Letters: Menconi apology rebuffed | VailDaily.com

Letters: Menconi apology rebuffed

Compiled by Vail Daily staff
Vail CO, Colorado

Apology not accepted

Sorry Arn Menconi, apology not accepted! Your speeding violation clearly illuminates the fact that not only do you lack respect for the will of the voters and taxpayers of Eagle County, you lack respect for their laws.

Imagine, the outspoken advocate for highway safety, reduced speed limits, and government knows what’s best for you, blasting down the highway at one-tenth the speed of sound, a projectile of flesh and metal with enough inertia to pulverize anyone or anything in a split nanosecond.

Perhaps,there is a subliminal message here: Arn, you must not care about kids!

Jeff Nathanson


Fishing fun for families

The Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce recently hosted Family Fishing Fun on July 20. We used the Gypsum Ponds and many local families participated in this fabulous time-honored local event!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Town of Gypsum and the Gypsum Daze committee for helping us promote this wonderful occasion. Outstanding applause goes to Gorsuch Outfitters and The Colorado Division of Wildlife; both of whom were monumentally instrumental in providing gear, information and enthusiasm.

Other sponsors that deserve much appreciation are the Eagle County Environmental Department, Eagle Pharmacy, Columbine Market and Culligan Water for donating supplies, ECO Transit for providing transportation and of course the Western Eagle County Ambulance District, Gypsum Fire Department and the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District for continuing to ensure all of our families safety.

The Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce looks forward to hosting Family Fishing Fun in the years to come. Many thanks once again to everyone who participated and helped make this event a success.

Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce staff

Clear-cutting makes sense

Through the wonders of the Internet, I read several Western newspapers every day. I find it ironic that on the same day that I read your Aug. 5 story about a gathering of environmentalists who reassured us that the pine beetle epidemic didn’t increase the threat of forest fires, The Missoulian in Montana ran a story which read “the Jocko wildfire erupted in a sea of dead and downed lodgepole pine.”

Mr. Kulakowski, an academic who attended the enviro gathering, was quoted as saying “Beetles have no effect on fire risk.” The Madison Arm fire that burned near West Yellowstone, Montana last month burned through dead and downed lodgepole that had been killed by pine beetles 30 years ago. Barry Smith, emergency services director for Eagle County, was quoted as saying “there is a bit of increased fire risk from the red pine needles, but once they fall off the risk of ignition goes down.”

The Missoulian newstory and the Madison wildfire highlights the glaring deficiency in Mr. Smith’s wildfire threat assessment. He makes no mention of the fact that your fire hazard will increase substantially in the 10-15 years it will take for 90 percent of the dead lodgepole to fall and create a tangle of deadfall. Your fire threat isn’t now, it’s in 10 years. I’m sure the public would like to know if Mr. Smith thinks all that deadfall will be an “increased” fire risk. Common sense certainly says it will.

The environmentalists also expressed concern about sediment caused by logging roads. In the aftermath of the Yellowstone fires, I saw erosion that would have made the cover of Time magazine if a logger had done it. After the fire, you’ll see more sediment than a thousand years of logging pour into your streams. You’ll find that a clear-cut has a lot less environmental impact than a wildfire. You’ll also find there’s no better way to see the resiliency of nature than a wildfire’s aftermath. If nature can recover from a wildfire, it sure can recover from clear-cut.

I’ll concede the enviros make an interesting point that many past beetle epidemics never burned. In the Flat Tops, 240,000 acres of spruce were killed by beetles in the 1940s, and it never burned. It’s probably a testament to the Forest Service firefighters more than anything. However, the Flat Tops is much more remote than the urban areas in Eagle or Summit counties. Consider that I-70, which cuts through all this dead forest, leads to a city of a couple million people and more than a few crazies.

How many arsonists do you suppose will drive through your dead forests?

The environmentalists claim that logging will not help and even make the fire hazard worse. One of the best kept secrets of forestry is that “clear-cuts’ regenerated with young trees will not burn. Any wildland firefighter knows this. I think the media should specifically interview the Forest Service about this phenomenon. I think the Forest Service should do a better job of educating, advocating, and publicizing the fact that salvage clear-cuts will be an effective fire break. Don’t assume the public will just believe what you say. A picture is worth a thousand words.

An Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Beaverhead National Forest for the Basin Creek Fuels Reduction project does a fantastic job. The statement contains several dramatic aerial photos of unburned clear-cuts to back up the following quotes. “Local experience shows that lodgepole pine regeneration in clear-cuts will not burn” and “even clear-cuts as old as 35 years and as tall as 30 feet would not burn.” Phillip Omi did research after the Yellowstone fire comparing managed stands and unmanaged park stands. He found that 90 percent of the old growth park stands died, while only 20 percent of the regenerated clear-cuts burned.

I’ve seen and photographed this “clear-cuts don’t burn” phenomenon at several locations. I’ve sent these photos to your local politicians and media. I would be happy to send anyone copies of my pictures and direct them to the Beaverhead Web site if they e-mail me at survey@rushmore.com. Someday the firefighters working under Mr. Smith may save their lives by taking refuge in one of these clear-cuts. Experienced wildland firefighters know this ” ask them.

Finally, only 3 percent of the “forested” acres on the White River National Forest have been logged in 50 years. The salvage logging proposed will make that 4 percent. The natural process so dear to the environmentalists will be allowed to die on the other 95 percent. When it comes to fire risk assessment, I’ll put my faith in the hands of the wildland firefighters at the Forest Service who’ve got careers worth of first-hand, on the ground, in the field, experience with forest fire behavior. Dare to question the environmental establishment.

Derek Weidensee

Rapid City, S.D.

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