In response to the blatantly self-serving and political article on Page AA1 of the Deseret News, March 1, by William H. Meadows of the Wilderness Society, I want you to know that I have traveled the roads of our national forests for most of my 48 years, and only on one occasion have I met a logging truck head on. Most of the thousands of people I have met on those roads have been hikers, bird watchers, campers, fishermen and hunters. People like you and me.
Most of these roads were first built by the CCCs, in the 1930s, as part of a government project to put young men to work and open and preserve the natural resources of our forests and other lands to all of us. Many of the roads have been improved over the years, for a variety of uses including the removal of old, sick, burnt and dead trees through logging.To those who understand, trees removed through logging and then replanted are much like a farmer's field, fresh with new crops. Trees, like all living things, go through a life cycle. Young trees, with their abundant sap, resist and repel fire and insect infestations. Old trees lose this protection; it is nature's way to keep the stand young and vigorous.
Man has for many years tried to preserve our forests through the use of polluting chemicals to kill insects and by putting out all fires. The result of this mismanagement can be seen in much of the once glorious forests of Yellowstone. The old and sick trees were not removed, and the forests became susceptible to disease and fire. If you have traveled or hiked much in the forests, you have seen trees marked by the Forest Service to be removed, the old and sick ones to keep the forest young and vital. These trees are removed by logging, and young ones quickly take their place. A stand of young trees growing to replace dead and dying ones means our grandchildren will have forests to enjoy.
It has been said that roads in the forest pollute the streams with "dirt." I will let you in on a little secret. Streams in the mountains erode, they pick up a load of dirt, that is what they do, that is what they have always done, with or without roads. The little dirt that road building would add to the load of a stream is nothing when compared to what it naturally picks up every spring when the snow melts.
I am a geologist, engineer and naturalist who knows and loves the Earth. I understand its processes and our part in maintaining the beauty that is all around us. As I have taught young Boy Scouts for over 25 years, we are stewards of this Earth all of its resources. We are to use what we have been given and maintain it for future generations. Man needs to be prudent in his actions, but the sky is not falling, as some would have us believe. The way to preserve our forests and other natural resources is to use them wisely and replenish them, where possible.
The topic of roadless areas is another interesting thing. A couple of years ago I was on my way to study the geology of an area above the Book Cliffs of east central Utah. My topographic map indicated a road leading to the area I needed to study. About a hundred yards up that road, I came to a blockade and sign stating that this was a roadless area. I left my truck there and walked for about 10 miles along a road in that roadless area to the place I needed to visit. I was not logging; I was not mining; I was only studying, but I, a citizen, could not drive down a road which had been in existence for over 60 years, because someone, proclaiming wilderness, said it was not there.
I do not work for a logging company, a mining company or an oil company. I represent no "society" with a political agenda. I am a lover and student of the Earth, who understands its processes and wants to warn others to beware of those who would take away your access to the beauties and resources of this Earth, including its forests.