Implement forest resiliency plan now
The U.S. Forest Service tells citizens that it cannot implement the Ashland Forest Resiliency fuel reduction project in the Ashland Watershed because conflicting federal court rulings about roadless area conservation pose a catch-22 that threatens the local forest supervisor with a contempt-of-court citation if he does anything.
The claim is false and threatens to waste $2 million in federal stimulus money dedicated to the AFR Project.
A very small part of AFR is located in the McDonald Peak Roadless Area, where forest management is subject to outstanding legal questions of national scope that are not likely to be resolved soon.
The majority of the project can move forward today if the Forest Service chooses to segregate non-roadless portions of it.
In 2004, the agency issued multiple decisions based on a single impact statement authorizing clearcut logging on more than 19,000 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest after the Biscuit fire. The same conflict of dueling court orders on roadless policy applied then as now.
Despite special procedural authorities, planning for the AFR Project has consumed six years, longer than the Ashland Watershed Protection Project that earned national notoriety as a success story of agency-community collaboration in fuel reduction and forest restoration.
The Forest Service should implement the non-roadless majority of AFR immediately. Let the courts resolve the roadless question on a different timetable.
co-author of Ashland's community wildfire protection plan
Questioning Crater Lake wilderness area
I consider myself a environmentalist but have some issues with the proposed wilderness area (see Aug. 7 article "Crater Lake Wilderness proposed"). Much of the area that is being considered is already inhabited. Many roads and highways are also in the area. How can you call any area a wilderness that is really not a wilderness. I know the proposal says that these areas will be excluded, but it will then not be wilderness.
Also, planes, helicopters, etc. can fly as low as 2,000 feet over any and all wilderness areas. Could you be absolutely certain that Congress would designate that the fly zone would be more that 2,000 feet or ban flying over the area outright? As it is now I think the fly zone over Crater Lake is 5,000 feet. I have a cabin at Diamond Lake and most of the area in the vicinity is already wilderness. Mount Thielsen, Diamond Peak and others take up much of the land proposed. Other than Mount Bailey, which could be a separate wilderness if so needed, it's protected. To incorporate all these areas, which include so many roads and so much inhabited land, seems a bit uncalled for.
Beverly L. Glessner
New statue wanted
Oh how I wish we could replace the bronze statue on top of Carter Memorial Fountain. Something more inspirational than a man with a gun in his hand. Something with an attitude that more truly represents the historic magnificence of this fair city, with its college and its Shakespeare Festival, the Chautaqua, the goldminers, the springwaters of mystic healers, the forests, the lake and the mountain. I feel we need a sculpture that will inspire the children and all spectators in only a truly positive and uplifting way, in keeping with Ashland's beauty, liberal attitudes, education and rich history, whether the statue is looked at consciously or subliminally whilst one takes a drink of Ashland.
Eliminate meals tax
It seems odd to me that supporters of Ashland's restaurant tax think we are "making well-heeled tourists help pay for the burden of maintaining such an attractive community." But those of us who live — and dine out — here 12 months of the year are the ones on whom the burden is squarely placed. Sales taxes by their very nature are regressive and this one should be eliminated.
Kudos for trying to fix drug problem at AHS
Kudos to Coach Charlie Hall for trying to fix a problem with drug use at the schools that we all know exists. That's what a coach is, a troubleshooter. See a problem and work toward a solution (see Sept. 15 article "ASD votes 5-0: no to drug test").
On the other hand, shame on the school board. Their solution to the drug problem is to bury their heads in the sand for two months, hoping the problem will go away as the season ends.
This was supposed to be a volunteer trial test supported by the huge majority of football parents (all but one). Teaming with coaches, the program was geared toward the safety of the players by using proactive measures. The tests were not meant to be disciplinary, but another piece of equipment to keep our players safe.
The school board, through fear of risk and liability, decided to aggressively do nothing. They seem to be of the opinion that if you can't fix all the problems of today's teens, why bothers doing anything.
Each player before the season begins must sign an agreement to not use drugs or alcohol during the season, or face possible suspension. Not being able to verify makes a mockery of that agreement.
The bottom line is that currently the laws states that drug use is illegal. The school board should stand behind these coaches and parents or come up with a better solution.
It seems to me that maybe the players were not the ones who should have had the urine analysis tests, but rather the school board.
Oldsters, stop shoutin'
We are ashamed to be members of a generation that has so many whining, greedy, ignorant seniors who don't want the government, more to the point, the president, who is black, meddling with their Medicare, which is a federal program. To think that there are so many who don't care about the 15 percent, or better, who have no health care is coldhearted and appalling.
Our grandparents had no health insurance. When they needed medical care, our parents did not put them out on an ice floe. They did what families are supposed to do. The hat was passed around among family members and expenses were eventually taken care of. Today they would have the independence and sense of dignity felt by those who have the socialized programs of Medicare and Social Security.
We would prefer the single-payer or universal health care but accept the fact that the public option is the first step toward freeing ourselves from the bondage of the insurance companies. We would be willing to take a cut in Medicare benefits if that were all it would take to have everyone get the health care that we take for granted. That isn't going to happen, so you oldsters, stop your shoutin' screamin' and stompin'!
Bill and Mary Ellen Holland
Letters to the Editor September 17
Implement forest resiliency plan now