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Forests are a renewable resource. They grow all over the USA. The USA is a vast place and the forests grow differently depending on where they occur. In the far west where they are near the Pacific Ocean they grow more rapidly than they do further inland.

On the coast 40 to 50 years will grow a mature tree. If you go further inland like Montana, Arizona, Eastern Washington it can take as much as 100 years to grow a mature tree. In the southeast, you may grow a mature tree in 25 to 35 years.

When I moved to the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana in 1965 there was a timber industry and the Forest Service managed the implementation of the sales of timber and the maintenance of the land after the sale was complete. Sometimes new trees were planted and sometimes the forest was left to renew itself. Fires occurred but most often they were controlled.

The Forest Service used to work at maintaining the forests. They had trail crews working the summer to maintain trails and attend to the condition of the forest. My family owns a ranch that is in adjacent to the national forests that the Forest Service is responsible for managing. In the last fifteen year’s they have not done anything to manage the forest connected to our land. All the trails are overgrown. Trees have fallen and there is dead wood, burnable material in large amounts all over that forest.

Wood is a renewable resource. It should be managed as such. We cannot allow the great timber source of the USA to be burned by fire every year. In the Bitterroot Valley, it takes one hundred years to replace the forest that was burned. Most of the people now living in the Bitterroot will not live to see these magnificent forests in their lifetimes.

The country is looking for good jobs for people who are out of work. The rebuilding and maintaining of the countries forests would provide enough jobs and good pay for a few hundred thousand workers. They would not have to be brought back from overseas to provide work.

It seems strange and rather stupid to me that no one sees this opportunity to make things better in the USA. Some of the blame must be placed on the shoulders of the environmentalist who fought the Forest Service every time they tried to make a timber sale.

Our family owns a 1,500 acres of mountain timber. We have maintained it over 50 years. We have logged three times in fifty years. We made some money and we still have a healthy forest. It can be done. We need people, who are not connected to the rich politicians, who are willing to work to save a natural resource.

Oil and coal and probably natural gas have limited capacities. Trees will keep on growing, and growing and growing if we tend them properly. Why don’t our leaders see this possibility?

— John Robinson, Hamilton

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