We need more loggers, not less.
We gathered earlier this year on the banks of the Elwha River.
An Indigeneous elder welcomed everyone to their lands.
They called on us to not be divided, thanked us for caring for the forests and river.
Asked us to be grateful, to forgive.
Environmentalists, loggers, tribal people were all there with families.
Port Angeles City Councilwoman LaTrisha Suggs and Bekkevar, the local logging company, were there.
State troopers kept everyone safe.
The river sparkled.
And there were chainsaws.
We need more loggers not less.
The loggers know how to do a dangerous job, have at least half the answers.
Bekkevar does conservation work, plants trees, employs local families and started a biochar business to put charcoal that holds water on the landscape, nourish the soil, sequester carbon.
We need more ecological forestry.
We need to cut different trees.
Scientists guessed in 1997 what it would take for forests and fish to survive with commercial timber harvests: keep 10 percent older legacy forests, the ecosystem lifeboats, naturally regenerated, multiple tree species, shrubs and berries, 80-125 years old.
DNR promised to get its permit; they may hit 1-3 percent.
DNR will sell and clear-cut legacy forest in the Elwha in the next few months.
They have Douglas fir plantations ready. They need to cut those instead.
We can support timber, fisheries, recreation, conservation.
We just can’t take it all, now, in every place.
As the elder said, take what you need, save the Elwha.