What are they doing?
I question what the purpose of the U.S. Forest Service, Methow Valley Ranger District is. I have heard it is to maintain the forest in a healthy state so the recreating public can enjoy getting back to nature.
Well, one can say that the way they maintain the beauty of the forests under their care is to burn them so all they have to maintain are the black matchsticks that didn’t get completely burned in the fires. Take a drive through the national forest in Oregon or many of the other western states and you will see near park-like settings rather than the forgotten woodlots we have here.
They cannot say they maintain the trails, roads and campgrounds.
After having ridden numerous trails this summer and yet this fall I can honestly say that riding in a river bed would be as good, as the only thing missing from the trails is the rushing water. The trailside brush is so thick, in too many places to count, that the trail tread is nearly invisible. If it weren’t for the Back Country Horsemen, local outfitters and volunteers, many of the trails would not even exist.
One trip even partway up Harts Pass road will leave you with fillings being jarred out of your teeth or parts missing from your vehicle. The Forest Service needs to install signs warning drivers these roads are not maintained for vehicular traffic.
They can’t say they maintain the campground, for with the exception of remote campgrounds the campground host maintains the campground.
About the only thing I can see they are good at maintaining is the shine on the seat of their pants from sitting in their office chairs or driving around the district in taxpayer-provided vehicles.
I wonder what an efficiency audit would show about this district? Chances are it would show that there needs to be a reduction in force of 50 percent of the office employees to provide for more field personnel to actually maintain the trails, forest roads and campgrounds.
Vern Herrst, Winthrop
Maybe not so funny
Great humor in the last issue (Sept. 17). First, there was Tania Gonzalez-Ortega’s pointed cartoon about dangerous speeders on the windy Twisp-Carlton Road. Then there’s Patrick Fitzgerald, holding up repairs to Highway 153 because of some incomprehensible connection to the Grand Teton Dam. Unfortunately, neither story is so funny to those of us who live on the Twisp-Carlton Road.
Then there’s Dick Ewing’s letter about why we shouldn’t spend so much money fighting forest fires. He thinks the way to prevent fires is just lots of logging. That’s about as logical as saying that the way to prevent house fires is to bulldoze any homes made of wood. It also misses the basic fact that in our biggest fire ever, the Carlton Complex, over 75 percent of the burn was on non-forested land. Also, over 40 percent of the burn was on private lands, not managed by any government agency (figures from Pacific Biodiversity Institute, Winthrop).
I wonder how many folks in the valley think the government spent too much money and resources fighting the fires here. So maybe Mr. Ewing’s letter wasn’t so funny, either.
Randy Brook, Twisp
Hate it until you need it?
On page A1 of the Sep.17 edition is this quote in Ann McCreary’s piece on Methow cattle ranchers: “As most ranchers would say, the less you have to do with the government, the better off you are [Shauna Hicks].”
Doesn’t that line of thinking apply to the many homeowners who are begging for help from FEMA, conscripting the governor to make their pleas to President Obama as well? That subject just happened to be the leading piece on the same front page.
It also occurred to me months ago that there is an appalling number of people out there who own property and foolishly fail to insure it. When the near-inevitable incident finally occurs, they run crying for help from the very government they hate. I wonder what Clint Didier would say about this runaway begging for socialism. (Well, of course he would say whatever tended to garner him votes, whether or not it was consistent or logical with anything else.)
Bob Pfeifer, Tonasket
I am writing on behalf of Methow Recycles, to clear up some areas of confusion about our services.
Glass: We still accept glass. WasteWise Methow is discontinuing collection of glass, but we still welcome self-haulers who bring it to the recycling center in Twisp. We ask for a donation of $3 per garbage-can-full to cover our cost of handling.
The glass is being used for state-required remediation of a gravel pit in Winthrop. To meet closure requirements, the pit must be filled with inert material, capped with soil, and replanted with vegetation. This is a perfect local use for our used glass containers. To recycle our glass, we would have to ship it to the nearest bottle plant, in Seattle. That is cost-prohibitive from our remote location.
Plastics: We accept three kinds of plastic bottles sorted into our bins – #1 PET (which are the shiny see-through ones like soda and water bottles), #2 HDPE Natural (milk jugs and similar), and #2 HDPE tinted (laundry jugs and similar). To meet the quality guidelines of our buyers, we take bottles only, no tubs or trays. We also accept clear plastic bags and film only, not tinted grocery bags. Sorted and baled, we are able to reliably sell these materials. Not so for all other plastics, but the solution is for these to go into a BlueBag, a service offered by WasteWise. The bags cost $5, and you can put all the other plastics in them: #3 – 7 containers, yogurt tubs, lettuce cartons, grocery bags. You can also recycle your waxed milk cartons and juice boxes in the Blue Bag. If you stack and stomp, you can fit a lot into each bag. The $5 pays for our shipping and handling costs. Please use this service if you would like to recycle all of your plastics. We sell the bags and have a bin in which to drop off the full ones.
If you have questions, call 997-0520, visit Methowrecycles.org, or stop by when we are open on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., or on Saturday from 9 a.m – 4 p.m.
Susan Ernsdorff, Methow Recycles, Twisp