Healthy Forest Initiative Wrong

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Editor:

Am I the only one who thinks the “healthy” forest initiative is ugly and wrong? The forest looks as though we hate it. All the places I like to walk seem to be getting the “treatment.”

Some examples are the Pine Trail, Strawberry-Pine Trail, the mesa above East Verde Park and Horton Gulch. If you want to view especially extreme “treatment” take a drive up 260 to the Ponderosa Campground, turn right at the exit and you will see what heavy machinery can do to the forest floor and all the native plants that grow there, including shrubs, wildflowers and, of course, hundreds of living green ponderosas, junipers and oaks.

These treated areas are now ground up pulp and the soil is exposed to the extreme solar radiation that Arizona is famous for. It is no longer pleasant to hike or camp in the so-called “healthy” forests because there is very little shade left.

In the chaparral that is being treated the native shrubs are being chain-sawed down to one-foot high, removing cover, food and shade for wildlife.

The removal of native vegetation exacerbates an already hot and dry climate, making it even hotter and drier. It contributes to the desertification of this area.

The cost of $800 an acre should make taxpayers cringe. Try the math on the proposed acreage. Meanwhile those who fear wildfire most continue to live in homes built of dry wood and pile tall stacks of firewood next to their highly combustible dwellings. Campers continue to build campfires and leave them smoldering. It is not a question of if a wildfire will occur, it is just when. This is a fire-prone environment that will eventually burn. Drought and wind will fuel it and there is no rhyme or reason as to how the fire will spread. If you are afraid of wildfire, then Rim Country may not be the place for you.

Diane Brown

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