Letters to the Editor

Value the forest over the thrill of hill

While representatives of millions of people around the world have been asking the U.S. to do its part to curb activities that are contributing to climate change, the Mt. Ashland Association (and U.S. Forest Service) are still blindly dedicated to pushing through the expansion project. This project is neither ethical or responsible considering the predicted climate change, especially here in the Rogue Valley, where decreased precipitation and changing ecosystems will greatly hinder recreational skiing and other activities, such as food production.

Still unconvinced about global warming? It's no longer a theory, but a measurable fact. Google "rapidly retreating glaciers" or "ocean acidification" or just think back a few months to the Olympics in Canada, which depended on manufactured snow.

The Forest Service, Mt. Ashland Association and all of us need to collectively prioritize the protection of our remaining forest ecosystems, which absorb carbon dioxide, attract precipitation and hold the soils above our watershed. Another priority should be moderating the amount of big cars carrying people up big mountains (thanks to big snowplows) to be passively lifted by big, loud machines just for a temporary thrill.

Admittedly, I don't downhill ski or snowboard, so I know nothing of the exhilaration of or addiction to this form of recreation. I do know people living in sub-Saharan West Africa whose subsistence lifestyles are getting harder with shorter rainy seasons, drying wells and encroaching desert. Please do your part to help this region become ecologically and economically resilient and resist the urge to expand the Mt. Ashland Ski Area or at least support the community alternative.

Holly Christiansen

Ashland

City parks should follow these goals

One expects an Integrated Pesticide Management to show a commitment to the elimination of pesticides, if not immediately, then within a stated period of time, say three years, with attendant practices for interim pesticide use spelled out to assure that the greater community is protected.

From the examples of other cities (Arcata, Portland, Seattle, Santa Cruz,) it is clear that pesticides can be phased out, and that the public can be protected during the phase-out time by practices easily implemented.

The following minimum goals should be adopted into the Ashland Parks and School Grounds IPM:

1. Elimination of pesticide use within three years.

2. Posting of notices 24 to 48 hours before spraying, and not taking the notices down for 48 hours after spraying.

3. Requiring a 50-foot, no-spray buffer zone around playgrounds, streams and community gardens.

4. Establish a community-based advisory committee to support the parks department in the goals of the IPM.

It seems so basic to expect these practices, especially as goals to work toward. It is not as if these practices would be required immediately, which would be a good idea, but probably impractical to some degree.

So establishing these practices as goals to be achieved incrementally, in say three years, does not in any way suggest a hardship being imposed on management and personnel.

Indeed it seems a most minimal exercise in good faith to the intelligent standards of the community of Ashland.

Jerry Nutter

Ashland

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