New Hampshire-Ours Is A Land Of
Ours is a land of many uses
Article Date: Monday, August 18, 2008
It has been argued for decades that responsible timber
operations benefit the health of the forests. Environmental
groups have argued the opposite. It is still true today.
Friday, a federal judge rejected an attempt by the New Hampshire
Sierra Club to put a halt to two logging operations in the White
Mountain National Forest. The Sierra Club, the Wilderness
Society and the Center for Biological Diversity want the
operations halted while they prepare an appeal. It came down to
wanting the judge to intervene while the groups succeeded in
making the logging operations unprofitable through delay.
Judge Steven McAuliffe didn't buy into the environmental groups'
claim of "irreparable injury."
McAuliffe issued an order in June rejecting claims the logging
plan was not adequately reviewed by the U.S. Forest Service and
others. He ruled the mere existence of potential harm to the
environment does not mean the certainty of irreparable injury.
No certainty of irreparable harm, no cause for intervention. If
the courts were to step in every time an environmental group
from somewhere in the United States argued potential harm, there
wouldn't be a stick of timber cut in the United States.
Our forests are for the use of everyone. The White Mountain
National Forest is a splendid example of it. The national forest
provides a wonderland of recreational opportunity 12 months of
every year. It is a source of wealth for the people who live and
work in the region — wealth shared by other regions of the
Our forests provide a variety of private- and public-sector jobs
for thousands of our residents.
The management of New Hampshire's forests is an important
function of the U.S. Forest Service, the state and responsible
private groups. In the past several decades, the people of New
Hampshire have become sensitive to their environment.
Apolitical, but socially conscious residents of New Hampshire
have given of their time and efforts to conserve and preserve
the land on which they live. Conservation commissions have come
into being in cities and towns throughout the state.
New Hampshire is the second-most forested state in the nation,
second only to neighboring Maine. A survey conducted in 1997
showed 84 percent of New Hampshire's land area was forested and
94 percent of that — more than 4.5 million acres — was
classified as timberland and "is physically capable of growing
timber crops and is potentially available for harvesting."
The mass of forested land in New Hampshire declined in the years
leading up to 1997, and in that year was forested at a level
that existed in 1948. But three-fourths of the decline occurred
in the southern part of the state, where population growth was
greatest. Communities in southern New Hampshire since have
become aware of the effect of that growth and are beginning to
deal with it.
Forest industries and well-managed logging operations in the
national forest and other timberland areas of the state will
benefit the people of New Hampshire — their environment, their
economy and their way of life.
The people of New Hampshire, working with responsible
conservation groups and organizations focused on New Hampshire's
environment, will preserve their way of life and ensure the
continued best use of their forested lands.
The White Mountain National Forest is not something to be looked
at from afar. It is not something we fear to touch. It is a
treasure with which we have been entrusted by nature, and people
wiser than those who would encase it behind a posted fence with
a sign that reads: "Do Not Touch."
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