Gravina Viewpoint Appreciated
By Gregory Vickery
March 06, 2007
Thanks for taking the time to write and to share your views.
Although I do not expect us to agree while exchanging our thoughts,
I would like to address a couple of your points, and share further
1. You mention: "none of you thought to talk to any of us
before you went and wrote all the scathing articles."
While I may not have spoken
with you (I do not know who you are by sight), I spoke with others
working on site, as did other individuals who made the trip.
These trips occurred this winter as well as this past fall. When
I visited the site with the Army Corps of Engineers staff in
the fall, we also talked with folks on site.
2. You state: "I can tell you that all of us on that job
treated the streams, land and animals with the utmost respect."
I am grateful you do what you can to take care of the land, under
the circumstances given to you by your employers and the agencies
that started construction without proper permits. I am also happy
to hear that most of you clean up after yourselves. This does
not, however, prevent erosion controls from being haphazard to
non-existent, overburden from being cast aside from pits and
onto wetlands, and debris left along embankments. We observed
and photo-documented these issues, and the Corps and I visited
the site in the fall and they acknowledge the existence of these
problems as well.
3. You state: "That road will give countless people access
to a place they wouldn t normally go."
You may not be aware of this, but the agencies involved now say
the road will be closed after logging is complete. Although this
is backtracking from original (and publicly stated) plans - and
provides a justification, wrong or right, for the lack of permitting
- it makes your statement inconsistent with the story now told
by the State and Borough.
4. You mention: "Why don t you and your society give a
truthful and fair account of what s going on over there? Why
do you make it sound like logging is the evil of all evils?"
As we made clear in our article, the conditions have been photo-documented
and observed by the Corps of Engineers as well as us. The conditions
of the road and associated pits and the lack of permits are what
they are. It is unfortunate that those agencies involved with
road planning and design did not seek the proper permits or coordinate
with the Corps of Engineers, and it is unfortunate for Gravina
that construction has circumvented those protections inherent
in the permitting process. In our article, we are talking about
an illegal road with erosion problems, illegal pits with overburden
in the waters of the US, and other associated road construction
problems. We are not talking about logging. Our one concern with
the logging activity - a concern that is independent of the concerns
related to the road - is a query to ensure the activity stays
within the state's boundaries and out of National Forest land.
We are working separately with the Division of Forestry to make
e any deviation from state lands does not occur.
5.You say: "Do you wipe your butt with paper? Do you live
in a home built with wood? Where do you think those things come
from? Give me a break here, these days there is so much red tape
to do anything, do you think anyone can just go rape the land?"
Again, we are working to make an illegal road legal, and not
dealing with the logging issue. And when the agencies involved
with the Bostwick road circumvent the 'red tape' you mention,
it becomes a suspect project. Photos show the problems associated
with construction that proper permits - and the legal process
- would have addressed via accountability and standardization.
The Army Corps of Engineers staff who visited the Bostwick road
verify this circumvention and documented the problems as well.
6.You state: "My children are growing up here and I m afraid
that people like you and your society will make it so there
is nothing for them here but a view."
We want more than a view, just like you. Here, we are on the
same side of things. If you read our entire article, located
at www.tongassconservation.org/newsletter.html, you will read
why we are speaking out, and you will read our solution for the
Bostwick road issue. We encourage sustainable development and
re-development, especially on the home island of Revilla; we
believe in taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the
expanding port at Prince Rupert; we promote economic diversity
and the progress associated with it; we respect and encourage
the Shipyard and the benefits it provides our community; we support
the efforts of local small mill owners around Ketchikan and on
Prince of Wales; we look forward to having more power available
so one day the cruise ships may plug in and value-added industries
may come and stay; we are working to create a regional recycling
center here in Ketchikan that may provide up to 100 jobs; the
list goes on and on. The long and short of it is this: TCS is
a pro-active organization with a diverse membership and a common
bond focused on seeing our community flourish in the 21st century.
We are pleased to participate in the progress and enhancement
of our collective quality of life.
7. You conclude: "It s really hard to by groceries without
jobs, industry and progress. It is possible to strike a balance;
you don t have to be on one side or the other. Maybe if you all
tried to help bridge that gap we could all work together to responsibly
log, fish and recreate instead of taking opportunities away from
families like mine."
We work really hard to bridge the gap you mention via our pro-active
methods. We will not allow circumvention of the law for roads
and other development endeavors. But we will continue to converse
and work with folks from all perspectives in order to define
common ground and improve quality of life for all of us who live
and work here. I enjoy working with chambers of commerce, the
folks at the Shipyard, fishermen and women, cultural and traditional
users, small business owners, and local mill owners. Our membership
demands that we work together with others as often as we can.
TCS believes we must be as collaborative as possible on a personal
level to get things done that help our community. And that is
why I appreciate hearing from you.
Please feel free to contact me again with thoughts or questions.
Received March 05, 2007 - Published March 06, 2007
About: " Gregory Vickrey
is the director of the Tongass Conservation Society and is a
good friend of Gravina."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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