Letter: Logging

June 4, 2014 

An article in the May 22 Statesman, "Hard times linger in Council," did a poor job regarding the issue of jobs and timber harvesting on national forests.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Boise National Forest exceeded its logging target for the decade and in one year cut more trees than any other national forest in the nation. Yet in this same time period mills in Council and Horseshoe Bend closed. While much of the logging was salvage logging, the fact remains trees were cut on a massive scale and once this binge was finished, the timber corporation pulled out, as has happened often throughout the history of the West.

The article did not address other factors affecting timber industry employment, including demand, processing costs, marketing and distributing technologies, prices, the availability of substitutes, technological improvements in production, and jobs lost due to automation in Idaho's remaining mills.

The article also failed to even mention the success of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Act and the efforts of the Payette Forest Coalition, both of which have produced millions of board feet of timber through forest restoration treatments across over 900,000 acres on the Payette National Forest.

CRAIG GEHRKE, The Wilderness Society, Boise

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