Forestry in the 1980s

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Mon Jan 3 05:22:00 EST 2000

truffler1635 at wrote:

> The following exerpts of a larger article ran in the Portland (OR) The
> Oregonian, Thurs., Dec. 30, 1999, p A1
> By JAMES LONG, The Oregonian
> ...
> A mountain of a deal
>         Mount St. Helens was a perfect symbol for the change that the '80s
> brought. Portlanders had pointed to the ice-cream peak with pride of
> ownership although it, a) stood in Washington and, b) belonged to a
> private company, the Burlington Northern Railroad. How a railroad got
> title to the top of a volcano was the story of a land deal that the '80s
> could appreciate.

>         Congress had deeded the summit to a Burlington predecessor, the
> Northern Pacific Railraod Co., as part of a 19th-century scheme to get a
> track built to the Pacific Ocean. The grant - containing enough land to
> form a state as big as Nebraska

But of course America's right wingers don't like to talk about such welfare to
the rich.

> - was laid out like a 2,000-mile-long
> checkerboard along the right of way, with the railroad getting every
> other checker to sell to settlers to pay for construction. But the
> Northern Pacific was not so much a railroad as a club of cronies who
> proved more adept at claiming federal real estate than laying track.

But nice white Christian upper class cronies- the pride of the Republican party.

> When the rail line finally was completed, the taxpayers had been
> hornswoggled by the land grab. The checkerboard pattern of land
> ownership cut ecosystems into arbitrary parcels that gave rise to
> environmental problems that persist today.

Gee, interesting, since so many here in this newsgroup blame all enviro problems
on "ecco-nuts" and other left wing weirdos. <G>

>         That was now the Burlington Northern came to own the mile-square
> checker atop Mount St. Helens, which was the one that fled in several
> directions in May of 1980.
>         The blast was heard as far away as Redding, Calif. An ash cloud rose
> 80,000 feet in 15 minutes, and ash came down as far away as Kansas.
> Another 2.5 cubic kilometers ran away from the mountain in the form of a
> landsclide. It was the biggest in recorded history, tumbling 17 miles
> along the north form of the Toutle River.
>         Fifty-seven people died, including at least seven loggers on
> timberlands carved partly from railroad grants. The Washington
> Department of Natural Resources, which earned $175 million a year
> cutting timber, and the Weyerhaeuser Co., which owned a 473,000-acre
> tree farm around the west side of the mountain, had to choose between
> risking profits and risking loggers. They risked the loggers.

Hey, no problem, those working class types are expendable- just like in the
nineteenth century before socialist types pushed through laws protecting workers
and children; against the violent resistant of those beloved businessmen who so
many here worship as the saviors of true family values and the American way of

> ...
>         On Dec. 2, 1982, L. James Brady, vice president of timber and land
> for Burlington Northern, deeded Mount St. Helens' summit back to the
> United States, minus the 1,314 feet that had blown away, for inclusion
> in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Oh, looky- another land grab by those decadent commy ecco-nuts! Oh well, there
was no more exploitation of that mountain possible- the timber was all gone.
Just the equivalent of another huge clearcut. In 100 years the timber beasts
will be back with their chainsaws and more of their SAF propaganda.

> ...
> Running out of old growth
>         One other myth that fell hard in the 1980s was Oregon's self-image
> as a paradise of trees. In the '80s, it became more of a paradise of
> stumps.

Heck, ya ain't been reading forestry propaganda. Those stumps represent
"regeneration cuts", not environmental damage. And of course 98% of the wealth
of that stumpage went into the hands of a small number of people, not the
loggers or the public, but when loggers lose their jobs- the forestry progapanda
won't blame it on overcutting or mechanization- ya just blame it on ecco-nuts
and other left wing crazies.

> Through decades of overcutting, sawmills had largely run out of
> big, old-growth trees on their own property and had to cut younger trees
> at a rapid pace to stay in business.

