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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Biscuit offers lessons to learn

Has anyone been to the Babyfoot Lake trailhead or botanical area recently? They are the entrance to the world-renowned Kalmiopsis Wilderness due west of Cave Junction. Sold by the Bush administration&

s Forest Service to the highest bidder, these areas have been converted from treasured, old-growth forests into lifeless stump fields as part of the reckless Biscuit timber sale.

Although too late to reverse the damage done, it was refreshing to see the study released by OSU scientists last week that refuted the gist of the massive Biscuit timber sale. The science tells us that aggressive logging and other ground-disturbing activities disrupt natural regeneration after a wildfire by literally killing the seedlings that have spouted up. The study also contradicts the myth that logging after fires helps reduce the chance of future fires, as logging operations at Biscuit left huge piles of flammable, unmerchantable timber, while the larger, more fire resistant trees were clearcut.

This study is not too late to educate policy makers like Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and others in Congress who will soon be voting on the so-called Forests for Future Generations Act, sponsored by Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore. Although Mr. Smith likes to cloak himself in green on occasion, this bill will mandate post-disturbance (fire, hurricanes, tornados, etc.) clearcutting on public lands with little public oversight at the taxpayers&

expense. Sen. Smith should listen to the best available science, not to his campaign contributors in the old-growth logging business. And, hopefully he&

s learned a lesson at Biscuit &

that wildfire is an essential part of an old-growth forest.

Josh Laughlin

Cascadia Wildlands Project

Monitoring not dependable

Jeff Hanson of Ski Ashland cites a 1978-83 study in which I was a principle investigator as evidence that &

the ski area contributes, at most, a tiny amount of sediment&

to Reeder Reservoir.

The study involved two sediment catchment dams, one below the Windsor chairlift and the other below Ariel.

Hanson&

s citation and the Forest Service&

s use of the study in expansion analysis are not reliable because they assume that the dams recorded sediment eroded from upslope drainage during spring runoff. In fact, the key source of sediment recorded in the dam below Windsor was erosion from a road (Roger&

s Way) in summer thunderstorms. The road diverted spring snowmelt away from the dam and into the East Fork of Ashland Creek.

The Windsor dam filled and overtopped with sediment after thunderstorms. Because of this overflow, sediment measurements could not be taken, other than what was left in the dam. I observed the creek below this location twice (most recently in 2004) noting that the stream channel was not in good stable condition.

Forest Service monitoring of the ski area is neither dependable nor ongoing. Little other than visual observations underlay judgments of disturbance impacts and mitigation success on these highly erosive soils. Many monitoring projects have been recommended but never completed due to lack of funding and commitment.

In the expansion area many of the soils are wetlands, unlike in the existing development. Disturbance to wetland soils can be very critical for sediment production.

George Badura

Medford

GOP touts war with no sacrifice

Republican Chickenhawks.

There is nothing more craven than advocating a war for which you're unwilling to sacrifice.

It&

s really that simple.

Marc Forrest

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