Most locals, myself included, support small-scale logging that supports local loggers for local supplies of rough-cut lumber, firewood and value-added timber products. Bringing in outsiders to cut massive acreages of healthy, old-growth forest for shipping logs to Asia is a different matter entirely.

The highest and best value of our local forests is to support healthy watersheds and sustainable wild fish stocks. Salmon fishing brings in significant revenue to the Haines Borough and salmon and hooligan provide us with food while supporting traditional and healthy lifestyles, in short, why most people live here. Healthy fisheries also support seals, sea lions, and whales, bald eagles, otters, mink, marten, and bears, enriching our lives and attracting tourists.

Healthy forests are important to healthy fisheries because trees shade the land and cool the waters. Trees hold water and distribute it over the season as required by fisheries. Trees hold the soil. Every square inch of forest matters, not just that in buffer zones, because the entire forest keeps the land cool and holds water and soil. Healthy forests protect the planet and our valley from the rapid impacts of climate change.

Over the long term it will be locals who will bear the costs, culturally, environmentally and economically, of a large-scale University timber sale that is being rushed through for the benefit of a few. A cost-benefit analysis, environmental impact analysis and proper timetable for planning and input are needed.

Kathleen Menke