Coleman and the BWCA

David Anderson (“Coleman correction,” Aug. 12) is misinformed about Norm Coleman’s position on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Coleman wants to open the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness for commercial logging of blowdown timber, and for snowmobile and additional motorized uses.

David Anderson (“Coleman correction,” Aug. 12) is misinformed about Norm Coleman’s position on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Coleman wants to open the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness for commercial logging of blowdown timber, and for snowmobile and additional motorized uses.

Proper use of the Boundary Waters was an issue with longstanding divisions. But in 1998, former Rep. Bruce Vento and current Rep. James Oberstar successfully compromised on this issue. They often disagreed on these issues, but all parties made concessions and worked to come to a workable compromise that would benefit all Minnesotans. That compromise has worked well.

Now, Coleman is trying to re-open the issue, suggesting Minnesotans should “hold a conversation” about opening the BWCA for uses such as commercial logging, obviously incompatible with its wilderness designation. Norm Coleman is also misinformed. Logging in the BWCA is not necessary.

Northern Minnesota loggers have made clear they don’t want to log the BWCA and that salvaging timber from roadless areas is economically and operationally infeasible. Loggers want more access to Forest Service land elsewhere in the state, more funding secured for blowdown restoration outside the BWCA, and to combat unfairly subsidized imports of Canadia timber, which puts the industry at risk.

Norm Coleman is threatening to divide Minnesotans over an issue decided years ago in the interest of Minnesotans. Instead of bringing people together, Norm Coleman is pitting Minnesotans against each other.

Jason Albus,
junior,
journalism

A letter writer (“Coleman correction,” Aug. 12) suggested that Norm Coleman is correct to promote logging the Boundary Waters. Unfortunately, both David Anderson and Coleman appear to have ideological biases that cloud their understanding of the issue.

The trees that fell in the 1999 storm were never of great interest to loggers. These forests are already recovering, and the fallen material is already rotting and returning nutrients to the soil. This is a proper role of a wilderness area: to remind us what natural forests look like.

The letter writer has fallen for propaganda from logging companies and the Bush administration. They aim to dismantle environmental laws by fanning the flames of our fear of wildfires.

We know better. Logging increases the frequency and intensity of forest fires by removing fire-resistant older trees and water-retaining undergrowth. Look at the fires reported in Minnesota this year. Most have been reported in recently logged areas.

Still, the timber industry is using fires as an excuse to increase logging in wild areas far from homes that need protection. I support some logging on national forests as a management tool to restore forests and protect homes.

But right now excessive logging is driven by timber industry propaganda and citizens who fall for it.

Evan Moyle,
sophomore,
agriculture