Last night the national NBC News show had a "feel good" segment on underwater lumbering. Some folks in Canada had invented a machine which allowed them to remotely harvest trees that had been drowned years ago by artificial lakes.
Yes, that is a good thing, as far as it goes. It recovers part of a resource that should have been recovered at the time the dams were built. Instead, the trees were left in place to rot from the top down to the water line. Only that part of the tree preserved by immersion in cold water is usable. This means that only the bottom ten or twenty feet of a hundred foot high tree can be recovered. Somehow, that information was left out of the story. Instead, the story was on "the production of environmentally friendly two by fours," their words.
Since the environmental community is anxious to make steak out of hamburger, the segment included an envirobabe standing in front of perhaps forty acres of recently harvested timberland, surrounded by many more acres that were unharvested . She noted that the ecosystem there had been destroyed.
It hadn't been destroyed. It had been moved two or three hundred feet into the unharvested forest.
As the segment proceeded, we couldn't help but think back to the tens of thousands of burned acres of old growth forest in and around Glacier National Forest. There, the ecology systems have been totally destroyed, or to the extent that the large animals and birds could move, they have moved miles. How much better those forests would have been if loggers had been allowed to cut reasonable fire breaks of the kind this woman was standing in front of.
Yes, when a fire starts in a partially logged forest, some timber will burn, but the fire will come up against these logged areas and run out of fuel, allowing fire fighters to put it out after it destroys a few hundred, rather than a few tens of thousands of acres.
Freshly logged areas are not pretty, but good esthetics is not good forest management. The environmental movement is more moved by esthetics than by good forest management. What their policies leave the rest of us with is scars, often tens of square miles in size, where the trees burn so hot that the soil crusts over, impervious to moisture and thus life. Some of those scars will be around and quite visible when our grandchildren's grandchildren walk the earth.
The Hayman fire, here in Colorado, burned so hot that people walking in the scar must take care to watch were they step to avoid twisting or breaking an ankle. The fire burned so hot that it burned out the roots of the trees it destroyed, leaving voids.
Al Gore, of Inconvenient Truth fame, lives in a big house that consumes about ten times as much energy as do his more modest neighbors. He sanctimoniously informs us that he has purchased carbon offsets, (i.e. paid for someone to plant trees) which makes his carbon footprint effectively zero.
He sat in the Congress for years, and was Vice President at a time when environmentalists ran government policy. When you see a burn scar that stretches for tens of square miles, think of the carbon dioxide that that fire dumped into the atmosphere. Even after the fire is out, the trunks are left to rot in place, dumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year for decades. If the fire was hot enough to form a crust over the soil, people like Al Gore can't plant enough trees in their lifetime to make up for the losses their own policies have generated.
The left's forest fire generated carbon footprint isn't just limited to the burned out trees. Here in Colorado, the Hayman fire destroyed the ground cover that limits erosion in the watershed that supplies Denver with clean water. Denver has established mud traps to keep their reservoirs from filling with mud, and will spend millions of dollars and use thousands of gallons of diesel fuel to clean out those traps. The money expended and the pollution generated can be laid at the feet of the Al Gores of the world.
Colorado has it's own Al Gore in Mark Udall. Mark Udall's inconvenient truth is that he is trying to close most roads on Federal property to the public. Once closed, the roads will eventually become impassable, making any kind of reasonable forest management impossible. Not only is this a bad idea, it is pure, simple, idiocy promoted by folks who can't seem to learn any lessons from nature or history.
If Udall manages to pull this off, this author will propose that the next large scale forest fire in Colorado be officially named after Udall, with four by eight signs proclaiming "The Mark Udall Carbon Footprint" on every road on or near the burn. If the left won't let us have unburnt forests in Colorado, let's at least make the burns into tourist attractions.
The far left, and Mark Udall is far to the left, is entirely lacking in common sense.
Added: We welcome civil comments and almost invariably approve and publish those we consider civil and non deceptive even if they disagree with us. Those with an interest in this post would do well to look back over the last several days of posts. We went on vacation and saw three different multi tens of thousands of acre burns in two separate national parks. It wasn't something we expected, and it was sickening to us. We aren't the pawns of the logging interests, only concerned citizens who see a crime against the public being committed in the name of environmentalism.
Mark Udall would do well not to go to Lake Tahoe in search of campaign donations. The people who have been burned out are complaining bitterly TODAY that the Sierra Club opposed the construction of a logging road which would have allowed the forest to be thinned.
More on this tomorrow.