Letters


MORE ON SPRAWL, PLEASE

editor: I am thrilled the Autumn issue included extensive coverage of urban tree preservation and its relationship to urban sprawl. Please continue to cover this issue and find ways to discuss the problems and solutions.

My local organization, the Dallas Historic Tree Coalition, has utilized articles from your publication before, but this issue was packed with information to educate and advance our cause. As urban sprawl begins to eat away at every part of America, everyone will begin searching for knowledge and ways to reach viable solutions. American Forests should be a primary source for information on urban forest issues, and by doing so you will greatly benefit the cause.

Steve Houser

Wylie, Texas

GROWTH PROBLEMS

editor: The article "Paradise Lost" (Autumn 1999) contains some inaccurate or misleading statements about conditions and activities in Flathead County. Montana.

Many ecological problems can be traced in part to increased development. But the major effects occur not so much in long-established communities such as Kalispeil but in outlying areas of the county. In 1996, 74 percent of new construction occurred outside of incorporated cities and in 1997 that number dropped only to 66 percent. Of 676 new residential units built in 1997, 347 (51.3 percent) were in unsewered areas, using on-site septic systems. The rapidly growing number of individual septic systems in the country raises concerns about future water quality problems.

Another problem is that new residents often fail to site and landscape buildings to minimize risk of wildfire and far too frequently fail to provide adequate access roads for fire trucks and other emergency equipment. Thus wildfires increase the risk to loss of property and life. The problem is not that new residents cause wildfires where we wouldn't have had them, but that wildfires now create economic and safety issues we wouldn't have had if people were not living directly in the path of fire.

Finally, it was not the city of Kalispell that updated the county's master plan in 1993 and 1994. It was the Cooperative Planning Coalition (CPC), a broad-based group of concerned citizens and businesses. The plan covered the area outside the three incorporated communiunities and was in force for one year, on a trial basis. Although voters ultimately rejected the plan update, the CPC effort led to increased awareness of planning issues and options and led to the adoption of "neighborhood" plans. Perhaps that was the important lesson we learned--that one size doesn't fit all and, in a county this large (roughly the size of Connecticut), different areas may have different visions and needs.

Carol Daly

Columbia Falls, Montana

NONVIOLENT AGGRESSION

editor: Alicia Littletree's depiction of Earth First! actions as "nonviolent" ("Letters," Summer 1999) is disingenuous. To an anthropologist, lying in front of a bulldozer is an act of arrogant aggression.

In warfare Plains Indians used a ritual called "Counting Coup." A young warnor would try to strike an opposing warrior with the butt of his spear. If he could do so and live, his target was so disgraced he would be laughed out of the tribe. Ancient Saxons had a similar ritual. And European gentlemen began duels by tapping the cheek with an empty glove. These rituals of insult, with parallels among the great apes, are prelude to displays of deadly violence.

So Earth First! members engage in aggressive forms of taunting and claim to be nonviolent. But unlike Saxon berserkers, these folks are arbitraging the institutionalized violence of the modem justice system. …

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