BMN Forest Management
The following excerpts are from my daily morning newsletter. For more info email Brian Rodgers at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 15th 2004
Wow! We can make a difference! I am getting positive feedback with my forest management study. People seem to like the way the forest section of my web pages is coming together. This makes me feel great. It also encourages me, so watch out! Just in case you want to write to me but for some reason either my firewall or spam filter is blocking you, try my alternative email address at my first domain. email@example.com Where was I yesterday when I had to stop? I was about to let you know what Hope Lumber was all about right? That will be coming, but first I want to lay some groundwork about the timber industry. Ok let me get started, since I already did the introduction yesterday.
Slim stopped in to my office yesterday afternoon. We browsed the Web looking for a number of things having to do with logging in New Mexico. One place in particular which we looked for on the Internet was an area down near White Sands which Slim visited a few years back. He had created for me a picture of a healthy and productive, thus sustainable forest, managed by the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Slim explained in our interview about a showcase forest which could be seen on both sides of the highway as he toured the Ruidoso mountains in Central New Mexico.
I had mentioned to Slim that I had spent a good part of the morning searching for pro-logging information on the Internet, but was only able to find a small number of references. What I found was quite the opposite. It is really quite astonishing. Type “pro-logging” into a search engine and you will be amazed to find the results are anti-logging sites. Hmmm… We tried all sorts of combinations: “timber industry,” “sawmills,” and “wood products.” All gave the same results, right back to the left. My experience with Internet search engines tells me that the squeaky wheel gets the grease! What the heck does that cliché mean? In this situation the environmentalists are making the most noise on the Internet. It does not necessarily mean that the timber industry does not exist on the Internet but the Greenpeace types have all but drowned them out. It is so bad that it is difficult to get a balanced picture of what is happening with forest management in this country.
Slim had some interesting things to say about Greenpeace yesterday afternoon as well, however I don’t know if I can do his story justice because I can’t recall the fellow’s name that Slim said began Greenpeace to save the whales. As Slim told it, “They were slaughtering every last one of them. ” I will look it up in a minute, in the meantime I will give you the “rumors.” The guy that started Greenpeace dropped out of the organization after he did his part in saving the whales. When this co-founder of Greenpeace saw the direction the group wanted to go next, “Save the forests,” he dropped out. I have a tendency to agree, whether this proves real or fiction. My searches on the Internet have taken me to more environmentalist sites than I can stand to look at. These people seem to relish in stopping any commercial forest use. This drives me crazy. How can we get a forest to be sustainable if we don’t use the resources?
After a while we gave up looking for the Native American wood products site. The only reference we could find to one of the “finest logging-milling operations,” as Slims called it, was in the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce site in which the Mescalero Wood Products was registered. Well, that is not entirely true, we also found an article in a newspaper which cited the demise of the operation although no dates were available. While Slim was at the office yesterday, I directed him to a site having to do with the history of logging in the Sacramento Mountains. We found it quite entertaining and I saved it so that you can read it too. One of the things that this document proves beyond a reasonable doubt is that wood product production was indeed indigenous to this area. If some of you don’t know why I mention this, it is because I have another aspect to this story going on with the locals and I did not post everything here.
By Brian Rodgers
October 11th 2004
I have been trying to get up to speed on the Las Vegas watershed project. Mostly, all I have been able to do is talk with a few folks about it and work it around in my own head a little bit. I received a response from Peace and Justice about one comment in my story about the logging industry, hopefully I can get away with it, because I was quoting Slim when I said the logging industry is not active in this country. Pat from Peace and Justice asked if I had read her speech to the City Council, which she gave me on Thursday. In that presentation Pat said, “in there, i explain how a chief timber industry lobbyist was appointed by bush to now be in charge of our public lands.”
