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Fickle fate can ruin Minnesota's forests

I don't know about you, but I am deeply concerned about the two major forest fires that have ruined the hopes and dreams of thousands of Americans. This ongoing destruction, in itself, is a tragic reminder that life in a civilized society needs r...

I don't know about you, but I am deeply concerned about the two major forest fires that have ruined the hopes and dreams of thousands of Americans. This ongoing destruction, in itself, is a tragic reminder that life in a civilized society needs realistic and continuing regulation for the sake of mankind.
There is an element within our environmental community, however, that simply doesn't get it. These "tree huggers," for the lack of a better choice of words, would allow the forests to overrun our civilization without management techniques and certainly without logic. The results of this folly are obvious as thousands of homes, parks and other amenities have been destroyed, not to mention the very trees some of these zealots say they want to preserve for eternity. What isn't being spotlighted here is the drain on our economic resources, something America can ill afford following the Sept. 11 tragedy that has set up a serious erosion of our overall economic base.
The fires in Colorado and in Arizona represent a realistic reminder that forest management is a necessary ingredient in today's ecological balance. We simply, as a people, cannot co-exist in an environment that is allowed to grow unchecked and unmonitored when the stakes are so high and the pending dangers are so great.
Here in northeastern Minnesota, the recent rains have given us a temporary reprieve from the impending danger that awaits us in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, not too far from Duluth.
Following a serious blowdown a couple of years back, tens of thousands of trees were toppled in the BWCA and have been allowed to decay at the whim of nature. Loggers were not permitted to enter the forests and harvest the downed timber and thus a tragic aftermath of windfall, fire, is a constant threat to everyone in northern Minnesota. I don't want to think about that, but it could happen here as it is happening in Colorado or Arizona and other parched southwest communities.
One of Minnesota's strong suits, through the years, has been its timber industry. Now, that industry is dying because of environmental influences that have handcuffed this industry for the wrong reasons. Forest management makes sense, forest management retains jobs and forest management saves trees and protects the environment. Is that so difficult to understand?
In society there needs to be a balance, a sharing and a reasonable plan for survival. Without such a balance, the weak are totally destroyed without recourse. This seems to be the goal of many environmental groups who refuse to see the forest for the trees. We need this balance, and with a little common sense, Minnesota's forests and timber industry will continue to thrive and remain productive.
Looking at the ongoing tragedies in Colorado and Arizona, Minnesota cannot turn its back, shrug its shoulders and ignore the inevitable. We had a terrible fire in these parts in 1918, and it could happen again without proper planning and logical preparations. What are we waiting for, death and destruction to hit us squarely between the eyes?

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