On Wednesday night the Forest Service proposed several ideas to create funds from forest land without chopping wood. Three of these included using carbon credits, tree thinning of overgrown forests, …
On Wednesday night the Forest Service proposed several ideas to create funds from forest land without chopping wood. Three of these included using carbon credits, tree thinning of overgrown forests, and creating revenue from recreation using forest land.
The idea of using carbon credits is a new plan which has excited much interest. It is still in the development phase and the details have not yet been sorted out. (It was mentioned though, that the Lost Wilderness area would be one of the first areas to be a likely candidate for carbon credits.)
The Forest Service has already successfully thinned out trees in several sites promoting the growth of healthy wood and raising revenue. Another longer-ranged plan, and perhaps the most nebulous, is using forested land for recreational purposes. Heidi Eisenhower, our county commissioner, spoke of creating trails through the forest to allow access for visitors. A master plan is set to be released by January 2023.
There are many forces at play and it is impossible to know who will win out in the end.
The logging interests that would like to cut down every foot of income-providing wood or the people of Port Townsend who crowded the room on a cold dark night to protect the culture and character of the land they love and the scores of others were attending over Zoom.
One of the most compelling voices was the man who stood up near the end of the meeting who spoke with an open heart about the specialness of forests on the peninsula. How their beauty stirs us deeply and creates a bond that must be protected.
In closing, I would like to write that the Jefferson County Forest Management Service has titled the Lost Wilderness trees “heritage trees.” Heritage trees have protection in Washington state forestry law. It seems like the concerned citizens and Steve Grace have won this part of the victory of protecting these trees even if Steve worries about how long this will last. We now need to create a buffer around the forest including those trees that abut residential housing units along Ocean Grove and Cape George. I was delighted to learn that this, too, is the wish of the Forest Service.
There are many powerful interests that want to cut as much timber as they can. Who simply don’t see any reason not to take advantage of natural resources. And many frightened people that are afraid their taxes will rise if they need to make up for lost forestry funds.
It calls on us to provide careful vigilance in the years ahead so that the land we love so much is protected for generations. It is the gift we give our children and their children.
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