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Logging preserves forests

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The Wild Utah Forest Campaign is one piece of a nationwide campaign intent upon destroying the American timber industry. The central theme of UWFC is that the taxpayer is "subsidizing" the industry. UWFC also claims that logging practices "cause extensive damage . . . fragment forest ecosystems . . . erode forest soils, cause blowdowns, landslides and sedimentation of streams, destroy habitat and degrade wilderness character and scenic values." These charges warrant response.

As for subsidizing the industry, the public must know that timber sales are put out to the public for sale to the highest bidder. In a free market economy, the highest bid determines value. If it costs the Forest Service more to put the timber up for sale than the timber sells for, that cost can be chalked up to the fact that it is government doing it. Government wages, government employee benefits, interminable government "study," government accounting practices and government catering to incessant environmentalist appeals all add to the cost of a timber sale.As for UWFC's woeful litany of consequences of timbering, one needs only to consider the three alternative futures of all forests. They will burn. They will, in their climax stage, succumb to disease and die, and then they will burn. Or, they can be harvested using modern techniques and scientific forest practices. Each of these end consequences holds the possibility of creating the circumstances decried by UWFC. However, only commercial harvesting provides the opportunity for managing, controlling and limiting these consequences.

It is in the best interest of this nation and of our forests that they be sensibly harvested. If the government cannot sell its timber at a profit, it is not the timber industry's fault. It is a problem with government bureaucracy owning and controlling the productive capacity of the forests.

Wayne Hunt