It's painfully obvious that none of the Democrat candidates for president knows anything about national forests beyond some politically correct press release handed them by some radical "green" organization run by city-dwellers who want to control every twig and stick in every national forest, and utterly destroy the economies of forest communities.
There's the usual blather about "protecting old growth" and "giveaways to the timber industry." All the Democrats want to restore the rights of radical greens to endlessly challenge sane forest management -- like the group out of Santa Fe who sued to prevent the Forest Service from cutting down dead trees after the Rodeo-Chediski Fire.
No candidate mentions that the original charter for the creation of U.S. national forests was specifically to provide a steady supply of a renewable resource -- TIMBER -- to the American people. None mentions that our national forests used to have around 20-40 trees per acre, and that now in many places there are 1000-3000 or more, all competing for ground-water, and contributing to drought conditions. No one seems to know that presently a third to a half of our national forests are already dead because of drought and bark-beetles, creating throughout the entire forest the danger of a massive conflagration that could dwarf the recent California fires and the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire.
No one I know, who actually lives and works in a community surrounded by national forest (beyond, perhaps, some extremist greenies in Flagstaff), can take any of the pronouncements of these Democrats as anything but a direct threat to our lives and homes. Their proposals are an insult to anyone who knows anything about the present, unhealthy state of our national forests -- a state that is the direct result from decades of enacting the stupid policies promoted by Democrats.
I'm by no means a fan of everything Bush and the Republicans have done or are proposing to do. But the Healthy Forests Restoration Act is the only sane start to preserving our national forests and restoring them to health. It will also help rural Arizona restore many lost timber-industry jobs and greatly lessen our present danger of being totally burned out of existence by green-extremist-supported forest policies.
I encourage as many rural Arizonans as possible to contact these Democrats and let them know the truth about their ignorant forest proposals.
Ned Weatherby, Payson