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LOWER GILBERT CREEK TIMBER SALE

The world is not so different on the North Slope of the Uintas where the Wasatch-Cache National Forest's Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District continues to blemish the landscape with timber sales ostensibly to control pine beetle on forest stands not even considered part of the of the regulated (managed) timber component.

The analysis offers no evidence that pine beetle infestations are outside of any historical ecological indicators. There is no discussion of the perfectly normal relationship lodgepole pine forests have with pine beetles pine beetles are, in fact, the primary driver in these forests, assuring healthy, vital, vigorous pine forests. This evolutionary and ecological dance is necessary and the constant Forest Service nattering that beetles in these tiny patches of trees represent problems is the polar opposite of professional and scientific forest management.

Questions unanswered and unasked by the Forest Service are many and deep:

To what extent will the tree mortality actually be reduced over what time frame if harvested or not harvested?
What impacts to wildlife will this sale have, particularly on avian species such as woodpeckers that need old, beetle-infested forest stands? Goshawk, lynx and a plethora of species are of merit as well.

Will this proposed harvest simply provide more fragmentation and dysfunction into the landscape, thus assuring additional stress and likely more intense beetle infestations?

Certainly the beetle infestations noted do not threaten the integrity of this landscape. Thus there is no reason for additional fragmentation of the forest system.

And then, of course, the kicker the whole project is ìcategorically excludedî from a full NEPA analysis and disclosure. Hiding behind this process, the Forest Service does not have to analyze ecological tradeoffs, alternatives or environmental analyses. Unbelievable!

Dick Carter


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