Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Lack of logging in mountains not good for forest, grizzlies

| November 10, 2005 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

Reading in the newspaper the last few days and weeks, there seems to be a huge difference of opinions as to what to do with our forests up here in Montana. We have people who are really against any kind of logging in our mountains due to the "harm or interference" it will cause the grizzly bears. I am not schooled in animal behavior or causes in decreased populations of our animals, however, I do believe that just a little common sense put to good use should take care of any of our species problems.

First of all, I understand that the bears live or feed on the multiple types of grasses and berries that we have up in our forested areas. I also understand that those very grasses and berries require sunshine and space to grow into good edible crops for our bears and other animals to eat and survive on.

Second, looking around the area that my wife and I live in, the Yaak, our forest has grown so thick due to the lack of any logging, thanks to the environmentalists, that a huge amount of necessary grasses and berries are unable to survive let alone begin to grow due to the crowded trees that shut out the sunshine. I understand that, after having talked to a good cross reference of people in the area, when logging was going on on a regular basis, even clear-cutting, the grasses and berries were in abundance and we never lacked for the wild animals including the grizzlies that supposedly are now becoming fewer and fewer. In the clear cut areas, the grasses and berries had plenty of sunshine and grew in abundance until the new growth trees once again took over and darkened the ground where the grasses and berries had re-established themselves.

So, now, instead of continuing the logging of the area, we have stopped all or most of it and because of that, there are fewer and fewer grassy areas and berries available for the grizzly bear as well as all the other animals to eat and survive on. So what do we do, we continue to stop any kind of good logging practices, stop any kind of roadways from being opened for our uses in our forests and now we cannot even repair the roadways that are in and have been used for years because it interferes with the grizzly bear habitat.

I am fairly certain that the grizzly bear can and does use the very roadways that we are unable to repair for our own driving safety and that that roadway has not interfered with the grizzly bear population at all. If anything, it has made it easier for the grizzly to move around an area that presently, due to the lack of any logging, is extremely difficult for the grizzly or any other animal to move freely about in.

I understand, from talking to folks around our area, that in the past 20 years or so, there has been no change in the grizzly bear population. Yet the groups of people that resist any good practices that would log and maintain our forest in healthy ways continue to go to court and stop any kind of logging, etc. that would bring our forests back to the healthy place that they once were, full of wildlife including the grizzly bear.

In my mind, all of this is going to cause more and more conflict and lack of feed necessary for our wild animals to survive and soon they will all be declining more than they already are.

Another thought is, why are so many of the local environmentalists that are against any type of logging, etc., living in log homes. Think about it.

I am not against the grizzly bears and I would like to see more of them than we do see. However, I do not understand how people or groups can think that stopping any and all forest maintenance practices can or will help in saving the grizzly bear or any other wild animal population from being healthy and surviving in the quantities that all of us would like to see.

Just use your common sense and if we do not take care of our forests, Mother Nature certainly will and I do not think we would really be happy with that.

Gordon Christianson