A red herring issue

  Dear HCN,

In "Experiment takes the cut out of logging" (HCN, 1/17/00: Experiment takes the cut out of logging), Mark Matthews writes, "Some environmentalists who have followed the (Flathead Forestry Project) group fear that, like the Quincy Library Group in Northern California, stewardship contracts put land that is owned by every U.S. taxpayer in the hands of small local groups (HCN, 9/29/97: How a foe saved the Quincy Library Group's bacon)."

It may be accurate to say that, back in 1997, some environmentalists claimed that they feared the QLG proposal as a "local control" land grab. But it is inaccurate and misleading to use the present tense in the article, implying that national forest system lands have been somehow conveyed into private hands and/or taken over by the QLG.

Since "local control" is a red herring in the QLG case, another example or description of the issue would have better illuminated the questions floating around about stewardship contracting. For example, the long time periods being sought by some would-be contractors (25 years is the longest I've heard proposed out loud), or the questions of who actually decides what stewardship activities occur on any given piece of ground, are genuine issues.

The three-year-old fears expressed by environmental organization staffers lobbying against QLG are not, and never were, based in reality.

Linda Blum
Quincy, California

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