Letter to the Editor

What have we done with all our forest science knowledge?


Dear Editor,

At lunch the other day with a friend, we were talking about all the fires and the lack of forest management. He said the Native Americans had a way of managing the fires; just let them burn. I got to thinking: imagine that, the Native Americans used to live in tipis, went hunting by running buffalo over a cliff. The animal rights people would love that. That was in the 19th century, haven’t things changed?

We built the great U.S.A, defended other nations, built great universities to educate the great nation, and sent a man to the moon. We have even learned a better way to manage our forests, and what have we done with all that knowledge? We listen to the environmental elite from the east coast and their overpaid lawyer to dictate what to do with our forests. Thanks to Jon Tester for being funded by, and therefore being beholding to and siding with, the environmentalists.

Several years ago, I was invited to a meeting with the heads of several organizations: the loggers, lumber mills, construction, truckers, Montana Petroleum Association and more. It was a very informative meeting; many problems were discussed. One of the many that stands out was from the operator of a sawmill shut down at Seeley Lake. He said enough trees die in one year in the forest – that was shut down where he was logging – to run their mill for 10 years.

Do I need to repeat that? Enough trees die in one year to run his mill for 10 years.

Yes, trees die when they get old, they even fall over and cause more fire problems. Sometimes they have been known to fall on fire fighters and now they are on fire, air pollution goes to a new height, thanks, environmentalists.

That brings us to our own Snowy Mountains and, yes, Crystal Lake campgrounds. It seems impossible for educated, experienced foresters to not know those old trees needed to be taken out before they were old and dangerous, and thinned out over the years to make room for new and younger trees and grass to grow. Heaven forbid that a fire should start in the Snowies or foothills; it is a tinderbox just waiting.

Ted F. Murray




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