SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Re: No "Young Growth Management" on the Tongass

By Peter Jacob


April 09, 2015
Thursday PM

I like the analogy between Mr. Pickrell's raspberry patch and the Tongass - it's cute.

I do admit that I feel I am doing myself a disservice by even responding to his eloquently composed composite of misinformation, however as Mr. Pickrell stated, the topic is not a laughing matter - therefore it demands a response from somebody.

Mr. Pickrell writes, "[the plan] It recognizes that clear cut harvest methods is the preferred scientific way to renew Alaska's decadent rain forest." I am not sure what you mean by this. Merriam-Webster's definition of decadent reads: having low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc.,attractive to people of low morals who are only interested in pleasure, or extremely pleasing. So at the very best you mean clear cutting is "the preferred scientific way to renew Alaska's (extremely pleasing) rain forest".

I don't know what he find pleasing but I find great big trees and ecologically diverse landscapes to be pleasing. I'm not alone either, timber companies prefer these types of forests too. Everybody prefers these type of forests. The highest volume timber trees come only from primary growth forests - forests which have not been logged yet. I'm confused - he says that he have been in Alaska since 1949, yet he seems to have no grasp on how the forest he is discussing actually behaves.

Has he hiked through clear cut areas? Has he hiked through primary growth forests? Did he not see the difference? Within just a few short years areas that have been clear cut become barely navigable waste lands of tiny trunks and virtually no light or biodiversity on the forest floor. This is bad for the environment and for profits. Why? Because big trees are more profitable and if you leave an area untouched after it is clear cut then you will not be seeing any of these highly profitable large trees for (human) generations to come. However, if a second growth area is thinned (not clear cut again), the remaining trees, when given more space and light to grow, can start to recreate something that is similar to the original environment that is required for these high dollar, high-volume logs to be grown in.

Mr. Pickrell waxes on, "OLD GROWTH is an oxymoron. Nothing grows when it reaches maximum maturity. That's against the Law of Thermodynamics and Atrophy. An OLD forest is suffering from OldNOgrowth. It is barely self sustaining. It is rotting. Only a pseudo scientist moron or pedigreed eckowacko would think up such a term."

This is... well to put it quite lightly, this statement is absurd. Members of my generation would consider this statement to be called "trolling" and I truly hope that this is the case.

Did you know that a large "OLD GROWTH" tree actually puts on more biomass (wood[$$$]) each year than a young tree? He says that an OLD forest is suffering, rotting. . . barely self-sustaining. I would contend that he is actually perfectly wrong in every way imaginable. Not only does an old growth forest contain more biomass overall than a second growth forest, it also has higher biodiversity, bigger trees, and can provide countless other benefits to a human community such as healthier populations of game animals, a greater array of subsistence food items and a greater allure for tourism revenue.

Mr. Pickrell makes it seem as if the relationship between the forest service and timber companies has been unfair in the forest's (pedigreed eckowackos??) favor. Yet all I see are new clear cuts everywhere I look. The largest trees in this area are gone. They were taken long ago and the last few really big ones are going quickly as well. The Big Thorne Timber sale just passed, woops! There goes another "barely self-sustaining" little plot of "mostly dead, grey, lifeless stalks". That should be some reassurance to you, right? The majority of low-lying watershed ecosystems that harbor the most valuable timber are already gone and the few that remain are continuing to be logged off parcel by parcel.

Mr. Pickrell says, "bring the Tongass back to Alaska" and I could not agree more. Why do I have to watch our precious old-growth rounds get shipped over seas year after year? Why are we not responsibly logging these trees for ourselves? Why aren't we building up local industries utilizing our special resource? And most of all why aren't we thinning the vast expanse of virtually useless second growth forest that surrounds us so that MAYBE some of our descendents can actually cut down a decent sized spruce in their life time?

He mentions these "green thinking propagandists", but I wonder, whose agenda is it that Mr. Pickrell is catering to so that he would so publicly and openly discredit his own understanding of the laws of physics?

Peter Jacob
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: "Ketchikan resident for 19 years - freelance naturalist."

Received April 08, 2015 - Published April 09, 2015

Related Viewpoint:

letter No "Young Growth Management" on the Tongass By Robert W Pickrell


Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor


Representations of fact and opinions in letters are solely those of the author.
The opinions of the author do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2014
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.