Forest Plan nonsense
Your editorial "In search of a solution for timber counties" (Feb. 10) is spot on and very accurately depicts the dilemma facing timber-dependent counties from Northern California through Oregon and Washington, especially west of the Cascade Range.
President Bill Clinton's so-called "President's Plan" for the Pacific Northwest has proven to be a disaster in the 18 years since enactment. It has not only settled nothing in regards to a "viable population of spotted owls" but has brought the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recommend shooting barred owls. In other words, single species management at the cost of all others. When FWS officials get done with one so-called threatened species, they'll then move on to the next and the next until they go full circle and start all over.
This is total "professional" nonsense! In the meantime, local dependent communities are being economically devastated as the federal government runs out of "other people's money" to subsidize these counties that heretofore have received "annual payback of timber receipt monies from harvests in their respective county."
Even past Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas, one of the authors of the Northwest Plan, is on record as saying the plan has not worked as intended and is unworkable as it now stands; this after setting aside in wildlife preserves approximately 80 percent of the national forests affected.
It is time to revise the Northwest Plan, cast the plan aside and begin anew or seek new congressional legislation to rectify the legislative acts that are at cross-purposes and feed the constant flow of lawsuits stopping timber sales on national forests and BLM lands -- species by species.
retired forest supervisor for Gifford Pinchot National Forest,
Forest idea shortsighted
Senate Joint Memorial 201 is just one small measure being considered in the current session of the Oregon Legislature.
However, SJM201 could cause irreparable harm. If passed, it would send a demand from the Oregon Legislature to the president and the U.S. Congress to remove Oregon and California Railroad grant lands, also known as the O&C lands, from federal management and turn them over to counties to be managed by both "public and private concerns."
On the surface, SJM201 sounds like a positive effort to bring timber funds back to the counties that depend on federal timber revenues to provide funding and jobs, but it is shortsighted and has the potential to damage the very counties it professes to support.
The counties lack the financial resources to oversee the management of 2.4 million acres of former Oregon and California Railroad lands. This raises the question of who would actually be managing these forests, and the answer would be the "private concerns." Our public lands would be turned over to the timber industry, without federal environmental protections in place to prevent damaging clearcuts, soil erosion and ensure the health of our watersheds.
There are serious economic issues facing Oregon. Members of the environmental community have developed alternative solutions to the timber counties funding controversy and are willing to work with Oregon's legislators to prevent depleting our resources and trading our future for a quick fix.
We ask our Oregon legislators to vote "no" on SJM201. An online petition is available at: bit.ly/OreForestsPetition
Forest Web of Cottage Grove
Cottage Grove, Ore.