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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions


By Rob Holston


October 03, 2016
Monday PM

Deer Mountain, dear to our hearts and our pocketbooks is now in threat of being logged? I don’t mean to sound like Bill Clinton but what do you mean by logged? Every year I tell thousands of tourists here about our timber industry or lack there-of as we cruise through Ward Cove and past Mud Bight. “Democrats like to save trees and Republicans like to cut them down and we can’t seem to find a sustainable compromise.” is what I tell them in a nut shell. May I suggest that for the purpose of “saving” Deer Mountain that we set aside our differences politically and focus on alternatives and compromises that are available.

Selective Logging I: Brush Hill was logged above the Ward Cove Cannery less than a decade ago and you can not tell by casual observation, It was selectively logged by helicopter! This view-shed was maintained in apparent pristine condition. So if Deer Mountain’s main value to Ketchikan is a view-shed backdrop for our tourist related town then that option (selective logging) must be considered.

Selective Logging II: Perhaps a more sustained approach with helicopter logging could be considered. Please consider taking 10% of the marketable timber from any given acre and rotating your acres so that each acre is re-logged every five years. The total mountain is logged in 50 years. This is a sustainable approach not a boom/bust practice that is historically palatable to the timber industry and would take a paradigm shift in harvesting views. helicopter flights could be limited to certain hours, days &/or months to disrupt community and tourism life the least.

Clear Cutting: One look at the hill side above Mud Bight and you probably get nearly all locals to say we don’t want Deer Mountain to look like that! But in a decade it will all look green again. Any definitive decision on what is better for a forest clear-cut VS selective-logged has the jury still in deliberation. What will Brush Hill look like 50 years from now........? Green. What will the un-harvested trees from 10 years ago look like 60 years after their brethren were plucked from the hillside by helicopter....? Who knows?

Commercial Passenger Vessel Tax Fund Alternative: Maybe the Mental Health folks would be interested in a payment on a sustainable basis from the CPV. I know that this fund has been under attack lately and I don’t know what our community gets per year. Neither do I know what Mental Health would profit from emasculating Deer mountain, but these numbers are out there and this should at least be considered on a 60 to 75 year cycle.

Clear cutting creates a huge stockpile of marketable logs that will no doubt be shipped to the orient for immediate profit and very little impact on the sustainability of local sawmills. “Selective Logging II” is the alternative that would support our one lone standing sawmill for many years to come ...... so out of the alternatives .......... this one gets my vote.

Rob Holston
Owner operator of Lighthouse Excursions, Inc.
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received October 03, 2016 - Published October 03, 2016



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