Letter: Fryingpan logging makes sense | PostIndependent.com
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Letter: Fryingpan logging makes sense

All national forests (including the White River National Forest) have an obligation to plan, implement and administer timber sales and vegetation management projects. The management of our national forest lands is necessary in order to maintain diverse, healthy and resilient forests. The timber, water, pasture, mineral and other resources of the national forest lands are for the use of the people, and shall always be.

It is somewhat disturbing to me that so many residents living in the Roaring Fork Valley, including but not limited to public officials, corporate executives and environmental organizations, are “alarmed” and “concerned” about this project. An Aspen Times article quoted Aspen Skiing Co. executive and Basalt Town Councilman Auden Schendler saying, “My question: For a short-term economic boost, does it make sense to damage a small-town economy for the summer?” and “Have you done the cost-benefit analysis here? Right now, this seems like a bad idea.”

My response to Mr. Schendler and other opponents is simple: Conflicting interests must be reconciled and decided from the standpoint of the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run. Projects like the Upper Fryingpan should be routine for the Forest Service, just as ski area expansion and recreation projects are routine and frequently implemented with little alarm or concern.

It is imperative that we as a community support the Forest Service in implementing timber sales and vegetation management projects and promote the conservative and wise use of the resources that we all rely upon. Man and wildlife both rely greatly on the best permanent use of the lands and resources, therefore we need to use common sense and work together as a community in order to achieve decisions that benefit the permanent use of the lands and resources.

The decision to harvest timber and manage vegetation on our national forest lands should be based on the long-term benefits, not short-term inconveniences. By managing these lands properly, efficiently, and with quickness, we can reduce fire danger, improve habitat, expand our local workforce and industries, and get people working and connected with the land and resources again in a way we haven’t seen in a long time in this area.

There are several good points that should be made regarding log haul down Frying Pan Road. It may be possible for hauling to be performed in the winter, which would eliminate the concern for interruptions of summer activities in Basalt. If hauling is performed in the summer, it is only during the weekdays, so the impact to most people (the weekday working class) is minimal. Traffic control will definitely be a major aspect of this project, and temporary traffic control signage will be highly visible and prominent prior to and during hauling. All log trucks hauling down Frying Pan Road will be at or below the state legal load limit, so if the county and state roads are up to standards, there should be little concern of road damage. Some of the major national forest roads utilized for haul will be brought to standard as a result of this project.

Bret Conant
Silt


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