Letters to the Editor

Forest Service violated environmental laws

This is a response to Mt. Ashland Association President Frank Rote's letter stating "The Forest Service has the facts on its side" and "Nobody understands the terrain of the Mount Ashland ski area better than the U.S. Forest Service." That is speculative and misleading at best, considering that in 2007 a federal appeals court ruled that the Forest Service violated environmental laws by approving an expansion.

The Forest Service failed to protect landslides from development, soils in the Ashland Watershed, and ignored the native fish habitat. To now blindly assume the Forest Service has "gotten their facts straight" after these huge mistakes is a red flag Mr. Rote surprisingly overlooks.

No matter what side you're on, there is one irrefutable fact. Once old-growth trees are cut down, our pristine watershed can never be repaired to its former grandeur in our own or in our children's lifetime. As an avid snowboarder and father to a baby girl who will be raised here, I feel I should state strongly a lack of sufficient concern from the Forest Service or Mt. Ashland Association towards long-term environmental impacts. Regardless of what a court decides, a bigger question remains for the president of MAA and for us all. Are we willing to destroy old-growth forests, headwaters and wild habitat that's taken centuries to develop for a few more ski runs? Or will we awaken to Mount Ashland being one of the coolest ski mountains in the country just the way it is?

The fact remains, once old-growth trees are cut, they're gone forever. I, for one, will not snowboard at Mount Ashland until the MAA addresses community concerns thoroughly, regardless of any court ruling. We should all strive for an inclusive, proactive community, and that will require patience, grace and intelligence.

Shane E. Smith


Consider the trees when on the mountain

How blessed we are in this oasis, Ashland. If like me you love the air quality here, and if you also love snow sports, consider the trees when you visit the mountain. Let the Mt. Ashland Association know you enjoy skiing Mount Ashland — just the way it is.

We don't need to expand into our pristine watershed, cutting 70 acres of old growth along the way. Our watershed absolutely needs those trees to hold down the soil and keep our water clean. The animals and plants there need an undisturbed ecosystem. And for clean air, what we need as a planet is to keep all the old growth trees we have — and to keep planting more. With the amount of pollution humans create using cars and cows, we can't have too many trees to absorb carbon and give us oxygen.

After the last 8,000 years of human expansion, only about 22 percent of our world's forests remain in functioning ecosystems (www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/deforest/deforest.html), Yet human population has in that time increased six billionfold. Do we want to pave the planet? Or do we want to conserve what little greenery is left?

With every dollar you spend, you decide.

Vanessa M. M. A. Nowitzky


Driver story wasn't properly cleansed

Regarding the recent protests to the disclosure of nationality in the Tidings article about the police chase in Ashland, I suggest that the criticism has not gone far enough. I would imagine that if the newspaper reported that the driver was a 73-year-old woman from Medford, that there would be even more outrage.

A properly cleansed article might read like this: "A person of undisclosed origin, gender, age and political or religious affiliation was arrested by Ashland police after leading them on a dangerous car pursuit for over an hour. To avoid the appearance of a cover-up the police reported that the person was of no particular importance."

John Davis


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