Letters to the Editor 6/21/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2003

Wants to see our forests protected

Dear Editor:

The U.S. Forest Service is undergoing an intense revision of the long-range plan for national forests in Alabama. This process has taken several years and will involve reaching a compromise with the diverse groups who make up the users of this public land.

Alabama is among the top four states in bio-diversity and is number one in aquatics species in the 50 states. Unfortunately, we are also near the top in the number of threatened and endangered species.

Stronger efforts should be employed to enhance the reemergence of black bears in Conecuh National Forest in south Alabama and preserve diversity throughout the state. Talladega and Bankhead National Forests provide critical watershed in north Alabama. Expanded recreational opportunities in wildlife areas in the national forests will increase already significant tourism dollars for local businesses.

Studies have shown that eco-tourism provides a far greater economic impact on communities located near our national forests than does logging.

Logging has been a major activity in National Forests in Alabama in recent years. Some of these logging practices have been environmentally detrimental. I urge the Forest Service to protect our forests for future generations in its next long-range plan. Once those treasures are gone, they are gone forever.

Kevin M. Marek