Public lands: Goldmark

September 14, 2012 

I believe Peter Goldmark is the best choice for Commissioner of Public Lands. He has the better management experience and scientific background to handle the job.

Recent letters to the editor accusing Goldmark of playing politics with the forests' health, resulting in fires, are uncalled for. These are false statements that our current commissioner isn't allowing harvesting timber, thinning dead trees or ranchers to lease graze on our public ranges. Example: see www.dnr.wa.gov under "Business Permits" to learn about leasing state lands.

It is scientifically established that fire vulnerability resulted from a century of practices now known to be misguided: excessive fire suppression, ill-conceived timber harvesting and reluctance to thin the forests, aggravated by recent extreme heat, drought and insect kill. All this happened before Goldmark took office.

Changing course is difficult and results will not be realized for years, as any newly elected commissioner of public lands will soon discover. The problems are interrelated: endemic spruce budworm outbreaks, sustainable timber harvesting under changing climate, dealing with a patchwork of public and private lands and more. Funding will be difficult as well.

Goldmark has the background to handle the subtleties. Join me in voting for Goldmark for commissioner of public lands.

CHARLES LOPRESTI, Richland

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