Letters to the editor for May 24, 2013

By Observer Upload May 24, 2013 09:15 am
Letters to the editor for May 24, 2013

Wallowa Resources helps sustain our rural lifestyle

To the Editor:

This Wallowa Resources outfit has got a lot of irons in the fire. While Mark Porter harasses weeds and elk non-stop, Nils Christoffersen harasses (he calls it collaboration) the U.S. Forest Service, various politicians and a few stubborn bureaucrats. Amy Busch relentlessly pesters kids from near and far to drop their iPods and get out of the house into the wilds.

All of these chores share a common thread: The sustainability and appreciation of Wallowa County’s renewable natural resources — grass, timber, water and people.

Yes, people. Probably our most important resources are our people and especially those who choose to make a living from the land. If we manage to chase all the elk back to the timber, eradicate all the weeds and convince the USFS that managing the forest and cutting some trees makes more sense than just fighting fires, it will be all for naught if we don’t have the people who produce — farmers,
ranchers, foresters, loggers and mill workers.

Loggers especially are a dying breed. A generation ago, a high school graduate could easily get a job in the woods or a mill and the income earned would support a growing family.

Now as we helplessly watch our timber die, rot and burn all around us, our young are forced to migrate to the cities in search of work. Another generation removed from the land and a lifestyle so many desire but few urban folks understand.

Through a myriad of programs, Wallowa Resources is bridging that gap. The Watershed Festival introduces kids of all ages to organizations and individuals that support our natural resources. Young men and women are hired as summer interns performing various outdoor services. The WREN program enables youth — who may not otherwise have the opportunity — to explore the wilderness. Wallowa Resources is constantly conducting extended field trips for college students.

But more importantly, introducing those students to the rural workers who are still caring for and making a living from the land.

This connectivity may be the most important job the staff does. To sustain our rural lifestyle, educate those who don’t understand it and create jobs locally is Wallowa Resources’ most important goal. If it takes a bit of harassment, then so be it.

Jim Zacharias