Diverse options needed
Regarding planned logging in the Twisp River Valley, those of us who sent the letter to valley residents are your neighbors, ordinary, reasonable folks who’ve done quite a bit of research into the Twisp Restoration Project. As it stands, this is not a well-thought-out plan. There has been only limited review into its impacts, and no alternative plans have been accepted nor presented.
One of its biggest problems is that the plan involves commercial thinning of trees up to 25 inches diameter. And the contractor could, if it so desired, leave some of the 8-9 inch diameter trees that are not of commercial use. Thus, they could take out the most fire-resilient trees and leave the ones that are more likely to burn.
We recommend people drive up Buttermilk Road to see what the Mission Restoration Project looks like. In one section next to the road, the only trees that remain are about 50-75 feet apart, with fire-ready logging debris all around them.
What could be beneficial for the Twisp is non-commercial thinning of trees less than 12 inches diameter, leaving the larger trees. The U.S. Forest Service shouldn’t be paying for the project with trees. Follow that with prescribed burning, which is not actually proposed for much of the project.
We fully support fire risk reduction thinning. However, redesigning the entire watershed with a massive logging project is not the answer. We would be pleased to work with the Forest Service and members of the community toward developing diverse options for intensive but thoughtful thinning projects focusing on the areas that pose the greatest threat to the community.
None of us really knows what the Twisp forest looked like hundreds of years ago, nor do we really understand the best way forward in the face of climate change. Determining the future of the Twisp deserves much, much more research and community input.
More on wolves
Melany Rowland, Lorna Smith, Tim Ragen and John Lehmkul were honored as opposing the “no action” motion referenced in Ann McCreary’s excellent article (July 27), “Fish and Wildlife Commission rejects proposed wolf rule.” Four out of nine members of the Fish and Wildlife Commission is at least a little progress for science.
The father of my late professor Starker Leopold, Aldo Leopold — in his classic book “Sand County Almanac (1948) — laments the lack of science in society. In 1965, Starker let me research predation for his wildlife seminar, and in 2010 Christina Eisenberg published “The Wolf’s Tooth,” an examination of predation world-wide. In 2014, her book “The Predator Way” actually did focus on wolves. Carter Niemyer’s books, “Wolfer” and “Wolf Land,” document his first-hand experience. They’re also the most recent.
Once upon a time in the not too distant past, only maybe the last 30 to 35 years, the Methow Valley was a wonderful, friendly place to live, where folks knew their neighbors and if a neighbor (anyone) actually needed help with a project you could count on someone showing up to help often without being asked as it was the thing to do, used to be called being neighborly.
There was an attitude that you were free to do what you enjoyed be it ride a horse, ride a bicycle, ride a WATV or even in the back of a pickup truck. You could skinny ski, you could hike if, where and when you wanted as long as it wasn’t on private property without permission of property owner, and often all you had to do was ask to get permission.
If two folks had a differing opinion on a topic they sat down with a cup of coffee at Jack’s, Sam’s Place or the counter of the Tenderfoot to work out an agreement that was satisfactory to both.
There was a general attitude of acceptance, not exclusion, which has proved to be a big mistake, as that acceptance has come around to bite them. Folks moved here because of that friendly, accepting, neighborly attitude that they did not have where they came from, and instead of accepting and assimilating to what was here they had to start changing the valley to what they came here to get away from, and criticized others for doing what they enjoyed.
As a resident of the valley for over 30 years, I came to the valley because of the way it was and freedom to enjoy the area as I saw fit. To the newcomers that insist on having things your way instead of you changing to fit in what was here, take your selfish, exclusionary attitudes, pack your bags and move back to where you came from, or anywhere other than the Methow Valley.