Of course modern brain dead forestry propaganda had said that those
"regeneration cuts" would stimulate new growth even faster than before- since
all those old growth forests were decadent and losing timber volume. So
"regenerating" them should have resulted in huge increases in timber growth-

>         A review of Oregon harvest volumes on private lands in the 1970s and
> 1980s shows more acres being cut but less wood produced. "What that
> indicates," says conservation forester Roy Keene of Eugene, "is they got
> out of the big timber and started cutting the smaller second-growth;
> they had to cut a lot more acres to even keep up."
>         Many old-growth logs from private lands had gone overseas, not into
> U.S. housing. The reason was money. At the beginning of the '80s, a
> single, 400-year-old fine-grained Douglas fir log might bring $10,000 in
> Japan, but only $3,000 at a local mill. Domestic log prices were
> depressed because double-digit mortgage rates

Thanks to the almost infinite greed of OPEC which included of course the states
of Texas, Louisiana and others, and a plethora of corrupt congressmen- mostly

> had driven home
> construction into the deepest decline since the Depression.

Of course America's upper crust didn't go hungry, they never do. Golf courses
continued to boom and sales on Mercedes and BMWs.

>         When the housing industry revived in the mid-1980s, mills that had
> overcut their own lands were lobbying to get hold of more logs from the
> national forests.

Right, so they could "manage" them out of existence too.

> With jobs at stake, as well as profits, Sen. Mark
> Hatfield, R-Ore., and Rep. Les AuCoin, D-Ore., used their powerful
> committee positions

Right, old geezers who stick around Congress too long get those committee
appointments which are as undemocratic as anything in Stalin's Russia- not that
the usual right wing nuts would appreciate that fact- since they're too busy
fretting over left wing tree huggers than to worry about the REAL corruption of
American democracy.

> to force the U.S. Forest Service to sell record
> numbers of trees. The Forest Service, critics charged, knowingly
> exceeded sustained-yield harvests for the first time.
>         "The forests really were raped in the 1980s like they never were
> before," said Bill Lang, a Portland State University history professor.
> "I would argue that the spotted owl crisis wouldn't have happened
> without this."

But of course the brain dead Society of American Foresters didn't object to that
rape; since its leadership has always consisted of corporate stooges- just
recently when I raised the issue of the Sierra Club's book "Clearcut" in the SAF
list server, the president of the SAF just told me to read the corporate
bullshit book written by the American Forest and Paper Assoc. as a response to
"Clearcut" since of course he was intellectual incapable of responding to my
POLITE message.

>         One of the casualties of the '80s was the company town of Valsetz, a
> sleepy possession of the Boise Cascade Corp. in the Coast Range west of
> Salem. Valsetz had its own school ("the Cougars") and a library, and
> everybody knew everybody else.
>         In February 1984, 96 people worked in the company veneer mill in
> Valsetz and lived, with their families, in company houses that rented
> for about $175 a month. The mill sat in the middle of company lands that
> once yielded big trees for saw-timber. Then the mill made plywood. Then
> it made just veneer sheets which it sent someplace else to make plywood.
>         Then, that February, Boise Cascade called a meeting and said it was
> sorry but the mill was losing money, according to the accountants, and
> everybody would have to leave. Veneers could be made cheaper in Georgia,
> a company official explained.

And most of the workers would have defended the company to the death- believing
the corporate nonsense that the company was doing sustainable forestry and had
the interests of the workers at heart. Yuh, right- too bad so many people
believe such nonsense- thanks to the fact that corporate propaganda is so
successful and convincing those with weak frontal lobes that their true enemies
are left wing enviro types.

>         As each family left, over the next weeks, a company bulldozer would
> knock down the vacated house and push the rubble into a pile with the
> remains of other houss. On March 26, the company burned the rubble.
>         And it was about money.
>         That's what the '80s were about.

And the nineties and every other decade since Adam and Eve. <G>

> Posted as a courtesy by
> Daniel B. Wheeler
> Sent via
> Before you buy.

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list