Letters


A SONG IN THE WOODS

editor: I was delighted to read the article on how opera star Ara Berberian wants to protect his 20 acres of forest near Detroit ["Oratorio of an Oxygen Farmer," Summer 2001]. That he welcomes people walking on his land, even while he lives there, shows how much he cares about people.

Too often owners of large tracts of land think only of the money that they will get from selling it for development. I hope that others who own forested land will follow Ara Berberian's example and work to protect their land for future generations. Who knows--yet another child may find inspiration to sing among the trees!

Sue Anne Brenner, MD.

Atlanta, Georgia, via email

HONORING FIREFIGHTERS

Deborah Gangloff: While fighting a forest fire that is still burning on the Wenatchee National Forest, four firefighters have lost their lives. However, several mare firefighters were saved by deploying their individual fire shelters. One, Rebecca Welch, is reported to have saved the lives of two civilians who were hiking in the area by taking them into her shelter.

If my memory serves me correctly, AMERICAN FORESTS has a medal available for heroic action by wildland firefighters. Based on news reports, I very much feel that this is a case which deserves nomination for that very award and urge you to contact the Chief of the Forest Service for details to see if you should consider this person for the award.

Thank you for your consideration.

Archer Wirth Retired, USFS

Deborah Gangloff responds: Your memory is excellent. In Henry Clepper's history of AMERICAN FORESTS, Crusade for Conservation, he writes: "In 1937, at the suggestion of John D. Guthrie, a veteran Forest Service officer, AMERICAN FORESTS created the American Forests Fire Medal for Heroism. He proposed the medal after a forest fire in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming had taken the lives of 15 fire fighters. The first award was made in 1939 to USFS ranger Urban Post and to Civilian Conservation Corps foremen Bert Sullivan and Paul E. Tyrell, the latter two posthumously. On the Shoshone fire the three medalists saved the lives of 25 CCC enrollees.

Kingston, Washington

Additional awards followed, but only infrequently and then only to individuals for heroic acts on actual forest fires, acts above and beyond the call of duty. Of the 13 awards since the medal was created, four were conferred posthumously."

We have sent your suggestion on to the U.S. Forest Service.

MORE TREES NOW?

editor: My understanding is that there are more trees east of the Mississippi River today than in 1900. I live in North Carolina near the Pisgah National Forest, which was in large measure destroyed by logging during the early part of the 20th century. It has since been largely reclaimed.

Much of the replanting of trees in this country has been accomplished without organized environmental groups and well before the turn of this century. My home in New Jersey was cleared of all trees in 1965... today it is replete with both hard- and softwoods as well as evergreens, thanks to family endeavors throughout the area.

So-called "sprawl" is inevitable, as most sensible people do not want to live in close proximity to each other... particularly those with children to raise. Yet it seems that in large measure it is the wealthy of this country who wish to deny those of lesser economic means the chance to escape dense urban centers of populations.

How unAmerican can you get? I believe it is these folks who are the people to truly fear for they are challenging the so-called American dream through selfish environmentalism. …

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