Fresh alternative to lawsuits
It was refreshing and encouraging to read "A new world in the woods" (HCN, 4/1/02: A new world in the woods). While environmental groups promote divisiveness and confrontation through the courts at taxpayers' expenses, people such as Headley and Wilcox make a difference on the ground without sensationalism or posturing. They directly help restore ecological health to degraded areas, whether it be stream restoration to help fish populations, planting seedlings in deforested areas, control erosion on washed-out roads, or thinning out tree stands.
Those actions do more for the local environment than the flurry of lawsuits preferred by most environmental groups opposed to the multiple-use concept on public lands. Hands-on restorations have a high rate of success, because of their small scale, flexibility, and light approach on the land. Micromanaging an area is labor intensive, but identifies and addresses the problems found in this specific area with successful results.
It is encouraging to see more and more concerned members of the general public getting involved at the local level by offering their time and efforts periodically to repair or restore damaged areas with positive and immediate results. You won't find members of Forest Guardians or the Center for Southwestern Biological Diversity coming out of their air-conditioned offices or SUVs to sweat and get their hands dirty on a restoration project. They are too busy condemning others and filing lawsuits to "save the environment."