Forestry story lacked context

  We were very disturbed by Peter Friederici’s article "Peace Breaks Out in New Mexico’s Forests." Its misrepresentations and outright lies are a slap in the face to all of us who were involved in trying to revitalize community forestry during the 1990s. Friederici fails to provide any of the historical and cultural context necessary to understand a very complex and important period that not only affected northern New Mexico forestry but also raised questions all over the country about the relationships between environmentalists, the Forest Service, and indigenous communities.

When we drafted a 560-word letter responding to the article, HCN told us that due to "limited space for letters" the editors could not print the letter as written. It would take a letter at least as long as Friederici’s article to fully respond to all of his misconceptions. We therefore suggest that readers who are interested in a more informed perspective take a look at the November 2006 issue of La Jicarita News (

For the record, however, we can’t let several of Bryan Bird’s comments go unchallenged. Environmentalists Sam Hitt and John Talberth’s wives were never hung in effigy, even though Charlotte Talberth was also a Forest Guardian activist involved in the timber sale appeals and lawsuits. Furthermore, his comments that loggers cut down several big pines "just to spite us" and that "everybody has taken a deep breath and stood down" are self-serving and unsubstantiated.

Mark Schiller and Kay Matthews
Co-editors, La Jicarita News
Chamisal, New Mexico

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