"Forest and the Trees" by Senator Larry Craig, Senator (R), Idaho

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Sat Nov 13 11:04:27 EST 1999

In article <382D34D4.320CFFCC at forestmeister.com>,
  Joseph Zorzin <redoak at forestmeister.com> wrote:
> Senator Craig wrote the following "letter to the editor" to U.S.
> News & World Report's Nov. 8, 1999 issue. I'll leave it up to
> yourself to contemplate the profundity of his "thinking".
> ---------
> Forest and the trees
> THE ISSUE BEHIND THE CONFLICT over President Clinton's
> helter-skelter forest policy making is the public's access to
> their-not mine, not his-national forests and the responsibility
> of the Forest Service to manage for healthy forests ["See
> Forests Through Trees," October 25]. The objective of Clinton's
> effort is to turn 40 million acres of national forest into
> restricted-access areas that only 2 percent of the forest
> visitors (based upon Forest Service figures) will be able to
> enjoy. The article points out that "the single largest user of
> national forests is so-called drive-by tourists, who cruise
> through the woods. . . ." Clinton's policy may be designed to
> ban logging. However, its effect will be to limit accessby
> hikers, hunters, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, and
> cross-country skiers-and to destroy the very reason they chose
> to visit in the first place: the forest. That's why this policy
> is going to be extremely unpopular with thoughtful people who
> enjoy both the forests and the trees.
Thanks for posting this, Joseph.

I think if people realized that forests were more than just trees, it
might make some difference is usage. Locally, we have _a lot_ of hiking
trails, lakes, etc. But the majority of *usage* is where people can
drive up to the site they want to go, such as Timberline Lodge on Mt.
Hood, or Crater Lake on Mt. Mazama, or ... but you get the picture.

Many areas are now suffering from erosion caused by human encroachment.
The Summit Trail on Mt. Hood comes to mind, as well as the Multnomah
Falls trail in the Columbia Gorge; and many other trails to waterfalls
on Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, the Coast Range and elsewhere.
Certain areas along the Cascade Crest Trail are so changed by
"management" that there's little "forest" left. Regretfully, there is so
little "old growth" left (let's not even mention climax forest) that
most urban dwellers (like myself) have to travel for over an hour just
to reach a forested area to relax in or hunt mushrooms.

The good news is that there's still some available. The bad news is that
during weekends the interstate highways are clogged with people trying
to get away from the interstate highways. (Ain't six billion people in
the world grand, folks!)

The Craig family has spent a lot of time in forests. But they still
can't see the forest for the trees. And as far as forest diversity goes,
Sen. Craig's record alerts us that his major concern is for the supposed
jobs created by the timber industry, hunters, and fishermen. The salmon
issue is still a predominant force in Idaho politics today: Without the
dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers, Idaho remains landlocked, and
must resort to the interstate highways for more expensive transportation
of goods and services than by barges on the rivers. Of course, it also
means decreased salmon runs, since every turbine a salmon smolt has to
go through chops up half them. Let's see...half gone the first dam, 3/4
gone the second dam, 7/8 gone the third dam... you get the point. No add
up the number of dams between Idaho and the Pacific, and Sen. Craig's
bias becomes pretty clear. Considering the number of trout produced
commercial in Idaho, and the decrease of salmon and increase of trout
prices, there may be method to his madness.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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