Saturday, January 26, 2008

Plan to Allow Logging in Alaskan Forest

Who needs all those fucking trees anyway?
More than 3 million acres in Alaska's Tongass National Forest would be open to logging under a federal plan that supporters believe will revive the state's struggling timber industry.

Environmentalists, however, fear that the proposal will devastate the forest.

The Bush administration released Friday a management plan for the forest, the largest in the country at nearly 17 million acres. The plan would leave about 3.4 million acres open to logging, road building and other development, including about 2.4 million acres that are now remote and roadless. About 663,000 acres are in areas considered most valuable for timber production.

Alaska Regional Forester Denny Bschor, who approved the Tongass management plan, said its goals are to sustain the diversity and health of the forest, provide livelihoods and subsistence for Alaska residents and ensure a source of recreation and solitude for forest visitors [emphasis mine].

I was being facetious above. I've never been one to traipse into remote areas of forests with no roads, but there are thousands (millions?) who love that.

Putting aside what thousands (millions?) want, America's national forests are gems. In fact the story states "...Tongass - often labeled the crown jewel in the national forest system..." Along with the national parks, national forests should be left alone. They belong to the public and should not be raped by corporations. To allow this is tantamount to abhorrent.

That said, I'll be a little less abrasive. I've relatives and neighbors who made/make their livings logging. Its horribly dangerous work, but pays well.

There are ways I can support this plan. First, road building should be severely restricted and I mean severely. Yes it will cost the companies more to extract the timber, but its a trade-off and second, the area must be reforested before scrub brush has a chance to take over. This isn't as good a solution as leaving the forest untouched, but its not a total rape.

A caveat: I can never support the logging of old growth trees. To harvest and destroy trees older than America is purely immoral. Old growth trees are splendiferous and should never be touched. The story doesn't say if the trees are old growth but, in my lazy ass research, it seems much of Tongass is old growth.

BTW, the above emphasized is almost too funny. How does one find solitude on thousands of acres of denuded land? Is there solitude in a huge parking lot? How does one visit a forest that isn't there? Just asking.




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