Letters, Feb. 29
Butte Falls center is a shift
In the year 2017, the homeless student population in Butte Falls was second highest in all of Oregon at approximately 25%. However, the repurposing of the Natural Resource Center may change that.
Within the past few years, multiple grants have been awarded to members of the community to construct an educational center out of an abandoned fish hatchery east of town. This newly developed charter school, termed the Natural Resource Center, was established to provide an educational center for students currently attending school in the Butte Falls district.
This school won’t just provide an education for the students; once the school is completely finished, there will be a commercial kitchen and rooms that children can stay in if needed. However, recent logging practices may have put the NRC at risk of mass erosion and possible landslides.
Clearcutting has always been the prominent form of timber harvesting in Butte Falls, and in the past, the town was proud of its logging history. However, as more research is conducted on the newly deforested land, Butte Falls may need to find more sustainable logging practices as logging will be a key component to the longevity of the economic structure present in the town.
In order to fully understand the degree of damage the previous clear cut may cause, students majoring in Environmental Science and Policy at Southern Oregon University are conducting research and creating a map of the parcel of land that has a steep slope facing the NRC. This map will portray sections of land that have an increased landslide, and all data obtained can be utilized by the NRC to teach the students about the natural processes they interact with daily.
It is essential that members of the community in Butte Falls understand how logging practices may affect their environment. To better educate the students in the district, to decrease the homeless population attending school, and to increase positive environmental values of the community, methods of timber harvesting should transition to practices other than clearcutting.
The Natural Resource Center will be a significant cultural shift for the town in Butte Falls, and it will provide several avenues for community residents to increase their wellbeing.