley for higher ground are suffering from asthma and other lung-elated diseases. The local economy is suffering, home sales have fallen dramatically and all we hear is “climate change” is to blame.
If this is true, it will take decades to change the climate and suffering will only become worse. In the interim, our politicians are more than likely going on vacation and we are left here wringing our hands.
Rethink forest management
A recent letter titled “Clearcuts don’t cause fires” is as misguided and divisive as the idea of leaving forests alone. We must address the forest fire problems of Southern Oregon, the smoke-related health risks and the regional economic impact. This is obvious. What the writer fails to address is the dual cause of forest fires: mismanagement during prior decades and the new “climate-change” drought conditions.
We must stop holding entrenched ideas and the right/wrong, either/or conversations that we had in the 1970s. Climate has changed. Forest practices have changed. Doing nothing is irresponsible.
Clearcuts are misguided. It’s time to set aside rivalry and work together. The new generation of foresters understands that past clearcuts have left unhealthy, overcrowded forests. Fire prevention has encouraged thick undergrowth.
Now is the time to work collaboratively to develop new, responsible models of forest management that preserve sensitive species, encourage new xeric forest landscape, minimize catastrophic fires and break even financially while sustaining the environment. It is possible. Let’s quit fighting, roll up our sleeves and our preconceptions, and get to work through collaboration and a constructive exchange of ideas.