September 6, 2001 -- The mountains are ablaze. The chickens of the radical environmental movement have come home to roast.

While screaming that trees are sacred and should never be harvested, the radical greens deny their responsibility for the horrendous destruction that now visits our western forest. But they are responsible, and the billions spent on fire suppression, the gut-wrenching pain of those who lose their homes, the hundreds of thousands of acres of forests annihilated, and the injury and death caused by these fires are the direct result of their actions.

To lock up our Western forests from active management is unconscionable. Letting the dead trees accumulate without salvaging them has allowed fuels to build on the forest floor until virtually any fire is a catastrophe. Designating millions of western acres as roadless, without access for management, and denying rational management of the national properties is causing nature to react by destroying the very beauty these people claim to want to protect forever.

Trees are not forever. They are born, they grow, they die. We can use them or not. If we don’t use them, they die and provide fuel for the natural event that we are now observing with horror throughout the western mountains. This is as natural and as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun.

If we continue to ignore the laws of nature and refuse to practice good forest management on our public lands, we will continue to see the mountains ablaze. Eventually the old forests will be gone, the fire cut areas will begin to regenerate and the forest will grow again. But the big trees we use for our houses and the forested beauty we desire will be ash.

Such a waste!
Charles E. Tomlinson has been a forest manager and consultant since 1957.


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