Don't Destroy Trees in National Forests

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 4, 1999 | Go to article overview

Don't Destroy Trees in National Forests


Byline: Sean Cosgrove

Sean Cosgrove works for The Sierra Club in Washington, D.C.

It's that time of year again. Families are planning their summer vacations. And when Americans want to get away, they beat a path to our national forests for hiking, camping, fishing and boating.

Each year, our national forests host 835 million visitor days - compared to 40 million at Disney facilities. Our national forests, with their 4,400 campgrounds and 121,000 miles of trails, are a true treasure for everyone to enjoy, a link to America's once vast wild heritage.

But visitors' enjoyment of the national forests comes with a contradiction, one that few Americans know anything about. At the same time families are flocking to the forests, American taxpayers are paying timber companies to chop them down. From 1995 to 1997, Congress lost $1 billion of our tax money subsidizing timber industry logging in our national forests.

It seems like a nonsense scene from "Alice in Wonderland." Our government uses our tax money to pay private companies to decimate our public forests. In this "bargain," timber companies reap profits while we're left with a legacy of forests scarred by clear-cuts and roads, which cause water pollution and mud slides, increase flooding and destroy wildlife habitat. …

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