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Friday, September 30, 2011

Chill out

To me, the natural world feels like my home. I delight in it daily - the luscious summer wildflowers, the brilliant autumn leaves, and the winter immaculate snow. R agrees with me - he is more attuned to the forest than most of us can imagine.
Yet again, the authorities want to log/burn our area, in the name of protecting against wildfire and its potential impact on the watershed that feeds Denver. Last night, I went to a meeting to try to influence the Forest Service Plans.

But first, I walked the Labraduo at sunset. It calmed my soul to be with them in our spectacular world.
At the meeting, many residents questioned the clearcutting, thinning, and prescribed burn plans. We pointed out that the last operation was never completed, and our forest contains huge piles of dead branches and saplings that were never disposed of. Moreover, the areas where the logging and burning was actually completed are now covered in noxious weeds. Finally, the loggers left behind garbage and logging roads that the residents had to deal with after the loggers departed.

The reply that we received outraged me. More than one ranger said: "The locals always care the most about forest aesthetics and the effects of the logging/burning on their daily lives. Frankly, those issues are not even part of our planning process. We have far more important things to think about.".

Believe me, the word "locals" was used with derision dripping from his voice. It was as if he thought that we were a bunch of idiots who only serve to get in the way. In fact, I think that we understand the forest ecosystem better than any "official" who doesn't live in the forest.

Here's what R had to say about his attitude!
We're allowed to "object" to the plan. However, after questioning the process, I finally wrangled the bottom line out of a ranger. The Forest Service themselves will make the final decision about our "objections" - so you know ahead of time how that decision will turn out. The only alternative is to hire attorneys and bring a lawsuit. You can imagine how mad that "fair process" made me.

R told me to quit being a drama queen and chill out, just like he does.
When it comes to irreversible actions like reaping destruction on our forests, with little regard for our wildlife or aesthetics, I'm not adept at chilling out.


  1. So huge piles of dead trees and tall weeds ARE part of their planning process?!? Having experienced the Station Fire here in 2009, concern for an uncluttered forest is way beyond aesthetic. I agree with R!

    Beautiful autumn photos, btw :-)

  2. Sorry to hear about your problems but that's generally the way it goes with most government officials...they know what's best for you. Sadly 90% of the time they DON"T!!!!! The National Forest land in western VA is almost devoid of deer due to the "expert" game management by game department officials. Fortunately I have success to private lands where we tend to manage the game ourselves.

  3. If only dogs could rule the world!

  4. Wildlife management and BLM thought they new more about how to handle our moose population too.

    What they did was transport 100 of our beautiful giants of the forest out of state to repopulate another states lack. All but four of the animals died in transport or due to it.

    It has taken us years to get back enough mature bulls to start the repopulation.

    We are with you....Who is making the decisions and do they really care about our world.....


  5. that "fair process" is absurd. We would stick out our tongue too
    Benny & Lily

  6. Were right beside you KB. We understand. Our BLM sold part of our forest to a logging company in Molalla,,the town closet to us.
    Its sad what the decision makers are doing ,and they have no respect for the wild like or trees.
    Its hard to chill out, when your heart is heavy.
    We know. But it is good R can chill out.. looking at him relaxes me.

  7. We can't believe those dunderheads want to destroy your beautiful forest and the wildlife that depends on it! It's so Kafkaesque that no matter which political party is in power, the so called Forest "Service" and Bureau of Land "Management" are dedicated to destruction rather than preservation. Hope someone recorded the arrogant rangers and put it on You Tube, and that your local TV stations will pick up on it and air it and it will make it to the national news and get enough publicity that your politicians will feel impelled to stop this madness. If you can find a group that will help file suit, it sure couldn't hurt. Maybe the National Wildlife Federation, the Wilderness Society, etc.?

    Jed & Abby

  8. So glad that we don't have to deal with the forest service here in the middle of the cornfield! I'd be livid, too!

    I think R has the right idea!

  9. What? What? You have a bunch of giant dumbasses in your Forest Service. The most important part of their job should be preserving the natural beauty that is disappearing so quickly across our nation. I think that Jed and Abby have some very good ideas, and I hope someone follows through on them. Don't give up, give it the good fight and get the public on your side. We've got to get over the "nothing can be done" attitude that has become so prevalent in this country. You may not win this battle, but you surely won't if you don't fight.

  10. Did you ask what was more important? Have them itemize why, exactly, this is being done this way? They owe you clear answers, not just demeaning commentary on what you have said.

    I would be most p.o'd too and my response much like Rs!


    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  11. I second R's sentiment in that third photo! Sad stuff. I can't stand bureaucratic, condescending control freaks!! I'm so sorry they're threatening your forest!

  12. Yowsers...this kind of stuff just makes my blood boil. We had the hills behind us denuded and now watch as scrub land rises from the ashes. I half expect townhouses to be erected in the not to distant future..take care of your BP..KB...your health is more important. Keep us informed!

  13. Perfect lab photos to illustrate this post. I'm always so angry when any government employee forgets exactly who they are working for and who pays the bills. I think I'd be a drama queen, too...


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