A recent article in the Washington Post about a proposed timber sale on Gravina Island near Ketchikan did not meet the high standards of investigative reporting to which the Post normally aspires.
It missed the fact that Gravina Island has been logged before. It missed the fact that roads previously built on Gravina are now impassable due to regrowth within the rights of way.
It missed the fact that the proposed timber sale would extend over less than 4 percent of Gravina's 61,000 acres.
It missed the fact that the U.S. Forest Service carefully followed its own excellent guidelines to protect archeological sites on Gravina before proposing the timber harvest sites.
It missed the fact that the Forest Service carefully followed its own excellent guidelines to protect subsistence fishing and gathering on Gravina. In fact, the Post missed the fact that the Forest Service completed an environmental impact statement that addresses the needs of all forest users before making a recommendation about logging a small portion of Gravina.
The Post missed the fact that the jobs provided by the recently booming tourist industry are short-term, without benefits and generally at minimum wage.
Without all these facts, the conclusions drawn by the Post reporter reflect sentiment, not reality. Ketchikan, no more and no less than the rest of the nation, is home to people with a variety of values and world views. Each must plan for the future and find a way to put food on the table. The hopes and dreams of civic leaders in Ketchikan for development and prosperity are no different than those expressed by thousands like them throughout the world. The Post reporter's ridicule of those visions in favor of personal beliefs about what is best for others belonged on the editorial page. It is not news.
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