All.. I am glad to be back from a rigorous quarter of Christianity in Antiquity, Pastoral Care, and Spiritual Leadership. I can tell you that I learned in Antiquity that the world hasn’t necessarily gone downhill. When Christian sects don’t gouge each others’ eyes out .. the world is improving in at least one way :)! If you want to know more about my experiences in Spiritual World, I started another blog “IndieCatholic.com”
Anyway, enough about me. Here’s a link to Ron’s post on Not Without a Fight (PS if you read NWAF and want me to share a post here, just email me).
Ron’s note: This no-nonsense op-ed comes to us from Salem, Oregon’s Statesman Journal; it was authored by Mickey Bellman and published Dec. 12th.
And so, another year passes, another U.S. congressional session parades into history and there is still no forest plan to address the management of our national forests.
Rep. Greg Walden blames the senators for the forest debacle. Both he and Rep. Peter DeFazio had authored bills to settle the quagmire of federal harvest levels.
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Sen. Ron Wyden authored a bill to settle the federal timber issues and he blames those guys over in the House for not following through.
And so gridlock — nothing happens. No cures, no panaceas, no solution, no resolution to the forest debate that began when the spotted owl was declared to be “the canary in the coal mine.” What does remain is forest management by padlock.
For three decades, the controversy over forest management and timber harvest has continued in Western Oregon. While the federal harvest has shrunk to less than 10 percent of what it was in the 1980s, sawmills have closed, jobs have been lost, loggers have gone bankrupt and logging equipment suppliers now sell farm machinery. The tourist industry — touted by the eco-groups as our employment salvation — has indeed opened a few new REI and Cabela’s stores, but that is all.
As for the aforementioned northern spotted owl, its numbers and population continue to decline. Could the invading, aggressive barred owl be preying upon the more docile spotted owl? Or might it be the increasingly devastating forest fires that incinerate vast tracts of federal forest?
Blacktail deer populations have declined every year since Clinton’s 1994 forest plan was passed. Without timber harvest to open the dense forest canopy, there is less browse at deer level on the forest floor. So, fewer deer for hunters to harvest, less revenue for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The O&C Counties of Oregon — counties that once received 25 percent to 50 percent of federal timber sale revenues to replace property taxes — now receive little or nothing, forcing Curry and Josephine counties to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Even the miniscule federal subsidies that were paid to prop up county budgets until the tourist dollars rolled in have now been discontinued by Congress.
Thank you, Congressmen. Your concern and support of federal forest management and Western Oregon is truly underwhelming!
Mickey Bellman of Salem is a professional consulting forester. He can be reached at [email protected].
I’m interested because I don’t think folks on this blog agree on 1) if there is really a problem, let alone 2) what to do about it.
Right now I’m curious from the folks who think things are fine.. what do you have to say to this op-ed?