Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor - week of 4/15/15

Drought crisis and forest management

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the opportunity to express a concern I have over the drought crisis in California. While I support conservation efforts to conserve fresh water, and forest greenery, I am really concerned about one measure I think needs addressing, and that’s forest management.

I know environmentalist and some state and federal governmental agencies seem unwilling to explore thinning out the Sierra Nevada Mountain forests, but recent research suggests that those large Ponderosa Pines, cedars, many Oak varieties, Sequoia giants, and other growth, are absorbing thousands, perhaps millions of gallons of water every day below ground level. One large tree could be sucking up 150 to 300 gallons of water a day. And, without thinning, these trees grow right next to each other, every year, that takes even more water.

During drought years, when water resources dwindle, the trees weaken, and bark beetles and other pests destroy them. The forest right now is turning brown and dying by the thousands. What’s left often gets destroyed by forest fires set by lightning and abusive humans.

Two years ago, a hunter caused a forest fire near Yosemite that destroyed 400,000 acres of dense forest. Nearby Oakhurst had two forest fires, that burned out hundreds of acres, and 33 homes all the way to Bass Lake.

I have a home at the 4,000-foot elevation 13 miles south of the Yosemite Park gate on Highway 41. I see the trees dying everyday because of neglect, lack of rain and snow, and the pesky bark beetles and other pests that kill these majestic trees. I can see seven dead Ponderosas across the road from me. I have lost three Ponderosas on my property, and one cedar.

So I am suggesting that we revisit the policy of forest management. The Sierras need thinning, and the timber industry could do it, create jobs, finance it with the lumber, and help alleviate the drought conditions. Come see for yourself.

Stewart Case, Oakhurst

Harry Baker was kind and generous

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank Sierra Tel for the excellent tribute to Harry Baker’s 70 years of service to our community inlast week’s paper. There are many people who appreciate all that he has done over the those years - the gymnasium and swim complex at YHS, the boys and girls club, just to name a few examples of how he helped.

I will always remember him giving me his hat at the patriots day celebration that he started. He was a very kind and generous man. It is very sad that some people tried to defame him in his last years. He was never convicted of any crime - only allegations.

Nancy Harmelin, Ahwahnee

Oakhurst is a caring community

Dear Editor,

One month ago my son, Mason Stevens, was hit in the head by an overthrown baseball on his way out to right field between innings of the first game of the River Park Little League season. He suffered a subdural hematoma and was out of school until April 7.

The community support for him has been unbelievable. I grew up in Oakhurst (YHS Class of 1992) and played many sports for my schools, including Little League. Two of my long-time friends are involved with Sierra Mountain Little League, Patrick Flanagan and Jonas Garner.

They made a sign for Mason, had a bunch of the players sign it and delivered it to him while he was still in the hospital. Mason doesn’t know any of the names on that sign, but I do. Many of the last names are shared by parents that I went to school with.

I just wanted my hometown to know that it meant a lot to us that they would take the time to send well wishes to a fellow player, all in the name of community and sport. The world could use a little more of that.

Scott Stevens, Clovis

Austin Quarry is wrong for Madera County

Dear Editor,

My considered opinion is that the Austin Quarry proposal and placement is wrong for Madera County, its citizens and its future.

Any one of the environmental, safety, aesthetic or economic issues should be sufficient to brand this major eyesore a non-starter.

Wrong time, wrong place, wrong message. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Ray Krause, O’Neals