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So-called Rumor versus So-called Fact

The leaflet titled NTMP Rumor versus Fact is especially troubling, as it lists in the “Rumor” column quite a few outlandish statements that the unwary might take for our positions. To balance things out, it actually also lists one error that was propagated in our writing, and confirms two of our positions (one tacitly, and one explicitly).

The sections below are ordered differently from the leaflet; we address the more interesting points first.

Our Mistake: Extent of Rock Paving

One of the eleven “Rumors” the NTMP subcommittee claims to refute (item 5 on the leaflet) actually does reflect an error in sawranch.info. Had anyone had the courtesy to point out the error sooner, it would have been corrected instantly. The Human Impacts page originally contained the statement (emphasis added) “The major trails in the forest would be turned into wide, graded, rock-paved logging roads capable of supporting heavy equipment.” That error is now corrected.

For the record, however, this error was not a fantasy. It originated in the cover memo for the draft NTMP submitted to the TSRA Board of Directors, which stated (emphasis added) “the NTMP will upgrade approximately 18,410 feet of existing road... A large portion of these roads will be rocked to limit future erosion issues.”

Areas of Apparent Agreement

Thirty Percent

One of the “rumors” (item 8; actually a question) discussed in this leaflet is “Why take 30%—that is not light.” While the response to this question does explain the forester's rationale, it presents no response to the observation that this is not “light” as the term is commonly understood. We take that nonresponse as tacit agreement.

Do note that 30% is only the lower bound of the 30%-40% range proposed for harvest in the NTMP. Citing only the lower bound is slightly misleading.

Canopy Openings, Ladder Fuels, and Invasive Plants

The leaflet's response (item 10) to the observation “Opening the canopy will allow invasive plants to grow and increase ladder fuels”) is that additional work will be undertaken as a result. (This work does not appear to be described in the NTMP or the FMP).

There is no refutation to the observation itself.

This confirms that canopy openings, such as proposed by the NTMP, do indeed recruit invasive species and ladder fuels.

Statements Requiring the Least Attention

We have never claimed that all trees over 18” diameter would be harvested (item 1); that TSRA will clearcut (item 6); or that all landowners who practice selective harvesting just do it for the money (item 7). We have never claimed that logging will be constant and perpetual (item 9); that the disturbing noise will be constant (item 11); or that the noise will affect all TSR residents (still item 11). That's five unattributed rumors that have little to do with our positions. (However, logging would be frequent and it would recur in perpetuity; the disturbing noise would be frequent, recurring, and last for months at a time; and that noise would affect a significant number of TSR residents.)

The three remaining unattributed rumors, while not quite so outlandish, still misinform the reader by distorting both our positions and the current logging proposal.

Logging trucks

We do object to logging trucks on TSR streets (item 2), and (should the plan go forward) agree that it would be an improvement to use our neighbor GRT's logging roads to allow the logging trucks to go in and out. But an agreement with GRT, especially while it is an informal one, does not resolve the problem:

Foresters and Loggers

Item 3 of “NTMP Rumor versus fact” falsely positions opponents of logging as claiming that Forester Matt Greene is a logger. Not only do we not claim that, we do not feel that the profession of logging is intrinsically objectionable.

We do object to logging our forest, which was explicitly purchased to be a preserve protected from logging, and which is in the middle of a residential area.

sawranch.info has never questioned Mr. Greene's credentials before now. However, as the NTMP Subcommittee has chosen to bring that matter up, we may as well comment.

Forester Greene is a Registered Professional Forester. What does that mean? According to the description published by the State of California Board of Forestry:

Registered Professional Foresters work on private forests such as those owned by non-industrial forest landowners and large timber companies. RPFs manage timberlands, purchase and sell timber, schedule harvesting, and supervise operations. RPFs in private industry also plan and direct reforestation of timberlands, implement measures against fire, insects, diseases, and theft, and may be involved in manufacturing and sale of forest products.

In brief, RPFs are trained and certified to serve the timber industry. While they may have other interests, that is the central focus. This training is entirely respectable, but it is not aligned with the values of TSR or with the purpose for which our central forest was purchased.

Roads

Item 4 of “NTMP Rumor versus fact” says “No new roads will be created.” That doesn't seem to square with p74 of the most recently submitted draft NTMP, which says (emphasis added):

The NTMP as proposed will improve the recreational uses of the property as it will open new hiking trails, build new roads, and ...

The leaflet seeks to give the impression (“All roads currently exist and are all 12 feet wide already”) that there is no substantial transformation from what are now hiking trails in rendering them fit for logging trucks. Yet the NTMP discussion (p87) of imperilled plant species acknowledges that

In many instance [sic] avoidance is not going to be feasible as several known populations are occurring directly in the roads and trails.

Obviously, if imperilled plants are growing in these “existing roads,” so are more common plants. These would all be destroyed by the “improvements” to “existing” roads. Ironically, such vegetation is the best erosion-control measure.

As for the roads being “12 feet wide already,” the NTMP (p28) says “Reconstructed section of logging roads shall be no wider than 16 feet of running width.” While 12 feet are certainly no wider than 16 feet, why not say “no wider than 12 feet of running width” if that is the width contemplated?

It is more accurate to state that our trails, which were formerly logging roads, are to be transformed back into full-fledged logging roads. We object to that.