A Valley Like This and Beyond   Robert Leverett
  Dec 07, 2005 13:07 PST 


   Fine words. I wish this message had reached the multitudes that have
now irreversible changed the mountain valleys in Colorado that I once
visited and loved, but no longer. Whether in California, Washington,
Colorado, or Vermont, peaceful valleys are disappearing - falling prey
to development and eventually over-population.


Edward Frank wrote:
  A Valley Like This

Sometimes you look at an empty valley like this,
and suddenly the air is filled with snow.
That is the way the whole world happened -
there was nothing, and then...

But maybe sometimes you will look out and even
the mountains are gone, the world become nothing
again. What can a person do to help
bring back the world?

We have to watch and then look at each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully
save it, like a bubble that can disappear
if we don't watch out.

Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When mornings and evenings
roll along watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party your life is.

William Stafford

sign atop Washington Pass in the Washington State.
RE: A Valley Like This   Roman Dial
  Dec 08, 2005 01:33 PST 


That's why I moved to Alaska from the DC area -- when they cut the
woods of my youth.

The cutting has gone much, much slower here. It gives hope, or at least
its illusion.

A Valley Like This And Beyond    Robert Leverett
   Dec 08, 2005 05:36 PST 


   It is interesting to contrast the attitudes toward our forests as
held by people in different regions, states, etc. and between people
living in different environments, e.g. urban, suburban, agricultural
rural, mountainous, etc. It would be quite a study to classify the
common points of view on a state by state basis, looking for major and
minor differences. For instance, as a group, how do the views of rural
Maine farmers, especially in central and northern Maine, who are
accustomed to seeing vast tracts of industrial forest lands with large
clearcuts, compare with say rural farmers in Will Fell's neck of the
woods who I presume are accustomed to seeing lots of orderly pine
plantations, or say suburban Colorado residents relative to those living
in mountain communities like South Park ---hmmm.

   Of course, individual perceptions are all over the place, but group
statistics are probably stable enough to classify. I well remember the
perceptions of residents of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, as it is
locally called. Many there see their forests as healthy, vigorous, even
stately, etc. By contrast, I saw a sordid, high-graded landscape of
utterly puny trees. Taking a macro view of that landscape, one sees
lovely sights everywhere - open fields, long blue ridges. But a closer
inspection of the forests yields little to cheer about.

   Many city dwellers have interspersed parks and old money high end
neighborhoods that are awash in huge trees that literally dwarf what
grows in the rural areas beyond, yet most city dwellers are oblivious to
what they have in the way of tree treasures. Urban forestry has made
inroads to changing attitudes here in western Mass. I don't know how it
is elsewhere.      

   In terms of valuing forested landscapes, on a national scale, I think
Massachusetts residents rank pretty high, yet few bay staters understand
what goes on in the private forests. Good forest management is minimal.
High grading is the norm. This is generally true all across the
   On occasion, Lee Frelich has spoken to the perceptions of Minnesotans
(sp?). Lee, any observations, you'd care to share? Taken as a group, do
people in say upstate Duluth see the surrounding forests in a way
different from views commonly held in Minneapolis?

Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond   Fores-@aol.com
  Dec 08, 2005 08:39 PST 

In the bowels of Appalachia there is a generally utilitarian attitude
towards the forest interspersed with thick layers of Manifest Destiny.   Generally,
the forestry profession has not aided much updating these attitudes as they
really help in justifying the high grading and degrading cutting practices
that are often applied.

Russ Richardson
Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond   Lee E. Frelich
  Dec 08, 2005 10:16 PST 


Yes, there are differences in perceptions of trees between Minneapolitans
and Duluthians. Minneapolis is probably the tree preservation capital of
the world. A fuss is made over every tree (and every spot where there
could be a tree). When I decided to have the elm trees in Downtown
Minneapolis' Loring Park treated to prevent Dutch Elm Disease, people in
the neighborhood around the park sent in contributions of $11,000 (and we
didn't even ask for money!). The trees were teated with Alamo during July,
and money continues to come in. I almost have enough money to treat the
trees again, although the next treatment is not due until 2008. Of course
in Minneapolis, any given tree could be lost to a derecho during any
summer, and people are aware of that, so maybe that's why they value trees
so much. People from Minneapolis are likely to know of many natural areas
with old growth forests throughout the state, even, or especially people
who live in downtown highrises. Many people live in Minneapolis because of
its well tended urban forest, and because there are so many areas to go
hiking and camping in the immediate area and the region.

In Duluth, people also know a lot about natural areas (in fact Duluth has a
city Natural Area Program and just designated an 1100 acre natural area
within the city limits, with 1000 foot hills, and spectacular views of Lake
Superior). They also saved an old growth stand with semi-dwarfed yellow
birch and sugar maple on Spirit Mountain (it is amazingly similar to the
forest at Wachussett Mountain, MA). The area was slated to become a golf
course. The incumbent mayor of Duluth was removed from office at the last
election, in part because of this issue, and now the golf course plans are
history. The big difference between Minneapolis and Duluth is in street
trees within the heavily settled parts of the city, where trees are seen as
blocking the view of Lake Superior, and creating too much shade that blocks
the sun, making the extremely steep streets very icy in the winter. Its
like San Francisco but the hills are steeper, there is even more fog during
the summer, and for half the year there is snow and very short
days. Nevertheless, there are a number of magnificent white spruce and
other trees in the city.

Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond    Michele Wilson
   Dec 08, 2005 23:21 PST 

Hi all;
Commenting on one of the offerings, my perception of the Northeast Kingdom
is similar to Bob's.

In my most recent management plan, I made it a point to insert the word
highgraded under the previous ownership in many places to drive the point
home loud and clear.

There certainly still is a lot of obliviousness out there.
Most folks who don't actually work or research in the forests of our world
and don't own forestland are likely pretty much oblivious.
Today I was thinking about formulating a play for school systems involving
kids and the theme of tree grade quality and the many different ways to look
at a tree and the values attached such as a "cull" timber tree could still
be a great wildlife tree, etc. The kids would likely have loads of fun
making their costumes which would all be different trees of course, for
example, one costume would be a veneer quality yellow birch, another would
be a cull quality white ash with a nice cavity hole near the top and a den
hole at the bottom, etc. etc. And when the kids are wondering what is the
finite number of choices they can choose from for their costumes, well, that
would be the first lesson attached, that there is no finite number of
examples, and many additional lessons would, of course, stem from that...the
teachers would be kept very busy!!! Anyway, just a notion that crossed my
mind as I noticed from about 600 feet away a hunter heading up the ridge who
was likely wishing I wasn't where I was as the hunter then knew he had to go
many hundreds of feet further up to get anywhere near a deer...well, I got
to where I was first!!! I have work to do!!!

Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond   Fores-@aol.com
  Dec 09, 2005 06:44 PST 

As we head into one of the worst timber and lumber markets in decades, I
think that for the near term, nearly all aspects of environmentally sustainable
forestry are headed for the toilet. Timber companies are largely refusing to
involve themselves in any harvest that has improvement of the overall forest
as an intent. I have had too many conversations with people involved in
procurement to think the trend will reverse itself soon. In WV the severance
tax doubled the first of December to help pay down the nearly billion dollar
debt owed to the state Workers Comp fund....over 80% of it is owed by bankrupt
coal companies...and it is already being used as a ploy to pay property
owners even less for their trees. In general these are very tough times in the

Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond   dbhg-@comcast.net
  Dec 11, 2005 14:05 PST 

   It is interesting to observes that while the actual on ground situation deteriorates in our private forests, the state resource agencies of many states continue dispensing utter crap -pure propaganda. The "fine state" of forest practices is extolled in their states when the opposite is true. Why is that? It is almost as if resource managers believe that if they say everything is okay out in the forest lands that by some wave of a magic wand, everything will eventually turn out that way.

Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond   Fores-@aol.com
  Dec 11, 2005 16:34 PST 

I think the most serious reason for the deterioration of the forest health
could be partially blamed on the whole private property rights thing but I
also believe the issue is far deeper than that.

In spite of decades of educational efforts by public and private
conservation education and forest industry groups, the general public has been
incredibly slow to learn that forest management is a science let alone apply it on
their own property.

Even in these days of the Internet and computers, I regularly come in
contact with property owners who never considered there could be people other than
loggers involved with forest management.

The average tenancy period for private property is 7 years and most long
term forestland owners sell timber less than twice in their lifetime.

With the rapidly changing pattern and face of rural land ownership many
investors and new owners are seeking forest management advice only if they think
they need it.

The bottom line is that most people don't intentionally own land for timber
production and a vast and overwhelming majority sell their timber with a
similar level of consideration.

It is frustrating but there are enough people who want to do it right to
make it worthwhile.

Re: A Valley Like This And Beyond   fores-@earthlink.net
  Dec 12, 2005 02:05 PST 
Well, I guess that is one good thing about NJ. For the most part, people here tend to not see forests as needing anything to be done with them and just let them be, no high grading, no low-grading, no culling, no anything, not exactly much of a logging or forestry culture. I think it's been at least 40 years, and probably more like 80 years, since anything more than an extraodinarily small percentage of the population has been into doing anything with their woods other than leave them be to nature. I think woods were mostly ever cut here to burn for the iron mines, everything else was mostly to clear land for farming and development and the logs were an after thought, at least this is my impression. Selling off for development is the only real concern (although this, sadly, is a HUGE concern, especially starting since the late 80's).
Re: bur oak grove   Lee Frelich
  Dec 17, 2005 17:08 PST 

A few weeks ago Bob Leverett asked about people's attitude in Minneapolis
towards trees. Maybe this mornings observations shed some light on the topic.

Downtown Minneapolis' Loring Park has a bur oak grove on top of a hill,
near my place. There is a group of men who have a picnic there every
Saturday morning, and I was surprised to see them there this morning having
breakfast at 7:00 am. They had shoveled out the picnic table, and were
leisurely eating breakfast at a temperature of 1 (one) degree F. The
temperature had risen to 7 degrees by the time they finished at mid
day. They could meet in the park shelter building, or behind a nearby
grove of spruce, which would at least stop the wind, but they chose a grove
of 200 year old bur oaks on top of a hill.

It is a pretty spot, with the trees and a view of ice skaters on the pond,
the sculpture garden, Basilica of St.Mary and St.Mark's Cathredral. Its
even prettier at night when the pathway lamps light up the snow on the tree
branches, and the snow sparkles all the colors of the rainbow like it does
at this latitude during Siberian-cold winters like we are having this year.