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More Trees than Grains of Sand

The biggest favor Mendocino County could do for itself is revive the long dormant logging industry. 

A well thought-out program to utilize our abundance of trees makes as much sense as growing and harvesting corn in Iowa. Mendo County is home to vast tracts of trees planted by Georgia Pacific and Louisiana Pacific in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The trees are now 40 and 50 years old and were never destined to be anything than lumber for a backyard deck, sheathing for a roof, or fancy, expensive wainscoting in some high-ranking Chinese Communist official’s palace. 

A smart, efficient logging industry makes sense at every level, but we know before we start that a significant, ignorant percentage of locals will oppose any logging anywhere for any purpose. These people are opposed to everything from highway construction to cell towers to vaccinations, housing, wheat, tourism, cars and any reference to “oil” except the Hash kind. So what? Who cares? 

Waiting for thumbsucking bullies to approve any / every civic or economic improvement means we have to wait until they die, and then hope they didn’t infect their kids with the same selfish, myopic outlook. Screw ‘em. 

Mendocino County has more trees than it has grains of sand along the coast. Let’s start with a project that will both jolt the economy and reduce the risk of fiery catastrophes as summer rolls along. Let’s bring in crews to cut quarter-mile wide fire-prevention swaths around the county’s vulnerable towns, cities and communities. 

That’s a lot of trees and a lot of welcome relief to anyone who’s been awake the past few years and realizes what fire season means around here, even without a drought. 

Harvest all trees posing a potential firestorm, plus the trees L-P and G-P planted. Bring ‘em to market. One stone, a pair of big birds bagged. 

Did you know lumber prices right now are up 300% from just a few months ago? Are you thinking of buying some plywood? You’re in luck; I know a guy who knows someone who can get you one (1) sheet for $68. True dat. At least that was the price last week. 

What’s the opposing view? What’s the argument against plucking a hundred trees per thousand to build homes and bring money to county coffers? Let’s sum it up: “Mother Earth, sacred trees, noisy chainsaws, our fragile planet, nature, big icky men who drink beer and drive pickup trucks, butterflies, soil erosion and streams. Also, rasta music. And spotted owls.” That cover it? 

And I say: Unless you’re on the record loud, clear and for a long time in opposition to huge, illegal eco-destructive marijuana cultivation in the north county, you got nothing to say. If you’re too afraid or hypocritical to stand up for trees, Mother Earth, streams, bears and birds when under siege by Russian and Mexican cartels, your opposition to harvesting trees by American loggers is shameful. 

Now, did someone say “tax money to county coffers”? We talk and talk some more about windfall tax money marijuana will soon bring the county (total dollar amount thus far: zero) and then we look at the long and impressive record of tax monies lumber companies have brought in. 

Timber companies are law abiding corporations that pay taxes without quibbling. They are mindful of streams and other resources because it’s A) the law and B) in their best interests. 

Look friends, it’s not 1920 and no one (NO ONE!) has the same attitude about logging that were the norm 100 years ago. Trees are valued differently, logging practices and technology have leaped into the 21st century and the county’s longterm economic plans should sensibly advance into the 2020s. 

Or at least not be stuck in the 1970s. 

And Help The Homeless.

And the sharp thinkers at local nonprofits should develop plans to enroll the large and getting larger number of street wanderers as deputy fire prevention specialists. 

Why oughtn’t able-bodied homeless contribute to fire suppression? It will help the community and also help the free-range loafers with nothing to do all day except absorb benefits. 

Working on a fire crew will improve their self-esteem and provide something positive to list on their resume in addition to Addict, Walking Tattoo Exhibit and Shopping Cart Pilot. 

A job on a fire crew will give would-be arsonists we read about in the newspaper an opportunity to marvel, up-close and personal, at the fiery object of their perverted whims. 

The Burning Bridges Hostility Center down on South State could identify dozens of recruits to assist the town that’s done so much to help them with all the benefits they receive. Plus: Free helmets! Free transportation to worksite! Free lunch! Photo with Smoky the Bear and a letter of commendation from the Mayor of Ukiah! 

Sign up now at a Rehab Center near you. 

One Comment

  1. Pat Kittle May 25, 2021

    Your argument for more logging:
    “More Trees than Grains of Sand.”

    If you’re right, I’ll support any decision you make about logging.

    If you’re wrong, you’ll graciously agree that the 40-year-old redwoods you want to log should be allowed to live at least 10x that long, which is still a fraction of the age redwoods are capable of reaching.

    So let’s see if you’re right…

    According to “gotreequotes”:
    — “Globally, there are estimated to be 3.04 trillion trees. This is according to a study published in the journal Nature. ”

    According to “thenakedscientists”:
    — “There are (approximately) 700,500,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand on earth.”

    (I’d provide links but I think that’s forbidden here, and the editor already isn’t particularly fond of me.)

    — Anyway, 3.04 trillion trees is 3,040,000,000,000 trees.
    — And 700,500,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand.
    — Rounding off, that’s 23 billion grains of sand for every tree.

    Of course you’ll say you were just using a figure of speech, but even so, being off by a factor of 23 BILLION to ONE indicates extreme recklessness, to put it extremely gently.

    Not the kind of judgement to which we want to entrust the forest, thanks anyway.

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