Union Democrat staff

Rim Fire recovery

efforts underway

To the Editor:

I was disheartened to see the full-page ad in the Friday, March 21, edition of The Union Democrat regarding the Rim Fire.

We all agree that the impacts of the Rim Fire are devastating in many ways. The U.S. Forest Service is currently leading a huge recovery effort to remove all the hazard trees along roads and developed facilities, salvage dead timber, and reduce fuels for future forest resiliency. Roads in the Rim Fire burned area will also be maintained or improved to better withstand the continued impacts from the fire. Along with existing laws and policies, the Forest Service is using the best available science and professional practices in moving forward.

As we undertake Rim Fire recovery efforts, the Forest Service is working with the collaborative group Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions (YSS). The mission of Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions is to restore and maintain healthy forests and watersheds, fire safe communities, and sustainable local economies using a science-based approach. We are working with diverse interests and points of view represented in YSS to get beyond negative discourse to find solutions to the complex resource issues the Rim Fire recovery effort presents. We are pleased to be working with the Farm Bureau through the YSS collaborative. Other participants include: local tribes, fire safe council, industry representatives, recreation interests, county government, conservation and environmental organizations, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, other federal agencies, and advocacy groups.

This is a time when all of us who are interested in public land management need to focus on the opportunity to work together in ways we haven't in the past. We all live here because we love the area and the beautiful surrounding public lands.

With the full engagement of YSS and other involved citizens, the Rim Fire area will become a resilient forest available to each and every one of us in the future.

Susan Skalski

Forest Supervisor,

Stanislaus National Forest

Lawsuits not a public service

To the Editor:

Was anyone else shocked by Barbara Farkas's letter in the March 14 Letters to the Editor? She actually tried to make it sound like "Citizens for Responsible Growth (CFRG)" files lawsuits as a public service. This is a small community and we aren't too old to remember the five years this group fought the Lowe's project where they made it clear they weren't trying to collaborate but rather trying to block the project no matter what. Since when is filing a lawsuit to block economic projects that cost our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a community service? Now I've heard everything!

Mark Kraft


CFRG letter was disingenuous

To the Editor:

One of the most rewarding parts of living in a small town is that most of the community joins together when there is a need to be filled. There is one exception and it is groups like Citizens for Responsible Growth. Ms. Farkas's Letter to the Editor on March 14 was disingenuous. This small group of people is not interested in "community capital" or working within the democratic process. If they were, they wouldn't file lawsuits when the democratically elected officials vote in favor of job creating economic growth projects.

Do not be fooled by rhetoric particularly when there is a long history of groups like Ms. Farkas's who hinder and oppose all economic growth.

Glenn Caldwell