More reasonable folk

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2002

In response to Don Smith's "Timberdoodles" editorial on Sunday, I don't know too much about Timberdoodles, but I hear that they are a forest-dependent species that has been pretty much supplanted by Timber Beasts in Southeast Alaska. Timber Beasts thrive in clearcuts (and in the halls of Congress) while Timberdoodles need old-growth forest to survive.

Timberdoodles might fly erratically, but Timber Beasts are characterized by their dogged, single-minded, straight-line pursuit of old-growth forest. For decades the national forests have been managed by the Forest Service for the benefit of the species through the National Timber Beast Program (known by some as the USFS Timber Program). This taxpayer-subsidized program has been so successful that the species thrives, especially in Alaska, and threatens other wildlife.

There are some folks who suggest that it is time to lift protections on Timber Beasts and open a season on them so as to reduce their numbers to manageable levels. There are other, more reasonable, folk who think that they can be managed by limiting their range to existing clearcuts and ending government-subsidized programs to create more of their favored habitat.

There is also a growing movement in the United States to remove Timber Beasts completely from the national forests and limit their range to private land only. Since the government has been so successful in introducing the species, they are reluctant drive them off of public land. But even the most die-hard Timber Beast fans are beginning to question the cost of the Timber Beast Program and it has become increasingly clear that Timber Beasts are messy creatures, anti-social, difficult to manage - and they are not nearly as cute (or as smart) as Timberdoodles.

Pat Veesart


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