Monday, December 11, 2023

Burns comments display ignorance beyond belief

| December 13, 2005 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

The comments and quotes attributed to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns display an ignorance beyond belief.

To claim the USFS employees are "working to further their own agendas" is not only inaccurate but inflammatory. The USFS mission is to " sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." It executes this mission under the direction of the Department of Agricultural and law of the land created, by the way, by Sen. Burns and his cohorts. To infer this is some contrary agenda is ridiculous.

To claim the nation's forests are no different than an Iowa cornfield is - even after looking in my Thesaurus I can't find a word to adequately describe it - unbelievable. It does nothing but reveal the close-minded, single-purpose agenda of the senator - to plunder public lands for the sake of a few jobs for a short period of time.

And to claim the USFS is creating "de facto" wilderness shows the lack of diligence by the senator in comprehending the purpose of the creation of a forest management plan and the wilderness designation process. Senator, we all know that wilderness areas are only designated by Congress. Regardless of what one calls them, failure to retain the characteristics of wilderness areas will jeopardize their being so designated in the future. Short-term benefits of logging, mining, recreation, and intensive treatment in these wilderness areas should be rejected in favor of their protection for the future. Treatment of public lands must be decided not by what we can take for today but by what we leave for tomorrow.

It is also interesting that local politicians recognize that motorized recreation use doesn't deserve the attention demanded by it's zealots. It is shameful that Mr. Castaneda kowtowed to this small group and ignored all the work done by his staff to identify reasonable and proper treatment for designated areas of the forest. That work should be restored to the plan for the KNF.

The lack of vision by Sen. Burns to see the benefits of protecting large areas of public lands is appalling and he fails to meet his responsibility to represent those who more clearly see the future benefits of wilderness.

Bill Wilson