Let Forest Service experts manage our public lands

Royce Deardorff /

Published Jan 24, 2013 at 04:00AM

Having spent most of my life working in the timber industry dealing with bug-infested forests, wildfires and other hazards associated with the woods, I have come to the conclusion that the most costly and greatest danger to wildlife and natural resources is people who for some reason are so set on their own agendas they cannot see the forest for the trees.

Environmental groups that are funded by large corporations and other interest groups don’t understand how natural resources really work or how they are managed by our Forest Service. They do harm not only to themselves but do all of us a great disservice.

The Forest Service is in charge of our public lands and they have experts who have been working in the field for years and know how to manage our forests. Let’s let them manage.

According to the Jan. 7 Bulletin article, “Groups to sue to stop logging,” Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands plan to sue the Forest Service to stop the logging on the D-Bug Project, which Forest Service officials say would lower wildfire danger brought on by a mountain pine beetle outbreak that began in 2004 around Diamond Lake and nearby Lemolo Lake. By halting the logging, they are decreasing the value of the timber over time, which decreases the revenue return that would be extremely beneficial to our public schools, the state’s budget, our federal budget and much more. By being dragged out in court, it will cost taxpayers money to pay for the lawsuit, time and money to review the proposed harvest plan and cause delays to other projects needing attention.

In the meantime, the value of the timber is being decreased, bug infestations are destroying healthy forests, the wildfire threat is increased because of a high volume of fuels left behind by the bugs after they have finished and moved on to another healthy stand of timber. Not to mention the danger of lightning strikes that could cause the fires that destroy timber and other wildlife, and also wipe out spotted owl habitations. The list goes on.

It seems to me that the spotted owl is quite crafty and has been known to find habitation within some city limits and other places.

Our Forest Service has already spent much money in planning and producing a working timber sale management plan to protect our forests, not just for some, but for this generation and generations to come. I believe that the time has come to stop catering to the special interest groups and start broadening our thinking to realize that with good, sound management of our forests and natural resources, everyone can start benefiting from that management instead of just a few.

For revenue for schools, state budgets, federal budgets, employment to benefit our economy, for the pure pleasure of enjoying something beautiful that was created for all of us. Our forests are a natural resource. Unattended they will go to terrible waste.

History has shown us the cost. We pay when we neglect to take care of our forests, or any natural resource. Correct harvesting, re-planting, thinning, de-bugging and other responsible actions ensure that our forests will continue to benefit us for generations to come.

Just to name two fires from the past, the B & B complex fires, located in the Cascade Range (2003) burned 90,769 acres. Cause: lightning. To name one more, the most recent fire in our area, the Pole Creek Fire (2012), also caused by lightning, forced evacuations of homes in the Sisters area and other hardships to homeowners and forest users in the area.

I wonder if these fires could have been prevented or at least been contained to a smaller area if proper thinning and other management tools would have been in motion.