“Clean water tops wish list in Northwest as feds revise plan,” according to an article on Greenwire about a poll of 600 registered voters in counties in Washington, Oregon and California, commissioned by the Wilderness Society.
The results of the poll are here. As with most polls, the wording of the questions can have a strong influence on the responses. In this case, the questions seem framed to mirror the activities and outcomes desired by the Wilderness Society. For example, to this question:
“Let me read you some specific components of ways that have been suggested to revise the Northwest Forest Plan and get your reaction. For each, please tell me if you would favor or oppose that component.”
These are the components given to respondents:
Improve trails and campgrounds to enhance recreation opportunities.
Prioritize restoring forests to their natural conditions.
Limit logging and road building within 300 feet of rivers, lakes, and streams.
Limit logging and road building in old-growth forests.
Limit the use of clear cut logging operations.
Designate certain areas to be managed primarily for carbon storage, which will minimize impacts of climate change.
Restrict road building in areas where roads can interfere with the movement of wildlife.
What do you think? Is is a fair and balanced poll?
6 thoughts on “NW Forest Plan Poll”
All are questions that would probably elicit a “yes” from Wilderness Society members and like minded citizens. Lacking are any queries as to possible social or economic issues. Here are a just a few of the components that could (should) have been included in a balanced poll:
Adapt forests to climate change by maintaining forest health and resistance to drought, fire, and insects.
Provide better access to non-wilderness public lands.
Recognize and prioritize the economic needs of forest-dependent local citizens and local governments in planning and plan implementation.
This Wilderness Society push-poll is designed to support a predetermined point of view and to bring about a predetermined course of action. As a guide to balanced management of the forests of the Northwest, it is useless. My old information science prof would have graded it an “F”.
I was going to suggest – “Reduce the restrictions on logging.” I agree that the questions weren’t very balanced, but I think answers to questions like Mac’s would line up with the 34% who said that providing timber jobs was important. I will say that water quality is remarkably consistent at the top of lists like this.
What I think is a little odd is that the questions listed by Steve are purportedly “ways that have been suggested to revise the Northwest Forest Plan.” Who has been suggesting them? Mostly what I have been hearing is the opposite. This list sounds more like the parts of the current plan that “the leaders in your state” (I guess meaning the Forest Service and BLM) would like to cut back on. (Isn’t that what BLM has already done?) Seems like questions about reality would be more meaningful.
600 voters? What kind of voters? Forest managers? City people? Randomly chosen?
What are the uses of forest land? Who determines use?
Watershed managed from the ridgeline? Vegetation managed to maximize water recovery? Vegetation managed to maximize timber harvest? Sustainable? Renewable?
Is there a Quincunx or “Galton Board” array of questions? mutually exclusive answers.
e.g. Question one: Is the forest more valuable for timber production or water production?
Question two in the water column: Is the water intended for harvesting?
Question two in the timber column: Is the timber intended to be harvested.
Yes answers lead to one path, no answers lead to a different path.
Series of questions to be selected by foresters, environmentalists, timber companies, water managers, who else is a major player in forest management? Carbon sequestration? Reservoir siltation? Question, in my opinion, will be water shed (HUC) sensitive. Questions for one watershed may not be applicable to some other watershed.
And so on. The bins at the bottom would by sorted by Water/timber. Harvest/not harvested, Sustainable (renewed in fifty years?)/not sustainable, Measure of effectiveness?
Is it a fair and balanced poll? NO!
What would make a poll fair and balanced?
A poll designed by those with opposing points of view cooperating on the questions to be asked and the wording of the questions..
Politically, will opposing views be stated on the same piece of paper?
Do California’s seventeen initiatives reflect different points of view?
Then there is the question of “knowledgeable” voters. Should those with limited knowledge of the issues be allowed to select representatives with special knowledge? Representatives who are being paid with public funds to manage forests.
No. These are real concerns. Water and climate are the top priority with most citizens, and they should be addressed head on in a poll.
No. Climate change and water are critical issues that citizens want to address.