What makes sense?
What do The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Conservation Northwest, our county commissioners, and the Methow Valley Citizens’ Council have in common? They would have us believe that the U.S. Forest Service’s (FS) Mission Project is a good idea. But, if it is implemented it will leave behind a sad and irrevocable legacy. By excusing the FS from doing an Environmental Impact Statement for the project, these groups will further weaken what little environmental protection remains from the NEPA legislation that is under attack by the Trump administration. These odd bedfellows are disseminating false narratives about wildfire and aiding the destruction of habitat for ESA listed fish and other wildlife.
The Mission Project boils down to logging 8.5 million board feet from units over a 50,000-acre analysis area in the name of “restoration.” It utilizes a computer-generated “cutting design” that is untested on a landscape level and is based on questionable data. Primarily, the project claims to make the forest “resilient” to wildfire. Importantly, however, volumes of research to show that this approach is not economical and is rarely effective in reducing the type of fire damage we should be concerned about.
Instead of supporting the destructive Mission Project, we could proceed with many beneficial forest-related projects, such as, reforming grazing practices; developing low-cost road closure systems; protecting wildlife habitat and corridors; rethinking public land management of wildfire (e.g. allow more natural ignitions to burn, and prioritizing FireWise preparedness); protecting the 18,000 acres of potential wilderness adjacent to the project area; and focusing on promoting the recreational activities possible in this area.
Which makes sense to you? Give the green light to organizations and governmental bodies who wish to please the timber industry and promote hysteria around wildfire, or engage in proven ways to save homes and in sustainable forest practices that will allow future generations to enjoy healthy creeks, lakes, wildlife and woodlands?
Pema Donna Bresnahan, Carlton
The U.S. Forest Service’s Methow Mission Restoration Project is for commercial logging and beef production in the Libby Creek watershed. This scenic and remote area is critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species. While cattle will continue to graze in these valleys this project calls for 1,853 acres of commercial logging and 10,219 acres of prescribed burning.
One of my biologist friends asked me about this “collaborative” project: “Shocking, isn’t it, that you have to battle TU (Trout Unlimited) and TWS (The Wilderness Society) over logging?” This is my reply:
Yes, I met with the TU rep and asked how this timber sale would help trout and salmon; the reply was by all the unfunded actions the USFS said might happen in the future. That requires overlooking that the Forest Service states that to maintain “historic” conditions the logging and burning, together with cattle grazing, will have to continue on a cycle of 15 years; log and burn for five years and then repeat in 10 years. Lots to look forward to if this “restoration”/timber sale goes forward. Bioengineering is generally not a reasonable approach to reaching the correct endpoint of natural plant succession and never by the USFS “restoration” approach.
Don Johnson, Libby Creek Watershed Association
Take care of yourself
The quality/quantity of medicine in the United States has been in decline for more than 50 years, a result of a fragmented, private, for-profit system which is the only one of its kind in the developed world. Our corporate oligarchy perpetuates the monster. Example: the EU has more than twice the bed capacity and practicing doctors per population unit. Overall U.S. health care is terrible, but distinctly worse in rural areas. I don’t want to even start on Big Pharma, or our insane insurance system!
COVID-19 has brought a bad system to its knees. Frontline workers are getting sick, and dying — 878 have died in the United States according to The Guardian; 939 according to National Nurses United. Through the end of July, nearly 120,000 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel had contracted the virus in the United States (CDC). We don’t really know: Statistics are not well-kept, or are distorted/politicized/hidden. Health care workers are abused, scared, tired, disgusted! Now, with no relief in sight, workers are quitting! By early May, 1.4 million health care jobs had been lost (New York Times). The system’s cash cow of elective procedures has slowed/been shunned by the patients. The system has crashed!
Do not get sick or injured. Take care of yourself. And be realistic. Ask questions — hard questions! Be skeptical. Do not agree to a procedure of which you are unsure (especially a money-making one).
Everyone says they “believe in their doctor, their hospital.” In psychiatry that’s called “denial.” You’ve been selective in your mechanic, your restaurant, your stores: It’s time to be ultra-critical of your health care!
J. Winsor, M.D, Winthrop
Thanks for the News
I know I have said this before; it is worth repeating: The quality of the Methow Valley News is extraordinary and I look forward to reading it every week.
From the community-focused front page, through “No Bad Days,” to the “Valley Life” back page; I read it all.
Solveig Torvik’s latest “Hello? Betrayed by our own textbooks” was so educational and insightful that it should be required reading for all Americans. It certainly opened my eyes and I have saved the article to share with my family and friends. I wonder if you can syndicate her articles?!
Thanks to everyone at the Methow Valley News for all your efforts.
Jim McDonald, Edelweiss/Bremerton
Forty-two years ago, people in this valley realized that an abandoned, vandalized school building had the potential to become a center for the entire community. Those folks volunteered their skills and labored to do the hard work of cleaning and repairing that building. They founded the Methow Valley Community Center and the Senior Center.
Since then, so many more folks have joined the effort and diligently maintain, improve and support these centers.
This is life in the Methow. We are neighbors who recognize the evolving needs of our community and work hard to meet them.
Sybil Macapia, Carlton
Haven for District 2
What scares me more then COVID-19 is the vitriolic political division of this county and country. Essential work is not getting done because of our unwillingness to work together. Hearing all points of view and coming to a mutual compromise is the essence of democracy. We are one country, one county, where all people must have a voice and where we respect our differences rather than revile them. We want elected officials who bring people together, hear all sides of the issues and come to smart, educated solutions for everyone. If you share this view I encourage you to vote for Katie Haven for Okanogan County commissioner.
