Concerning the steps being taken to declare the ponderosa pine trees in northern Arizona an endangered species, the plan would have been better left as it began, a joke.
I am sure Mr. Pollick has good intentions and a strong desire to see some form of help in saving the remaining pine trees in this general area. Forcing the U.S. Forest Service to send crews into the forest to cut and remove the dead trees in an attempt to slow the beetle infestation of other trees, through the use of the Endangered Species Act, sounds like a decent plan of attack, only on the surface.
First of all, none of us have any idea what the weather holds in store over the next couple years. Continued drought will cause the loss of more trees. An end to the drought should take care of the beetle problem by itself. If the attempt to classify the pine tree as endangered is successful, it could easily take one or two years to take effect. Then it could take years to rid the forest of the dead trees. If we are still in a drought, it would be too late. If not, it would be unnecessary.
Secondly, once the ponderosa pine trees are classified as endangered, it could be very difficult to reverse the classification and return to normal once typical weather patterns return to the area. We are all too familiar with the large forest fires of this past summer. Part of the problem that caused the fires to rage out of control was the thick and unhealthy forests. Can you imagine the result of actually having the pine trees classified as endangered?
There are already groups who would love to see the forests closed to humans. Some forest roads have already been closed, restricting access to various areas.
Hunting, hiking and riding horses could be restricted to areas that do not have pine trees. Vehicle access into the forest could be restricted due to the potential harm that emissions and tire tracks could cause to the trees and seedlings.
Sometimes, what seems like a good idea can end up a total nightmare. We do not need the ponderosa pine classified as endangered. We need an aggressive, forest management plan that will attack the poor state of health of our forests and allow the thinning and some logging of trees.
Mike Foil, Payson