Once again I feel compelled to respond to the latest obligatory anti-logging and forestry letter (“Clearcut question,” The Daily Astorian, July 29). This one is filled with opinions based on emotion, and has numerous factual errors.
Forests are not being “killed.” It is the law in Oregon that landowners must replant after harvest. The amount of forestland in Oregon has remained mostly steady for more than 60 years, all while providing more lumber than any other state in the U.S., as well as jobs the writer thinks have disappeared.
“Big timber companies” don’t own 70 percent of Oregon’s forest land. The largest timberland owner is the federal government at 60 percent. The remainder is owned by timber companies (19 percent), small private woodland owners (15 percent), state (3 percent) and others, including Native Americans (3 percent).
I found it to be an interesting juxtaposition of this letter to the North Coast Business Guide. The writer stated that “… huge machines, not loggers, are used to bring down the forest.” I wonder who runs these machines. Robots? In the above-mentioned guide, one local logger stated that he employed 50 local loggers, contractors, etc. There are at least 10 such logging companies in Clatsop and Tillamook counties, some larger with 100-150 employees, some smaller with 10-25 employees.
In addition, there are many other associated firms that truck logs, build roads, replant, etc. This adds up to hundreds employed in logging. Lumber mills in Clatsop and Tillamook counties employ several hundred more workers, who pay taxes and contribute to the local economy. Historically, “huge machines” have always been used to harvest timber.
The writer may be surprised to learn that Big Creek in Northeast Clatsop County was selected as a “sanctuary stream” for wild salmon and steelhead stocks. This selection was made, in large part, because of the excellent aquatic habitat available in Big Creek and its tributaries.
The Big Creek watershed is almost entirely privately owned, intensively managed commercial timberland. The area also holds healthy populations of big game species and non-game animals and birds. This belies the statement that timberland owners “don’t care.” All timberland owners pay property taxes, in addition to severance taxes when timber is harvested.
Let’s see. How does that add up? Replanted hills to insure future generations have the products they need, helps the local economy by providing family wage jobs, helps local governments by providing taxes, provides building materials and paper products we all use every day, and protects the environment through the Oregon Forest Practices Act. Sounds like a winner to me.