Forest and owl have suffered

By The Curry Coastal Pilot July 27, 2012 09:10 pm


Evidence continues to build that more than 20 years of locking up federal forests to protect the infamous spotted owl is not what’s best.

It’s not best for the forests, which are now dangerously prone to fires; it has upended the economics and now the safety of the communities that depend on the forests; and now a new study shows it’s not best over time for the spotted owl. 

As the Science Daily reports: The northern spotted owl … would actually benefit in the long run from active management of the forest lands that form its primary habitat and are increasingly vulnerable to stand-replacing fire. The study was by researchers from Oregon State University and Michigan State University.

So it’s no wonder that a poll of Oregonians reports that 77 percent would favor more active management of forest lands in the state.

But every time someone mentions “management” or “timber harvest” there are those who rally and rail against any action in federally managed forest lands.

We wonder what these same critics say when the Biscuit Fire burned over thousands of acres in our back yard 10 years ago? Or what they will say the next time devastating fire takes hold in the forests?

There has to be a change in federal policy, and it is being proposed – at least for some lands in our corner of Oregon – by members of the Oregon delegation including Rep. Peter DeFazio. The proposal is to resume active management of some of the lands, and continue the hands-off protection of sensitive area, particularly old growth timber.

But he needs our help in supporting that idea. For Oregon members of Congress to convince their colleagues to approve this plan, there must be a public showing of support at least equal to those who would continue the hands-off policy.

DeFazio plans to be in Brookings Aug. 15 for a town-hall meeting (9 a.m. at the Chetco Activity Center). Let’s make sure he hears what our corner of Oregon thinks of the idea.