Loss and renewal in the Northwest

  • Good Wood: Growth, Loss and Renewal

    Steven R. Radosevich, 136 pages, softcover: $18.95. Oregon State University Press, 2005
 

"These stories of loss are about farming and forestry in the Pacific Northwest," writes Steven Radosevich in this compact collection of essays. "They come along with me out of my vineyard." Radosevich, hunter, fisherman, grape grower and professor of forest science at Oregon State University, writes simple, painful prose about the diminishing natural wealth of the Pacific Northwest. In three sections — "Growth," "Loss" and "Renewal" — Radosevich family history sculpts the "homeplace" of Tieton, Wash. Once home to several generations, the farmhouse is now boarded up, its apple orchards dead — drought, corporate agriculture and family illness have all taken their toll.

Looking beyond his family farm, Radesovich is profoundly disturbed by the havoc humans have wrought on the Northwest. As lumber companies harvest ever more timber, the growing cycle shrinks; replanted conifers are merely "tree farms," not a forest.

The middle section, "Loss," offers the most upsetting, powerful essays. The "good wood" of the title, the metaphorical heart of the forest, dwindles under logging. Siletz Tribe member Charlie Wakenshaw shows Radosevich a new clear-cut in the Coast Range. "Listen, I ain’t no goddamned environmentalist," insists Charlie. "I’ve been a logger most of my forty years, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ like this."

Radosevich doesn’t leave us in despair, however. Back in Tieton, the family replants their orchard; he teaches his grandchildren to prune the good wood, as he learned from his father. But caution tempers his optimism: "The treadmill of chemicals, energy, and machines now has supplanted almost completely our real work — knowing about the land and its biological processes to grow food or wood."

High Country News Classifieds
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • VERDE RIVER PROJECTS TECHNICIAN
    The Verde River Projects Technician (VRPT) provides technical assistance to Verde River Program staff in implementation of the Verde River Streamflow Monitoring Protocol. This consist...
  • 8 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • SOUTHWEST REWILDING ADVOCATE
    WildEarth Guardians is seeking a full-time advocate in our Wild Places Program to advance a new paradigm of forest management and protection based on the...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org