When is enough enough?

By Jim Bower Olympic Peninsula Resisdent

   Concerning the proposal from “Wild Olympics” and the very similar plan by Rep. Norm Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray 

                                                                            A paid advertisment Printed in the PDN 

Here Jim puts a good portion of the issues behind: 

    I was born and raised in Sequim, WA and am a third generation logger. I started Bower Logging 50 years ago and would like to continue being in business with my two sons, Eric and Monty for as long as possible. I served two years in the Army. One year of that time was with the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. I have been doing work on Forest Service land for a good share of the time I have been in business and feel that I have a good relationship with them. I was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the Resources Advisory Committee (RAC) for the Forest Service. I believe I have a pretty good grasp of the issues considering my long history with the Forest Service. So, let me start with the irrefutable simple facts that I believe a lot of people don’t think about or have somehow forgotten about, the basics of life which are
 (1) people have to have shelter
 (2) people have to have food and
 (3) people like to have a place to play, relax, etc.

Gifford Pinchot was the first Chief Forester in the U.S., the driving force to set aside Federal lands. Working with President Roosevelt he succeeded in doing so. It was his idea that said, “We need a land base that would provide a sustainable timber harvest, a place for ranchers and farmers to raise their animals, a source of clean water and a place where we could have some wilderness kept in perpetuity for generations to come.” Pinchot also said, “Where conflicting interests must be reconciled, the question will always be decided from the standpoint of the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run.” I wonder if he regretted these words when he got fired five years later by a new President who didn’t believe in the multiple uses, but of only one facet and that facet was total preservation? The one thing Gifford Pinchot certainly had right is that there would be conflicting interest and that is exactly what we have 106 years later.
I believe that if logging interests pushed to have it all to log, they would be wrong. I believe if ranchers and farmers wanted it all, they would be wrong. But neither of these two groups are doing this. It is only those who would lock up the whole forest as a preserve and who seem to have total disregard for other people and their way of life, their families and the very simple basics described earlier that sustain life for everyone who want it all. There are those who say to me, “Wild Olympics only wants 130,000 acres and that leaves you guys with the other 500,000 so what’s the big deal?” I sat down with the Forest Service and they provided me with these numbers. Please consider the following:
Land Allocations:
Wilderness and Quinault Research Natural Area  89,000 acres
Late Successional Reserve (LSR)                      + 416,500 acres
Adoptive Management Area (AMA)                 + 125,900 acres
Olympic National Forest Total Acres                = 632,300 acres
Less Wilderness                                                   - 89,900 acres
                                                                         = 542,400 acres
Less LSR over 80 years (no timber harvest)       - 261,300 acres
                                                                         = 281,100 acres
Less AMA Riparian Reserves                              - 62,300 acres
                                                                         = 218,800 acres
Less for “leave areas” on streams                        - 72,933 acres
                                                                         = 145,867 acres

Also the preservationists challenge every Environmental Assessment (EA) and the Forest Service gives up on average, one third of the EA proposals. These figures were compiled with the help of several Forest Service employees. We have estimated that there are about 70,000 acres available for harvest. The only harvesting being done is thinning. I also would like to point out that not all ground is suitable for timber production.
   So we have already preserved almost 90% of our total land base with a myriad of laws from Congress and mind boggling rules from the EPA, Fish and Wildlife, Indian Tribes and too many other bureaucracies to name, who all have a say in how we are supposed to manage our ONF land.
   The people who’s ads and opinion pieces we’re seeing, supporting “The Wild Olympics” are only providing us with their own likes, dislikes or biases if you will, but they conveniently leave out the facts or are just plain ignorant of them.

1. They say - this will protect the water and the streams. They are already protected by law.

2. They say - deer hunters will have 130,000 more acres to hunt in the early September deer hunt. They can already hunt there in the regular seasons.

3. They say – it won’t take away a single mile of road. Here are the facts – There is 2,100 miles of system road in the Olympic National Forest. The 2012 budget for maintaining these roads is $140,000. This is a tiny fraction of the amount needed to maintain this great road system we all enjoy, which was bought, built and paid for with timber harvesting dollars. I would like to point out that one unmaintained washed out culvert can cost WAY more than $140,000 to fix. Do we understand that ALL roads have to be maintained to be usable? The “Wild Olympics” proposal does directly eliminate some of our roads, but it will eliminate ALL roads eventually with almost no timber harvest to provide for the maintenance. How will you get to your creeks and rivers for fishing? Or to your hunting grounds? Or out just to enjoy the view? This is what will happen if we maintain the course we’re on.

4. The “Wild Olympics” proposal does take away some more land from the small base we have left to harvest timber from.
If you’re interested and you should be, I have maps I can show you.
Finally, the Port of Port Angeles examined this proposal from “Wild Olympics.” Please contact them for their study at
www.portofpa.com. The end result is a huge loss of jobs, wages and taxes.

So.. I have a question for the “Wild Olympics” and our Congressman and Senator. How much do you want to preserve and where is the balance for the other uses? Those other uses, as I have already mentioned are the very ones that do sustain human life on planet Earth.
Around 3,000 years ago a man wrote these words: “A man goes into the forest and chops down a tree. Part of the tree he cuts into firewood to warm his house, to bake his bread and to cook his meal. The other part he carves into a God, a beautiful idol and then he falls down and worships it and prays to it and says, deliver me for you are my God.” May you give some thought to these words and come to some understanding on what has been said.

H. Bower
Port Angeles, WA