Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2002

Wildfires one sign of poor stewardship

As I write this, thousands of acres of good timber are being destroyed by fire, not only in our state but in many other western states also.

In the Arizona fires alone, it would have taken 30-plus years to harvest the amount of trees that have gone up in smoke this past week alone. Due to very poor management -- actually due to zero management -- by the United States Forest Service and other agencies, including those environmental ones that claim they are "saving the forests," today we have wildfires raging out of control, with no means of stopping them. Had timely and manageable cutting of timber been allowed and undergrowth brush cleared, when drought times arrived, we would not be seeing what we are today.

One of our gross national products is going up in flames! You want to know why you are paying the high prices you are for housing products? You want to know why there won't be any forests left if this continues?

Look closely at the mismanagement of our forests in the past 75 years. Look at the legislation that prevents controlled timber-cutting in our national forests. Look at rules that have told us we couldn't harvest and control the underbrush, dying timber and beetle-killed trees in our forests.

I ask you, Alaskans: Do you want Alaska to one day look like Arizona and Colorado are looking today? If we allow the mismanagement of our forests to continue as it is, we can expect more fires, less wood for building your homes, higher prices for materials and thousands more acres of trees to go up in smoke.

Many of the trees scorched by these fires are still harvestable. Will they be? Or will the environmentalists tell us we are better off to allow them to rot where they are?

Claiming back the land and the forests will demand a much better way of managing than is being done. We are called to be good stewards of the earth. I believe it is being proved that the zero harvesting and cleaning up of our forests is not the way to get that accomplished.

Lucille Hadden


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