Question the enviros
Dear Editor: I used to be a logger. Now I’m a forest activist of a different kind than you’re used too. I support loggers and the Forest Service. I’d like to comment on the recent story (Feb. 17) about the Baylor Park blowdown.Because of environmentalist litigation and four years of delay, the USFS says that 100,000 acres of forest will be killed by the spruce beetle. Because of their delays, I find it ironic that the enviros will be responsible for killing over twice as many acres of forest as the USFS has logged in 60 years. According to the White River National forest plan, only 40,000 acres have been logged in 60 years. That’s only 3 percent of the “forested” acres on the national forest. In 60 years. A lot smaller number than you were led to believe, isn’t it? Did you know that only .5 percent (that’s half) of the forest was ever clearcut? The other 2.5 percent was thinned, which leaves many trees still standing. How about the fact that your forest grows 15 times as much wood as they cut in a year? Your forest is getting older and bigger. Think about that the next time you hear the enviro propaganda that logging is not “sustainable”.Doesn’t it bother you that the enviros never told you this side of the logging debate? When I sense they’re not giving me both sides of the story, I start questioning the story they’re telling me.The greens are right in saying the spruce beetle is natural. They celebrate the blowdown when they described it as “how healthy forests behave”. That endless forest of green outside your picture window that drew you to Aspen is a product of man, not nature. Nature is the great destroyer. I don’t think you can handle the truth of the pre-settlement forest. Here’s some more numbers they won’t tell you. Early explorers estimate that 25 percent of the spruce forests were dead a hundred years ago (please compare to the 3 percent number above). Sixty percent of your aspen and lodgepole forests were burned in great fires in the late 1800s (think of that the next time you’re outraged by a clearcut). Combined, that means that 40 percent of your “natural” forest was dead. Is that the view you want outside your picture window when the spruce beetle comes to Aspen? It’s the view the enviros want for you. It’s the view they celebrate as a healthy forest.I’ve seen houses surrounded by burned trees that don’t sell for years after a fire. Drive on down to Baylor Park this summer. Then ask yourselves who you’re going to trust more to protect your property values. I’ll put my money with the professionals at the Forest Service. Question the environmental establishment. Derek WeidenseeRapid City, S.D.