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Letters: South Plateau logging project should be withdrawn

The US Forest Service keeps pushing the myth that logging will prevent fire and “restore” forests. The South Plateau Project would clearcut over 5,000 acres and build nearly 56 miles of new roads near Yellowstone Park.

Building up to 56 miles of roads is insane when so most of our national forests already have far too many roads. Surely here so close to Yellowstone the land deserves a gentler approach. This is critical grizzly bear habitat, and roads are a well known problem for grizzlies.

The Forest Service may plan to take out the roads later but it’s much cheaper and easier on the land and the wildlife to never build them in the first place.

The Forest Service wants to cut down huge swaths of forest to keep it from being killed by beetles or fire. But lodgepole pine are evolved to burn and they will burn. This is not a bad thing. It is free forest management and renewal.

Fires and dead trees are actually part of a healthy forest.

And how are we supposed to assess the impact and effectiveness of this project when we don’t even know yet where the roads and clearcuts will be? The lack of transparency is a slap in the face to a public who really do want to be involved.

Massive logging projects like South Plateau rob the forest of its ability to store carbon. Less than 15% of a logged tree is stored as carbon; the rest ends up released into the atmosphere.

The Biden Administration is moving aggressively toward an intelligent climate strategy that includes conserving intact forests and public lands. This project flies in the face of President Biden’s work to steer us toward a sustainable future.