SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


More Old Growth trees - meaningless
By Don Borders


May 29, 2009
Friday AM

I am appalled at the pointless and aimless projections that quote "mature trees". Those personal references are not put into proper perspective to just what a mature tree is. To say something is or has reached a particular state of age or growth needs to be referenced to which they are referring as. To say, "mature old growth trees" needs a referenced point, which an end user will use it. One would be: adequately large enough to mill lumber. Another one, a recreational user, who wants to see the overhead canopy of the green tops from older trees, which is screening out the Sun Light so the brush has died off and the young trees have no opportunity to grow due to the lack of light.

Shelly Stallings referred to the older trees not being accessable to children and great grand children is also in error and inaccurate statement to what the old forest will provide to them. I say so, due to the Tongass Forest is in discovery status and not a completed study from which total recovery cycle life has been obtained from the harvesting and management practices. Therefore, Shelly references as a 33 year long resident in the Tongass forest is a bit under stated because that amount of time is also not enough to adequately personally reference the use of the Tongass.

To see what an old forest is like, one must find one that was harvested and allowed to recover its status as an old forest, which has trees old enough to be used as the original users intend to use it. I would like to point out The Siuslaw Forest along the Oregon Coast had its first trees harvested with steam engines, train engines, along the streams and rivers. (This forest officially turned 100 years old on July 1, 2008. How old is the Tongass?) Where the water sheds grew the biggest and most useful trees. The trees were logged with locomotives running on tracks sitting on top pilings driven along the shores of the rivers and streams because the diesel engine or gasoline engines were not in use yet for road building equipment. The locomotives were used as yarders and pulled the extremely large trees out of the woods and in some cases, the trees were too large, to be of use, because those saw mills of the day were not capable of cutting such a large tree stem into lumber, so that part of the tree was set adrift.

The majority of the first completed cycle of the Siuslaw Forest finished around years 1990 to 1993 approximately 100+ years after its first harvests. (I would like to add, it was being harvested long before the great fire of San Francisco) Therefore, Shelly, to say that your children and great grand children may never enjoy the use of the forest due to its logging activities is misleading and not correct in the context of time.

I grew up in the Siuslaw forest, as a child swam around the pilings on the banks of Smith River, and always wondered why they were there. In my later years, I researched their placement. In addition, my father worked in his last years as a logger harvesting in the Siuslaw Forest. I asked him what the trees were like. His reply was "In appearance, old growth trees, almost too large to be carried by logging truck" . Therefore, today, the Siuslaw Forest has entered its second Cycle of providing for its users, it will continue to do so. If, the management continues to be of sound and proper mindset and not one of total lock it up and throw away the key preservation. However, some people would prefer in this poorer choice in everything's gotta be green culture.

Don Borders
Ketchikan, AK


Received May 24, 2008 - Published May 29, 2009


Related Viewpoint:

letterOld Growth Trees - worthless? By Shelley Stallings


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