Don’t chop in the name of love

There are trees, and then there are trees. Some trees are more significant than others. For instance, our trees are more important than those owned by lumber companies. And by our trees, I mean this country’s trees, the trees that reside in the National Forest System.

The U.S. Forest Service used to take care of our trees pretty well during the first half of the 20th century. But then, after World War II, the federal government started using our national forests for commercial logging. The Sierra Club claims more than half of our forests have been logged and scarred by 440,000 miles of logging roads.

It may be time to make our trees off-limits to loggers.

Only 3 percent of America’s wood products come from federal, public forests, so the logging companies have plenty of their own trees to cut. The Sierra Club is hoping the Forest Service will now “protect the remaining special places” and restore damaged areas back to their full, pristine promise. That means protecting the undeveloped and wild forests by halting commercial logging and road construction in national forests.

We think the Forest Service should: restore the damaged forests by replanting trees and other native plant species, decommission old logging roads, recover depleted fish and wildlife species and clean up the fresh water supplies that frequently start in the national forests.

In other words, stop the destruction and put our forests back the way they were. Right now, 60 million acres of forest wildlife habitat remain undeveloped. We say leave it that way. These are our forests, and they shouldn’t be sold off at any price.

But, as you might expect, the Bush administration has other ideas, as you will read in “Sierra standoff,”. It seems the federal government is not quite as picky as we are about who gets our trees.