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Another Federal failure

Rick Geise, Dillon

In the Friday, June 16 SDN the executive director of Wilderness Workshop, Sloan Shoemaker, was reported to have said that the forests of Summit County don’t have a health problem. What?! Yeah, and O.J Simpson was also innocent – right? Apparently, Sloan also warned that any efforts to mitigate the damage done by the mountain pine beetle may damage the forest’s ability to regenerate. What, again?! … and the inevitable devastating fire as a result of over 40 years of fuel accumulation in the understory of a forest in which of 80-90 percent of the trees have succumbed to beetle infestation won’t?Listen neighbors, America’s western forests from the Chugach in Alaska to our own backyard, just like the elk herd in Rocky Mountain National Park, are very sick – the result of gross federal mismanagement. Instead of actively managing the resource at a profit we now must combat the long-term consequences of a 1960s conservation ethic at great expense.Selectively harvesting trees over the last generation in broad aesthetically-pleasing mosaics would also have resulted in healthier forest ecosystems of great diversity supporting more abundant wildlife and containing natural fire and beetle breaks. Today, the long term suppression of fire within a largely closed-door/hands-off wilderness policy has resulted in an ecosystem that not only threatens the existence of any future lynx population – but our own lives, property, and very livelihood.


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