Ugly clearcuts

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2002

As my wife and I sit drinking our morning coffee and looking out our window we are horrified. Sealaska Timber is picking up right where they left off last year, clear-cutting within our view and to the east of us. But what is even more horrifying is that they are preparing to pick up where they left off four years ago directly across and to the west of Hoonah. This stretch already exposes 10 miles of ugly clearcuts, rock quarries, erosion and piles of slash carelessly dumped over the side of the logging roads.

Our forest is one of our most precious resources, not only in the respect that it supports tourism, but the forest is critical for the continuation of the Tlingit culture, a subsistence lifestyle and for the benefit of future generations.

Sealaska Corp. claims that harvesting another 1,400 acres of Hoonah's forest this year is good for our economy. But they have harvested so much timber already that most of what is left is in direct view of Hoonah and Port Frederick. One might say the trees will grow back. I know they will, but it will take at least 100 years. I am looking at 25-year-old clearcuts that haven't even turned green yet.

The PBS television documentary, "Retracing the Harriman Expedition," will be shown next summer. I hope it will reveal and help people understand what I have tried to describe but most people can't literally see.

Floyd Peterson


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