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Know the West

Postscripts from a Californian

  Dear HCN,

Regarding the Quincy Library Group efforts described in HCN May 13, there are consequences to the Clinton administration's well-meaning decision to provide the promised $4.7 million to fund the library group's agreement. The funding was taken off the top of an already impoverished Region 5 resources budget. Range management programs which have never had adequate funding are now left without any field personnel in many areas. We have gained little if one important program collapses to support another.

One important statement by Quincy Library Group member Mike Jackson that "the forest is no longer a cash cow" fails to be understood by many forest residents. The U.S. Forest Service has often tried to provide everything to everybody - often to the detriment of the forest and its many resources.

And here's more information on the June 10 "Operation Bullsling" you reported, which removed feral cattle from the Ishi Wilderness. The Ishi was designated wilderness in recognition of its Native American historical values and unique California foothill ecosystem. The cattle were degrading the few watercourses and trampling archaeological sites. Since destroying the animals within the wilderness was not a feasible option for the Lassen National Forest, air-lifting the cows seemed worth the money.

Joan Benner

Shaver Lake, California

Joan Benner is an employee of Sierra National Forest. Her opinions are her own, however.