Reiter Foothills logging: State puts harvest before recreation

I noticed there aren’t non-motorized recreation photos in the article about Reiter Foothills Forest (“2 timber harvests planned near Gold Bar recreation areas,” The Herald, June 26). The state Department of Natural Resources has only built about 3 miles of non-motorized trails since adopting the 2010 Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation plan.

However, DNR will have built out nearly the entirety of the motorized trails in the recreation plan by the end of the current biennium.

DNR likes to say recreation and logging are compatible. But the main reason given for not building more hiking, biking and horseback riding trails at Reiter is they need to log first.

They want to log first so trails aren’t destroyed. But Sky Rider is on top of motorized trails, and they’ve logged over other motorized trails too.

They want to log so the roads and bridges can be used for recreation or building trails. Logging roads and bridges are built for 30-plus ton trucks and heavy machinery. Bridges for hikers, bikers and horseback riders are much smaller, lower impact and can be built where logging bridges can’t. Also, the U.S. Forest Service builds trails in wilderness areas where vehicles and motorized equipment are prohibited.

Brushcrasher won’t lead to a bunch of trails anyway. DNR withdrew a grant application for a planned quarter-mile trail reroute for the same washout as the new road and 3 miles of other non-motorized trails.

Sky valley’s economy and future growth depend on recreation and tourism, not logging. DNR’s current policies will always put logging ahead of recreation. More clearcuts will impact our valley for decades.

Brian Nelson

Gold Bar

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