Union Democrat staff

Timber wasted by forest management

To the Editor:

The purpose of this letter is not to belittle, finger point or lay blame on anyone involved in forest management issues that affected the recent Rim Fire. To say that an aggressive logging program in the years prior to the fire could have prevented it or limited the size of it or made it easier to fight must be considered. The fact is that fuel removal in any form could have done nothing but aid the fire fighting efforts. That is just common sense. Moreover, if we are going to accept that fire is a part of the forest ecosystem and large fires will occur from time to time, doesn't it make more sense to utilize the resource to meet our needs rather than to watch it go up in smoke? Prescribed burns, fuel break construction and selective tree removal are labor intensive and cost money if they are not voluntary. In my opinion, the single largest factor that prevented any selective cutting on the Stanislaus National Forest was due to the California Spotted Owl Guidelines. Repeal that and selective cutting could be cost effective.

Rep. McClintock's office released a figure of one billion board feet of salvageable timber. If this is correct and one assumes a conservative one percent growth rate, this forested area was growing 10 million board feet per year. Had this amount been harvested each year over the last 20 years that would have provided 200 million board feet of fuel reduction and utilizable wood products. That amount could have generated upwards of $1 to $2 million annually to help pay for fuel breaks and prescribed burning in addition to another one to two million or so per year for schools and roads without ever compromising the resource base or adversely affecting wildlife habitat.

Mark Johnson


Thankful for community help

To the Editor:

There are many people we would like to thank for recently coming to our daughter's aid: First, thank you to whoever found her textbook on Parrotts Ferry Road and took the time to return it to Columbia College, saving us the cost of replacing it.

Second, thank you to all those who stopped to offer help when her car went down a short embankment off of Soulsbyville Road (thankfully, she was uninjured).

We especially want to express our gratitude to the lady that gave our daughter a ride and to the man who trekked down the muddy hillside to get her belongings out of the car for her. We appreciate living in a community full of so many helpful and concerned people.

Dan and Lisa Mayers


Environmentalists have overdone it

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Sierra Club and the rest of the environmental community for taking good care of our spotted owls and yellow-legged frogs. Now that they have loved them to death maybe it is time to give control of our devastated forest back to people who know how to manage it, such as loggers and cattlemen.

The only thing I can see good from their devastating fire is that the tree huggers in San Francisco have charcoal filtered water to drink.

Albert Flower