Forest For The Trees

To the Editor,

I generally support the goals of organizations such as the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, but the article "Forest Service Primeval" (Tucson Weekly, October 3) shows that, when it comes to forest management, they can't see the forest for the trees.

Mailbag The proposed logging of 1,600 dead trees near Rustler Park in the Chiracahua Mountains will affect only 64 acres out of more than 27,000 acres burned in the Rattlesnake fire of 1994. Even this tiny area will not be clear-cut. The only tress to be cut are of the proper size for the "viga" beams used in Santa Fe style houses. Most of the dead trees will remain standing.

The larger issue is the overall health of forests throughout the west. The Rattlesnake fire was a direct result of the Forest Service's decades-old policy of total fire suppression. Interruption of the natural fire regime allowed fuel loads to build up to the point where a catastrophic fire was inevitable. Recovery will require several decades to several centuries, depending on the intensity with which the fire burned. In places the heat was so intense that mineral particles in the soil actually fused together to form what amounts to a thin layer of rock.

A similar catastrophic fire occurred on Mt. Graham last summer. The burned area was restricted to about 6,400 acres because of a fortunate change in wind direction. Otherwise, it could have been a lot worse.

Similar fates await most forests in the west. The only hope lies in intensive forest management consisting of selective tree cutting, thinning and controlled burning. Unfortunately, environmental extremists don't seem to have gotten the message. One of their various groups stopped a much-needed tree thinning project near Alpine in the White Mountains last summer.

The quote attributed to Bob Witzeman of the Maricopa Audubon Society that "dead and dying trees are the most valuable in the forest" is prophetic. If the environmental extremists succeed in their efforts, dead and dying trees are about all we will have left.

--William C. Thornton

A Big Stink

To the Editor,

I feel that I must respond to Mark Ever's letter ("Temple Of Boom," Tucson Weekly, October 24) about Jeff Smith's "Spare the Rod...And Gun Club" (Tucson Weekly, September 19). I have been a Future Farmers of America member for four years now. During this time, I have helped take care of animals (beef, sheep, swine) at my high school's land lab. Tucson Tallow was a business that we were very happy to have so close to us. We were able to call them when an animal died, and for a very nominal fee they would come pick up the animal and dispose of it safely.

The smell of Tucson Tallow is not like a neighbor playing a stereo loudly. Everyone that moved into that area after Tucson Tallow was able to smell the tallow--they can't turn the smell off. It really was the responsibility of the people moving in around Tucson Tallow to be observant of the smell.

I happen to personally know two families living within blocks of Tucson Tallow that tolerate the smell because they realize what a valuable service they provide. I just wish more people would realize the value of Tucson Tallow and leave them alone.

--Alana McQuarry

Border Battles

To the Editor,

Regarding Leslie Marmon Silko's "The Border Patrol State" (Tucson Weekly, September 26): I don't know a great deal about the Border Patrol. I do, however, know how oddly the Border Patrol agents treat other people. Since my parents work in Nogales and we live in Tucson, my family and I have to commute from Tucson to Nogales. Every day on our way home, we have to stop at a Border Patrol checkpoint. Time after time, the Border Patrol agents stop us and ask us stupid questions, even though we go through the checkpoint every day and meet the same agents every day. It seems almost as if they are just trying to give us a hard time.

--Kris Bender
Nogales High School student

To the Editor,

Leslie Marmon Silko's "The Border Patrol State" (Tucson Weekly, September 26) really captured my attention because I live in Nogales. I could say that most people from Nogales have had some kind of encounter with the Border Patrol, and no one here is happy about it and/or even feels safe to have these rude people running around, following you to see what you have or where you're from.

I had one encounter with these people. They stop vans quite often because illegal immigrants are sometime transported in vans from Nogales to other cities. They stopped us and pulled us out and started looking through our van like they had all the right to do this. They were rude to us, and, worst of all, they didn't ask for our permission to check our car. If the government really cares and really wants to protect American citizens, they should first look for qualified, polite people who have the capacity to treat other people like people.

I agree deeply with the person who wrote this article and I think we should stand up for what we think is best for us. In my opinion, the Border Patrol is not necessary. Besides, what does their job consist of--coffee and donuts, or stopping the illegal immigrant flow?

--Priscilla Guerrero
Nogales High School student

When We're 65

To the Editor,

You are sleaze. Just like that sleaze-bag, three-dollar Bill Clinton. Well, I will tell you who will damn you: your children, when they have to raise their children in the world you voted for, but may not know the difference, never having known the beautiful America that I grew up in 65 years ago. See what liberalism has done to America? God, man, what are you using instead of brains?

--P. Zariff

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