Katie’s honed her analytical skills while working in a field dominated by men, maritime engineering. She worked her way up to chief engineer of a large, ocean-going ferry, by listening, respecting and working with a large crew. Katie was responsible for all the systems of a small, floating city for a large part of her career. This engineering background is complemented by her full participation and appreciation in Okanogan County agriculture, involvement in county commissioner meetings through County Watch, and engaging in fiber arts.
We have a rare opportunity to elect someone with exceptional skills to take this county into the future. She will listen to everyone, not just special interest groups, make well informed decisions and help all people by making Okanogan County an attractive place to live and work. Please vote early and for Katie Haven, Okanogan county commissioner representing District 2.
Beverly Zwar, Methow
The path to truth
Certainly Solveig Torvik is correct that we have burnished our history to make ourselves look moral and heroic (“Betrayed by our Textbooks,” Aug. 26). We are not the only nation to do so. Take a look at the history classes in Japan or Germany if you want to see some blatant whitewashing. We do seem, more than most, also inclined to be almost sufficiently introspective to revisit that part of our collective past that we have buried and try to learn from it.
I might suggest one thought, however. Solveig’s recommended book, “Caste: The origins of our Discontents,” should not just be a book for every white American to read, but rather everyone who was educated with those same textbooks that painted our happy portrait. For good or ill, the sins of omission and deception contained therein were visited on students of all colors, and not being white did not inoculate a student from receiving a warped sense of our collective history. While the pain they might experience from a glimpse of the truth will be different, the path to attaining that truth will look much the same.
Bob Hunt, Twisp
Rights and responsibilities
At times like these, even the most thoughtful among us can sometimes forget this basic and most fundamental truth about living in a civil, just society. Insisting on our rights without acknowledging our responsibilities isn’t freedom. It’s adolescence.
David Asia, Twisp
Moore for District 12
Adrianne Moore is a true leader.
In the years I worked alongside Adrianne at a social service organization, 2008-2016, I saw her exercise both confidence and curiosity. I watched her take initiative in responding to the Carlton Complex Fires that rocked our rural region in Washington. In that time, she worked both on the ground with those suffering losses and with community leaders to create an organized, effective response to the crisis. The long-term recovery group, which she helped create, is still serving our community during the current health crisis.
Adrianne has long partnered with our school district and recognizes the importance of adequate funding and strengthening of schools in rural counties. She is ready to speak out for all schools in District 12 while attending the budgeting discussions in Olympia.
Adrianne takes a stand for the people she represents. After decades in the social service field, she understands what people need and she is ready to advocate for all of us at the state level.
Adrianne listens. She is compassionate. She doesn’t leave people behind; she inspires and brings people along, just as she is doing in her robust campaign for District 12 House representative.
She’s bright, creative and energetic. She demonstrates courage and has the fortitude to make things happen for the people of our state, from schools to health care to child care, Adrianne knows what the people in her district need.
Please join me in voting for Adrianne Moore for House Representative for District 12.
Kelleigh McMillan, Twisp
Thanks from MVCC
On behalf of the board of directors and management of the Methow Valley Community Center, we extend our condolences to the family of Evelyn Violet Darwood. She was a vital member of the community. We also want to thank the family for suggesting that donations to honor Evelyn be given to The Methow Valley Community Center. We feel privileged and appreciate the thought, and of course, the money. If desired, a tile in her name will be placed in the memorial garden.
Charlene Burns, Board member, Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp
A good reminder
Last Saturday turned out to be a really great day! So many of our days these past several months have tended to all blend together as we manage our time living in a pandemic, but this particular Saturday stands out for me — a reminder of the specialness of our valley.
Because of the coronavirus, Classroom in Bloom wasn’t able to host its annual fall fundraiser, but they came up with a new concept: the Farm to Fork Fundraiser. Each recipient received a harvest box filled with a recipe for ratatouille and freshly harvested produce needed to make this end of summer favorite dish. Additionally, the box contained other “locally curated delights” from a variety of valley vendors.
When I went to gather my box, I couldn’t help but feel hopeful — the contents were all about valley goodness and resilience … a reminder that while we’re living through divisive political unrest, a movement for racial justice, and an unpredictable virus that has taken far too many lives across our nation, if we practice kindness and respect, we will come through this — hopefully, better off.
Patti Ahlfs, Winthrop
There is a choice
We met Katie Haven, District 2 county commissioner candidate, shortly after we moved to the Methow Valley two years ago. Being able to build our home on property we had owned for 30 years was a life dream for us. We moved here cherishing the valley for its rural nature and preservation of its water and land. We were impressed with Katie’s concern about these same issues and know that she values the importance of preserving the valley while making it a viable and sustainable place for families to live, have productive jobs, and raise their children.
Katie also understands that Okanogan County, like many rural counties all over the country, is challenged to provide adequate health care access, good public health services, and struggle to keep its hospitals open. There are enormous challenges to providing quality services to a relatively small and diverse population. Katie has been in the forefront to help citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in our county. Unfortunately we cannot say the same of the incumbent, who has been reluctant to encourage people to wear masks, a proven and effective way to stop the spread of this virus. Katie has been an active citizen, involved in and listening to people’s concerns. She knows the issues, the people, and she knows the county.
Katie Haven is the best choice for District 2 county commissioner.
Diane Gordon and Michael Koerner, Mazama