Washington State: logging mania

I’m not a tree hugger. I was once in the firewood business, personally involved in converting thousands of trees to woodstove heat, fireplace atmosphere, and ultimately, smoke up the chimney. Those were good times. It was good work. Perhaps because I cut down so many trees, I’m more aware of them than people who drive past them every day but never cut them up. In the years since my firewooding days, during which I have heated partially with wood, I’ve learned how to salvage free wood without cutting down another tree.

Washington is synonymous with trees. In Seattle, crossing an expanse of water on a high bridge, I viewed the waterfront below me; half-a-square mile of flat area lined with railroad tracks. It is the biggest trainyard I’ve ever seen. Across the board, the waiting train cars were loaded with lumber. Every form – from raw to finished: massive beams seemingly as big as Roman columns, six-by-six landscaping beams, to two-by-fours, plywood, and particle board. A lot of wood comes through Seattle.

It comes from northwestern Washington. Which I also visited. I passed bare, eroding hillsides where the trees had clearly been stripped away, leaving nothing to hold the soil. Likely stolen, since the harvesters started right at the roadside and worked their way back from the road a quarter-mile. There was no pattern to it. While marveling at this  unchecked madness I passed a pick-up truck with spotted owls painted on the fender like notches on a gun. Another pick-up sported a bumper sticker: “Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?”

Until I visited The Evergreen State, the idea that any natural resource in our country was trully threatened never sank in. Environmentalists have been yelling forever that the sky is falling, but it’s still as blue and sunny as it ever was. Then I visited Wshington and saw where loggers ran through like thieves in a closed store grabbing armloads of free stuff. Washington seems to be a textbook case of “Resource Mismanagement.”

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2 Comments on “Washington State: logging mania”

  1. Frank Paolo Says:

    The Rainforest? Pave it! Make it a parking lot.

  2. carolyn Says:

    If it only was that easy to harvest timber in the state of Washington. There is nothing better than the ignorant and and plain stupid spouting grandious words about things they are too lazy to fully research and comprehend. Perhaps you should open your eyes and see who the real culprits are: landowners selling their land to developers.


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