The Fresno Bee article (Aug. 21) about a possible National Monument designation for the Sierra National Forest presents the issues in a very thorough manner.
Under existing rules, the National Forest will continue to be managed largely for commodity extraction such as logging and grazing. As a National Monument, the forest would be restored to a more natural condition, making it suitable for the native plants and animals, and for human recreation.
Repeated studies over the decades have concluded that the Sierra Nevada has a higher economic value for recreation than for timber production. But the emphasis has always been on timber production and other extractive industries such as grazing. As practiced, these industrial uses have not been compatible with people using the forest for recreation. One forest supervisor went so far as to say that the areas used for timber production were his “industrial zone,” and people should not expect to enjoy their visits there.
It is time to move toward more sustainable management which will place natural and human values above those of the corporate interests.
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Since Congress seems incapable of action, ask President Obama to act directly to establish the Sierra National Monument.
George Whitmore, Fresno