Forum, July 20: Don’t log national forest

Published: 8/1/2022 12:31:56 PM
Modified: 8/1/2022 12:28:47 PM
Don’t log national forest

The Green Mountain National Forest Service (GMNFS) is considering logging more than 10,000 acres, with 85% of those trees likely to be more than 80 years old, and 55% older than 100 years.

The GMNF is a significant carbon sink, with carbon stocks increasing 48% between 1990 and 2013. The forest is recovering from overcutting and land clearing for agriculture in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Most trees are now 80 years and older.

The GMNF is rapidly accumulating carbon and could store two to four times more carbon if allowed to grow old.

GMNF harbors an incredible diversity of common and imperiled plants and animals. It contains the largest roadless areas in Vermont, including a 16,000-acre roadless area likely to be logged as a part of the Telephone Gap project. One of Vermont’s two remaining pine marten populations is found here, as well as threatened northern long-eared bats, which are being considered for endangered species status.

The Forest Service claims this logging proposal is needed to create early successional habitat and produce timber. Early successional habitat is created naturally by wind, ice, beavers and, rarely, fire. Old forests with large trees, abundant dead and downed wood, and natural canopy gaps create diverse habitat for Vermont’s native species, reduce the risk of downstream flooding, improve water quality, and sequester and store significant amounts of carbon.

The sale is in the early planning stages. The public comment process is set to begin in summer 2022. The Forest Service anticipates project implementation over four years to begin in spring 2023. The 2006 Green Mountain forest plan calls for a significant reduction in northern hardwood trees up to or possibly exceeding 250 years old, setting back the clock on this forest’s recovery from intensive logging in the 1800s. Logging in the GMNF has increased considerably, in the last seven years, 40,000 acres of logging was approved, or 10% of the entire national forest, targeting a considerable number of mature and old trees. Please visit standingtrees.org for more information.

Laura Simon

Wilder

Balint for Congress

Please join me in voting for Becca Balint for U. S. Congress. Becca has been an extraordinary leader of our Vermont State Senate, where she has gained invaluable legislative skills and experience. She will represent us in Washington with passion, intelligence, and great thoughtfulness. Early voting for the primary has started or vote in person on August 9th.

Larry Satcowitz

Randolph

Housing plan disruptive

Dartmouth’s administration is determined to build an apartment-style dorm on Lyme Road. It will house 400 undergraduates for 10 years while dorms on campus are renovated. It will then become graduate student and possibly faculty housing.

There will be minimal parking on site. Because of the location away from campus, it does not need to be built to campus standards. The distance from campus means a fleet of shuttle buses will transport 400 students day and night. Delivery and other service vehicles on Lyme Road will increase proportionally.

Additional housing in the Upper Valley is desperately needed. But Dartmouth has choices about where and how to build. Who benefits from this choice?

Some students will enjoy the opportunity to have apartment-style living, but probably not at the expense of waiting for buses multiple times a day when it’s minus-17. If this housing fills a significant need, why is it only temporary? Dartmouth’s faculty — who truly care about student welfare — is so concerned about the negative consequences of turning Dartmouth into a commuter school that it voted at their May meeting, by an overwhelming margin, to delay the project for further discussion. Administrators decided to move forward anyway.

If more graduate housing options are needed, can they be put off for 10 years while dorms are renovated? Faculty, who also feel the housing shortage, generally have options about where to accept an academic position. Surely living in a cramped converted dormitory with graduate students and no parking will not be an enticement to come to Hanover.

Adding 400 residents will, overnight, double the number of people living in the area. Neighbors have raised serious concerns about traffic, safety, and environmental impact. None of these have been addressed.

Dartmouth administrators say this is the best location because it will be much cheaper than building on campus. It will also be convenient because a third party will manage building, rental, and maintenance. Maybe cheap and convenient will allow administrators to focus their energies on more interesting projects. But it’s a shame that this is how Dartmouth makes long-term decisions that affect so many people.

Rebecca Kohn

Hanover

Help women get care

With the recent Supreme Court ruling that ended a person’s right to an abortion, I’m very worried about how patients will access the essential healthcare that they need. We know restrictive abortion policies disproportionately harm people with low incomes, women of color, and other oppressed communities. If you want to do something to help people get the healthcare they need now, contribute to the National Network of Abortion Funds (www.abortionfunds.org) — you can find your local fund at this site, as well. These funds help patients cover their medical expenses and related needs, like travel, lodging, food, and childcare.

We may not be able to change restrictive laws tomorrow, but we can help patients get essential health care today.

Renee M. Johannensen

West Windsor

Go plastic-free in July

Plastic waste and pollution have reached epic proportions. Billions of tons of plastic have been produced since it was invented in the early 1900’s. Though useful, most has accumulated in landfills, landscapes, rivers, and oceans. Most plastic does not make it into the recycling stream. Single use plastic is everywhere.

What can be done to stem the tide? Plastic Free July invites individuals to try going plastic-free for the month, or at least reduce plastic consumption.

Here are a few ideas of how we can each make a difference:

■Avoid plastic-wrapped food.

■Use cloth or paper bags for shopping.

■Buy food in bulk.

■Bring your own silverware, cups, and plateware to picnics.

■Just say “no” to plastic products (toys, supplies, packaging, etc.).

Take the challenge to reduce your plastic consumption or to go plastic-free altogether during July at www.plasticfreejuly.org.

Interested in more plastic-free action? The Ten Towns, Ten Actions Campaign in New Hampshire is a group of volunteers taking action in their local communities to reduce plastic waste and pollution. See more at https://www.10towns.org/home. You can also find information at the Sustainable Lebanon Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SustainableLebanonNH, contact us at 603-252-1618 or email SusLebNH@outlook.com.

Jon Chaffee

President, Sustainable Lebanon

Let Dartmouth build

The Upper Valley will benefit if Dartmouth succeeds in providing sufficient housing for its undergraduate students, particularly if the proposed Lyme Road complex is a temporary solution while central campus residences are renovated. If that development subsequently becomes housing for graduate students and faculty, as is intended, some pressure will be taken off the local housing market.

Without dismissing the concerns of people who live near the proposed development, I wonder if it is possible to balance our individual preferences with a sense that we are all affected by the housing crisis in one way or another. Can we let Dartmouth do its part to increase housing options rather than slowing everything down in ways that delay improvements and add to construction costs?

Mary M. Childers

West Lebanon




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