Union Democrat staff

National Forest needs to be logged

To the Editor:

Thank you for your article on Dr. Bales water yield study. Everybody loves trees, but we have loved them so much that the Sierras are overwhelmed and over grown. The National Forest needs to be logged to achieve historic density levels that provided for snow pack and were fire resilient.

I was disappointed that this paper failed to question the misleading statements provided by the local environmental expert. Two statements made are particularly troubling. One is that "forest thinning doesn't ever provide a cost benefit to taxpayers," and the other is his jab at Republicans in Congress for not appropriating enough funds.

Historically, this county was sustained by timber receipts from the National Forest. The government owns 80 percent of the land mass of Tuolumne County and pay $0 in property taxes. The timber receipts paid for our roads and schools, which were in much better shape when we used to log the forest. It seems to me that taxpayers in Tuolumne County used to benefit from logging on the Stanislaus.

The second fallacy is that money is needed from Congress to log the forest. Private landowners don't receive a hand out from taxpayers to effectively manage their land. Why can't the government do the same? Two reasons. The first is that the process to actually get a timber sale to market is a bureaucratic NEPA nightmare. The second is that forests are being managed upon an arbitrary diameter limit of 30 inches. There is no peer reviewed, scientific evidence that supports this diameter limit. A larger, more profitable tree must be harvested. Doing this would solve the funding issues, improve the density in the forest, and increase water yield. It doesn't take an act of congress to manage our forest, it just takes common sense.

Shaun Crook


Congratulations to county supervisors

To the Editor:

I'd like to offer my congratulations to Tuolumne County Supervisors Karl Rodefer and Randy Hanvelt who recently became Fellows through the CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government. They are among just 28 county supervisors or senior executives from around the state who have earned that title. The benefits of continuing education are well recognized in many professions including attorneys, physicians, and educators. The CSAC institute applies the same concept to leaders at the County level, offering a variety of courses on management, communications, budgeting, problem solving, negotiations and other skills that make for more effective local government leaders. Fellows must complete at least 60 hours of coursework at the Institute just to become eligible for the program. Becoming a Fellow requires several more days' worth of challenging coursework on contemporary practices in public sector leadership and engagement with the Institute faculty. Institute Fellows are better prepared to serve their county and lead their communities. They also offer the benefit of their expertise to other Institute students, both as returning faculty and informal mentoring. Congratulations again to Supervisors Rodefer and Hanvelt for this achievement and their commitment to public service.

Matt Cate

Executive Director,

California State Association of Counties

'Tis the season

for motorcycles

To the Editor:

Dear Driver,

I hope you read The Union Democrat or all this is a wasted letter. No, maybe not wasted if other drivers read it.

All I know about you is that at 4:55 p.m. on June 23 you pulled out in front of my motorcycle in a white car at Via Este. I don't know if you are a male or female, nor do I know the make or model or license number.

I had slowed and braked for the silver SUV turning right in front of me and lo-and-behold, there you were turning left in front of me onto Highway 108. I had to lock up my brakes and go into a skid to avoid T-boning you.

I did not come home from Vietnam and survive 35 years of logging to be taken out by someone like you. If I were not a "defensive" rider, you could have killed me.

I suggest whatever your age or gender, you start paying attention. What you did was a CHP citable offense. You invaded my space. I had the right of way.

Please pay attention and "share the road." 'Tis the season for motorcycles.

Doug Heseman