this was submitted to KBC by the Tri-County
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
IN MY OPINION
The old saying "the proof is in the pudding"
is very applicable at this time as we attempt to
rehabilitate the forests in Southern Oregon
scorched by the Biscuit Fire of 2002.
First, take a step back to the '90s when
groups such as the Sierra Club, the Oregon
Natural Resource Council and others were pushing
for zero cut on all federal lands in Oregon and
the Northwest in an attempt to protect spotted
owls and their habitat. The groups' cry was
"spotted owls need old-growth forests to
Over the next 10 years we witnessed rural
Oregon's economy bludgeoned in an effort to
protect this species -- and others added to the
list. Once-thriving communities turned into
ghost towns while their schools and community
services suffered tremendously because of high
unemployment and lack of local tax revenue.
But this column is not about the economics of
forest management. Like most Oregonians, I
assumed the real agenda of these "environmental"
groups was truly to protect wildlife and their
habitat. This has turned out to be anything but
As Oregon and other Western states have
watched huge areas of federal forests burn in
recent years, we've also started to see the true
colors of these groups -- and it's not green.
The Biscuit Fire burned more than 500,000 acres
of forests, much of which was wilderness area
set aside specifically as a haven for species
such as the northern spotted owl. This area is a
moonscape now -- blackened and charred by the
fires of 2002.
Oregon State University scientists predict a
recovery of close to 200 years if no active
management is implemented in this area. You
would think that the citizens of Oregon would
demand the same management scenario for the
Biscuit Fire area as we used in the
rehabilitation of the Tillamook Forest that
burned several times in the past century. Why
would we not want to create a healthy forest
environment in as short a period as possible?
Oregonians should ask these "environmental"
groups this important question.
The Biscuit Fire restoration project would
affect less than 10 percent of the land burned
in the fire. We can choose to implement
common-sense, science-based approaches to forest
restoration, or we can choose the path of these
groups who helped create this mess in the first
place -- and watch forest health get even worse,
creating an even more dangerous fire scenario.
It's time for sanity and truth.
Tim Wigley of Wilsonville is director of
Project Protect, an Oregon-based grass-roots
organization composed of resource organizations,
companies and activists throughout the Western
NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section
107, any copyrighted
material herein is distributed without profit or
payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this
information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only. For more
information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml