Regarding the Roadless Debate in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

from Julie Ann Smithson

Two sides to the coin: The second part is the part that bespeaks the reader
to consider more than the carefully crafted first part would have him/her
believe. Steve Henson has done an exemplary job of rising to the occasion. A
note from Steve: Interestingly, the paper called me late yesterday afternoon
and requested a counterpoint to their support of "roadless".  On such short
notice and a must trip to a speaking engagement last night, I modified a
piece that we did for the Asheville paper last year and sent it to them (see
Equal Time after the paper's opinion).  I'm a little surprised the
"wildlands" discussion made it thru editing.  As I've always said, it pays to
send our opinion pieces to the papers -- even though they don't always get
published -- somebody has to read 'em.  I've sent at least four op/eds to
them over the past 3 years and they were never published.  All of a sudden
they're interested!  It pays to be persistent. - Steve

To submit a Letter to the Editor: (no length limit specified
at , but the shorter, the
more likely to be published)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 6/12/02


Conservation bill deserves support

Hundreds of cities in Georgia, including Atlanta, get their water from rivers
that have their origin in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The headwaters
of those rivers are harmed by erosion and sediment from roads built mostly to
accommodate loggers.

Last week, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by
Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to protect those
fragile areas that remain free of roads, and thereby protect their vital
water resources. The bill, which would apply to 58 million acres nationwide,
already has 172 sponsors.

It ought to have the support of every member of the Georgia congressional
delegation because it directly affects the most important issue for the state
today -- assurance of an adequate water supply. So far, however, only
Democratic Reps. John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney have signed on.

The legislation wouldn't be necessary if Attorney General John Ashcroft and
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman had kept their promises. At their
confirmation hearings, both swore to uphold a Clinton-era rule conserving
roadless areas.

But Ashcroft refused to defend the ban on more roads in a federal lawsuit
brought by timber and mining interests. And Veneman allowed Undersecretary of
Agriculture Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, to approve 30 new
timber projects in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The Tongass already
contains almost 5,000 miles of logging roads, built with an average $30
million annually of taxpayer subsidies to the timber industry.

In addition to giving hefty campaign contributions, the timber and oil
industries have kept broad support for the conservation bill at bay by
distorting the legislation. Their rumor campaign cannot go unchallenged:

the bill does not affect private landowners rights of access to their own

cutting trees to prevent wildfires and building roads to fight fires is

the bill does not halt expansion of oil and gas operations in existing leased

The legislation preserves wildlife habitat, of course, but more important for
Georgia, it protects key watersheds. Given the state's water crisis, no
candidate should vote against it.

-------------Other side of the coin-------------

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 6/12/02


Conservation efforts thrive on deception


The myths environmental extremists have carefully developed over the past
decade to convince us that timber harvesting should be halted on National
Forest lands are rapidly falling apart.

While these extremists claim to champion forestland wildlife in their
scenarios, they ignore the mountains of scientific evidence that point to the
benefits of forest disturbances, including timber harvesting, in creating
diversity for wildlife on forested landscapes.

The ongoing debate on the Clinton/Gore Roadless Initiative prompted every
state wildlife agency in our region (North Carolina, South Carolina,
Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee) to question the wisdom of setting aside more
lands to a de facto "no management" status.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, in a public statement,
said, "In many instances, the proper habitat manipulation to benefit a
particular wildlife species may require some road or firebreak construction
to implement management prescriptions such as prescribed fire, timber harvest
or timber stand improvements."

Likewise, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries passed a resolution
stating, in part, "These misguided policies are harmful to wildlife and the
management of wildlife in general."

Another environmental myth perpetuated by the preservationist movement is
that forests can remain healthy without management. One only has to look at
the 1988 Yellowstone fires and the devastating 2000 fire season in the West
to see the fallacy of this philosophy. Science tells us that we can use a
combination of prescribed fires and timber stand improvement techniques to
greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of these catastrophic fire

Locally, damage caused by the current southern pine bark beetle outbreak can
be minimized through strategic timber harvesting techniques. All landowners,
including the U.S. Forest Service, have an obligation to minimize the spread
of the insects to keep the populations in check.

Myth-based arguments being advanced to halt timber harvesting on public lands
have been developed and maintained through generous philanthropic foundation
grants. They use this tax-exempt money to commission their own polls,
studies, reports and media campaigns. If you have enough money, you can buy
just about any opinion you want.

Why would these people want to distort the issues and ignore sound scientific
evidence? This question bugged me for a long time until I came across the
answers: Deep Ecology and The Wildlands Project.

Deep Ecology is the philosophy/religion driving the contemporary
environmental movement. Its vision for our country is to set aside a minimum
of 50 percent of our lands in wilderness with no human intervention. It's
called the Wildlands Project. Just do a word search on the Internet using the
two terms* and you will be astonished. I highly recommend one particular Web
site,, that is well organized and explains
the principles and strategies of these radical approaches to saving

Interestingly, one of the first actions the Wildlands Project promotes is to
stop logging on public lands.

Despite the well-financed and tenacious efforts of environmental extremists,
logging and thoughtful forest management will continue in national forests.
Any campaign based on deceit is destined to die from its own disease.

Steve Henson is executive director of the Southern Appalachian Multiple-Use
Council Inc., a nonprofit group created in 1975 by members of the forest
products industry of Western North Carolina.

*[Go to and put this in the search box: "Deep Ecology" + "
Wildlands Project"  Add another term, "Map" and you'll be astounded!]

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