Letters to the editor for October 8, 2012

By Observer Upload October 08, 2012 01:24 pm
Letters to the editor for October 8, 2012


Current forest management adds fuel to the fire

To the Editor:

Look out your windows, folks. More of Oregon’s timber jobs are going up in smoke.

We are hacking and coughing and putting up with poor air quality. It’s worse than city smog that was such a big deal in the fight to prevent pollution in the 1970s. 

Can we really afford to lose more jobs and more forest? Oregon used to be known for its timber and forest products as well as having beautiful forests with room for all and an agency that cared for it well.

Are you complaining about the smoke to the politicians that run this state or to the local Forest Service? Maybe they need to hear a complaint or two from the public that pays their wages.

Locking up the national forests to wildfires is cost-prohibitive, and current Forest Service science mentality has forest fires tripling in size since the 1980s. Fire behavior prediction models can’t keep up with the recent wildfire trends, and huge multimillion dollar homes are now blamed for adding tinder to the fires, according to a recent article in The Atlantic.

In this article, nowhere is it even mentioned that previous to the 1980s there was something called “logging.” Renewable resource extraction through selective thinning and other methods were at one time added into that equation.

Now it has been taken from the forest management equation, and all that timber and dead and diseased wood is obviously adding fuel to the fires raging across the west, this fire season as well as the past 20 to 30 fire seasons.

Betty E. Duncan & James H. Wood



Why change forest road system that most of us like?

To the Editor:

The Wallow Whitman National Forest (WWNF) has released its Travel Use Study (TUS), which shows that households of 0 to $25,000 a year make up only 7.1% of total visits to sites in the WWNF. If the WWNF staff questioned people that self-identified as “recreating” on the national forest, they would have inherently skewed the data to identify higher income households as they would have the disposable incomes to “recreate” with. 

While we are being told of a mass buildup of OHV use on the forest, OHV use equates only to 1.5 percent of  “main use” on the forest, or 18 to 24 OHVs on any given day, .005 to .006 OHV per square mile, hardly a reason to implement a “closed forest system.”

The total for all site visits is estimated at 502,000 visits per year. This gives a range of 1,169 to 1,581 people per day who visit the WWNF, .32 to .45 people per square mile per day, or .0005 to .0007 people per acre per day. There has been discussion about “user group conflicts” and how that is taking away from the satisfaction of the public on the WWNF. But when you look at the TUS, you find little to no dissatisfaction.

Satisfaction of people surveyed in regard to “Condition of Environment” was 89.5 to 100 percent. Respondents gave a 78 percent favorable rating in the wilderness area for “Road Condition.” Again, we’ve been told repeatedly how dissatisfied the public is, but the survey does not bear that out.

Why are we moving to create a closed forest system to the public on the WWNF when there is such overwhelming support for the current management scheme (minus some obvious lawsuits that severely curtail vegetative management abilities)? 

I am hopeful we will be able to facilitate keeping an open forest policy that is tied directly to our history/culture and how we access and interact with the landscape.

John D. George



Vote YES on Ballot Measure 79 on Nov. 6 ballot

To the Editor:

People of La Grande and all people of the state of Oregon, you will be presented this November with Proposition 79 on your ballot. I am a Realtor and a homeowner, and I want to warn you of what is happening on this matter.

They have worded this Proposition in such a way that it is very misleading. This is an effort by those who believe they can “rob” you of more money when you transfer property, sell property or exchange property. The state wants to tax you 2 percent on any sale or transfer of your property, which means that you will pay $2,000 on every $100,000 of value. For example, on the sale of a $500,000 home, you will pay a $10,000 tax above all other expenses.

To vote against this, please vote YES because that means NO to the state.

If you have any questions, call any Realtor you know.

Errol Roberts

La Grande