Your guest columnist Don Brunell and Jeff Johnson’s cartoon in your Oct. 5 edition of the Valley Record illuminates a paragon of the thought processes between these parties. I have identified these partners as the “Green Gang” (preservation), and the “Sutherland Gang” (commissioner of public lands that is mandated to manage all state-owned lands including shorelines, school lands, Sec. 16 and 36 of every township and enforce management practices on privately owned forest lands). The Don Brunell gang represents the taxation group. What all these parties have in common is their dedication to leisure time activities, the arts, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, bird watching, traveling, etc.
A few years ago, I was contacted by the mayor of Snoqualmie for advice on the forest management of a piece of city property. A portion of this forest had been damaged due to a controlled burn that had spread onto the city property. The management plan called for a reforestation activity. Nearly 130 acres were involved in this project. The mature alder stand along with the fire-damaged trees were removed and in the process, a deposit of a fine grade of gravel was located.
At about this time the construction of Interstate 90 was underway and needed a good grade of gravel for ballast. The nearest gravel pit was just north and west of the Snoqualmie mill, which meant that this gravel would have to be transported through the city of Snoqualmie. Instead, arrangements were made between the I-90 construction company and the city of Snoqualmie to purchase the city’s gravel. The results of this transaction, along with the timber sale, returned a tidy sum to the city coffers.
As I-90 preceded west, word of a slide-prone area was exposed and had to be corrected. You can observe this correction by the interlocking cement wall on the south side of I-90 at the Snoqualmie exit. This resulted again with the city selling its fine gravel to correct the slide-prone area and another nice check to fill the city coffers. It should be noted that the over burden of these two projects was used to fill in the excavated gravel pits. Today this area is prime leisure time recreational property enjoyed by many from an amphitheater to bird watching and many other activities.
So, what is your choice, a Gang Green Forest, a “Gang Taxation,” or a Gang Sutherland Forest? My choice is Gang Sutherland Forest, which will produce revenue and reduce taxes. A Gang Green Forest with its susceptibility to fire due to an infestation of insect and disease and uses revenue is not a good choice.
Ben Harrison, forester