He stands corrected

Posted: Sunday, September 07, 2003

I heard from a forestry expert who pointed out some problems with some of my statements in my letter of Sept. 3.

When I used the term "boreal forest," I wasn't clear that my reason was to point out that the many claims I have seen that say "huge amounts, over a third, much of, or nearly half" of the Tongass is rock and ice are deceptive at best. I did not intend it to be a reference to how much of the Tongass has commercial timber. That was not obvious, and I should have made it so.

Secondly, when it comes to terms such as mountain, bog, and scrub, if it is made clear that the reference is to types of non-commercial timber areas, then they are valid terms and the amounts stated are correct. That was not made clear by the spokesperson, and adding the word glacier to the list did not help. I won't go so far as to say the lack of clarity was intentional, but I won't say it wasn't either.

Regardless of whether or not the figures and classifications were correct, I still have a problem with how it was presented. After accusing people who claim that only a small percentage of the Tongass would be logged under the proposed changes to the roadless rule of being disingenuous, the facts provided by the Greenpeace spokesperson actually support that argument. I would also like to add, that from what I can tell, the 1.2 percent of remaining loggable Tongass does not take into account the LUD II areas, which could make the percentage even smaller. Lastly, I should have referred to a story from the other side. The "Norman Rockwellian" image of a logging camp and operation is a good example.

I acknowledge I was a little off-base and probably came across as a bit of what I rally against. I still believe, however, that most extremists (by the very nature of extremism) are misleading, half truthful, usually hypocritical, and often arrogant. No matter who does it, though, I have no room for those who insult the people who civilly disagree with them, and I stand firmly by both those statements.

Chris DeWitt


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