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home : letters : letters June 20, 2018

6/12/2018 1:05:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 06/13/2018

To the Editor:

I noticed that many of the prescribed burns on National Forest Land have a lot of fresh stumps and large piles of left-behind branches, presumably from the logged trees.

Though I understand that fire is a natural part of the cycle, I feel confused over the idea that intentionally setting fires outside of the natural fire season, potentially setting/controlling those fires with chemicals, cutting down trees, hauling the cut trees away, piling remaining branches up, and creating new roads to manage these prescribed areas is anywhere close to what would happen in a natural fire event.

My understanding of a natural fire is that the trees and down wood burn during the time of year when nature deems it to happen. How is the current strategy actually mimicking nature by intentionally causing fires without leaving all of the trees and down wood in place? Isn't fire ecology about allowing the down wood and remaining trees to burn in place so that the resulting ashes can feed the current and future flora and fauna? Where is all the wood going?

Leslie Hawes


To the Editor:

I would like to respond to the guest column ("Open the gate," The Nugget, June 6, page 2) by Glenn Brown.

First of all, he is wrong when he stated that ODOT plows the road twice. ODOT plows the road only once and it isn't to make a bike path.

In the spring, usually at the end of April or early May, the plow goes up the MIDDLE of the road as far as they can. The reason they do this is not to make a bike lane. To save taxpayers money they only plow a path as wide as the plow blade. They don't plow the entire road as this would take multiple passes. They are smart, they let the sun do the work for them.

The sun melts the snow and gradually the road becomes wider. Eventually the entire road and the turnouts are free of snow. All done for free.

The fact that hikers and bikeriders use the road is just because they can. The road is very narrow and it would be dangerous for bikers to ride when it is open to cars.

After the road is clear of snow there is other maintenance that has to be done before the road can be opened to cars such as clearing debris off the road, fixing potholes, painting the center line, clearing drainage areas, and repairing and posting signs.

Another reason the road is not open to cars early is because of the narrow pass just east of the summit. This area can't be plowed out until the snow melts. This gap is very narrow and the walls are high so the plow can't blow the snow off the side of the road. I have biked up to this point many times and have had to walk the rest of the way through the deep snow to get to summit. Until this narrow gap is cleared the road cannot be opened to cars, and this is usually done late long after the lower road is clear.

No Mr. Brown it isn't a conspiracy or a secret. It is just nature.

J. Thomas Jeffrey

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