Ok, ok! I will look it up and see what we find out. I have posted some of the information I found at this website “for balance.” http://www.nativeforest.org/campaigns/public_lands/rey_5_30_02.htm However, I believe this type of story is already tilted to the left to a degree which makes me leery of the information. What has this guy done in the four years since his appointment, that justifies all this resistance? I will listen, maybe even with an open mind. I know, I only went to a half dozen sites to get this info. I don’t see how this says we have an active Timber Industry lobbyist group in the United States. After all, I would like to be appointed the “Dead DSL company’s” advocate to some government agency, since, I don’t have an income anymore.
Another point I would like to make here, is the big trees (old growth) in the United States have been harvested to a large degree already, leaving, what I am getting the impression of, as a now defunct Timber Industry. However, I do not have a doomsday attitude about the forests and the timber industry, the tress will grow again. Whether we manage our forests properly or not, we still have a renewable natural resource. I mean at some point, maybe not during our lifetimes the trees will look just like the “old growth forests” of bygone times! Most of the forests I have seen in the United States have had little management. I say again, “These forests have survived,” even with what the “Timber Industry” did to them during the last hundred years. Let’s not forget the environmentalist, they have not always done right by our forest either. So what am I saying? What good will it do to lambaste particular individuals for what its predecessors have done?
Right? Wrong? What the Timber Industry did to the trees in the past should not affect how we manage our forests today! We should look to the past for knowledge and experience. I am sure we all can learn something. One of the things I have recently learned about the Las Vegas Watershed project is that, it appears to encompasses at most, one to two thousand acres of land above Las Vegas, it is not how the Forest Service is going to deal with the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Although I understand, a similar process is happening above Santa Fe as well. In these watershed areas the forest products are being completely wasted, but, it is a small section of a large national forest. Again I ask is it right or wrong? Decide for yourselves. I will always try provide links to information for you to judge its validity.
October 6th 2004
I wish I had toted my camera along when Slim took me on the tour of his logging site. I am having a difficult time convincing people that what Slim and his loggers are doing in the forest is not only better for the forest, but they also place positive value on a portion of our natural resources. After viewing National Forest land bordering Slim’s logging area, it would appear that those who determined the fate of the forest think all the wood should be left on the ground as waste. Picture in your mind if you will, typical to New Mexico, thickly wooded rolling hills with trees ranging in age from twenty years to seventy-five years old: roughly, one tree every three or four feet, unevenly spaced as the terrain permits. We are talking about a national forest which has been logged, in some places, less than one hundred years ago with no old growth timber to speak of. Consequently, the trees trunks range in size from six to sixteen inches in diameter. This variety in size is important to a renewable resource like a forest. If you want trees to continue to grow after removing the prime trees then there needs to be a next generation ready to take over the space left by trees which have been removed. What I would have attempted to capture on film is the magnitude of the waste happening on the forest service land next to Slim’s logging area. It is horrifying to us to see magnificent trees felled and left to rot on gentle slopes with easy access by county roads.
This vision which I hope to have painted here is going to be raped and pillaged beyond your wildest dreams as I begin to describe what the national forest now looks like after the latest project which I believe is called “The Las Vegas Water-shed,” in Mineral Hill. For reasons that should be apparent to anyone who reads the newspapers here in the Southwest, a severe forest fire season two years ago panicked the growing population of home owners who recently built homes in the forests of this section of the United States. In typical yuppie fashion of “Let’s save the redwoods, right after I build my deck,” Is it these same helpful citizens that now want to retire in the mountains surrounded by natural forested settings? Not long ago, I recall hearing these same people saying it was natural for a forest to burn; this rejuvenates the forest! Whoops, we better revise that amendment because now we just built those million dollar homes in that forest.
Ok, last week we wanted to burn the forest, then we accidentally burned Los Alamos to the ground. This week, we see the forest as a threat to civilization, bad fire! Forest is merely fuel to burn homes! We get rid of fuel, house safe, insurance companies give lower rates, yuppies save money, bingo! Too bad we lose the forest in the process!
