To the Editor:
We have gotten our woods where they are today. In the past, Grand County was pretty much clear cut. We have also been very successful in stopping most forest fires over the past 100 years or so. Logging has earned a bad reputation with logging roads scarring our land and polluting our streams. The Mountain Pine Beetle and the death of our forests has been the unacceptable result. We must do better.
How do we intelligently move forward has become the question. As I write this, I see smoke from a slash-pile burn. I don’t like it but I have burned many slash piles and have more to burn this winter; it has become a necessary evil. We have had professional loggers on our property four times. Each time I am nervous. We have heated by wood for many years and given away wood to others most of those years. Many don’t understand that a tree left to rot on the forest floor has the same carbon exchange over time as an open fire with no pollution controls. We must find intelligent ways of using our woods, or our descendants will experience the same forest devastation we have.
Man has interrupted nature’s way and will continue to do so. Many of us live in or near the woods, and if it burns our houses burn as well. This means the natural way of lightning strikes and leaving the fire to burn out is no longer acceptable. When nature’s way ruled, we were left with an unevenly aged forest, not susceptible to the catastrophic mountain pine beetle epidemic we have just experienced. If we can set aside old stereotypes and prejudices, we can work together and become good stewards of what we have.