From Wilderness Watch:
Wilderness Watch is urging the Forest Service (FS) to abandon its proposal to plant whitebark pine in the Pasayten Wilderness in Washington. None of the reasons the FS gives in its Quartz Mountain Whitebark Pine Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) appear to be valid. The EA states, “There is a need to establish a whitebark pine seed source…for natural regeneration to occur.” It also notes, “…no tree seedlings were observed on the former whitebark site and it is therefore unlikely that whitebark pine will naturally regenerate in the area.” This clearly leads the public to believe there are no living whitebark pines in the area. However, the EA goes on to contradict the earlier statement by saying there are “surviving whitebark pines in the Quartz Mountain area.”
The Quartz Mountain fire that killed whitebark pines was a natural event, and it may take decades for seedlings to be reestablished (a fact recognized by the Whitebark Pine Foundation). The project would have a significant negative impact on the Pasayten Wilderness. Wilderness Watch told the Forest Service to let natural processes—fire, Clark’s nutcrackers, rains, and wind—determine the extent of whitebark pine regeneration. Wilderness is about wildness and that includes letting nature determine when and where seedlings will be re-established. Any experiment of this type should be confined to non-Wilderness lands.
Read Wilderness Watch’s comments here.