Don’t believe me? I should have brought my camera, as I said. My father said the loggers brought this down on themselves; they should not have clear-cut the forests. I asked him what forest has been clear-cut around here? He said they don’t log around here. Ok, so this is the first misconception I need to dispel. If this is what you think as well, then you are only partially correct. Yes, many of the forests of the south-west were clear cut. However, it was quite awhile ago. The forests you see now in New Mexico are the result of a massive tree cutting campaign by the railroad in the late 1800’s. Even with almost no forest management after this clear-cutting done more than one hundred years ago, we still have some of the most beautiful and healthy forest I have ever seen.
Well, I’m sorry to say, that’s all about to change for the worse. I don’t work for the Forest Service, but I have contracted with them in the past to thin sections of our ranch here in northern New Mexico. Armed with this experience, I still see no logic to what the Forest Service is doing to our National Forests. One thing which is painfully clear from going to the site of one of these thinning projects in Mineral Hill is that the difference between what the loggers did in the late 1800’s and what the Forest Service is doing right now is simply that now we are wasting the forest resource. According to Slim, the Forest Service paid private contractors $250.00 per acre to cut ninety percent of the trees out of this area of Mineral Hill. The project is termed non-commercial thinning. Even if we ignore that financial gain to the government when a lumberman will pay them up to $1000.00 per acre instead of the government paying out $250.00 to have the same trees cut, we are still left with the loss of a natural resource.
Don’t take my word for it, I urge all people interested in what happens to their National Forests to go out to Mineral Hill and see for themselves. Slim said he will give tours and I will help with my writing and mapping skills to get people to view first hand the removal of our forests, but not the wood, to protect civilization, or whatever the rational. As I compose this, I realize that this letter should be addressed to the media as well. When I talked to Slim about this project I said I had seventy five loyal readers that will listen. That’s true, right? Give yourselves a big round of applause here! We do care what happens to the environment; I do not question this. I went to the forest; I saw first hand the devastation. I humbly urge you to see for yourself.
October 3rd 2004
Yesterday, I spent the day with my friend Slim. His sawmill, which he built from scratch, is out by the Airport Exit on the north side of Las Vegas. We went to a location in Mineral Hill where he is logging. The site encompasses 160 acres of private land surrounded entirely by Forest Service land. Slim gave me a walking, hiking and talking tour of the property on which he has been working for the last year. As we walked the boundaries of his work area and the area the forest service has paid private contractors to thin, the contrast struck me as night and day. On one side of the flagged line was a decimated forest, with all trees of a particular diameter having been removed and all trees spaced to exactly twenty-five feet from its nearest neighbor! No forest ceiling was left and I can not imagine how the remaining trees will survive the winter and wind. In order to get the tree density to the government’s specifications of trees no closer to one another than prescribed, many of the trees which were left were twisted unhealthy specimens. On Slim’s side of the flagged borders was what looked like a healthy forest, capable of renewing itself in short order. By “renewing” I mean, of course, that it will be ready to remove more trees for either vigas or the sawmill in around twenty years. This is what is known as a sustainable resource. Somewhere along the heated trail the Forest Service and the environmentalist’s bickering have left the citizens of the country with no forest at all. Slim, as a logger and sawyer, is suffering from the stigma left over from what the huge wood industry has done to our forests for the last two hundred years. The environmentalist’s say the trees which Slim cuts are old- growth timber, inferring that the trees have been there longer than man himself. This is nonsense. The railroad clear-cut this same site nearly one hundred and twenty years prior to Slim’s logging it again. This can be proven by counting the rings on the trees.
Loggers now have much better equipment at their disposal than those steam driven locomotives which loggers in the late 1800’s used to clear-cut entire forests to make railroad ties and bridges. Today’s loggers have rubber-tired skidders which are capable of carefully moving in and out of areas without disturbing the ground. In the old days, loggers would clear-cut because it was easier with the clumsy and bulky equipment. The purpose of my article will be to enlighten people who may not understand the history of forestry and what is happening presently in our public forests.