Don’t Betray the Forests for Short-Term Benefits
Re “Gov. Criticized Over Stance on Forest Roads,” Nov. 22: I voted for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger because I believed as a fiscal conservative that he could help rectify California’s deficit. Cutting into our national forests to generate dollars for California businesses is not the answer. We are a wealthy state with an abundance of resources and opportunity; I have to believe there is a way to solve the budget crisis without cutting into our beautiful forests. The deficit, like all economic problems, is part of a cycle that ebbs and flows; our forests, however, are not as fluid.
As stewards of this great state, so rich in natural beauty, we must protect the California forests. Whether we like it or not, our civic responsibility requires the preservation of our natural resources, not only for our enjoyment, but for future generations. In addition, these forests provide clean drinking water to more than 60 million Americans, not to mention sustaining animal and plant life for millions more species. If there are no forests, no roadless vistas in which to hike, snowshoe, camp or merely stare at the stars around a campfire, then we will truly have lost our compass and the respect of both past and future generations.
As a recent Midwestern transplant, I relish the opportunity for exploring nature’s wonders that lie before me in California in such close proximity to home. The state’s geography is its most attractive feature, and I believe our governor should do all he can to protect it. Not supporting the roadless area rule is treading on dangerous ground, and I would hate to see our cherished forests and wildlife suffer for short-term benefits.
While we’re all contributing to the world’s eighth-largest economy, it’s nice to know we have a vast “intact” environment in which to recharge our batteries. Without the beaches, mountains and forests, I could make a strong case for returning to the Midwest.
I guess this is the start of the governor backing out of the campaign promises that he made, ensuring the people of California that he was an environmental Republican (an oxymoron at best). If this rule gets overturned, valuable habitat will be disrupted. Wildlife will be subjected to snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and four-wheelers. It also opens the door for logging interests to cast their greedy eye on our precious forests. The Bush administration is hellbent on benefiting its cronies, and it looks as if California’s natural resources are being laid at the altar.
It is my position and firm belief that despite differences in views among citizens, groups and corporations, there is a common ground to be found on issues that many would say are nonnegotiable. The issue of the roadless rule is an exception. The fact that any constituency or special interest could be allowed to repeal a last bastion of environmental protection is ludicrous and sickening.
This is not a matter of “fringe environmentalists” or of the “corporate hierarchy”; it is an issue that affects us all and should not be budged on for any price.