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Courage to protect lands

In response to Bruce McGlenn’s op-ed regarding the protection of roadless areas raises a critical point (“One person’s prosperity should not be another’s poverty,” Dec. 26): As an avid backcountry recreationist, I deeply value the restoration I find through immersion in wild places. When I return from a trip, I’m a better human, employee and community member. But what of those who make their living through forestry and related industries? Born and raised in Spokane, I understand the economic devastation and loss of dignity that local communities have suffered from the Pacific Northwest Timber Wars.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy indeed invokes this type of economic ruin in his opposition to reinstating the Roadless Rule in the Tongass National Forest. Quite frankly though, we are out of wiggle room when it comes to our dwindling old-growth inventory.

Forests are renewable, but our destruction has far outpaced the scale of renewability. Responsible management shares the land and reserves critical habitat for wildlife to flourish. The American spirit, at its best, blends courage and ingenuity to solve the unsolvable.

We must call on that courage now to protect our remaining old-growth forests while simultaneously creating economically viable jobs with a sense of purpose. Washington State is already conducting experiments to this end, working on restoration techniques for second-growth stands instead of logging old-growth.

Let us courageously stand to protect our roadless areas and their surrounding communities, by choosing innovative forestry solutions, in the name of prosperity for all.

Bridget Curran


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